I do good and avoid evil because I love God, not because I fear God.

What is the accurate difference between "godliness" and "fearing of God"?

Can a man be godly and fearing of God in the same time?

Thus, what about Acts 10:2, 1 Timothy 3:16, Luke 1:50, John 9:31 in English translations and original Greek manuscripts.

Acts 10:2 (ASV):

  1. a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

Acts 10:2 (GNT):

  1. εὐσεβὴς καὶ φοβούμενος τὸν Θεὸν σὺν παντὶ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ, ποιῶν τε ἐλεημοσύνας πολλὰς τῷ λαῷ καὶ δεόμενος τοῦ Θεοῦ διὰ παντός,

Why words from the same root in original Greek text are translated to English in words that are not from the same root? I mean: devout, worshipper and godly as translations to Greek root σεβη. Look KJV and GNT in Acts 10:2; 1 Timothy 3:16; Luke 1:50 and John 9:31.

1 Answer 1


You have posed two different questions: the first about the relationship between on the one hand godliness, devotion to God, love of God and on the other hand fear of God; while the second question is about differences in English translation of one Greek word εὐσεβής.

As to the first question: the fear and godliness/love of God are not in opposition to each other. In fact, even in most loving relationships there is a presence of a fear, in the sense, that a lover is fearing to not be able to please the loved in a due way, selflessly and devotedly. This fear is present in Apostle Paul himself, when he says that he'd rather die than be deprived of his divinely given gift of acting charitably with a desire and freedom (1 Cor. 9:15). So, Paul is afraid of losing or lessening of the intensity of divine presence in him, and this is good and proper fear. It is not a fear sprouting from a wrongheaded idea about God that He is cruel and punish-lover, looking for any pretext to fulfil His insatiable desire to punish humans - this would be a wrong idea on all-merciful God who did not spare even His only Son for rescuing humanity. But we should all fear not to fail in receiving this infinite love of God towards us in a due and responsible manner. That's why Paul also says: "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

As to your second question about the English translation of the εὐσεβής, it is a general question about translation of terms in different languages. Often, the terms do not have absolute correspondents in other languages, and thus they can be translated alternatively, for one word can be pregnant with different meanings and connotations and any translation can highlight one meaning at expense of another.

  • the first half of your answer is very good, I prefer you to amend the second half to choose your answer as the best.
    – salah
    Apr 1, 2020 at 10:12
  • also I ask you to write about the accurate difference between godliness and fearing of God.
    – salah
    Apr 1, 2020 at 10:16

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