Archive for the ‘Humility’ Category

List of Endorsers


It is a great honor to have so many friends and mentors in my life agree to add their endorsement for my little book on humility. click here

It is incredibly encouraging, and a reminder that following after Christ is truly a community endeavor.

The provocative Foreword is by Dr. David Wells of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, one of my favorite professors there. I am grateful for his support!

Here are the other folks who agreed to blurb for the book, listed in the order they appeared in my life, because the book reflects all these folks’ influence and kindness to me.  Please note, that I am NOT listing all of their many titles and distinctions!


Dr. Jeff Hutchinson, Mission Anabaino (brother)

Ms. Paige Britton, Grass Roots Theological Library (high school friend & a proofer of the manuscript)

Dr. Rob Norris, Fourth Presbyterian, Bethesda, MD (first evangelical pastor)

Dr. Shawn Wright, professor,Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (college friend)

Dr. David Bowen, Second Presbyterian, Nashsville, TN (college pastor in Durham, NC)

Dr. George Marsden, Notre Dame professor emeritus (professor at Duke)

Dr. Will Willimon, Duke Divinity School and retired UMC bishop (chaplain while at Duke)

Dr. Terry Johnson, Independent Presbyterian, Savannah, GA (pastor while in Army, and the one who “sent” me off to seminary)

Dr. Joel White, Giessen School of Theology, Germany (seminary friend)

Rev. Roland Barnes, Trinity Presbyterian, Statesboro, GA, (I served as Roland’s associate pastor for 7 years)

Dr. Tom Gardner, English professor, Virginia Tech (a current fellow elder at Grace Covenant Presbyterian in Blacksburg, VA)

Rev. JR Foster, RUF Area Coordinator (first RUF minister at VT)

Ms. SharDavia Walker, Campus Outreach, Lynchburg, VA (author & former member)

Dr. Dave Silvernail, Potomac Hills Presbyterian, professor at RTS-DC (friend)

Dr. Guy Waters, professor, at RTS-Jackson (friend)

Dr. Dominic Aquila, President, New Geneva Seminary (friend)

Dr. Stephen Estock, Director PCA Discipleship Ministries (friend)

Mr. Richard Doster, editor, ByFaith magazine (friend)

Rev. Joe Holland, Christ Presbyterian, Culpeper, VA (friend, editor at Ligonier)


I am extraordinarily grateful for the support from all of these sisters and brothers and from New Growth Press. Truly a team effort! SDG!




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Library, Pemboke VA


I encountered an excellent Twitter thread by @AmyMantravadi written on April 9, 2018, contrasting Pride and Humility.  Twitter at its best.

The thread was thoroughly Biblical in its ethics.  And so for fun, I listed the first New Testament verse or brief passage I could think of to prove or illustrate each pairing. Some were obvious, as they were direct quotations; others just the first example I could think of — free association.  So, here, of course, I am attempting to prooftext positively, not in the pejorative sense that the word is sometimes used.

I am posting it here, simply because it is too long for a Twitter thread.  I thought this might be useful for a Sunday School or Bible Study handout if someone wants to use it.

Again, all the pairings are the work of @AmyMantravadi.  I just added the Scripture texts.


Pride says, “Let me teach you.”
Humility says, “I will listen.”

James 1:19

Pride says, “You hurt me!”
Humility says, “Did I hurt you?”

James 3:13-18

Pride says, “God is on my side!”
Humility says, “Am I on God’s side?”

James 4:4-10

Pride says, “I have rights.”
Humility says, “I am a sinner saved by grace.”

Romans 3:27

Pride says, “It’s all your fault.”
Humility says, “Is it I, Lord?”

Matthew 26:22

Pride says, “Thank God I’m not like them!”
Humility says, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Luke 18:9-14

Pride says, “I built that.”
Humility says, “The Lord built that.”

I Corinthians 3:7

Pride says, “I must work out my salvation.”
Humility says, “He works in me.”

Philippians 2:13

Pride says, “Who must I love?”
Humility says, “I must love all.”

Romans 12:14-19

Pride says, “I have arrived.”
Humility says, “I need grace.”

I Corinthians 4:8

Pride says, “You take the first step.”
Humility says, “I’ll take the first step.”

Philemon 1:12

Pride says, “An eye for an eye.”
Humility says, “Here is my cloak.”

Matthew 5:40

Pride says, “How great is my knowledge!”
Humility says, “How great is my ignorance!”

I Corinthians 8:1

Pride says, “The Church needs me.”
Humility says, “I need the Church.”

I Corinthians 12:14-27

Pride says, “I forgave you before.”
Humility says, “I forgive you again.”

Matthew 18:22

Pride says, “I need not the sacraments.”
Humility says, “I need them like daily bread.”

John 6:51

Pride says, “Confess to me.”
Humility says, “Let’s confess to one another.”

James 5:16

Pride says, “I know all.”
Humility says, “God knows all.”

Psalm 131

Pride says, “There is no pain like my pain.”
Humility says, “There is no pain like Christ’s pain.”

I Peter 2:21-23

Pride says, “Good riddance.”
Humility says, “I pray you return.”

II Corinthians 2:6-8

Pride says, “Where are you wrong?”
Humility says, “Where do we agree?”

Philippians 4:2

Pride says, “I must not be tainted.”
Humility says, “I must serve Christ.”

Galatians 2:11-21

Pride says, “I’m surrounded by hypocrites!”
Humility says, “I am a hypocrite.”

I Timothy 1:15

Pride says, “Here’s what you owe me.”
Humility says, “What do I owe you?”

I Corinthians 6:7

Pride says, “Listen to my wisdom.”
Humility says, “Listen to God’s Word.”

James 1:22

Pride says, “Who must I condemn?”
Humility says, “Who must I commend?”

Philippians 2:29-30

Pride says, “I messed up.”
Humility says, “I sinned.”

Romans 7

Pride says, “Me!”
Humility says, “God!”

Psalm 115:1

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Rediscovering Humility



If anyone is interested, here is the Table of Contents of my forthcoming book, Rediscovering Humility:  Why the Way Up is Down (New Growth Press, due out June, 2018, Lord willing):  click here


Table of Contents


FOREWORD by David Wells





1) Whatever Happened to Humility?

2) Wide Is the Road: The Lure of False Humility

3) Return of the Jester: The Vision of Humility Back at the Table



4) Lest Anyone Boast: Humility and the Gospel

5) Hope for a Fool: Humility and Truth

6) Not unto Us: Discipleship as Humility



7) Bold Nobodies: Humility Regarding Self

8) Seeking the City to Come: Humility and Eschatology

9) Tales from the Lower Totem Pole: Humility toward Others



10) The Assembly of Egos: Humility in the Church

11) Like Men Sentenced to Death: Christian Leadership as Humility

12) The Assembly of Fools: Humility, Truth, and Unity

13) Turning Woes into Blessings: Humility and Church Image

14) Turning Factories into Gardens




APPENDIX: 100 Verses on Humility





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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!  (UPDATE:   The book is indeed being published, due out summer 2018, by New Growth Press, entitled:  Rediscovering Humility:  Why the Way Up is Down.   Click Here  The below is excerpted from that book with permission.)

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

The following is adapted with permission from my forthcoming book, Rediscovering Humility:  Why the Way Up is Down, New Growth Press, due out summer 2018.  Click Here

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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