Proverbs 1:7 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What is “the motto,” or overarching principle, presented in the Book of Proverbs? See Proverbs 1:7 (printed below)

The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

As we approach “the School of Solomon,” we find this motto prominently inscribed above the entryway: THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE. That is to say, the fear of the Lord is the starting point as well as the chief part of true knowledge.

2. Why should we heed the guiding principle of Proverbs? Note Proverbs 14:27 (printed below)

The fear of Jehovah is a fountain of life, causing a man to turn from the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27)

According to Proverbs 14:27, “The fear of Jehovah is a fountain of life, causing a man to turn from the snares of death.” Rightly understood, this guiding principle, namely, to have our lives governed by a holy fear of the Lord, will lead us in the way of life, and keep us from the way of death. May the Lord cause us to appreciate the fact that this is truly a motto by which to live.

3. Why is holy and reverent fear an appropriate response to the Person of God? See Jeremiah 10:6-7a (printed below)

There is no one like you, O Jehovah; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. (7) Who should not fear you, O King of the nations? Indeed, it is your due. (Jeremiah 10:6-7a)

According to Jeremiah 10:6-7a, it is appropriate and proper to respond to the Person of God with holy, reverential fear, because the Lord is worthy of such fear and to Him it rightfully belongs. God is not “the Man Upstairs,” as some people refer to Him. He is “The Holy One of Israel,” the One who is exalted far above His creation and who is set apart in infinite moral purity. Yet He graciously condescends to enter into an intimate covenantal relationship with those who receive His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

4. In what ways are holy and reverential fear of the Lord intended for our good? See Proverbs 16:6b, Hebrews 11:7 and Jeremiah 32:39-40 (printed below)

…by the fear of Jehovah men turn away from evil. (Proverbs 16:6b)

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark by which his family was saved. By faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. (40) I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. (Jeremiah 32:39-40)

According to Proverbs 16:6b, a holy fear of the Lord is used by Him to turn us away from evil. Hebrews 11:7 informs us that a holy fear of the Lord is used by Him to move us and motivate us to obedience. From Jeremiah 32:39-40 we learn that a holy fear of the Lord is used by Him to bind us to Christ.

5. What does 1 Peter 1:17 and 1 John 4:18 (printed below) teach us about the relationship between fearing the Lord and loving the Lord as our heavenly Father?

And if you call upon the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, live your remaining time on earth in fear (1 Peter 1:17)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear relates to punishment. The man who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

According to 1 Peter 1:17, our relationship with God as our loving heavenly Father must not be abused; rather it must be complemented with a reverential fear, knowing that God our Father is also the Righteous Judge of all the earth. When our love for God is perfect (as it will be in the eternal kingdom of heaven), there will no longer be the need for reverential fear as a motivation to obedience and a deterrent to sin: perfect love will willingly render perfect, wholehearted obedience (1 John 4:18).