The fear of God
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but what does it mean to 'have the fear of the Lord?' The word 'fear', in the context of the Bible, is used interchangeably.
Throughout the Bible, God reminds his people, several times, to fear (reverence) Him, hence Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." However, fearing the Lord does not mean to be afraid of him, it simply means to reverence and respect him. Psalm 89:7 is a good description of this: "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. God doesn't want his people to be afraid of him because He said in His word that 'he will never leave nor forsake his people.'
Pastor Dwayne Edwards of the Grace Chapel Assemblies in Summerfield, Clarendon explained that there are a number of meanings to the word fear. "For example, the terror one feels in a frightening situation is one way of understanding fear. Fear can also be looked at to mean respect in the way a servant fear his master. Joshua 24:14 says, "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood and in Egypt and serve ye the Lord."
Edwards told Family and Religion, "Believers are not to be scared of God and have no reason to be. He has promised that nothing can separate his people from his love. Fearing God means having great reverence for Him that it has a tremendous impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him."
According to Edwards, "The fear of the Lord also speaks to the continual awareness that our Heavenly Father is watching and evaluating everything that we do so, you're fearful of what you might do or say knowing that he is watching over us. The scripture tells us in St Matthew 13:36 that he is recording our lifestyle. "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. So being made aware of this, naturally there will be some amount of fear in us for the Lord."
"Wisdom comes from heaven and without fearing Him, we may not gain knowledge of earthly things, so when we fear God, it is a guarantee that we will gain wisdom. Knowing who God is and what he is capable of is when we will gain wisdom and in order to gain wisdom, one must have a personal relationship with him because that's how you will know him," he said.