Reading a verse or a few verses, or even a longer passage from God’s Word and declaring what it means, apart from its immediate context and the larger context of the whole Bible, is dangerous. When people say, “You can make the Bible say whatever you want it to say,” they have experienced the consequences of bad Biblical interpretation. The Bible is one book, and it is all God’s Word. God does not say one thing in one place and another thing in a different place. If there appear to be contradictions, the problem is in our understanding, not God’s Word. How then can you know what the Bible says? By taking it all together and examining to whom God is speaking and for what purpose. Solomon writes, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!” (Proverbs 1:7). John writes, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (I John 4:18). Wisdom requires understanding that comes only from the Spirit of God. Is God to be feared? Some try to change the meaning of the word and say that the word refers not to real “fear,” but to respect and honor and awe. But that’s not what it says! The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that God IS to be feared when he writes, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10:31). BUT … those who know God’s LOVE in CHRIST are His adopted children and Paul writes to those who truly believe, “You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear (where you began), but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “‘Abba,’ Father!” (Romans 8:15). Understanding God’s Word requires wisdom FROM God and only those who are born again by the Spirit receive it. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!