10 May 2015

The second most repeated commandment in the Bible: Fear God

11 May 15 - Correction: "Fear God" is the third, not the second most repeated commandment in the Bible. I forgot about "Praise God," which is repeated 44 times, 11 more than "Fear God."

See The top ten most repeated commandments in the Bible.


The Bible says that "God is Love"; that "there is no fear in love"; and that God has not "given us the spirit of fear, but ... of love."

And yet this "God of love" commands his believers to fear him 33 times in the Bible. It is the second most repeated commandment in the Bible (after the commandment to obey all the commandments.)

Here thy are:

(See Should we fear God? at the SAB.)

  1. Fear God.
  2. Thou ... shalt fear thy God. Leviticus 19:14, 25:43

    Fear God. Leviticus 19:32, Revelation 14:7

    Thou shalt fear thy God. Leviticus 25:17, 1 Peter 2:17

    Fear thy God. Leviticus 25:36

    Fear the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 6:2, 10:12

    Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20

    The Lord commanded us ... to fear the LORD our God. Deuteronomy 6:24

    Fear him. Deuteronomy 8:6, 13:4

    Fear the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 31:12, 31:13

    Fear the LORD your God for ever. Joshua 4:24

    Fear the LORD. Joshua 24:14, 1 Samuel 12:24, Proverbs 3:7

    The LORD ... shall ye fear. 2 Kings 17:36

    The LORD your God ye shall fear. 2 Kings 17:39

    The LORD ... is to be feared above all gods. 1 Chronicles 16:25

    Fear before him. 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 96:9

    Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God? Nehemiah 5:9

    O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. Psalm 34:9

    Be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. Proverbs 23:17

    Fear thou the LORD. Proverbs 24:21

    Fear thou God. Ecclesiastes 5:7

    Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

    Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

    Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Luke 12:5

9 comments:

Ron Charbonneau said...

If god loves you.. unconditionally..what's there to be afraid of? What Christian double-talk explains why this loving god will send you to hell forever

Stephen said...

Ron: "What Christian double-talk explains why this loving god will send you to hell forever?"

What part of "mysterious ways" do you not understand?
;-)
Steve Weeks

Frank wilm said...

This idea is also worked out in children by their parents.

When a child in disobeying it's loving parents is chastised by said parents for the child's own good and safety. If the child is stromg willed enough to not learn to fear that chastisement then it could result in being killed or at least incurr the wrath of the law such as imprisonment. The end result is not the parents fault but the fault of the child's willing disobedience and failure to learn what is good for itself or society.

Tom Vouray said...

Frank: Do you refrain from killing people because it is wrong, or because of the possibility of either life in prison or the death penalty?

Serge said...

"fault of the child's willing disobedience and failure to learn what is good for itself or society"

You said it, it is the fault of the "failure to learn" or understand. It is not the child's fault. Obviously they would do what is right, if they understood, because it is better for "itself and society"!

There is a difference between understanding and fear. There is a difference between teaching and coercing.

Kestrel said...

Brilliant factoid. Honestly, Christianity would be so much more successful without the millstone of the OT weighing it down.

Tom Vouray said...

So let's carry Frank's parent/child analogy forward:

1) The Father is never around, and left some conflicting, incomplete instructions on what is right and what is wrong;
2) He depends upon others to advise the child what is right and wrong, resulting in dozens, if not hundreds of conflicting interpretations;
3) Unlike human fathers, this Father waits until you die to punish you;
4) Sometimes he kills you as punishment, without giving you a chance to reform yourself ways;
5) When a sibling of yours was punished, you were told what they did wrong, and what the punishment was. This Father never lets the living know how the dead is punished, until they die, which, unfortunately, too late to learn from the experience;
6) The punishment of this Father is not proportional to the sins. It is pass/fail, Heaven/Hell, no in between;
7) Last but certainly not least, if your profess your love for this Father, and repent of your sins, you get a 'get out of hell free' card. Earthly fathers will punish their children if they do wrong again after the last time they did something wrong. The Bible has no provisions for punishing sinners AFTER when they sin after they have embraced Christianity ("Christians are not perfect - just forgiven").

So this is the parent/child model you expect others to embrace when you try to convert them to your religion?

Marvin Henry said...

Fear of the Lord in Hebrew is a form of reverence and awe for God. It means to respect God for who He is and what He is capable of doing. It is not the same type of fear that causes someone to want to run away or avoid another person. If that was the case then these commandments would be useless and it would not be spoken about in such good terms in the bible. It is the fear of the Lord that made people succeed in the Bible.
The ones who have the fear of the Lord do in fact love God, which is why it says perfect love casts out fear and also "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" Proverbs 1:7.

This is similar in a way to how children are raised by their parents, although with our parents this is a more gradual process involving complex phases. When we are children and are tempted to misbehave or do something which will anger our parents, sometimes we stop because we are afraid of getting into trouble or we are afraid of what our parents may do to us as a consequence of our actions. However once you become older, you begin to personally choose to avoid doing certain bad actions not because you are afraid of your parents like before but because you've grown to love and respect them more as your parents. So we go from a place of fear as children to a place of respect as adults. Of course this is not linear and it differs from person to person but that is a small reflection of the biblical relationship between God and humanity.

Stephen said...

Marvin:
" 'Fear of the Lord' ... means to respect God for who He is and what He is capable of doing."
This is the same reason you would fear an insane person with a gun.
Steve Weeks