Reverence for God – What Does Reverence Mean?


In the Old Testament, “reverence” occurs as the translation of two Hebrew words: Yare’ (pronounced yaw-ray’), which carries the meaning of “fear.” This word is used to express the attitude toward God Himself. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him (Psalm 89:7). “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD, (Leviticus 19:30; 26:2). The thought being one of fear, awe and respect. The second word, shachah (pronounced shaw-khaw’), carries the meaning of “falling down” as in the prostration of the body. It is used to express the attitude and bearing toward another who is considered superior. “Then Bath-sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever” (1 Kings 1:31). Compare also 2 Samuel 9:6 and Esther 3:2,5). The thought with this word being honor, submission and obeisance.

In the New Testament “reverence” occurs as the translation of three Greek words, Deos, phobeo, and entrepo. Deos (pronounced de-os), which has the meaning of awe and Godly fear, is a feeling of profound awe and respect. Because of His majesty and holiness, God arouses a feeling of reverence in those who worship and serve Him. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28). The second word, phobeo (pronounced fob-eh’-o), carries the thought of being frightened or alarmed, by analogy to be in awe of or to have a deep and abiding respect. This word is used to illustrate the proper attitude of subjection that a wife should have toward her husband. “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). The third word, entrepo (pronounced en-trep’-o), sets forth the idea of a self evaluation of inferiority or superiority over someone else. In the consideration of reverence for God, the former always being the case. The mental imagery is of willingly setting the subject of consideration on a higher level while placing oneself beneath. “But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son” (Matthew 21:37). Reference also, (Mark 12:6; Luke 20:13). “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9).

Habakkuk 2:20
But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.

What Does Reverence Mean?

Reverence means a respectful, submissive attitude of mind resulting in affection and esteem for the person to which it is directed. Hence children reverence their parents, wives reverence their husbands, subjects reverence their sovereign, and all must reverence God. We reverence the name of God, (Matthew 6:9), the house of God,(1 Timothy 3:15), and the worship of God, (John 4:24). We reverence the attributes of God, (Malachi 3:6, Ezekiel 18:25, Isaiah 45:21-22, 1 John 4:8, Titus 1:2), the commands of God, (John 12:50), and the word of God, (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17). We should demonstrate our reverence in our actions. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings” (John 14:23-24).

Genuine reverence and self sacrificing love go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other and expect to live a pleasing life before God. A man may boast of reverence for God in his heart but unless he manifests his reverence by conduct and obedience he is as those who James said were dead, like the body without the spirit. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). Jesus said that those who show reverence to God by mouth only will never see the kingdom of Heaven. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 7:21). Godly fear and reverence alone are not enough. One must demonstrate one’s reverence by their actions. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). It is through our striving for obedience to God that we proclaim our reverence and love towards Him, (John 14:15), and before the world, (Matthew 5:16).

Did you like this post? Follow to get alerts to new posts.

15 Responses to “Reverence for God – What Does Reverence Mean?”

  1. Bubba Texas says:

    I think that this article was pretty informative because the writer didnt leave or vary from the word of God. many people say that they believe in God or that they fear God or reverence him but does your life manifest the deeds of rightoeusness. Many believe that his love covers it all but as this passage stated Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments its more than just beliveving because the devils believe to the piont of trembleing so they fear God but they are disobident and if you find yourself going contray to the word of God then you do not love him. How can a wife go out and cheat on her husband and expect to stay in his grace or favor? She can’t eventually he will leave her. So it is with Christ the minute you find yourself not keeping his commandment you are no longer under grace you are in sin and a back slider is filled with his own ways. I said that to say this that just because you confess the lord as your savior does not mean your on your way to heaven it is the first step but after that you have to be committed and dedicated to keep his laws his satues and his commandments becuase many will say Lord I have done many great works in your name and he will say I NEVER KNEW YOU. YOU SHALL kNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE, TO KNOW IS TO HAVE RELATIONSHIP WITH AND LOVE THROUGH OBEDIENCE AND GODLY FEAR.

    • ben says:

      I appreciate the word of God explained in its entirety. I have been seeking God but didn’t truly know the understanding of reverence. I believe that doing is necessary for at times I have deceived myself. I also believe that the beginning is close and that of the kingdom of heaven. I can’t wait for a sign anymore, I must act on the word of GOd.

  2. daniel says:

    we are saved by grace titus 3:7 psalm 45:2 exodus 33:19 nehemiah 9:31 i would like to hear ur views on whether u think Gods grace is conditional or indiscriminate psalm 6:2 psalm 86:15 proverbs 19:17 amos 5:15 genesis 43:29 proverbs 3:34 luke 2:40 john 1:14 romans 5:20 romans 16:20 2 coerinthians 12:9 ephesians 2:8 hebrews 4:16 and last but not least james 4:6 please tell me what God tells u after reading these scriptures God bless love daniel smile Jesus loves you :)

    • Tony says:

      Hey Daniel,

      Thanks a lot for posting all of those great verses!

      I myself doubt so much the amazing grace of Jesus, but these verses make it very clear to me how high, deep, and wide his love truly goes.


      God Bless

  3. Angela says:

    I learned a lot and a lot was brought back to my memory. I started this search because of Bible study at my church. One Sister stood up and said that we reverance God 24 hours a day. A brother counter responded and said that when we are out of the will of God we are not reverening Him. I agreed, because when we are out of the will of God we are in Sin. We must repent and get back on track. The young lady got upset and said that the Brother was wrong and not rightly dividing the word of truth. The sad thing was that the Pastor agreed with the sister. I am really questioning his knowledge of the word. Now I understand why the word says “Study to show thyself approved unto God”. That’s what sparked my research of reverence and you made some thing very clear with the WORD.

  4. Carol Kimbrell says:

    Thank you for helping me understand that fear in Exodus is not to be fearful but be Reverence. I think many people do not understand in this way. They have an vision of an angry God.

    Bless you,

  5. steven says:

    I was well aware of what reverence means but just did not know the theory behind it and im grateful for the help in preparing for ma sermon on sabbath we have our youths day and the theme is Youths On Bended Knees…however in divine worship we are looking on how Youths on Bended knees can be reverent…it feels so awesome to go online and you can actually feel at home,that others are there who believe in God and want to make it wright with him all the way and i just thank you for being ma company this day :)

  6. Danie Rodrigues says:

    I think we overlook the power of reverence. I think we loose it as soon as we start thinking we can do it all alone. We thnk of God as a crutch in our lives rather than the chief corner stone. I really appretiate how people are seeking what it means to be a reverent servant to Christs Love. We are all built in milion different variations of personalities, but we can all come to know what it means to humble thy self presence of God. He is omnipresent

  7. Guest says:

    I am glad to hear these words. I am a Muslim and what you are saying matches to great degree what we read in the Holy Quran. I find it sad that many Christians I have talked to say that they are going to enter the Kingdom only due to the mercy of God. Some say that actions are not so important and that the cemtral thing is the gift.

    If we have reverence for the Lord then this will impact all aspects of life, personal, work and international affairs.

  8. Steve says:

    Amen. I recently left my church of several years due to the gradual disappearance of reverence during the Sunday morning worship service. Eating, drinking, surfing the internet on iPhones, pastors singing broadway show tunes, secular Christmas carols. Everyone I talked to concerning this problem challenged me to show them where the Bible demands reverence in church. Or flippantly throw out the famous “I’m all things to all people” quote, as if Paul somehow approved of any sort of behavior any time anywhere. I’m amazed that the concept of reverence in church is something that people would actually want to debate, or have proved to them that it’s required of us by God. Where does such a flippant, contrarian attitude come from? Are we so self centered and indulgent that the idea of being reverent is a foreign concept? Do people not know what heaven will be like? If you are uncomfortable with the idea of reverence now, I don’t think you’re going to like heaven very much.

  9. Phil Munguia says:

    Rebellion leads to irreverence – Jeremiah 5:23-25

  10. Jane says:

    Thank you, brothers and sisters!

  11. Wanpis Nimrod Kii says:

    I am a Christian but I fill I don’t reverence God much.Now I learned how to reverence Him and the importance and the benefits of it.thanks very much.

  12. Brittany says:

    Hello Brothers and Sisters,
    I am so grateful for this community forum made up of individuals seeking for various reasons. Personally, I was reading the word and in Hebrews 12:28-29 reverence is mentioned in conjunction with awe. I fully believe that the Holy Spirit highlighted this for me purposefully ! My next step is to ask God to bring me revelation in the ways that I can reverence him on a daily basis. The transformational truth of God is what makes us light in such a dark world! I LOVE GOD AND I LONG TO SEE HIS LOVE SPREAD TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD.
    Reverence is something that may be lacking among the church , especially among the younger generations of the American church. I pray that Christian leaders would percieve these God realities . May we live in awe and conviction . All glory to a holy and majestic God. Happy thanksgiving .

    Love you all,

  13. Tony T says:

    We should keep to the word and allow our hearts and minds to be renewed.Thy word is to be treasured and held close in our heart.

Leave a Comment