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The Fear of God: The Soul of Godliness (Murray)

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This material is taken from Murray's classic work on Biblical Ethics entitled Principles of Conduct. It is a wonderful introduction to a vital area that is largely ignored in our day. Although brief, as with all of Murray's writings, it is a very full and weighty piece of practical theology, that should end in doxology for all who read it with an open heart and a mind in subjection to Holy Scripture.


"Many of us owe more than we can say to the example and teaching of John Murray. He wrote nothing hurriedly and for the short term. These pages, as much as anything he prepared, take us to a most vital aspect of a true relationship with God.May they help another generation to be faithful servants of Christ!." - Iain Murray, Author of "The Life of John Murray"

"John Murray's booklet on the fear of God--a theme that desperately needs to be resurrected today--is the best short treatment of this subject anywhere in the English language. From his renowned opening sentence ('the fear of God is the soul of godliness'), to his emphasis on piety, and his careful exposition of the marks of the fear of God (a consciousness of the transcendent majesty and holiness of God, an all-pervasive sense of the presence of God, a dependence upon and responsibility to God, and a constant consciousness of relation to God), Murray's treatment is biblically balanced and nuanced. It confirms the need for obedience to God that is motivated by filial fear and underscores, as Murray says, that 'the eclipse of God, whether viewed as doctrine or as attitude, evidences the deterioration of faith in the living God.' Buy this booklet in bulk and give a copy to each of your friends. It can do them and the church immeasurable good." - Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids

"'Principles of Conduct' is Murray's masterpiece. It is as solid as Pike's Peak." James I. Packer

"Historically, and more importantly biblically, the fear of God has been regarded as essential to true devotion to God. But in recent years this foundational element of piety has been overlooked or even rejected as belonging to the era of the old covenant and not properly Christian (I actually read the latter sentiment in book by a popular North American author!) How welcome then to have John Murray's classic study of the fear of God available in this format. Read it and nourish your soul!" - Dr. Michael Haykin

"In his 'Principles of Conduct', Professor Murray's insights into Christian ethics are shaped by a careful integration of exegetical, biblical, systematic, and practical theology. The chapter on "The Fear of God," here published separately for the first time, is cut from the same cloth. Rightly seeing that the fear of the Lord is the first and most basic lesson in Christian ethics--the true beginning of godly wisdom and knowledge, Professor Murray conducts us into this inner sanctuary of the Christian life." - Dr. Robert Paul Martin

"'The fear of God is the soul of godliness.' These opening words of Professor Murray's chapter on this theme are like a bucket of ice water thrown into one's face in a day of cozy, comfortable, man-centered and casual Christianity. However they are true words. In this booklet Prof. Murray convincingly defines the fear of God and then demonstrates from the Old and New Testaments how central it is to any biblically framed experience of the Christian life. May God be pleased to use these pages to move many to rethink this central theme of the Word of God." - Pastor Albert N. Martin, Trinity Baptist Church, Montville, NJ

"The fear of God could be nothing less than the soul of rectitude. It is the apprehension of God's glory that constrains the fear of his name. It is that same glory that commands our totality commitment to him, totality trust and obedience. The fear of God is but the reflex in our consciousness of the transcendent perfection which alone could warrant and demand the totality of our commitment in love and devotion." - Professor John Murray

"Murray will be a reminder of what is ultimately important. He presents a needed distinction lacking in most presentations of the fear of God. A crippling, servile, always-looking-over-the-shoulder fear is unhealthy in the believer. We are God's sons and daughters; He loves us. Instead, we need a God-honoring, reverence of Him who produces the pursuit of, and the fruit of, godliness." - Dr. Mike Renihan

"With a wealth of biblical citations, Murray identifies the soul of godliness as a reverence for God as transcendently majestic and holy, constraining the forgiven sinner to adoration, love and obedience. Murray's writing on the subject is pervaded by the awe and filial devotion which he commends to us." - Dr. Sherman Isbell


Professor John Murray (1898-1975) was recognized in his own lifetime as one of the leading Reformed theologians in the English-speaking world. He spent most of his distinguished career teaching systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. A careful scholar, an eloquent lecturer, a moving preacher, and the author of many outstanding articles and books, Murray’s driving passions were to declare Christ’s Word, advance his cause, and bless his people.