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Acts 9:26-31, Redefining "Fear of the Lord"

Key Verse

Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
— Acts 9:31

RCL Daily Devotion for Friday & February 8, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Text here, if relevant. Otherwise hide.

The phrase “fear of the Lord” has always bugged me. I think it has to do with our modern sensibilities and perhaps a bit of misunderstanding where the phrase came from and what it really means.

Both the Hebrew and the Greek of this phrase are not to be translated as “afraid.” When we think of someone being “afraid” of God, I imagine that it’s a lot like a little kid fearing his alcoholic father and running to hide before he strikes him. God’s not like that.

Instead the term “fear” denotes a something closer to “respect.” However there is a smidge of what we consider fear, too.

In today’s reading, we hear that the early Church had grown because of fear of the Lord.

How does your faith community respect God and teach God’s ways?

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Acts 9:26-31

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