Views from the Branch: Humility Meaning in the Bible


Lord’s Library contributor Jared Helms offers views from a branch to offer a humility meaning in the Bible, with key Scriptures and commentary. Check out Jared’s YouTube channel and two blogs: A Light in the Darkness and Blind Faith Examples. Lord’s Library’s Ministry Leaders Series is a collection of contributed articles written by ministry leaders on key Christian topics.

Ministry Leaders Series BadgePhilippians 2:5-11: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus Christ is the paragon of humility: the most perfect model of the virtue. No greater feat of humility is possible. No one could descend from such awesome heights to such awful depths besides the God-Man. He who was before the beginning was born in a manger. The Lord of Lords grew up as the son of a humble carpenter. He who was worshipped by all the hosts of Heaven lived in a backwater village, in an insignificant province.

The Gospel

Humility Meaning in the Bible

He was according to Isaiah 53 not especially handsome, there was nothing about His form that would impress us. He who was totally self-sufficient knew hunger, thirst, and weariness. His people rejected him, His own family thought He was insane, the priest accused Him of being demon-possessed, and His friends abandoned Him.

No one else could suffer so unjustly as the Savior did with utterly a single cry of protest. He died the agonizing and shameful death of the lowest sort of criminal and endured the full wrath of the thrice holy Trinity. He went lower than any of us could.

Christ had every reason to be proud, to hold Himself above all the rest, and to demand His own way. He could have commanded the masses to follow Him as took what was His by right; but instead, He called to us saying in Matthew 11:28-29: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

He could have said something about how powerful He was, about His transcendence, or His perfect knowledge, or even His perfect holiness; but instead He speaks of His humility and gentleness. It is that quality of humility that makes all His other wonderful attributes so lovely to behold. For it is in humility that He has condescended to make Himself known to us. It is in Christ’s perfect humility that we begin to see Him clearly.

And it is through humility that He calls us into a relationship with Him. He bids us humbly to confess our need for His grace. Yet, so worthy a Savior is He, so well acquainted with our hideous enslavement to the tyrant pride that He extends an irresistible grace to help us acknowledge that which is undeniable. He assists us in humility by His example, but also by His abiding presence through the Holy Spirit giving us strength, and insight, and reminding us always of the way our Lord walked before us.

In humility, we begin in the faith as helpless babes, and by grace in humility, we gradually grow into full spiritual adults. We learn in humility to be wise. In humility, we grow stronger. In humility we improve, for humility will not allow us to linger till we really have arrived at the fullness of all good things. Humility is the cardinal virtue of the Christian life for it enables all others, and keeps us ever-moving nearer to our God. In this it is plain to see that humility is good for us.

O, even the unbeliever should see that true humility is the only way any of us advance in any area. Pride is self-satisfied with just little a bit of what might be had. Greed which serves pride only takes more of the same, for pride thinks there is nothing better than what it knows, and it knows enough. Even in its vast ambitions pride foils itself. Pride is forever doomed to fall into destruction. See Proverbs 16:18:

  • Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Too often the verse is misquoted to make the pride only something we trip over, tumbling gently down and perhaps scraping a knee or bruising an elbow. We diminish the danger because pride is so precious to us. Pride makes us big and important, sitting on the throne of a universe that revolves around us. It feels good to find ourselves in such a fantastic spot, but we just can’t pull it off. We strut around heads held high, till something comes along to remind us of reality.

In truth, we are like little children playing at being all grown-up turning the keys in the ignition and stomping with all our might on the gas pedal. We find too late we cannot control this machine. Too late we learn that our pride has fed us a lie.

Humility has never been popular. It doesn’t paint a flattering picture of us. It doesn’t show lifting ourselves to dizzying heights, masters of all we survey. Humility makes us small, weak, and needy. Yet, this more accurate, less flattering reality allows our humble Lord to reach down to us and take us up to the highest of places even into His own presence. He gives us all things in giving us Himself.

It is not for nothing that the Bible says in Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

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Jared Helms
Jared Helms

Jared Helms

Jared received his Bachelor of Arts from Bryan College in 2012, and his Masters of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2017. He has pastored churches in Kentucky and Tennessee. Most importantly, Jared has walked with Christ most of his life. His interests extend from theology to church history, but he is particularly passionate about ecclesiology and homiletics.

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