Fear of God vs. Love of God

Some say that children should only hear about the love of God because they already have a lot of fear they face every day. I strongly disagree with that statement. Should children today be taught only the love of God?

As a father with two young children your question has also got me thinking.

The scripture has a lot to say about raising children and sadly most if not all of it is discarded today even amongst Christians. I have this morning been reading Matthew Henry's commentary on 2 Timothy 3 and came across a quote which I thought relevant to your question. It is a comment on 2 Timothy 3:15 which says "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Matthew Henry comments "It is a great happiness to know the holy scriptures from our childhood; and children should be-times get the knowledge of the scriptures. The age of children is the learning age; and those who would get true learning must get it out of the scriptures."

  • Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

I think we can get a flavour from these passages of scripture just how important God takes the teaching of our children from the Bible. Your question was about the love and fear of God.

The love of God is vitally important. Children today more so than ever need to hear about true love. There is no more pure, perfect, wonderful love than the love of God.

However, consider the words Deuteronomy 4:10: " Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children."

  • Deuteronomy 31:12 "Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:"
  • 1 Peter 2:17 "Honour all men . Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."

Humanly speaking when we first have children it is our love that flows out to them. As they get a little older they then by necessity have to learn the other side of mom and dad. And that is that at times they have to be feared. If they are naughty, they fear dad because of the discipline he will bring. Yet they know that although discipline comes, it is all surrounded in love.

  • Psalm 34:7" The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
  • Psalm 85:9 "Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land."

Jonathan Hewett
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 19:29

Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.