Archives For Proverbs

Give this Proverbs journal (Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation) as a gift and ask for it back when the recipient is through. You will both be blessed: eternally

The book of Proverbs is a gift that God has given to help us find our way through the maze of life. In a complicated world, we all need wisdom. As Tim Keller has written, Proverbs is a mini-guide for life. For examples of how Proverbs can be applied, see the links at the end of this post. 

Proverbs is designed to be a teaching tool for parents and leaders. The idea is not that we simply read Proverbs once and are done. Rather, we roll Proverbs around in our minds for decades — and then discuss it with those we influence.

We all desperately need to meditate on wisdom with wise people. We need to hear wise people comment on Proverbs in ways that are personal to us.

Some may counter, “Well, I’m not sure where to get started in studying Proverbs.”

I have a recommendation this gift-giving season!

Champ Thornton has written a new book that introduces the book of Proverbs and then guides readers through a series of questions that become a journal. From the official blurb:

In Pass It On, readers are guided through the book of Proverbs and given the opportunity to write a personalized wisdom journal with their own thoughts and stories, creating a legacy of faith for the next generation and those they love. The perfect gift book to pass down through the generations.

Here’s the gift idea:

  • Give this book to your dad and ask him to use it for months or years to come. Encourage him to jot down his thoughts and share his take. I’ve already started jotting notes in my copy . . . the question is: will anyone be able to read my writing? 
  • Or give this book to your husband to complete for your children.
  • Or give it to yourself and start making notes for those you know and love.

See also:

Reads Proverbs 43% of the time — the Rest of Your Life

Dig for Wisdom Like Its 1849 (Prov 2:4-5)

What Questions Did You Ask Yourself Today Based on Proverbs 12?

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom (Prov 9:10)

Why Grooms Should Make the Wedding Dresses (Prov 24:3)

Be Thankful for Your Wife on the 31st  (Prov 31)

Derek Kidner on Understanding the Genre of Proverbs

We Know You Don’t See Your Blind Spot. Duh. It’s a Blind Spot. (Prov 17:10)

Even in Laughter the Heart May Ache (Prov 14:13)

A Chapter of Proverbs Today the 29th (Fear of Man Will Prove to Be a Snare) (Prov 29:25)

On Not Grabbing the Dog’s Ears (Prov 26:17)

The Sluggard is No Freak

If Your Boss is Atilla the Hun (Prov 27:18) 

The Meaning of Proverbs 17:6 – On the Beauty of Grandchildren

Two Classic Pillars of True Old Testament Religion (per Derek Kidner) (Prov 2:5)

Feeling Overwhelmed and Undermotivated? (Prov 6:6-10)

Where There is No Fear the People Perish: One of the Most Misapplied Verses in the Bible (Prov 29:18)

Who Are You? Don’t Be Too Sure You Know! (Prov 16:2)

Tim Keller on Proverbs

Before You Make this Loan, “Ask How God is God’s Credit?”  (Proverbs 19:17)

Dream Big and Be Excited to See God Direct Your Paths in Unexpected Ways (Prov 3:5-6)

A Guide to Proverbs Within Proverbs (Prov 3:3-12)

Why the Circle Doesn’t Always Remain Unbroken (Prov 16:28)

Leaders Know How to Pick Up a Crumb and Carry It Into the Next Room (Proverbs 30:25) 

Don’t Let Failure Give Way to Failure (Prov 24:16)

Sharpen Your Wisdom Saw Today (Read Proverbs 18)

Frame On Why We are Sometimes Contentiously Foolish (Prov 20:3)

There are Two Ways to Deal With a Lion

The Fear of Man Lays a Snare (Prov 29:25) 

A Time to Use the SW Word (Prov 10:19)

Ever Fall on Your Face Like Kurt Warner? (Prov 16:18)

Mark Twain: A Lie Can’t Get Half Way Round the World Before the Truth Even Gets Its Boots On (Prov 26:20)

Gossip Affects Your Spiritual Waistline (Prov 18:8)

Facing Some Orcs in An Adventure You Didn’t Ask For? Persevere (Prov 24:16)

If All Your Friends are Named Beevis, Guess What Your Name Is (Prov 13:20)

Set the Bar for Spiritual Disciplines Low 

Teaching Our Children to Work 

Wisdom is the saw we use to cut our way through life. Without sharp saws, life is like cutting through a piece of oak with a butter knife.  So how do we sharpen our saws? Answer: By spending ongoing time reading and meditating on Proverbs. 

All of us make decisions that have great implications for the future. What we decide to do impacts our families and other people to whom we are connected.

It can be scary to consider how much impact our decisions have on the future, especially when we consider that eternity is at stake. What you do today, might influence where your children spend eternity. 

And it is by no means a given that we make good decisions. People with good intentions make disastrous decisions every day.

So a central question becomes, “How do we avoid walking into the airplane propeller of bad decisions?”

The answer is “wisdom.” Wisdom is skill for living rightly. Wisdom is how we navigate life. 

But like any skill, wisdom is not automatic. It must be learned over time (Phil 1:9-11, Romans 12:2). The skill of wisdom is learned by spending time in God’s Word, especially Proverbs. The book of Proverbs was given for the express purpose that we might develop discernment. 

2  To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3  to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4  to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—Prov 1:2-4

  A handy aspect of Proverbs is that there are 31 chapters: one for every day of the month. If the date is the 21st, then read Proverbs 21. When you do, take time to identify and reflect on at least one verse. For example, Proverbs 21:1 reads:

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord. Proverbs 21:31

This Proverb reminds us that no matter how much we prepare for important events in our life, if God is not on our side, then all our labor is in vain. Proverbs 21:31 is a call to prayer. 

Two questions follow. The first is, “How long do I have to study Proverbs in order to grow in wisdom?” The answer is, “The rest of our lives.” I believe that all of us – – especially those with leadership responsibilities —  need to read a chapter of Proverbs daily until we die or Jesus comes back. Wisdom is that important.

If you’re a bit of a contrarian (like me), you might counter – – “So you read Proverbs every single day?” The answer is “no.” I miss lots of days. But I have a general habit of reading Proverbs. Sharpening my wisdom saw in Proverbs is a “go to” spiritual discipline that I have practiced over the years.

I would think that if — on average — you read the day’s chapter of Proverbs 3 out of 7 days every week (42.86% of the time) you would be on a good pace. The important thing is to observe the habit of reading Proverbs the rest of your life.

If you are looking for resources on Proverbs, I would make two recommendations:

  1. Dan Phillips’ book, God’s Wisdom in Proverbs is excellent. (For more see here). 
  2. Derek Kidner’s pithy, Proverbs (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries) is also gold. 

 Some of the below posts may jumpstart your thinking on how to read Proverbs.

See also:

Dig for Wisdom Like Its 1849 (Prov 2:4-5)

What Questions Did You Ask Yourself Today Based on Proverbs 12?

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom (Prov 9:10)

Why Grooms Should Make the Wedding Dresses (Prov 24:3)

Be Thankful for Your Wife on the 31st  (Prov 31)

Derek Kidner on Understanding the Genre of Proverbs

We Know You Don’t See Your Blind Spot. Duh. It’s a Blind Spot. (Prov 17:10)

Even in Laughter the Heart May Ache (Prov 14:13)

A Chapter of Proverbs Today the 29th (Fear of Man Will Prove to Be a Snare) (Prov 29:25)

On Not Grabbing the Dog’s Ears (Prov 26:17)

The Sluggard is No Freak

If Your Boss is Atilla the Hun (Prov 27:18) 

The Meaning of Proverbs 17:6 – On the Beauty of Grandchildren

Two Classic Pillars of True Old Testament Religion (per Derek Kidner) (Prov 2:5)

Feeling Overwhelmed and Undermotivated? (Prov 6:6-10)

Where There is No Fear the People Perish: One of the Most Misapplied Verses in the Bible (Prov 29:18)

Who Are You? Don’t Be Too Sure You Know! (Prov 16:2)

Tim Keller on Proverbs

Before You Make this Loan, “Ask How God is God’s Credit?”  (Proverbs 19:17)

Dream Big and Be Excited to See God Direct Your Paths in Unexpected Ways (Prov 3:5-6)

A Guide to Proverbs Within Proverbs (Prov 3:3-12)

Why the Circle Doesn’t Always Remain Unbroken (Prov 16:28)

Leaders Know How to Pick Up a Crumb and Carry It Into the Next Room (Proverbs 30:25) 

Don’t Let Failure Give Way to Failure (Prov 24:16)

Sharpen Your Wisdom Saw Today (Read Proverbs 18)

Frame On Why We are Sometimes Contentiously Foolish (Prov 20:3)

There are Two Ways to Deal With a Lion

The Fear of Man Lays a Snare (Prov 29:25) 

A Time to Use the SW Word (Prov 10:19)

Ever Fall on Your Face Like Kurt Warner? (Prov 16:18)

Mark Twain: A Lie Can’t Get Half Way Round the World Before the Truth Even Gets Its Boots On (Prov 26:20)

Gossip Affects Your Spiritual Waistline (Prov 18:8)

Facing Some Orcs in An Adventure You Didn’t Ask For? Persevere (Prov 24:16)

If All Your Friends are Named Beevis, Guess What Your Name Is (Prov 13:20)

Set the Bar for Spiritual Disciplines Low 

Teaching Our Children to Work 

 

Often the best strategy for spiritual disciplines is to set very, very modest goals. Hopping over a low bar adds up to a high stack of results.

The new year is fast approaching when people will identify lofty goals for the coming year. People will decide to read through the Bible, memorize 100 verses, lose 50 pounds and pray for every country on the planet.

Those are great goals. There is a place for setting the bar high. But it is instructive to notice that the Bible points to the example of an ant when deciding how to pace ourselves.

The ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer . . . Proverbs 30:25

Ants work one crumb at a time. Yet, they accomplish a great deal.

Rather than waiting until January 1 to set your goals for the year, why not set one really modest goal to accomplish today?

Set the bar so low that you can hop over it this afternoon.

Then go ahead and hop.

Be sure and hop tomorrow as well.

 

The below selection of Proverbs will encourage and challenge you regarding how you communicate to your social networks  – – whether it is through the new media or sitting around at the grain elevator on a rainy day talking to other farmers.

Pastor Bruce McKanna serves the Evangelical Free Church of Mt. Morris. It’s one of my family’s favorite churches and one we often attend when we have a Sunday off. Pastor McKanna is currently preaching through a survey of the entire Bible. He writes the following about last Sunday’s sermon:

As we are going through the whole Bible together as a congregation, we are in Proverbs this Sunday.  Since I’ve preached a few different mini-series from Proverbs over the past six years, I’m not trying to do an overview or even focus on the fundamental issue of the fear of the Lord.  Rather, I’ll be trying to show how practical the Proverbs are in relation to a particular issue:  how we engage in a world of social media.  I will be making very clear that this applies to the old school “social media” of the old men having coffee in our local diner as much as it does the moms and millennials hanging out on Facebook.

Below is Bruce’s sermon insert for this sermon in which he selects different verses from Proverbs to encourage us about social media. It’s a great resource for all of us. In a social media age, this ancient biblical wisdom is as relevant as ever.

Be careful in what you’re consuming and what you’re contributing.

15:14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

15:2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Don’t say everything that pops into your head.

10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

17:28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

21:23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself out of trouble.

This is especially important in an argument or heated debate.

15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

17:27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Listen, and you just might learn something.

12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.

18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.

18:13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.

Just make sure you are listening to those who are speaking truth.

13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

14:7 Leave the presence of a fool,
for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

Don’t get sucked into debates with fools.

9:7-8 7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

29:9 If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.

Don’t use your platform to belittle others or boost yourself.

11:12-13 12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.
13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

27:1-2 1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
a stranger, and not your own lips.

Use your powerful words positively to build up others.

15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

15:23 To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
and a word in season, how good it is!

15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
but gracious words are pure.

The meaning of Proverbs 17:6 tells us that grandchildren are jewels that adorn their grandparents.Proverbs 17:6 reads, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” The point is that grandchildren are beautiful jewels that grandparents wear like strings of pearls.

In leading funeral services I have often found myself comforting grandchildren by telling them what a treasure they have been to their grandparents. Looking down from the pulpit to the tear filled eyes of grieving grandchildren. My heart hurts for them.

On many such occasions, I have commented on the meaning of Proverbs 17:6. I say something like the following:

For the grandchildren, my heart goes out to you. There is something your grandma would want me to say publicly to you based on the meaning of Proverbs 17:6.

Proverbs 17:6 tells us that grandchildren are the crowned of the aged. That means that for your grandma, you were like a beautiful crown. She “wore” you around and you are far more beautiful than crowned jewels. So the Bible tells us: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged.”

There are queens in the world who wear diamonds or rubies that are worth more than the value of all our homes combined. You know that your grandma didn’t have a crown like that. But what she had was far more valuable than diamonds or rubies.

For their part, most grandparents find it easy to agree with  Kitchen’s (375)  comment on Proverbs 17:6:

The elderly man (Proverbs 16:31) finds a ‘crown’ of reward and honor in being surrounded by grandchildren (Gen 48:11, Psalm 128:5-6). His life has mattered, it continues on, in a sense, through succeeding generations. He has not only raised up godly sons and daughters, but he has raised them to raise up the same kind of children. There is hope for the future!

We should not miss that the relationship flows both ways. The meaning of Proverbs 17:6 also encourages us that, “the glory of children is their fathers.” Nothing so adorns children, and brightens their lives, like godly fathers and mothers.

Kitchen (376) goes on to warn that it is not necessarily the case that grandchildren are a blessing to their parents, any more than fathers necessarily bring glory to their children.

 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy. Proverbs 17:21 ESV.

 A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him. Proverbs 17:25 ESV.

*********

Bound Together by Chris BraunsOne of the reasons I wrote my book, Bound Together: How We Are Tied To Others in Good and Bad Choices, was to encourage people who have family members making poor choices. In the introduction to chapter 8, “A Red Rope for Hurting Families,” I wrote:

How do you comfort someone who has a family member making poor decisions? For the nearly twenty years as a pastor, I have been prayerfully considering how to answer that question. What does a pastor say to a mother or father whose adult son is homeless because of drug addiction? Or to parents whose children have been arrested for a felony? Or to those whose children have denied the faith? What do you say to the father of a prodigal who has despised his family and travelled to a far country to squander his inheritance in riotous living (Luke 15:1-30)?

How does a pastor comfort a man who has found his unrepentant wife in bed with another man? How do you counsel a wife when her husband tells his her that she must accept his infidelity as a way of life?

If you are going through the pain of a wayward child, an unfaithful spouse, or some other broken family relationship, my heart goes out to you. I’m not sure that there is any category of pain worse than family pain. I’ve watched people battle cancer, heart disease, and paralysis. I’ve seen others lose jobs and careers. Yet, is has been my experience personally, and my observation as a pastor, that there is something uniquely devastating about the pain of a rebellious family member.

Even if you have not endured the pain of a loved one turning away from Christ, you have undoubtedly seen the varied emotions of those whose family members have let them down. Some are angry. Husbands blame wives and wives blame husbands. Others point an accusing finger at the youth group or church where they or their child never connected. Some beat themselves up and are utterly devastated feeling that they have failed those they love the most. Others toss in bed wondering where their son or daughter or husband or wife will spend eternity.

Many who have family members making decisions with eternally negative consequences simply live in denial. They don’t even ask for prayer. They refuse to face the reality that their loved one will spend eternity apart from Christ. Who among us can think very often of that possibility for people we love? Yet it is there.

I approach this chapter humbly. I haven’t arrived at a definitive solution for how to minister to those who have family pain. There will not be complete resolution to that problem until Christ returns.  But this is an area of ministry where the principle of the rope becomes very practical. If you are in pain over a loved one, I pray you will find some comfort here.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I often encourage grieving grandchildren with the meaning of Proverbs 17:6, but I never leave the funeral message simply with that point. It is always my goal to point grieving people to the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, because those who know Christ will meet again very soon, gathered around the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ – – in His presence – – all of us jewels who reflect His glory.

 

Dan Phillips, author of the best available introduction to Proverbs, is also preaching through Proverbs this summer. Today he has posted on King Solomon correctly observing that Solomon’s story is one of the most sobering in all of Scripture:

Having done an introduction to the introduction to Proverbs, last Sunday I began an actual introduction to Proverbs.

I skipped over the first Hebrew word of the book (“Proverbs-of”), to focus on “Solomon son of David king of Israel.” Titled The Pithy Penmen of Proverbs, my focus was the central author and overall editor, King Solomon.

As I’m sure I’ve remarked somewhere before, I find Solomon one of the most frightening, sobering men in all of history, in the company of men like King Saul, fallen pastors, and the head of the pack, Judas Iscariot.

In Solomon’s case, was there ever a man who was more advantaged and fell further . . .

Read the rest here

Dig for Wisdom Like It’s 1849

Chris —  June 17, 2013

While those who rushed to California may not have had the right goal, there is something we can learn from their zeal. Scripture tells us to seek wisdom like we are panning for gold:

If you seek [wisdom] like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,

then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:4-5.

One of the fascinating events of our country’s history was the California Gold Rush. If you remember your history, you know that a man named Sutter found gold in the late 1840’s which led to a stampede to Northern California.

People ran for California like lemmings. But it was no easy trip to the cliffs. We can get anywhere in the world easier today than people could get to the gold fields.

Those with gold fever had two options for making it to California. They could cross the continent in a covered wagon facing disease, Indians, and the weather. Or, they could sail 13,000 miles  around South America. In the month of February of 1849, over 50 ships left New York for the gold fields.

People were so eager for gold that when they got to San Francisco they didn’t even take time to unload the ships. By the mid 1850’s San Francisco harbor was filled with more than 500 rotting ships still full of cargo that no one had taken time to unload.

California Gold Rush Pictures: Judge Lynch - California Vigilantes, 1848Treasure hunters fought for their claims. After a claim dispute, a group of Frenchmen and Americans agreed to have two of their own slug it out for a claim. The two individuals went at it for 3.5 hours. Finally, the Frenchman could no longer get up and they went somewhere else. The disputed claim turned out to be the richest in the area.

Proverbs tells us that we are to search for wisdom with the tenacity of those panning for gold. How hard are we digging for wisdom?

For those who counter that this sounds like growing through work rather than grace, Proverbs 2:1-6 is yet another area where Dan Phillips’ oft recommended God’s Wisdom in Proverbs is a “gold mine.” He writes:

God works through means. He does not make bread appear in our mouth–and He does not make wisdom appear in our head. In both areas we must pray, and we must work (page 109, emphasis his).

Of course, our “digging” for wisdom must be in the Word of God which makes wise the simple (Psalm 19:7). Regarding the need to dig for wisdom in Scripture, Kitchen adds:

The humanistic notion that all I must do is look within myself is worse than nonsense; it is demonic (James 3:15). This first conditional statement teaches me who I am – – I am a person who needs God’s counsel (Prov 10:8; Prov 13:10), page 57.

***********

On the relationship between our effort in searching for wisdom and God’s grace, see Is Growing in Grace a Result of Our Effort or God’s Grace?

 

 . . . then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:5

Regarding Proverbs 2:5, the gifted commentator Derek Kidner offers this wonderful nugget:

the fear of the LORD  . . . and the knowledge of God. With these two phrases Proverbs 2:5 encompasses the two classic Old Testament terms for true religion – – the poles of awe and intimacy. Page 61.

For more see The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.

Proverbs applied will remind us to sharpen the blades on our mowers!What questions should you ask yourself based on Proverbs 12? Mine are below, including one about my lawn mower blades.

Today is June 12, so it’s a good day to read Proverbs 12. Whenever you read a chapter of Proverbs, ask yourself the hard questions. Here are some of mine for the day?

  • Proverbs 12:4 I was thankful for my wife on the 31st, but am I going to be thankful for her today?
  • Proverbs 12:11: Am I working hard on the right priorities? Am I getting distracted by technology? Should I re-read Tim Challies recent “Get Rid of these 6 Things“?
  • Proverbs 12:16: Do I keep my mouth shut enough? See Justin Taylor’s Questions to ask before Confronting Someone.
  • Proverbs 12:23: Does every insight need to be shared?
  • Proverbs 12:27: Am I working hard at taking care of my stuff? Jamie will, doubtless, roast my game. But do I need to change the oil in my car and sharpen the blades on my mower? I know that I need to catch up on my bookkeeping and financial records. It’s no time to be a sluggard!

How about you? Read Proverbs 12 and tell us the questions that should be asked.

The "fear of the LORD" is a rich biblical complex that deserves much study.

The “fear of the LORD” is a rich biblical complex that deserves much study.

The “fear of the LORD” is a complex subject which every Christian should strive to understand more . . . It includes both a growing knowledge of God’s Word, but also a true sense of fear, awe, love, and adoration. Loosely organized thoughts follow.

The thesis of the book of Proverbs is that the “fear of Yahweh” is foundational to the pursuit of wisdom. Proverbs returns to an emphasis on this central thought again and again (see verses in Proverbs below). Never the less, understanding the fear of the Lord is not immediately easy. My notes document some of my study.

“Fear” means “Fear”

Part of the problem with understanding the “fear of Yahweh” is that too many times we are told that the fear of the LORD doesn’t mean fearing the LORD. That is not helpful. “Fear” means “fear.” Survey people who encountered the presence of the living God in the Bible and you will quickly see that they were, indeed, afraid.

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraidAnd they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:41

Yet, the fear of the LORD also means safety and love

Psalm 34:7 assures us that the angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear God. And Deut 10:12-13 tell us that we fear God by loving Him and walking in all His ways. For those who know Christ, the fear of the LORD does not mean the terror of those who face God’s wrath.

Jerry Bridges is correct that the “fear of the LORD” is better described than understood. Still Murray’s thought points us in the right direction:

“The fear of God in which godliness consists is the fear which constrains [compels or powerfully produces] adoration and love. It is the fear which consists in awe, reverence, honor, and worship, and all of these on the highest level of exercise. It is the reflex in our consciousness of the transcendent majesty and holiness of God.” John Murray

Fearing Yahweh involves both a growing understanding of God’s Word but also a response of worship and adoration. The quotes below are helpful in reflecting on the importance of fearing the LORD and also on understanding what it means.

Key Quotes on the “fear of the LORD”

“Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe! But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.” – C.S. Lewis, from The Chronicles of Narnia

“I take humility and fear of the LORD as appositional.” Dan Phillips

Awe is an emotion in which “dread, veneration, and wonder are variously mingled.” Bridges goes on to point out that our use of “awe” to describe silly things as awesome has had the effect of dumbing down the definition of “awe” and as a result our understanding of the fear of God. Tornados are awesome, not ice cream sundaes.

“The fear of God in which godliness consists is the fear which constrains [compels or powerfully produces] adoration and love. It is the fear which consists in awe, reverence, honor, and worship, and all of these on the highest level of exercise. Is the reflex in our consciousness of the transcendent majesty and holiness of God.” John Murray

“Filial fear is “that indefinable mixture of reverence, fear, pleasure, joy and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what he has done for us.” Sinclair Ferguson.

“twas grace that taught my heart to fear. And grace my fears relieved.” John Newton.

“The disconcerting oscillations between the psychological poles, ‘fear the LORD’ and ‘love the LORD,’ suggests that they are interchangeable for expressing the true religious experience.” Bruce Waltke

“The fear of God is the animating and invigorating principle of a godly life. It is the wellspring of all godly desires and aspirations. Do you desire to be a godly person? Then you must understand and grow in the fear of God.” Jerry Bridges

Fear of the Lord is “that filial relationship which, in the most positive of senses, puts us securely in our place, and God in His (a theme thankfully developed in, e.g., Ps 34:7 ff).” Derek Kidner

“The fear of the LORD”: Key sources for studying the concept

 
Edwards, Jonathan. The Religious Affections. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1746.
Murray, John. “Chapter X: The Fear of God.” In Principles of Conduct, 229–242. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957.
 
Phillips, Dan. “Chapter 3: The Foundation of Wisdom.” In God’s Wisdom in Proverbs, 65–106. The Woodlands, Texas: Kress Biblical Resources, 2011. Every student of Proverbs should own this book. I like it so much that I just bought two copies as gifts. See books on my desk.
 
Van Pelt, M.V., and W.C. Kaiser Jr. “‘Yr’’ / Fear.” In The New International Dictionary of the Old Testament, edited by William A. VanGemeren, 2:527–533. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997.
 
Waltke, Bruce K. “The Fear of the Lord: The Foundation for a Relationship With God.” In Alive to God: Studies in Spirituality Presented to James Houston, edited by J.I. Packer and Loren Wilkinson, 17–33. Downers Grove: IVP, 1992.

See also Proverbs Recommended Resources

“The fear of the LORD in Proverbs”

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Because they hated knowledge

and did not choose the fear of the LORD, (Proverbs 1:29, ESV)

then you will understand the fear of the LORD

and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:5, ESV)

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.

Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

and perverted speech I hate. (Proverbs 8:13 ESV)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,

and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10, ESV)

The fear of the LORD prolongs life,

but the years of the wicked will be short. (Proverbs 10:27, ESV)

In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence,

and his children will have a refuge. (Proverbs 14:26, ESV)

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,

that one may turn away from the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27, ESV)

Better is a little with the fear of the LORD

than great treasure and trouble with it. (Proverbs 15:16, ESV)

The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom,

and humility comes before honor. (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,

and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. (Proverbs 16:6, ESV)

The fear of the LORD leads to life,

and whoever has it rests satisfied;

he will not be visited by harm. (Proverbs 19:23, ESV)

The reward for humility and fear of the LORD

is riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4, ESV)

Let not your heart envy sinners,

but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. (Proverbs 23:17, ESV)

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates (Proverbs 31:30-31 ESV)

See also:

Deuteronomy 31:12-13 where fearing God is specifically linked to hearing the Word.