The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom

In Psalm 111, the prophet giveth thanks to the Lord for His merciful works toward His Church. He also declareth wherein true wisdom and right knowledge consistith.

Psalm 111
1 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart in the assembly and Congregation of the just.
2 The works of the Lord are great, and ought to be sought out of all them that love them.
3 His work is beautiful and glorious, and his righteousness endureth forever.
4 He hath made his wonderful works to be had in remembrance: the Lord is merciful and full of compassion.
5 He hath given a portion unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
6 He hath shewed to his people the power of his works in giving unto them the heritage of the heathen.
7 The works of his hands are truth and judgment: all his statutes are true.
8 They are established forever and ever, and are done in truth and equity.
9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and fearful is his Name.
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord: all they that observe them, have good understanding: his praise endureth forever. – (Geneva Bible Psalm 111)

The prophet declares that he will praise God both privately and openly and from his heart that he has consecrated wholly and only to Him.

He professes that God’s works are sufficient cause wherefore we should praise Him, but chiefly His benefits towards His Church.

God has given to His Church all that was necessary for them and will do still more for His covenant’s sake.

As God promised to take the care of His Church; so in effect does He declare Himself just and true in His government of the same.

They only are wise that fear God, and none have understanding, but those that obey His Words which are His commandments.

19 thoughts on “The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom

  1. Thank you Mike for teaching us this year. It has been such a blessing. God bless you and your family in the coming year. My parents have been staying with me for the last few weeks while my Dad recoups from bypass on a leg artery and a bout of sepsis. I haven’t been able to study as much as I like but I am still enjoying your wonderful articles. Bless all my brothers and sisters in Christ in the coming year! Deb


  2. Only the Holy Spirit can take the fear of God, the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, and combine them all in the redemption of God. And if we delete any part of who God is we risk the spiritual health of the church as well as the individual.

    “Let him that glories glory in this, that he knows and understands Me.”

    He has condescended and revealed Himself to me through no intellect of my own. Praise His Holy Name!


  3. Jersey,

    That is man-focused reasoning. Godly fear ALWAYS brings wisdom. Knowledge is not the same thing as wisdom. Fear of God, reverential fear, is the epitome of wisdom. It is as we fear Him and obey Him that we begin to know Him.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  4. “Godly fear ALWAYS brings wisdom”

    Why is Christian wisdom founded on fear? Is it because if no one is convinced of (and thus fears) the prospect of eternal damnation no one will take seriously God’s “statutes”?

    I agree that it is Fear and not Love that really moves things in life, but I don’t think that has anything to do with wisdom.


  5. petersonion,

    I did not say fear is the beginning of wisdom and neither did the Bible. What is said is that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That means that if we walk through this life without reverential fear of God then we are fools not wise.

    Also, your comment is based entirely in your own reasoning not what the Bible says. This blog and all of what I write and teach is based in God’s truth, not man’s.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  6. Fearing God is the ultimate wisdom. Even Jesus said we shouldn’t fear him who can destroy the body, but Him who has power over the soul. It seems as if some are defining wisdom as making right choices in this life and that may be correct on some level, but fearing the Creator (as well as loving, etc.) IS wisdom. Saying that wisdom overcomes fear is humanism. It is God’s Spirit that helps us overcome the fear of things in this world. (God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear). But not fearing God is foolish and unBiblical.

    Like walking by a biker bar and going up to a large biker and calling him a jerk Unwise.

    Walking quietly past it on the other side of the street. Wisdom.


  7. Mr. Ratliff,

    So if fear of God is the Ultimate wisdom, where does love come in? How are we supposed to feel towards Him. Sure it is smart to avoid a lion or a biker, but I don’t expect to receive love and mercy from them either. So then who do I go to for love? Is the basic note of my being supposed to be like Kierkegaarg’s “Fear and Trembling”? Vibrating more in terror than in love? That is pretty horrifying, if you ask me.

    But apparently, “[your] blog and all of what [you] write and teach is based in God’s truth, not man’s”.

    This is an awfully convenient thing to say, isn’t it? It’s always there at hand, ready to diffuse any sticky disagreement. I am afraid as long as things are expressed in language (an unfixed, shifting tool that clouds as often as it explicates) they are subject to Human Reasoning. Language IS human reasoning. The Bible is written in language.

    So how can you know that what you say is true? Maybe God appeared to you, but that doesn’t help anyone else, since the wisdom can never be communicated.

    I welcome God to appear to me, I want nothing more. But until that day I have no alternative but to analyze everything communicated to me via pen or tongue according to my Human Reasoning. Would it not be foolish to accept things that don’t make sense to you, like standing still for a biker so he can run you down, because he asked you to?

    Please tell me, how am I wrong in this?


  8. petersonion,

    What you lack is faith. Now, that is not your fault because faith that believes God is a gift from Him. Please read this passage:

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)

    Are you asking me to show you the way to this faith? If so then follow this link.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  9. John, “the disciple who Jesus loved”, and the one who wrote about the love of God, when he saw the Risen Christ fell at His feet as though dead. Many people love their fathers dearly while also having a fear of them as well. The New Testament is full of exhortations concerning fear.

    II Cor.7:1 – ..perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
    Eph.5:21 – Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
    Phil.2:12 -…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
    Heb.4:1 – Let us therefore fear…
    Heb.12:28 – …let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptable with reverence and Godly fear.
    I Pet.1:17 – …pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.
    I Pet.2:17 – Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

    These are New Testament verses. The biker analogy only goes so far. And may I say Mr. Petersonion, Christ has appeared unto all men, only believe. Without faith it is impossible to please God. I will pray for you in sincerity.



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