From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham:
The Bible certainly does not contradict itself. There can be many different meanings to one word. In the case of the word “fear” it can mean “to be afraid, have a feeling of terror,” etc. But there is also a wonderful definition to this word and that is “to have reverence or respect” for something or someone. There are, of course, different kinds of fear. Not all fear is wrong. It is right for a child to fear a hot stove or a sharp knife, because those can harm the child. It is right for us also to fear sin and Satan, for they can bring devastation.
The Bible indeed does tell us to fear God. That doesn’t mean that we’re to be in terror of Him, shrinking from Him and even fleeing from Him—although we should fear His judgment—but it does mean we are to have a reverence and respect for Him, knowing that He is holy and all powerful.
This can be a wonderful word study using Scripture. When we hear preachers or others talk about things of God, it pleases the Lord when it drives us to His Word. He Himself will teach us the truth about all things.
Think of the fears that so easily grip us, even keep us enslaved. There is the fear of problems we face and what might happen to us. Jesus declared, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Christ has come to take away the source of our fears. Fears are real. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).