There is confusion among some Christians about just what is the Fear of the Lord. Without understanding what it is, it can seem contradictory to God’s grace and our love relationship with Him. So to confirm what I believe and have often heard taught, I researched and found that Jesus speaks of the Fear of the Lord only in one place, Luke 12:5. I checked out a source of commentary that I really trust, Andrew Wommack. The following comes from his online commentary (www.awmi.net/bible) [Emphasis is mine]:
“But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Luke 12:5
Andrew Wommack Bible Commentary – Note on Luke 12:5:
2Ti 1:7 says, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
1Jo 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
These scriptures may look like they are contradictions to Jesus’ statement here; however, they are not.
There are two kinds of fear. The American Heritage Dictionary defines fear as 1) “a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger…a feeling of disquiet or apprehension…a reason for dread or apprehension.” It also defines fear as 2) “extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.”
It is this reverence (Ps 89:7) or awe (Ps 33:8) that God’s Word teaches we are supposed to have toward God (De 10:12, 20; Jos 4:24, 24:14; 1Sa 12:14, 24; 2Ki 17:36; Ps 2:11, 19:9, 22:23, 25:12, 31:19, 34:7, 9; 2Co 7:1; Eph 5:21; and Heb 5:7). Heb 12:28 says that there is a godly fear with which we are supposed to serve God and thereby implies that there is an ungodly fear that is not acceptable in serving God.
Satan has always used this ungodly dread or terror to torment godly people (Heb 2:14-15 with 1Jo 4:18). Those who have been born again should have no dread or terror of God unless they are planning to renounce their faith in Jesus as their Savior. Born-again people have a covenant that guarantees them acceptance with God (Eph 1:6) as long as they hold fast to their profession of faith in the atoning blood of their Savior, Jesus Christ (Heb 4:14 and 10:23).
This is not the case with those who do not accept salvation through Jesus. They have every reason to be terrified. There are many examples of where the Bible uses the word “fear” or “terror” in reference to those who reject God (Ge 35:5; Ps 76:7, 90:11; Isa 2:10, 19, 21; Jer 5:22, 10:7; Mt 10:28; and Heb 10:28-31).
The fear of the Lord is a qualification for leadership (Ex 18:21 and 2Sa 23:3). God commands us to fear Him (De 10:12, 20; Ps 33:8; and Ec 12:13). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Pr 1:7) and is wisdom (Job 28:28). The fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Pr 8:13). Seeking the Lord (Ps 34:9-10) and honoring the Lord (Mal 1:6) are used interchangeably with fearing the Lord. The fear of the Lord produces riches, honor, and life (Pr 22:4). Our lives can be lengthened through fearing the Lord (De 6:2). The fear of the Lord is also something that can be taught (De 4:10 and Ps 34:11).
In an unbeliever, the fear of the Lord is a great deterrent from sin (Ex 20:20; De 5:29, 6:2; and Pr 16:6). However, with those of us who receive the grace of God, it is His goodness that causes us to fear Him (Jos 24:2-14; 1Sa 12:24; Ps 130:4, 147:11; Jer 33:9; and Ho 3:5) and depart from sin (Tit 2:11-12).