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Archive for the ‘Humility’ Category

Below are one hundred verses and brief passages from the Scriptures that bear on the subject of Christian humility.  I am including these in an appendix for a planned book on the subject.   In case the book is never finished or published, I am posting these here in the hopes some random internet travelers may find and benefit from it.   Feel free to copy and use however you wish – after all, I did not write these!

These may be studied at whatever pace you find most useful. It may also be helpful to read the surrounding Biblical context when feasible to discover the full import of each verse or passage. If at first blush, the text does not appear to address humility, then perhaps meditate it upon a little longer, considering that all of Scripture points us to greater humility as we learn to become more God-centered in all things. May God bless your meditation upon His Word, working a greater Christ-wrought humility in you and those you influence by His grace.

 

Humility towards God

Humility as Paradigm ~ Isaiah 57:15

Humility & Holiness ~ Luke 5:8

Humility & Grace ~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Humility & Truth ~ Ephesians 4:4-6

Humility & Experience ~ Jeremiah 17:9

Humility & Glory ~ Romans 11:36

Humility & Honor ~ I Peter 5:6

Humility & Immortality ~ Romans 2:7,10

Humility & Repentance ~ Luke 18:9-14

Humility & Faith ~ Romans 12:3

Humility & Hope ~ Matthew 5:5

Humility & Love ~ I Corinthians 13:1-4

Humility & Conversion ~ John 6:44

Humility & Discipleship ~ Mark 8:34-35

Humility & Sanctification ~ I Peter 1:2

Humility & Obedience ~ Micah 6:8

Humility & Simplicity ~ Hebrews 13:9

Humility & Sovereignty ~ Psalm 115:1-3

Humility & Mystery ~ Romans 11:33-35

Humility & Dependence ~ Mark 10:15

Humility & Worship ~ Psalm 51:17

Humility & Prayer ~ James 4:1-10

Humility & Fasting ~ Ezra 8:21-23

Humility & Warfare ~ Ephesians 6:10

Humility & Testing ~ Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Humility & Suffering ~ James 1:2-4

Humility & Gratitude ~ Ephesians 5:20

Humility & the Kingdom ~ I Cor. 4:10

Humility & Eschatology ~ Hebrews 13:13-14

Humility & Judgment ~ Isaiah 5:15-16

Humility & Revival ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Humility regarding Yourself

Humility & Christ ~ Matthew 11:29

Humility & Self-Esteem ~ I Timothy 1:15

Humility & Self-Estimation ~ Acts 20:19

Humility & Confidence ~ 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

Humility & Wisdom ~ Proverbs 26:12; 11:2

Humility & Goals ~ James 4:13-16

Humility & Abilities ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24

Humility & Spiritual Gifts ~ Ephesians 4:7

Humility & Character ~ Mark 2:17

Humility & Status ~ I Corinthians 1:26-29

Humility & Heritage ~ Romans 2:28-29

Humility & Legacy ~ Ecclesiastes 2:18-19

Humility & Reputation ~ Matthew 11:19

Humility & Intellect ~ Psalm 131

Humility & Education ~ Ecclesiastes 12:11-13

Humility & Knowledge ~ I Corinthians 8:1-3

Humility & Energy ~ Isaiah 30:15

Humility & Excellence ~ Philippians 3:7

Humility & Health ~ Isaiah 38:9-17

Humility & Wealth ~ James 1:9-10

Humility & Success ~ I Corinthians 4:7

Humility & Failure ~ Proverbs 18:12

Humility & Testimony ~ I Corinthians 15:10

 

Humility towards Others

Humility & Service ~ Philippians 2:3-8

Humility & Rights ~ I Corinthians 6:7

Humility & Roles ~ Ephesians 5:21 – 6:9

Humility & Imitation ~ I Corinthians 11:1

Humility & Conformity ~ Proverbs 3:1-4

Humility & Needs ~ Ephesians 6:19

Humility & Piety ~ Matthew 6:1-8

Humility & Recognition ~ Proverbs 27:2

Humility & Admission ~ Proverbs 6:3

Humility & Confession ~ James 5:16

Humility & Correction ~ Proverbs 13:10; 17:10

Humility & Offense ~ Proverbs 19:11

Humility & Forgiveness ~ Colossians 3:12-13

Humility & Loyalty ~ I Peter 2:18

Humility & Comparisons ~ Galatians 6:4-5

Humility & Power ~ 2 Corinthians 13:4

Humility & Ambition ~ Luke 14:7-11

Humility & Benevolence ~ Luke 14:12-14

Humility & Conversation ~ James 1:19

Humility & Eloquence ~ I Corinthians 2:1-5

Humility & Evangelism ~ I Corinthians 9:19-23

Humility & Apologetics ~ I Peter 3:15

Humility & Boldness ~ Romans 1:16-17

Humility & Credit ~ I Corinthians 3:7

 

Humility Together

Humility & Unity ~ Ephesians 4:1-3

Humility & Fellowship ~ I Corinthians 12:26

Humility & Peace ~ Romans 14:10,19

Humility & Purity ~ Philippians 3:15

Humility & Debate ~ Proverbs 18:2

Humility & Support ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Humility & Culture ~ Ephesians 2:11-22

Humility & Society ~ Titus 3:1-2

Humility & Separation ~ I John 2:16

Humility & Numbers ~ Judges 7:2

Humility & Ministry ~ I Corinthians 9:16-17

Humility & Church Polity ~ Hebrews 13:17

Humility & Leadership ~ Mark 10:42-45

Humility & Office ~ Matthew 23:5-7

Humility & Titles ~ Matthew 23:8-12

Humility & Rank ~ Romans 12:16

Humility & Mottos ~ Galatians 6:14

Humility & Seating ~ James 1:27-2:5

Humility & Tributes ~ I Corinthians 3:21

Humility & Restoration ~ Galatians 6:1-3

Humility & Rules ~ Colossians 2:23

Humility & the Gospel ~ Psalm 149:4

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Rockem Heads

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ~ Ephesians 4:1-3

I sometimes hear stories about disturbances and unpleasantries in other churches and presbyteries, and am reminded of how good I have it in both of mine, by God’s grace.  Where does our unity and spirit of cooperation come from?  Vision statements and Confessions of Faith certainly help, but are those alone enough to sustain our unity in Christ?

Because here is the thing — disagreement is not always bad.  Otherwise we would not be called to sharpen one another (Proverbs  27:17).  There are times when truth must prevail over feelings, and even good men may disagree on how to apply that truth, as my denomination’s Book of Church Order says (Presbyterian Church in America, Preliminary Principle 5).  I don’t think it is for nothing that in Acts 16, God in His providence allowed Paul and Barnabas to split up right after the sweet unity brought about by the First Ecumenical Council of Acts 15 after considerable debate and prayer.  The point is that we should not hearken back to some Golden Age of the Church where there was no disagreement.

So, how are we to maintain our unity in Christ in the midst of disagreement?  In my ministry, I have found Ephesians 4:1-6 to be a helpful guide to this end.  As you know, Paul begins the practical section of Ephesians in 4:1 with the phrase, “Therefore, I urge you,” (the same as Romans 12:1), indicating the change from the doctrinal section of the letter to the application.  And what does Paul urge?  To walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called.  He then goes on to describe what that looks like in the rest of chapters 4-6.  Paul will discuss all sorts of things — church offices and gifts, what it means to put off the old man and put on Christ, spiritual warfare, and what godly relationships look like in marriage, work and family.  But before any of these things, he begins with what?  Church unity.  He begins by telling us to “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (verse 3), and then in verses 4-6 reminds us that Christians have one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, and God, the Father of us all.  This priority of this order ought to instruct us of how important Church unity is to the application of the Gospel.

Right away, we learn several things from this order. First, Paul begins with the Gospel.  There can be no real unity where there is not agreement on the Gospel itself.  Where does Paul do this?  Well, in verse 1, he says for us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called.  And who called us?  It was God the Father, who chose us before the foundations of the world (1:4).  We have been called and saved by grace alone as Paul states so clearly in Ephesians 2:8-9.  And even the resulting good works we are to walk in are only those which God Himself prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10).  So, we must begin with the doctrines of grace and hold the line there.  Any doctrine or habit which undermines grace necessarily will rot away at our unity.  So, we begin with the Gospel of Grace and make no apologies for drawing our dividing line there.

Second, even between those who embrace this grace, unity still takes effort, as Paul says in verse 3.  It is ours already in Christ, but we must work to maintain it.  It takes work and we are to commit ourselves to it.  That often means going the extra mile with brothers or sisters whom we do not appreciate at first blush.  It also means making an extra effort to overcome cultural differences since Christ has become our peace and made Jew and Gentile into one man (cf. Eph. 2:14-15).

Thirdly, from verses 3-6, another goal of church life appears to be a like-mindedness and doctrinal conformity to the truth, even if we will never attain perfect agreement as to what that looks like this side of heaven.  (Arguably, I believe we see similar sentiments in Paul in such places as Philippians 2:2, II Timothy 1:13, and I Corinthians 11:16.)  As elders, part of that means developing a self-aware and wise system of determining which doctrines we believe to be essential to salvation (such as Solo Christo), which doctrines are not essential but nonetheless important for church health (such as infant baptism), and which things are simply adiaphora, things indifferent (such as whether black horn-rimmed glasses and flannel in the pulpit fulfills I Corinthians 9:22, or not).

So, is that it?  Is having a common Confession of Faith all we need to maintain our unity?  Well, clearly, from all the anecdotes we have heard — and knowing our own hearts — no.  You see, I was not quite accurate when I said that Paul begins with Church Unity.  I missed a verse.  There is a link between verse 1 (Grace) and verse 3 (Unity), and that is of course, verse 2.

And what does Paul say there?  Paul tells us to walk “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”  That is the link between Grace and Unity, and we make a grave mistake if we pass it over, as I did earlier in this article.  In other words, it is not enough to know and understand the doctrines of grace, although such is essential.  Nor is it enough to have a common Confession of Faith, although such is very helpful.  If we are to be truly united in Christ, we must have humility.  And that humility then leads to gentleness and patience, and then as a result we will indeed bear with one another as forgiven sinners, more and more as the Holy Spirit blesses.

But here is the thing — if we have truly understood and embraced the Gospel of grace, how can we do any other?  As Paul says in Ephesians 2:9, we are saved by grace through faith, “not by works, so that no one may boast.”  That is the very first application of the Gospel — humility.

And for all my friends in reformed churches who most embrace grace, we Calvinists ought to be the most humble of all Christians.   Sadly, we often fail that test.  My wish would be that, whatever else the world thought of reformed Christians — goofy, weird, ineffective, whatever — they might at least say that we are a humble people.  Is your church marked by a Gospel humility?  Is your ministry?  Is your life?

If it is, then that too, is only by God’s grace.  And it can only lead to great fruit — foremost of which, is unity in Christ’s church.  That is the link between Grace and Unity — a Gospel humility.  Let us then make every effort to grow in our humility before God and man and thus maintain that unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

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