What does it mean to be humble? For true believers, the importance of being humble is evident on several occasions in the Bible. Such occasions clearly show us that humility is an integral part of Christianity. Even Jesus emphasized the importance of being humble when he washed the feet of his disciples. It was a truly noble act considering Jesus was their teacher and leader; He humbly washed their feet. From this, Christians learn that humility is a virtue that we should all seek to emulate from Christ. From the Bible, it is apparent that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Find out the best verses about humility in the Bible by reading on.
To be humble means to be free of pride and arrogance according to Christianity. Humble people have a modest opinion of themselves. True humility should not be perceived as a sign of weakness. In the Bible, Moses is described as the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3), yet he was a brave and an intuitive leader who led the people of God out of captivity and into the promised land. From him, Christians learn that being humble is not a weakness but rather it is a strength under control.
There are numerous Bible verses that advice Christians on the importance of humility. After reading the verses, you will not have questions like, “What does the Bible say about humility?” The truth is until one learns to become humble, it is nearly impossible for the grace of God to be bestowed upon their lives. God can only have fellowship with those who are of a humble and contrite nature.
READ ALSO: Tattoo in the Bible: Is it a sin?
Best humility Bible verses
Here are some of the best humility quotes from the Bible according to the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.
Isaiah testified about this by writing,
- “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” - Isaiah 66:2 (ESV).
- “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”" - Isaiah 57:15 (ESV).
It is important to be humble in our dealings with others and with God.
1. Humility when helping the needy
- "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward." - Matthew 6:2.
Christians should not display their acts of charity for glory and praise from others. This verse reminds us of the importance of staying humble even after helping the needy. In modern times, like in the past, many people show off their acts of charity to be glorified and gain recognition. However, Jesus warns Christians against doing so. This is due to the fact that those who publicize their charity taint what would have been a selfless and pure act. When helping the needy becomes more about self-honour and recognition, it ceases to be a pure deed in the eyes of God.
2. Humility as the start of salvation
- Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:29-30 (ESV).
Through this verse, Jesus reminds Christians that because He is gentle and humble, those who seek rest for their weary souls will find it in Him. The only way to achieve this is through salvation. This verse elucidates the fact that in order to be saved, one must first be humble. Step one of repentance is to humble ourselves. Next is to pray to God and seek His face. Then we must turn (the word turn literally means to repent, or turn around and go the other way).
- If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV).
In order to become saved through Christ, one needs to be humble. Salvation through Christ only comes to those who are humble enough to repent of their sins. Through this verse, the prophet asks everyone to be humble enough to turn away from their sinful ways and seek the face of God. The people are asked to humbly approach God through prayer so that God in heaven can hear them. Does this mean that God doesn't hear the cries of the proud?
READ ALSO: Verses about marriage in the bible
3. Humility as a way of associating with others
- With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. - Ephesians 4:2 (ESV).
How can Christians associate humbly with others? A person who is sincerely humble is one who always counts others as more significant than himself or herself. This person does not only seek to satisfy his personal needs but those of others first. In Ephesians 4:2, Paul urges young Christians to veer off pride and stay humble and gentle. He also reminds them to bear with one another in love. Likewise, in his letter to the Philippians, he urges Christians to value others.
- Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV).
What does it mean to associate humbly with others? In today’s world, Paul’s teachings can be applied in several different ways. For example, a person who opts to commute to work rather than stay home when their car does not work. God doesn’t require sacrifices as much as obedience, he doesn’t require “church-speak” but love in action, and he doesn’t require us to just walk with Him but “to walk humbly with” Him.
4. Humility as a way of purity of heart
- He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8 (ESV).
In this verse, the prophet Micah shows Christians what God requires from them. Simply put, God wants Christians to be just, merciful and humble. Walking humbly with God means following His instructions and obeying His Word. Those who walk humbly with God receive His grace and mercy.
- Then he said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” - Luke 9:48 (ESV).
At the same time, in Luke 9:48, Jesus poses a simple test to the people gathered, listening to him. He simply challenges them by telling them that the person who considers themselves to be the greatest is actually the least among them. This is an important reminder that the manner in which we walk should be with humility, gentleness, patience, and love.
A common misconception among the believers during Jesus’ time was that in order to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven one needed to be great on earth. Jesus debunks this belief by asking Christians to be humble enough to welcome children into their presence - the least important people in society. People who are humble have pure hearts and do not judge others based on their position in society.
READ ALSO: Get well soon messages for loved ones
5. Humility comes before great honour
- For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. - Psalm 149:4.
The Psalmist reminds Christians that God exalts the humble. The Lord is no respecter of man or man-made titles. Before God’s eyes, only the humble are worthy to be exalted or crowned with glory. This can be seen in many instances in the Bible:
Do you remember when God chose Moses to lead his people out of Egypt?
By the logic of society’s standards, it would make more sense if God chose a rich man with a lot of authority to do the job. Instead, he chose a man who took care of sheep, one whom anyone else would have overlooked. Not to mention, Moses was full of fear and had no confidence in himself. That should have disqualified him from the role. This goes to show that before God’s eyes, we are all equal but he has a special spot in His heart for the lowly.
Another clear instance is when God chose David, a shepherd boy, to lead his people to victory. God could have chosen one of the numerous well-trained and well-equipped soldiers to lead the Israelites to victory. Instead, He was drawn to a young boy whom he used to show His glory and power.
6. Humility as a sign of respect
- “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” - 1 Peter 5:6.
According to this Bible verse, young people are advised to approach their elders with humility in their hearts. Humility is a sign of respect towards our elders. True Christians understand that it is sinful to address elders proudly or arrogantly. Those who do so block their hearts and minds from learning from their elders. This verse also reminds Christians that God eventually exalts in due time, those who humble themselves. It is important for Christians to be patient and humble as they wait on God’s perfect timing.
7. Humility scriptures about serving others
- If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. - John 13:14 (ESV).
Jesus displayed the ultimate act of humility by washing His disciples’ feet. He did this to show them that serving others with humility is an important part of being a leader.
How can Christians apply this in their daily lives? Leaders today are urged to remember humility as they serve the people. In a world with vices like corruption and bad governance, a leader who can serve the people through humility is rare to find. It is important for Christian leaders to follow the example of Christ when they serve the people. It is important for leaders to use their positions to serve the people as Jesus did.
READ ALSO: How to study the Bible in 3 simple ways
8. Humility as the way into the Kingdom of heaven
- “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 18:1-4 (ESV).
This is one of the most famous humility quotes from the Bible. Children are naturally humble and treat others kindly. In this verse, Jesus tells his listeners that unless they can become like children, they will not see the kingdom of God. Jesus tries to make his listeners adapt to the humble and childlike nature of children. Great people are humble because that is how they learn and serve. It is to such people that the kingdom of God belongs.
9. Humility as a beauty adornment
- Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. - 1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV).
In today’s world, many people think that dressing in expensive clothes and ornaments is the ultimate display of beauty. However, God’s word advises Christians differently. To be truly beautiful in God’s eyes means to have a humble spirit and a pure heart.
10. Humility as a way of worship
- Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. - Daniel 4:37 (ESV).
Humility is an integral part of worship. When one goes to worship God either in church, it is important that they approach Him with humility. When Christians go to worship God, they should do so humbly because all His ways are just and everything He does is right. The only way that God will accept the worship of men is if it comes from humble and pure hearts. Humble people allow the goodness and power of God to shine through them; they do not show off or brag about themselves. The Psalmist urges Christians to gather and worship God for He is the creator of everything.
- Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!. - Psalm 95:6 (ESV).
Through this verse, the Psalmist paints a picture of how Christians should approach God for worship. Humble actions such as kneeling and bowing down show humility when worshipping. Worship to God offered humbly is pure and sincere.
11. Humility as a prophecy by God
- For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." - Romans 14:11 (ESV).
In Romans 14:11, the prophecy states that there will come a time when all the people of the earth will bow down and worship the true God. The act of bowing down or kneeling down is symbolic of humility. Those who will worship the true God will be of a humble spirit.
- Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. - Zechariah 9:9 (ESV).
When Zechariah was prophesying the great return of Jesus to Jerusalem, he mentioned that the Great ruler of men’s hearts would be riding on a donkey. This was both literal and symbolic. The fact that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey indicates that He is a humble king and ruler. This simple act also shows that Jesus is the King of the meek.
12. Scriptures on humility when fasting
- And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. - Matthew 6:16 (ESV).
For those who observe holy fasting, it is important to do so with a humble heart. The act of fasting is viewed as a sacrifice to God. The only way Christians can maintain it as that is by making sure that it is pure and sincere.
- “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Matthew 6:17-18 (ESV).
When fasting, Christians should not walk around forlorn, look tired and sad. In fact, when a true Christian is fasting, no one else should be able to tell or know. The Christian should carry-on with their daily life and routine without anyone knowing. That is the only way that Christians can remain truly humble when fasting.
Points to note
How can one lead a humble life in modern times? Humility has become a rare and undervalued virtue in today’s world. Often, parents raise their children to be arrogant in order to be able to survive in this cut-throat world. Not many parents advise their children to be humble in the face of adversity.
Nevertheless, humility is a timeless virtue that should be embraced in today’s crazy world more than ever. More people in society should strive to be humble by reading humble quotes. From leaders to children, humility is a virtue that will make everyone’s life easier.
The society today socializes us into overlooking the importance of a simple virtue like humility. If our leaders were humble enough to admit their mistakes, half of the world’s problems would be solved. Humility is not only important for an individual but to a nation as well.
If, as a nation, we would humble ourselves, pray to God, seek His face, and then repent, God would “forgive [our] sins and heal our land.” Otherwise, judgment is coming to this nation and to every person who refuses to humble themselves, bend the knee, repent, and trust in Christ. The verse that illustrates this clearly is in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The above verses about humility in the Bible show why being humble in our daily lives is important. It is crucial to humble yourself before the Lord. This will not only help you as a Christian to grow in your relationship with God, but it will also bring you closer to Jesus Christ.
- 10 Bible verses to bless your kids with and learn parenting
- 7 Bible verses you will not believe
- 13 controversial Bible verses that atheists adore