I start with Jesus. I must. That is where wisdom starts.
The fear of the MASTER is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
This verse teaches that the fear of God is foundational to true wisdom; all other types of learning are worthless unless built upon a knowledge of the Master Jesus Himself. Many other passages talk about the fear of the Master (e.g., Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 14:27; 15:33).
Before we can understand how the fear of the Master leads to wisdom, we need to define what the Bible means by “fear” in this context.
Wisdom — Was it foretold of Jesus? Is it recognized in Jesus?
In the Bible, the word translated “fear” can mean several things. It can refer to the terror one feels in a frightening situation (Deuteronomy 2:25). It can mean “respect” in the way a servant fears his master and serves him faithfully (Joshua 24:14). Fear can also denote the reverence or awe a person feels in the presence of greatness (Isaiah 6:5). The fear of the Master Jesus is a combination of all of these.
Fear of the Master can be defined as “the continual awareness that our loving heavenly Father is watching and evaluating everything we think, say, and do” (Matthew 12:36; Psalm 139:2; Jeremiah 12:3). As Jesus told each of the seven churches in Revelation 1—2, “I know your works.” Nothing escapes His attention.
- Isaiah 11:2 — The Spirit of the Master will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Master.
- Proverbs 8:22–23 — “The Master possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.
- Isaiah 52:13 — Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.
- John 1:1 — In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- John 4:29 — “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the the Messiah, is it?”
- 1 Corinthians 1:24 — but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, the Messiah the power of God and the wisdom of God.
- 1 Corinthians 1:30 — But by His doing you are in the Messiah Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
- Colossians 2:2–3 — that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, the Messiah Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.