However, Jesus Christ instructed his disciples what to do in the case of certain serious sins. As the first step, he counseled: “If your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault [literally, “reprove him”] between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” Jesus then proceeds to outline the steps to take if this first effort fails.—Mt 18:15-17; see also Ga 6:1.
A Faultless Ministry. The apostle Paul, highly grateful and appreciative of the glorious treasure of the ministry, exercised care to glorify this ministry by watching closely every feature of his life and conduct. He said in his letter to the congregation at Corinth: “In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with.” (2Co 6:3) Men who were challenging Paul’s apostleship had associated with the congregation there and had indulged in much faultfinding and slander against Paul in order to belittle him and to destroy his apostolic authority over the congregation. Realizing this and knowing also the danger of faultfinding and trouble where money matters are concerned, he assured the congregation that he was sending Titus and another trustworthy brother appointed by the congregations to handle the contributions. “Thus,” wrote Paul, “we are avoiding having any man find fault with us in connection with this liberal contribution to be administered by us.”—2Co 8:16-21.
As commonly used, fear means an expectation of harm or pain, generally a painful emotion characterized by alarm, dread, disquiet. However, fear may also mean a calm recognition or consideration of whatever may injure or damage, such recognition causing one to exercise reasoned caution and intelligent foresight.
What is the fear of Jehovah that we should have?
The Bible shows that there is a proper fear and an improper fear. Thus, fear may be wholesome and cause the individual to proceed with due caution in the face of danger, thereby averting disaster, or it may be morbid, destroying hope and weakening a person’s nervous stamina, even to the point of bringing about death. The fear of God is healthful; it is an awe and a profound reverence for the Creator and a wholesome dread of displeasing him. This fear of incurring his displeasure is a result of appreciation of his loving-kindness and goodness together with the realization that he is the Supreme Judge and the Almighty, who has the power to inflict punishment or death upon those who disobey him.—See AWE; DREAD.
The proper fear of Jehovah God is essential to those who would serve him. This profound fear of Jehovah is “the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 111:10), “the start of wisdom.” (Pr 9:10) It is not a morbid fear that tears down; “the fear of Jehovah is pure.” (Ps 19:9) This fear is defined thus at Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad.” It will prevent one from following a bad course, for “in the fear of Jehovah one turns away from bad.”—Pr 16:6.
Adam and Eve failed to exercise a proper, healthful fear of God and therefore they disobeyed him. This produced in them a painful fear or terror, which caused them to hide from God’s presence. Adam said: “Your voice I heard in the garden, but I was afraid.” (Ge 3:10) Adam’s son Cain felt a similar fear after murdering his brother Abel, and this fear may have been a contributing factor in his deciding to build a city.—Ge 4:13-17.
At Hebrews 12:28 Christians are instructed to have godly fear: “Let us continue to have undeserved kindness, through which we may acceptably render God sacred service with godly fear and awe.” An angel in midheaven, having everlasting good news to declare, opened his declaration with the words: “Fear God and give him glory.” (Re 14:6, 7) Jesus contrasted the wholesome fear of God with fear of man, saying, as recorded at Matthew 10:28: “Do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” At Revelation 2:10 he also counsels Christians: “Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer.” Real love for Jehovah expels the cowardly fear of man that leads to compromise.
Proper fear does, however, include due respect for secular authority, because the Christian knows that just punishment from the authority for a crime would be an indirect expression of God’s anger.—Ro 13:3-7.
Jesus predicted that at “the conclusion of the system of things” a climate of fear would cover the earth. He said that there would be “fearful sights” and that men would “become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” (Lu 21:11, 26) While people in general would be affected in this way, servants of God should follow the principle expressed at