I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Beautiful words, right?
More so, the whole passage this verse comes from is full of beautiful poetry. But what does “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” mean?
Is it as simple as it sounds? God thinks I’m wonderful and uh…I guess fearful at the same time. I get it, easy peasy.
Ha, close but no cigar.
The meaning behind this famous verse is beautifully simplistic and also oceans deep. Which could also be true for the entire Bible, which is why we love this extraordinary book so darn much, right? Keeps us on our toes.
The meaning behind Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” is honestly ridiculously revelatory and I have to say, my own sense of self-worth bumped up like, 3 notches after doing this study.
I hope it’ll do the same for you because it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, you my friend, are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Let’s dive in!
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Meaning
Have you ever looked in the mirror and told yourself that you are average, inadequate, or not enough? If so, then you’re not seeing yourself the way God sees you.
You are not seeing yourself as a result of God’s divine creation.
Listen to what God says about you:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
This verse is nestled inside of Psalm 139 which might just be one of my favorite psalms because it is full of meaning and comforting passages about how God is an ever-present presence in our lives.
God is constantly aware of our problems and needs.
However, the key verse we want to highlight is, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. This is probably not a new verse for you. Maybe you’ve heard it before at church, or at least seen it on Pinterest boards, Instagram posts, or perhaps even t-shirts.
But, what does I am fearfully and wonderfully made even mean?
In Psalm 139:14, the psalmist, David, is praising God because he is overwhelmed by the majesty of a God who could create him in such an intricate and unique way.
David is in complete awe of our amazing God.
However, to say, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” while praising God is kind of an odd thing to do, right?
So, let’s look a bit closer at what’s going on here.
The word “wonderfully” is the Hebrew word “pala”, which means to be separate, distinguished, or unique. Basically it means that God made you to be special.
No, I’m not trying to flatter you, it really means that!
There is no one else like you. You are the only you that God has ever created. God made you to be special, distinguished, and unique.
But this verse doesn’t end with you simply being wonderfully made, it says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The “wonderfully” part might be easier to understand without needing a deeper level of explanation.
But the fearfully part?! That’s a very interesting word for David to use isn’t it?
The word “fearfully” used in this passage of scripture is the Hebrew word “yare”, which is the same word the Bible uses when referring to have a “fear of the Lord”.
When the Bible speaks of “fearing the Lord”, it doesn’t mean we are to be terrified of God. We aren’t to be constantly walking on eggshells, quivering in fear before God. Instead, what “fear of the Lord” is referring to is we are to have a respect and reverence for God.
Here’s a few examples of how the fear of the Lord is used in the Bible in reference to respecting and revering God:
“One the third day Joseph said to them, ‘I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live.’”
Genesis 42:18 (NLT)
“And because the midwives feared God, He gave them families of their own.”
Exodus 1:21 (NLT)
In these verses the word “fear” isn’t used in reference to being absolutely terrified of God, but instead to have a deep respect and reverence for God. We follow God and obey God because we respect His ways and who He is.
We stand in awe of how great and mighty our God is and we come to Him in praise because He is worthy of our praise.
Praising God because God is worthy of our praise is exactly what David is doing in Psalm 139:14. David is coming to the Lord saying, “Lord, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”.
It may sound ever so slightly self-absorbed but it’s actually not at all. It’s like David is saying, “Lord, how great is your work, except your “work” is me! Therefore, how great am I?
However, I am only great because it is the greatness of God that makes me great. In the same way, I am only wonderful because God’s wonderfulness makes me wonderful.
You see, it was God that created your innermost being and it was God that knitted you together in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139 says:
“For you created my innermost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
So what David is saying is, “Lord, I praise you because of how amazing you made me!”. David is praising God, because of how amazing God made David to be.
Every single person is a masterpiece of God. Think about it, there’s seven billion people on the planet, but there is no one else with your finger print, or with your retina scan.
You are unique.
You are an original design.
Diamonds are expensive because they are rare, but you’re not rare. You’re the only one that exists. Or will ever exist!!
That makes you priceless.
You are a masterpiece. You are a priceless work of art. It is because God is wonderful, that we are wonderful.
Now let’s take it one step further, it is because we are to fear God that we are fearfully made.
Remember the word “fearfully” here is the Hebrew word “yare” which means to respect, to revere, to honor, to stand in awe of, and to be afraid of.
So, when God says you are fearfully made, what He means is when God made you, He made you full of respect, reverence, honor, and awe.
It is because God is worthy of respect, that we are respectfully made.
It is because God is worthy of reverence, that we are made in reverence.
It is because God is worthy of honor, that we are made in honor.
It is because we stand in awe of God, that we are an awe-inspiring creation.
Everything that we are first comes from the source of everything that He is.
We are made in the image of God.
Remember that when David wrote Psalm 139:14, David was praising God, because of how amazing God created David to be.
However, what is the opposite of praise? It’s criticism. So, when we say we are worthless, not enough, or insignificant, we are not only criticizing ourselves, but we are also criticizing the God who made us!
Think about that.
When you criticize yourself, you are also criticizing the God who made you. But God doesn’t make mistakes.
Psalm 18 says:
“As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.”
God’s way is perfect, and His Word is flawless. That means when God’s Word says that He created your innermost being, then that means God designed you exactly the way He wanted you to be.
“For you created my innermost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
When God’s Word says you are His masterpiece, then you really are His masterpiece.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
When you look at yourself and everything that makes you (your giftings, your anointings, and your talents), you should stand in awe of what God has created in you.
You should thank Him and honor Him for everything He has given you, and the gift of life He has bestowed upon you.
To be fearfully and wonderfully made is not just a feel-good Bible verse, there is real power and authority that comes with being fearfully and wonderfully made. The same Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.”
Romans 8:11 (NLT)
Never give into the lie that you are anything less than the most wonderful reflection of our glorious God, who is worthy of honor and praise. Remember, you are made in the image and likeness of God.
So, just as David did, give God all the glory and praise because of how fearfully and wonderfully He has made you!
Have more questions about the verse “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”? Let me know in the comments below!
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