10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

You have probably heard this before but why is it true? Why is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom? Maybe if we pull it apart we can get some insight on this.

Fear, yirah in Hebrew, meaning fear, piety, reverence, and respect. The fear of God is tied to many spiritual blessing in the Bible. The fear of God keeps you from sinning, helps you to avoid the reproach of your enemies, is a source of confidence, is pure and endures forever, is a hatred of evil, adds length to your life, is a secure fortress and a refuge, is a fountain of life, helps us avoid evil, leads to life, is humility, is riches, honor, and life, is a key to the treasure of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, and keeps us from turning away from God.

Beginning, techilla in Hebrew, meaning the beginning or first. It is the first part, the first thing you do, the first act, the first fruits. It is the starting point, it leads to more, everything builds on it, you need it before you get more.

Matthew Henry describes this verse as follows. “The heart must be principled with the fear of God; that is the beginning of wisdom. A reverence of God’s majesty, and a dread of his wrath, are that fear of him which is the beginning, the first step towards true religion, whence all other instances of it take rise. This fear may, at first, have torment, but love will, by degrees, cast out the torment of it.”

The fear of the Lord, that reverent awe of all God is, is at the same time the foundation on which wisdom is built and the outward sign of exercising it. Fear produces wisdom and wisdom produces fear. They are intertwined and mutually dependent upon each other.