Fearing God

Does the Bible tell us to be afraid of God?

The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “fear” in ways we do not use it today.

Consider this verse:

The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Psalm 147:11 (KJV)

If we use today’s definition of “fear,” “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat,” it makes God out to be some kind of psycho.

Do we really imagine God on His throne, looking down with anger at the sinners below Him, ready to smite them if they do the least bit of evil?

The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him...

Does God take pleasure when we experience the agonizing and stressful feeling of fear?

Is God pleased when we are afraid of Him?

No! Absolutely no! A thousand times no!

The NIV renders it this way:

the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Psalm 147:11 (NIV)

This is still a bad translation for our modern reader, and a horrible contradiction: fear and hope cannot exist at the same time in the same person.

If you are afraid, you are not hopeful! You are expecting the worst!

If you are hopeful, you are not afraid. You are expecting the best!

You cannot expect the worst and the best at the same time!

You cannot be afraid and hopeful at the same time.

Here are a few better renditions for those of us in modern times:

The LORD is pleased only with those who worship him and trust his love.

Psalm 147:11 (CEV)

but he takes pleasure in those who honor him, in those who trust in his constant love.

Psalm 147:11 (GNT)

The LORD takes delight in his faithful followers, and in those who wait for his loyal love.

Psalm147:11 (NET)

the Lord delights in those who revere and rely upon him —
who put their trust in his unfailing love.

Psalm 147:11 (The Remedy paraphrase)

It is the work of the enemy to mislead you about God’s character. Older translations of the Bible use language that has changed from its original meaning, which can cause confusion.

Those older versions are not bad, but they are no longer accurate nor useful for today’s modern reader.

I would encourage you to use Bible versions (especially a variety of them) that use modern language so you are not confused about God’s love for you.

Jesus was the full revelation of God. Jesus never gave anyone a reason to be afraid of God.

If you are afraid of God, it is because you have believed lies about God.

There is no good reason to be afraid of God!

Get to know the God of the Bible. You will only find peace and joy.

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