Why Does the Bible Call the Fear of God “Clean”? — Psalm 19:9

God’s Word is the means by which God works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure, purifying you by his work of sanctification through faith in your Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the fear of God that is clean and endures forever.

We often think of “fear” in a negative sense—being afraid even to the point of terror or feeling high anxiety and worry, especially toward the unknown. Yet, we are called to fear God, which is right and good. Is there a difference between fear of God and fear of the unknown, and why does the Bible call the fear of God “clean” in Psalm 19:9?

…the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether. — Psalm 19:9

The psalmist writes that the fear of God is “clean” in Psalm 19:9 in the context of God’s righteous and perfect word—his commandments, rules, and laws. In other words, as God is pure and holy, so is his word. Fear of God means to revere, respect, and submit to his word because it is holy as God is holy.

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