Check out these Bible verses on humility to help you avoid pride and selfishness by fixing your eyes on Christ.
In a world focused so much on ourselves – loving ourselves, accepting ourselves, finding happiness for ourselves, the importance of humility (and what it actually means and looks like in practice!) has really been warped.
If you’re feeling stuck, like you’re trying your best to work towards humility but still missing the mark, you’re not alone. The world, our culture, and even other Christians can have some pretty twisted messages on what it looks like to be humble.
The Bible is the best place to turn when we’re feeling unsure. When you are choosing to believe God’s Word as your Truth in your life, reading scripture can help you find peace, wisdom, and confidence.
We’ll dive into plenty of Bible verses on humility, but first, let’s start with the basics.
What Is Humility, Anyway?
If we are turning to the Bible to guide us here, let’s start with the definition of humility found in Proverbs.
Humility is the fear of the Lord;
its wages are riches and honor and life.
To me, this means having the Lord in His proper place in your life – as your Savior, Your King, Your Almighty Father – and viewing Him as He is meant to be seen – in awe and wonder and with respect.
When you view God as He is, then that also puts you into your proper place as well – as a child of God, a light of the world, beloved and blessed (and so many other things! Click here to read more on your identity in Christ).
Humility is keeping your eyes on Christ and exalting what He has done while pride keeps your eyes on yourself and your own accomplishments.
We often shy away from accepting any positive traits of ours “in an effort to remain humble,” but humility is not denying the truth. It is not making yourself small to help others feel worthy. You can still have confidence in Christ and be humble.
C.S. Lewis describes it like this – “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Scripture On Humility & Pride
Warnings On Pride
As I just mentioned, pride is the opposite of humility. As you’ll see in the Bible verses below, pride can be very destructive.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Here in Proverbs 11, we are warned pride comes with disgrace while humility accompanies wisdom. I can look back at my own life and see this so often.
Humility brings an open mind that acknowledges that we don’t know it all but the Lord does. The minute I become confident that I can do things on my own without Him, trouble seems to follow because the truth is I absolutely cannot do things on my own, but I can do all through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.
I don’t know about you, but I highly respect people who can acknowledge their own limits. I tend to lose respect for people claiming to know it all, while people who are experts in one thing but can also admit when they aren’t as knowledgeable in other areas really win me over.
That’s what I picture as the verse describes humility coming before honor. Those who claim to know it all tend to have their own interests in mind while those who can admit their weaknesses tend to have others’ interests at heart, which is such an honorable trait.
Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
The word “haughty” means having an attitude of superiority and contempt for those who we perceive to be inferior. No wonder the Lord warns us to avoid pride!
He knows that when our hearts see others in that way, it’s a sign something is majorly off in us and there will be outward fall-out because of that inner stance we hold.
Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
It seems so ironic that a person thinking most highly of themselves will be the thing that brings them “low,” but, looking through the lens of Scripture, it all makes sense (we’ll dive deeper into that in a minute).
Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.
The way success is described here is so contrary to our culture. The goals we all tend to strive for are to be successful, earn more money, gain more attention, and get more followers.
But, here, “humble circumstances”, which I’d say we all try pretty hard to avoid, are viewed as the “high position” – the thing that should be our goal.
On that note, let’s take a look at just a few examples of how Jesus lived out humility.
Jesus’ Example of Humility
There is no doubt that Jesus gave us the perfect example of humility every day of His life, from being born in a manger to His death on the cross for everybody’s sins but His own.
Jesus, God in flesh, spent His life working as a carpenter seeking out lost sinners, washing feet, healing the sick, and calling the little children to “come to me” (Matthew 19:14).
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Listen to the way He describes humility here – gentle, restful, easy, light. Those are the very things we are all seeking but can’t seem to grasp in our lives of hustle, high ambitions, and stairways to success.
It sure is a warning sign that we may be missing the mark, right?
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Even the disciples, men living with Jesus and talking with him regularly, still struggled with that desire for power and status. But Jesus emphasized yet again that what they thought success looked like was all wrong. The person who is really at the top is the best servant to all others, not the other way around.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Jesus’ eyes were not fixed on Himself ever, but always on others as He found ways to love and serve and offer His life as a gift to everyone around Him.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
And this verse hits me especially hard as a reminder that Jesus’ perfect example of humility was not just given to us as a “good story,” but as way to show us how we can carry on His work – washing feet and serving others.
Instructions On How To Be Humble
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
A great place to start in your quest for humility is asking the Lord for guidance. Approach God with an open mind and a willing, teachable heart. He’ll guide you and teach you.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
No character trait stands alone and humility is no exception. Humility, a heart seeking the good of others, goes hand-in-hand with other traits like justice and mercy.
He must become greater; I must become less.
This is one of my favorite Bible verses on humility because it captures the most important part. It’s actually why I named my 30-Day Weight Loss Devotional “Less of Me”!
When we realize it’s not about us, it’s about Him, then we can be truly humble. That doesn’t mean we are meaningless. We have immense value to God! It’s just not about us. It’s about Him.
That’s less about the outward actions and more about the stance of our heart and how we see God, ourselves, and others.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
In this verse, we are given outward signs that shows our humble heart – living in harmony with one another and associating with people of low position.
If these two things aren’t happening in your life right now, there’s no need to be ashamed. It’s just a great way to do a heart check.
What is one way you can start working on those two things today? Start there.
1 Corinthians 1:28-29
God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:28-29
1 Corinthians 1:28-29
Paul here is writing about how God doesn’t think the way we do. He is the Lord of Lord and King of Kings and He still chooses the lowly and despised of this world to come to him.
Not just the straight A students, not just the top scholars and theologians, not just the most powerful. He calls the “nothings” and tells them they are “somethings.”
So, whether you are a “nothing” or a top scholar, having that attitude of humility in either position is just as important.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Once again, we see the Bible pair the word “humble” with serving others. When your heart is for others, your actions naturally follow suit.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Here are even more traits (and Fruit of the Spirit, no less) that pair perfectly with humility – gentleness, patience, love.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
The stark difference between pride and humility are described again here. Either you have selfish ambitions and vain conceit OR you value others above yourself.
One has your eyes fixed on yourself and the other is others-focused.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I love the encouragement here to “clothe yourself” with these traits. It’s a reminder that these things don’t just “happen” or “come naturally” to some.
It’s a choice to pursue compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
This re-emphasizes the point we talked about earlier – when your heart is truly humble, your actions will follow with your good deeds.
1 Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8
Here, we see even more traits that are so much more about relationships with others than anything else – being like-minded, sympathetic, loving each other, and showing each other compassion.
How The Lord Rewards Humility
I thought it was important to include these last four verses as a reminder of the benefits of pursuing humility.
Of course, pursuing humility only for the purpose of reaping a reward isn’t exactly the right heart either, but God does point out some ways He chose to reward the humble-hearted.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
Here, He chose to reward the people who humbled themselves and sought Him with forgiveness and healing their land.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
In this verse, the Lord not only delights in these people, but he rewards them with victory!
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
I remember learning the song, “Humble Thyself In The Sight Of The Lord” in college. The lyrics are short and simple, yet profound.
Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
And He shall lift you up, higher and higher
And He shall lift you up
I’m so grateful to have those words on repeat in my mind as a reminder to myself of this verse.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:6
And this last verse emphasizes the same concept. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.