Fear of God
Judaism and Christianity
Tanach or Old Testament
The fear of God denotes the right attitude towards God and his will; it is intended to induce people not to break God's commandments. The model of a godly person in the Tanakh is Job . Fear of God is not understood as fear in the sense of fright or fearful intimidation. It leads to the observance of God's commandments and is understood as the beginning of wisdom. In the Old Testament book of Kohelet (also called "Preacher" in German-speaking countries) it says: “Fear God and pay attention to his commandments! That alone is what every person needs ”( Koh 12,13 EU ). Solomon emphasizes in the Book of Proverbs :
"Fear of God is the beginning of knowledge, only fools despise wisdom and discipline."
In the New Testament the thought recedes to counteract the heresy that one could work or earn heaven ( Gal 6 : 7-8 EU ). Only the aged prophet Simeon ( Lk 2.25 EU ) and the purple trader Lydia ( Acts 16.14 EU ) are expressly referred to as "God-fearing". Otherwise, people tend to speak of the “godly”. What is meant are either those who strictly obey the Jewish commandments and customs ( Lk 1.50 EU ), or those who live in the diaspora in a loose connection with the synagogue but have not converted to Judaism and have not yet been circumcised , e.g. . B. in ( Acts 13,16 EU ) or a Greek Jewish inscription in Aprodisias.
In the Bible and tradition, the counterpart to fear of God is the fear of defamation, disadvantage, persecution and human, social, financial or physical harm in the case of an open confession of faith or God's commandments. The motto of the Christian rejection of the fear of man is the word of Peter : “One must obey God more than men.” ( Acts 5:29 EU ) In Christianity, martyrs are those people who exemplify the fear of God over the fear of man and sacrificed their lives for it. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church , fear of God is counted among the gifts of the Holy Spirit .
- cf. J. Reynolds, R. Tannebaum: Jews and Godfearers at Aphrodisias. Greek Inscriptions with Commentary . Cambridge Philological Society, Supplementary Volume 12. Cambridge 1987
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1830. In: www.vatican.va. Retrieved December 19, 2016 .
- Leonard Lewisohn: Article Takwa , in: Encyclopaedia of Islam , Second Edition, Brill, Leiden 2004, Supplement band (12), pp 781-785, by Brill Online .