Being humble doesn’t mean belittling yourself – it means seeing yourself the way God sees you. Let’s learn what the bible says about humility and discover over 50 bible verses for humility.
Humility can be a confusing topic for many Christians. Of course, we know that we’re supposed to be humble, that part is abundantly clear if only by the sheer amount of the verses in the Bible on humility and pride.
But figuring out what it actually means for us to be humble is often a far greater challenge. I know it’s a topic I have struggled with personally. I thought that to be humble meant to be self-deprecating—and really, it’s no wonder that I thought this way.
This misunderstanding is deeply entrenched and often present in Christian speech, songs, and literature. But as I started to look more at the Bible in its entirety (rather than soundbites), I began to see that this way of thinking conflicted with many passages.
And I realized this truth: God wants me to see myself the way that He sees me.
So, what does the Bible say about humility?
Well, a lot. There are so many times that God commands us through His word to live with humility; so many biblical accounts of men and women being humble or being humbled; so many times Jesus taught on humility; and many more passages teaching us what humility looks like.
It’s not hard to see that God wants us to be humble—what can be difficult is harmonizing the idea that we need to have humility in Christ, yet also confidence.
How exactly does that work? How can I be all at once humble and confident? How can I live meekly and with boldness? Don’t those things kind of cancel each other out?
The only way we are going to have a truly balanced view is to have a look at what the Bible says.
What Does the Bible Mean When It Tells Us to Be Humble?
Along my journey to learning the true nature of humility, one of the passages that has helped me most is the 12th chapter of Romans. In this chapter, we see that we are to be living sacrifices (vv.1-2) and that we are supposed to use our talents to further His kingdom as a part of the body (vv.4-8).
Sandwiched in between these two thoughts we see how we are supposed to think of ourselves:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”(Romans 12:3)
Here we see that we need to not think of ourselves too highly—but that we are supposed to think in a balanced way about ourselves, considering what God has given us to contribute.
And in reading that, we should realize something: humility doesn’t mean downplaying my talents or brushing off compliments—it means that I need to keep my talents in perspective.
It means realizing that without God I would have—and be—nothing. But it also means that I need to see that with God, I am something. I’m not more than anyone else, but I am valuable and able.
Biblical humility isn’t about self-deprecation or self-love—but about appreciating who God has made us to be and praising Him for all that we are.
It’s changing “I’m so great” into “God is great and He made me—and because He made me, I am valuable part of His creation and I will praise and thank Him by using what He has given me to further His cause.”
The world teaches self-confidence, but we should instead adopt God-confidence: We can be who we are because He makes us strong.
So next time someone compliments you—maybe consider praising and exalting God for what He has given you instead of tearing yourself down in an attempt to be humble.
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”(2 Corinthians 10:17)
Jesus, Our Perfect Example of Humility
When we think of biblical examples of humility, we can’t go past the example of our Lord and Savior. Not only did He teach extensively on the subject, but He also lived a life full of it.
This is amazing, considering that He was God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). Yet how did He act when He was in human form? He could have reigned as king and Lord—He could have had anything He wanted—but instead the Creator walked among His creation as a servant:
“Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”(Philippians 2:5-8)
It is an amazing example, motivated by His love for us. His joy was not found in His circumstances, for He suffered much and was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with much grief” (Isaiah 53:3)—but His joy was found in looking forward to our salvation.
This incredible attitude, driven by love, led Him to humble himself to die on the cross (Hebrews 12:2)—and it’s the attitude that we are told to emulate:
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. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 2:3-5)
Jesus, the only one that had no reason to die on the cross and every reason to be exalted, humbled Himself for our sakes—because He thought of us and our need before His own wants and desires.
His desire for our salvation meant that He gave up His position in the Godhead to be a servant—living in a simple fashion: without a home, wandering around, healing illnesses, and washing feet—and ultimately dying in order to achieve it. He did all this when He had the right and power to have anything He wanted.
Such a beautiful, selfless attitude takes my breath away. Such an attitude should cause me to humble myself in the service of others in gratitude, just as He asked His disciples to:
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” .(John 13:14-15)
Through Jesus’ example, I see that humility means giving up my rights and comforts for others. It means of thinking of others’ needs before my own—even to the point of death (1 John 3:16). This is not an easy task—but it’s what Jesus did—and that’s what I am also called to do.
The Example of Jesus Teaches Me That Humility Is Strength Under Control
We also see something else when we look at the example of Jesus. Just like we saw in Romans 12, humility doesn’t mean that we hate ourselves and downplay our abilities.
Jesus knew who He was, and was confident in what He was able to do. “Of course!” you may be saying, “He’s God in human form! Of course He was confident in who He was!”
But remember that He was also humble—and that was because He knew what He was here to do.
To have humility doesn’t mean that we don’t have strength, worth, or position. It means that we have our strength under control.
It means that we place ourselves under God and regard ourselves as less than others in order to serve them. If I am to be humble like Christ, I need to remember what I am here on earth to do—I’m not here to have a good time.
Although this earth is a beautiful, amazing place and I’ll likely have some fun along the way, this is not my main goal and purpose. I’m here to serve and save, just like Jesus was.
It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:26-28)
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”(Luke 19:10)
Paul, Another Example of Humility in Action
Sometimes thinking of Jesus as our example can seem like too far of a reach—for which reason I’m thankful God has given us some approved “stepping stones” as examples along the way. Paul is one of these examples. He shows us what it means to have humility.
1) Paul humbled himself before God (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Titus 1:1 et. al)
First and foremost, Paul saw himself as a servant of God and submitted to Him. Whatever he did “in word or deed” he sought to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). This conviction was what drove him to preach despite persecution (Colossians 1:24).
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”(Galatians 1:10)
2) Paul humbled himself before men
But Paul didn’t stop there—he went on to make himself a servant of men, just as Christ did. He was the perfect example of this too—he spared nothing in being a servant to others. His goal was adapting to them culturally in every way he could if he thought it would help win them to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
Paul even went so far as to say he’d never eat meat again if it meant helping someone to Christ—seeing every right he had as dispensable for the sake of others (1 Corinthians 8:13).
While this is a difficult attitude to emulate, Paul had the right idea about this, because he was thinking of others. “I do it all,” he said, “for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:23)
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings”(1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
3) Paul was confident of his abilities in Christ
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). These may not seem like the words of one who has humility—but Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit and approved of God, pens these words.
How can one have humility in saying this? Is Paul overstepping here?
I do not believe so. If we are to do as Romans 12 suggests and think of ourselves in a balanced fashion, we should come to a place in our walk where we realize that we have a character worthy of imitating—not because I’m so great, but because as Paul states: “I imitate Christ.”
To speak like this isn’t boastfulness—it’s mere acknowledgment of Christ’s working within you. Paul realized he wasn’t perfect (Philippians 3:12-14), that any and all righteousness he had came from Christ (vv. 7-9, 14), and that all his worldly accomplishments before he met Christ were worth nothing in comparison (vv. 7-8).
Humility does not exclude confidence in our abilities—rather, it encourages us to acknowledge our abilities and that Christ is the one who gives them to us.
4) Paul submitted every talent he had to the kingdom
Part of a life of humility is realizing that we have talents to give. While many may see this as the opposite of humility, the only way this can become pride is if we 1) fail to acknowledge that God is the one who gives them to us, or 2) fail to use them in God’s service, but instead use them for our own glory.
Paul was made a minister, but he is quick to tell us that it is not because of how great he is, but “according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power” (Ephesians 3:7).
I know that this way of speaking was encapsulated within his attitude of humility, because Paul didn’t make a habit of boasting in his own accomplishments. Instead, he boasted in Christ’s working in Him: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Humility acknowledges that all abilities are given by the grace of God and uses them in His service.
5) Paul stood with confidence before God
Paul was certain of where he was going and stood with confidence in Christ. He was sure that he would receive his eternal reward because he was absolutely certain that he had “fought the good fight, […] finished the race, [and] kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
For one to say that today may be considered pride—but we are encouraged otherwise by Paul’s example, and he tells us we can do the same (1 Timothy 6:12).
Confidence in ourselves is foolishness, but confidence in Christ is an essential part of our Christian walk and completely coherent with a Biblical understanding of humility.
Be Humble… and Be Confident
Through the Scripture, I hope that I have shown you the true nature of humility—that it is not about how terrible and sinful or good and great I am, but about how great, merciful, powerful, and awesome God is.
I should not boast in myself, but there is no need to pull myself down either. I can stand before both God and man in confidence, knowing that it is God who approves of me, “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (1 Corinthians 10:18).
Furthermore, I am confident, I am bold, I am strong—in Christ. Those are the key words and the essential attitude that will keep all our boasting humble—when we praise the Lord with our lives.
We are not worthless. We are capable—in Christ. Through Him we can do everything (Philippians 4:13).
Humility says with every breath, and shows through every action: “Without Christ, I am nothing—but with Christ, I have everything and can do absolutely anything that is necessary. Christ is everything, and I am His.”
[…] for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”(Hebrews 13:5-6)
Other Bible Verses for Humility to Study
Jesus’ Teachings on Humility
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.(Matthew 5:3-5)
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 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. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.(Matthew 6:1-5)
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)
Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’(Matthew 20:10-16)
The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.(Matthew 23:11-12)
But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.(Mark 10:43-45)
Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”(Luke 14:7-11)
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.(Luke 18:9-14)
But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.(Luke 22:26-27)
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.(John 13:14-15)
Other New Testament Bible Verses for Humility
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.(Romans 12:3-8)
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. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…(Philippians 2:3-5)
That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.(Romans 11:20)
And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews…”(Acts 20:18-19)
I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.(1 Corinthians 4:6)
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.(Galatians 6:1-4)
Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.(1 Corinthians 8:1-3)
I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.(2 Corinthians 7:4)
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!(2 Corinthians 10:1)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.(Colossians 3:12)
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…(Hebrews 5:7-9)
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.(James 3:13-17)
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”(James 4:6)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.(James 4:10)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.(1 Peter 3:8)
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 5:5-6)
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.(Luke 1:51-52)
Old Testament Bible Verses for Humility
For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.(Psalm 18:27)
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.(Psalm 25:9)
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.(Psalm 34:2)
When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.(Psalm 69:32)
The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.(Psalm 147:6)
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.(Psalm 149:4)
Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.(Proverbs 3:34)
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.(Proverbs 11:2)
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. 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)
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)
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.(Zephaniah 2:3)
But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.(Zephaniah 3:12-13)
Do you struggle with belittling yourself in an attempt to be humble? How can you have confidence in Christ, while staying humble?