The Fear of God

A Forgotten Doctrine (2nd Edition)


By Arnold L. Frank

In The Fear of God, Dr. Frank sets out to revitalize a doctrine that in times past—from the Biblical era to the founding of America—has empowered and emboldened Christians to lead lives that distinguished them among their peers as godly and productive.

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Product Description

Early on, Frank includes helpful definitions of the fear of God found in Puritan writings. The first discovery of the fear of God is found to be in Heaven. There the fear was not a fear of dread or terror but of a worshipful demonstration that is of the very nature of the fear of God. The fear of God is expected from all beings made in God’s image.

The central portion of the book describes the fears that people have in their spiritual search. Those fears are variously identified as exclusively ungodly fear, as provisionally godly fear, and as perpetually godly fear. A misplaced fear is described and known as the fear of man. Most everyone has this fear to a greater or lesser degree.

The final chapter of the book is largely dedicated to Christian preachers. Practical guidance is given on the preaching of the fear of God. The appendix has a Puritan sermon that would be helpful in these matters.

Second edition has ADDED Study Questions and a new Scripture Index!

Letter from the PublisherGN_59_D1_sm

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
(Psalm 111:10)

When Editor Mark Kakkuri invited me to read the manuscript of Dr. Arnold Frank’s book for consideration to publish it, I immediately became excited about that prospect, as I had not heard a sermon on this subject and knew it was a neglected and vital doctrine. As the subtitle says, it is (today) the forgotten doctrine of the Church, but certainly was at the forefront of Puritan thinking. After reading it, I knew it had to be published for general consumption and careful study by the Christian community, those genuinely serious about the Word of God and worshiping our Lord.

Our first President, George Washington, pronounced: “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” The father of our country also said: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” And President Ronald Reagan affirmed: “How can we hope to retain our freedom through the generations if we fail to teach our young that our liberty springs from an abiding faith in our Creator?”

The reverence and fear of the Lord is a prerequisite to deep, abiding, and intimate faith. How can we have this faith, fear, and awe of God without understanding His character and essence and knowing that our Lord God Omnipotent is a self-conscious Trinitarian God? My friend, Dr. Ted Baehr (founder of Movieguide®), exclaimed: “Christianity is the only world religion that reveals this. Salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. When God became flesh as one of us, it is only as Jesus Christ. When God appears to Moses or anyone else, it is as Jesus Christ. He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. In that sense, we note that the Hebrew word for ‘Truth’ means, ‘to reveal.’ Jesus Christ alone reveals completely and totally who the Almighty Triune God is.”

Christian statesman Noah Webster, L.L.D., defines “fear” in part as:

FEAR, v.t.
1. . . . We have reason to fear the punishment of our sins.
“I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” Psalm 23:4b.
2. To reverence; to have a reverential awe; to venerate.
“This do, and live: for I fear God.” Genesis 42:17b.
FEAR, n.
6. In Scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and His laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun everything that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear.
“I will put My fear in their hearts.” Jeremiah 32:40b.
Slavish fear is the effect or consequence of guilt; it is the painful apprehension of merited punishment. Romans 8.
“The love of God casteth out fear.” 1 John 4:18b.
7. The worship of God.
“I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:11b.
8. The law and word of God.
“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” Psalm 19:9a.
9. Reverence; respect; due regard.

(Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, Facsimile 1828.
Chesapeake, VA: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1967, 1995).

Dr. Arnold Frank with excellence expounds on this doctrine, defining it in detail using numerous quotations from the Puritans to educate readers of this crucial doctrine of Holy Scriptures. In this second edition, he has added a Scripture Index and a “Study Questions (by chapter)” section.

Gerald Christian Nordskog, Publisher


The Fear of God: A Forgotten Doctrine is a labor of love: love for this precious doctrine of holy fear, love for those Puritans who lived it in a more compelling way than any who came before or after, love for God’s people today who walk in shadows because the fear of man is too much with us, and love for the Word rightly preached, which is able to bring the Church back to an attitude of holy fear. Above all, this book is the fruit of filial love for our Savior Jesus Christ, who alone is able to deliver us from all unholy fears and bring us to a place of trusting all His promises to us. If you would face unholy fears head-on, this book will make you strong for the battle. If you long for reformation in the way the Church worships, begin with the wise counsel you will find here.

Linda Wohleber, Christian wife, mother, Bible teacher

In this insightful treatise on the fear of God, Pastor Arnold Frank writes as a Puritan born out of time. Frank’s love and appreciation for the seventeenth-century English Puritans is evident throughout as he carefully sets forth the forgotten and largely misunderstood teaching of Biblical fear. I have personally used Frank’s work in my own study and preaching, and commend this book to you, the reader, for similar use. May the Lord be pleased to work in our day not only to give His church a proper understanding of doctrine, but also to give His church the life-transforming reality of deeply knowing and fearing Jehovah God.

Jerry O’Neill, President, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA

I recommend this book heartily to any Christian wanting to know more about the all-important subject of the fear of God. Dr. Frank unpacks this critical doctrine for Christian life in all its aspects, providing a useful analysis for layman and preacher alike. The reader will come away encouraged to pursue holiness out of love and respect for our Heavenly Father who is worthy of all obedience and love.

Steven Gandy, Christian husband and father, Surrey, England

The Biblical concept of the fear of God is too often marginalized or ignored by the Christian church and its preachers today. The result is shallow views of sin, easy belief, and antinomianism. With the aid of Puritan preachers, Arnold Frank sounds a clarion call for a Biblical and sure approach to the fear of God. He accomplishes this by distinguishing between ungodly fear and godly fear, the fear of man and the fear of God, spiritual awakening and saving faith, slavish fear and childlike fear, and the “almost Christian” and the genuine Christian. He also explains how childlike fear of God sanctifies affliction; relates to faith and love and worship; and operates experientially in conviction of sin, salvation, and obedience. Frank concludes this much-needed book by providing practical guidelines on how to promote the fear of God through preaching.

Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

What a blessing The Fear of God has been in my life. I have never heard or read anything like it before. As my heart soaked it all in, the Lord convicted me, and most importantly instilled fear in me through a proper, Biblical understanding. The nourishment I received through the sound teaching and doctrine presented in this book is priceless. This is a valuable exposition on God’s Word that is severely lacking in contemporary teaching. It increased my love for God and His Word, under His terms! I want everyone I know to read this book. Praise the Lord!

Andrew Buczarski, Contributor to the “Study Questions” in this Second Edition, North Carolina

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Weight12.8 oz
Dimensions6 × 9 × .5 in
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Paperback (226 pages), eBook (epub), eBook (pdf)

Arnold Frank, a man who feared the Lord and delighted in His commandments, passed away Sunday evening, July 12, 2015, at Wedgewood Estates Manor House. He was 84.

He was born March 18, 1931, in Conewango, NY, the son of Fred C. and Geneva R. Frank.

In April 1951 he married his beloved wife Jean who survives. He is also survived by three daughters and sons-in-law, Christine and Jon Burton of Mansfield, Darlene and Terry Russell of Rawlings, Maryland, and Martha and William Bushong of Madison, Wisconsin; nine grandchildren, Andrew (Bethel) Burton of Mansfield, Matthew Burton of El Paso, Texas, Elizabeth Burton of Mansfield, Emily (Gareth) Hughes of Fuquay-varina, North Carolina, Bethany (Jeremy) Wilson of Cumberland, Maryland, Thomas (Anna) Russell of Washington D.C, Grace Bushong, Isaac Bushong, and Gloria Bushong, all of Madison, Wisconsin; and five great-grandchildren, Calvin, Owen and Jane Hughes, Abigail Burton and Jesse Arnold Wilson. Also surviving are two sisters, Phyllis Frank of Jamestown, New York, and Dorothy Radd of River Falls, Wisconsin.

Dr. Frank graduated from Gordon College and Gordon Divinity School in Boston and Wenham, Massachusetts, and served as pastor at First United Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Mt. Lebanon United Presbyterian Church, Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and South Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church, Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. He earned his doctorate from Westminster Theological Seminary, Escondido, California, in 2003. As part of his doctorate project, he authored the book, The Fear of God: A Forgotten Doctrine.

Arnold was a humble man who loved and trusted in Christ, his Savior and Lord, and practiced what he preached. Many were called into Christ’s Kingdom and encouraged in their walks with Christ through the gifts God gave him to preach and teach. His life was a witness to the truths of God’s Word, and he looked forward to the day when he would see Christ fully and sing His praises.

He and his wife Jean enjoyed visiting with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as traveling, having made three trips to Europe, including a Reformation tour.

Dr. Frank’s book was the first we released in 2007, our inaugural year of publishing. We published an expanded second edition in 2008, with four printings of The Fear of God: A Forgotten Doctrine. In my “Letter From the Publisher” I related: “I knew it had to be published for general consumption and careful study by the Christian community, those genuinely serious about the Word of God and worshiping our Lord…. Dr. Arnold Frank with excellence expounds on this doctrine, defining it in great detail using numerous quotations from the Puritans to educate readers of this crucial doctrine of Holy Scriptures.” My wife, Gail, and I regret the only time we had an opportunity of meeting the Franks personally was when they were traveling through California and stopped by our publishing office—but we were out of town. Dr. Frank was always very gracious, and his book will have everlasting fruit on earth. He certainly exemplified Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus.”

Gerald Christian Nordskog, Ventura, CA

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10 reviews for The Fear of God

  1. John O. Anderson

    The Fear of God by Dr. Arnold Frank is one of the most timely books to be published in recent years. I highly recommend it. Dr. Frank wonderfully defines and discusses this misunderstood and often ignored doctrine. We discover for instance that it is in Heaven where we first find the fear of God where it is expressed in “worshipful demonstration,” not as dread or terror as often mischaracterized; and the fear of God is expected from all those made in the image of God. Plus so much more.

    One Christian friend, who doesn’t often read books, termed The Fear of God as challenging reading, but he said he became so engrossed by the important things he learned, that reading the book became one of the most rewarding experiences of his Christian life and he vigorously encourages other Christians to read it as well. I join my friend’s recommendation, adding that pastors consider making it a pulpit and congregational study.

    John O. Anderson, Minister and author, Klamath Falls, OR

  2. Vaughn Ohlman

    The Fear of God is just the kind of book on doctrine that I like: a thorough and well organized treatment of a subject. Most modern books tend to take a verse, or an idea, and then launch themselves into spasms of prose, wandering through page after page without hardly a glance back at the Scriptures. Mr. Frank’s book gets going with the Scriptures on page one and never looks back.

    The book is very well organized, showing several aspects of the fear of the LORD and several other types of fear. As long as one doesn’t take the various divisions as being necessarily doctrine in themselves, these are very helpful in understanding the subject. He speaks of that fear that brings us to Christ, and that fear which we bring away from our encounter with Him. He speaks of the fears that keep us from Christ, and the fear that brings us to worship Him more and aright.

    The conclusion of the book is one of the best sections, bringing us to exactly what must be taught (he says “preached,” but as a father I tend to “teach’ not “preach”) on the subject. And he, very appropriately, focuses on the Law of God…how the fear of God must, inevitably, if it is real, lead to an understanding of and obedience to the law of God.

    If I have a cavil about the book it would be that the “Summary” sections for each chapter were not as helpful as they could be. I heard a famous preacher once describe good preaching as saying what you were going to say, saying it, and saying what you’ve said. I find the “saying what you’ve said” bit a bit weak.

    Vaughn Ohlman, Author of What are you Doing? A Conversation about Dating and Courtship

  3. Pastor Tory Lindland

    Thank you very much for the book, The Fear Of God. I have been reading it with my Bible at my side. He uses the WORD to support his convictions and does a terrific job in that way! There is real depth in this work! A much needed focus-especially in our day!

    Pastor Tory Lindland, Calvary Community, Williams Bay, Wisconsin

  4. Victor

    Greetings, Brother Jerry, I want you to know that the books you gave me are greatly appreciated and they are right down my alley (Died He For Me, and Fear of God). I am studying the Word of God with Calvary Chapel Bible College and am an active member here at the prison chapel, and a leader on our yard ministry. You were so right to say, “Forget religion and get a relationship with Jesus Christ.” That is so true. This is who I am today, a follower of the Lord. I even shared a message on The Fear of God after reading Dr. Frank’s book, and we were all blessed….. God bless you.

    A brother in Christ, Victor, San Luis Obispo, CA

  5. Timothy L

    I’ve never heard of the author or publisher, but this book is a tremendous treatment of the fear of God. The book sets out to revitalize a doctrine that in times past–from the biblical era to the founding of America–both empowered and emboldened Christians to lead lives that distinguished them among their peers as godly, meaningful and productive.

  6. Jerry O’Neill

    In this insightful treatise on the fear of God, Pastor Arnold Frank writes as a Puritan born out of time. Frank’s love and appreciation for the seventeenth-century English Puritans is evident throughout as he carefully sets forth the forgotten and largely misunderstood teaching of Biblical fear. I have personally used Frank’s work in my own study and preaching, and commend this book to you, the reader, for similar use. May the Lord be pleased to work in our day not only to give His church a proper understanding of doctrine, but also to give His church the life-transforming reality of deeply knowing and fearing Jehovah God.

    Jerry O’Neill, President, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA

  7. Dr. Carl W. Bogue

    The great Turretin profoundly declared that “to distinguish well is to teach well.” Dr. Frank, in this much needed work, distinguishes himself as teaching well and exemplifying Turretin’s description. While dealing with all the various Biblical nuances and types of fear as well as the popular and sinful discomfort with this theme, the author anchors his thesis and his passion to what he calls a “Perpetually Godly Fear” in Chapter 5. This is “a new kind of fear” which is a result of “the Spirit of adoption to fear” and which is “a promised consequence of those who are included in the Covenant of Grace” (Jer. 32:38-40). This glorious theme is relentlessly hammered home in all of its multifaceted images until the reader is both exhausted and refreshed at the images of God’s awesomeness and grace being worked out in the life of God’s elect.

    The thesis is introduced with a practical observation that the fear of God is so missing in our day as to be a forgotten doctrine. This need is contrasted to the fact that the fear of God is “a major theme” in both the Old and New Testaments. Chapter 1 documents the fear of God as set forth in Scripture, followed by a sampling of the Puritan divines’ comments on that fear that “is a salvation grace.” A chapter follows which reveals a “natural” fear of God “which flows from the light of nature,” with Old Testament examples of such.

    Chapter 3 is a sober yet important foundation for the lifting up of godly fear. The author treats both the “ungodly fear of the ungodly” as well as the “ungodly fear of the ‘Almost Christian.’” Other fears are mentioned, including the “ungodly fear of the godly.” These and various other inappropriate fears are set forth with appropriate means of helping those today who are troubled with such. The following chapter speaks of a “provisionally godly fear” of members of the visible Covenant, a “Spirit of bondage . . . to fear” which goes “tragically downward” and is not saving. The other is also a “Spirit of bondage . . . to fear” but which in the elect is “triumphantly upward.” The fear of God in the elect results in their fleeing to Christ.

    As mentioned above, the chapter on Perpetually Godly Fear is at the heart of the “new kind of fear for a new kind of man,” namely, a fear that is God-given. “. . . I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me” (Jer. 32:40). Calvin’s comment on Psalm 130:4 is thus: “No one will ever reverence God but him who trusts that God is propitious to him.” Thus “if the fear of God is the necessary fruit of forgiveness” the necessary fruit of the fear of God is loving obedience to God’s law in opposition to antinomianism (Deut. 5:29). With a pastor’s heart and one who has his doctrine straight the author summarizes Chapter 5: “The fear of God will never admit to the terror of God’s wrath, yet true God-fearers will solemnly respect the chastening hand of God who will not tolerate sin in His children.”

    The next two chapters introduce “Problematic Fear” and “Afflicting Fear.” The former is a “servile fear” in which the person fears man more than God. It is commonly seen in the words, “What will people think?” or “What will people say?” The author applies Biblical therapy with examples of Daniel and later martyrs yielding the clear conclusion that servile fear needs to be supplanted with the fear of God. The other fear diagnosed, “Afflicting Fear,” is “in the realm of the internal, where doubts are spawned and trouble seizes the heart.” The therapy here “focuses primarily on the strategy for overcoming the Devil’s lies about the believers true security.” Citing Romans 8:15, we are reminded that having received forgiveness of sin, they cannot experience “the spirit of bondage again to fear.” Citing 2 Sam. 23:5; Heb. 8:10-12; and Jer. 32:31-34, Dr. Frank concludes: “There is no place in the eternal covenant of grace for experiences belonging only to sinners still under the dominion of sin.” The Father has “obligated Himself in the Covenant of Grace, from which He will never depart.”

    The final two chapters touch upon two important areas of weakness in the modern church, weaknesses in worship and preaching, which are very much connected to the fear of God. Worship without the fear of God is not possible. The 150 Psalms are appropriate for the worship of God. “The Psalms are redolent with references to the filial kind of fear.” The author references Luke 12:5 and Jesus’ strong warning about whom they should fear. “Jesus is here addressing his ‘friends.’ At the very least , the folksy familiarity, so typical today in many places, seems to be ruled out as having any place in His worship.” The spiritual grace of a godly fear of God will be very evident in the worship of God.

    Preaching clearly receives the author’s attention. This work grew out of research over many years. The author spoke to many pastors about sermons they had preached on the fear of God or knowledge they had of such preaching. The research documented an alarming situation in the modern church – a famine of preaching on the fear of God. A dearth of such belies the preaching of the whole counsel of God. Furthermore, if the thesis of this book is correct, one of the great means of grace for the salvation of sinners is absent from the arsenal of sermons in modern preaching. “‘God loves you’ cannot arouse a sinner to the fear of God.” The fear of God is part of the Covenant of Grace (Jer. 32:38-41). In a lost and dying world, evangelism without a clear word and understanding of the fear of God is ill-suited to plead with men to call upon the name of the Lord.

    One final note about this work. In addition to many Scripture references to document his thesis, Dr. Frank has provided us with a running commentary from Puritan authors reflecting the importance of the topic and echoing the thesis of the author. While reflecting the author’s love of the Puritans, this selectivity is also an indictment of most post-Puritan writing which marginalizes the doctrine of the fear of God. I praise God for this excellent challenge to begin correcting this dangerous lack of preaching and living the fear of God in the church of today.

    Dr. Carl W. Bogue, Pastor Emeritus, Faith PCA, Akron, Ohio (Scottsdale, AZ—Retired)

  8. Anonymous

    I received a book this week in an inauspicious brown envelope that I actually almost threw out by mistake. Inside was a book that knocked me into my chair and kept me there for considerable time… I want to say a word about the author. Arnold L. Frank is one of the gray heads before which we should rise up in respect and to whom we should listen. Why? He is found in biblical wisdom. He is a retired teaching elder in the PCA, married for 56 years and continues his speaking and teaching schedule even in retirement. His book is filled with biblical wisdom, and it contains a call that needs to be heeded by young evangelicals who have grown up, as I did, in a religious atmosphere of casual treatment of the Lord, and a constant desecrating of holy things in the name of relevance. When I write on this site about churches that feature Michael Jackson Thriller dances or Elvis impersonators, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

  9. Anonymous

    I fully intend, the Lord willing, to promote this book through the Crosstalk program, because it explains the root cause of the foolishness we see in churches today. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Not the right kind of fear. (His book explains in detail the various kinds of fear, both the correct fear and the incorrect fear of the Lord.) If you want to cut through a thousand sociological explanations for the train wreck of modern evangelicalism, you can get right to the heart of it all with this book.

  10. Ingrid Schlueter

    I want to publicly thank Pastor Arnold Frank for his work. It is refreshing to hear such a clear voice of biblical sanity in the midst of doctrinal anarchy today. The opening line of the press release says it all: “For those willing to listen to a voice echoing from the ancient past…” I’m listening, Pastor, I’m listening…

    I strongly recommend this book. Spread the word.

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