|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
A prominent Christian grace (Romans 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well pleasing to God (1 Peter 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquillity (Psalm 69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22).
Christ has set us an example of humility (Philippians 2:6-8). We should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lamentations 3:39), and by the thought that it is the way to honour (Proverbs 16:18), and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Psalm 147:6; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2; 1 Peter 5:5). It is a "great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory."
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement; humbleness.
2. (n.) An act of submission or courtesy.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
hu-mil'-i-ti ([`anawah]; tapeinophrosune):
(1) The noun occurs in the Old Testament only in Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 18:12; Proverbs 22:4, but the adjective "humble" appears frequently as the translation of `ani, `anaw, shaphal, meaning also "poor," "afflicted"; the verb, as the translation of `anah, "to afflict," "to humble," and of kana`, "to be or become humbled"; tsana`, "to be lowly," occurs in Micah 6:8. For "humble" (Psalm 9:12; Psalm 10:12) the Revised Version (British and American) has "poor"; Psalm 10:17; Psalm 34:2; Psalm 69:32, "meek"; for "humbled" (Psalm 35:13), "afflicted" (Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 10:33), "brought low"; for "He humbleth himself" (Isaiah 2:9) "is brought low," margin "humbleth himself"; Psalm 10:10, "boweth down"; tapeinophrosune is translated "humility" (Colossians 2:18, 23 1 Peter 5:5); in several other places it is translated "lowliness" and "lowliness of mind"; tapeinos is translated "humble" (James 4:6 1 Peter 5:5; elsewhere "lowly," etc.; 1 Peter 3:8, tapeinophron), the Revised Version (British and American) "humble-minded"; tapeinoo, "to humble," occurs frequently (Matthew 18:4; Matthew 23:12, etc.); tapeinosis is "humiliation" (Acts 8:33); for "vile body" (Philippians 3:21) the Revised Version (British and American) gives "body of our humiliation."
(2) (a) In the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, humility is an essential characteristic of true piety, or of the man who is right with God. God humbles men in order to bring them to Himself (Deuteronomy 8:2, 3, etc.), and it is when men humble themselves before Him that they are accepted (1 Kings 21:29 2 Chronicles 7:14, etc.); to "walk humbly with thy God" completes the Divine requirements (Micah 6:8). In Psalm 18:35 (2 Samuel 22:36) the quality is ascribed to God Himself, "Thy gentleness (or condescension) hath made me great." Of "him that hath his seat on high" it is said, (Hebrew) "humbleth (shaphel) himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth" (Psalm 113:6). It is in the humble heart that "the high and lofty One,. whose name is Holy" dwells (Isaiah 57:15; compare Isaiah 66:2).
(b) The word tapeinophrosune is not found in classical Greek (Lightfoot); in the New Testament (with the exception of 1 Peter 5:5) it is Pauline. In Greek pre-Christian writers tapeinos is, with a few exceptions in Plato and Platonic writers, used in a bad or inferior sense-as denoting something evil or unworthy. The prominence it gained in Christian thought indicates the new conception of man in relation to God, to himself, and to his fellows, which is due to Christianity. It by no means implies slavishness or servility; nor is it inconsistent with a right estimate of oneself, one's gifts and calling of God, or with proper self-assertion when called for. But the habitual frame of mind of a child of God is that of one who feels not only that he owes all his natural gifts, etc., to God, but that he has been the object of undeserved redeeming love, and who regards himself as being not his own, but God's in Christ. He cannot exalt himself, for he knows that he has nothing of himself. The humble mind is thus at the root of all other graces and virtues. Self-exaltation spoils everything. There can be no real love without humility. "Love," said Paul, "vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up" (1 Corinthians 13:4). As Augustine said, humility is first, second and third in Christianity.
(c) Jesus not only strongly impressed His disciples with the need of humility, but was in Himself its supreme example. He described Himself as "meek and lowly (tapeinos) in heart" (Matthew 11:29). The first of the Beatitudes was to "the poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3), and it was "the meek" who should "inherit the earth. Humility is the way to true greatness: he who should "humble himself as this little child" should be "the greatest in the kingdom of heaven"; "Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matthew 18:4; Matthew 23:12 Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14). To the humble mind truth is revealed (Matthew 11:25 Luke 10:21). Jesus set a touching example of humility in His washing His disciples' feet (John 13:1-17).
(d) Paul, therefore, makes an earnest appeal to Christians (Philippians 2:1-11) that they should cherish and manifest the Spirit of their Lord's humility-"in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself," and adduces the supreme example of the self-emptying (kenosis) of Christ: "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," etc. The rendering of heauton ekenosen (Philippians 2:7 the King James Version) by "he humbled himself" has given rise to the designation of the Incarnation as "the Humiliation of Christ."
(e) There is a false humility which Paul warns against, a self-sought, "voluntary humility" (Colossians 2:18, 23). This still exists in many forms, and has to be guarded against. It is not genuine humility when we humble ourselves with the feeling that we are greater than others, but only when we do not think of self at all. It is not alone the sense of sin that should create the humble spirit: Jesus had no sin. It belongs not merely to the creature, but even to a son in relation to God. There may be much self-satisfaction where sinfulness is confessed. We may be proud of our humility. It is necessary also always to beware of "the pride that apes humility."
W. L. Walker
Humility (20 Occurrences)
Acts 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears, and with trials which happened to me by the plots of the Jews; (WEB KJV WEY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you. (WEB)
Ephesians 4:2 with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; (WEB NAS)
Philippians 2:3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; (WEB WEY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Colossians 2:18 Let no one rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NIV)
Colossians 2:23 Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but aren't of any value against the indulgence of the flesh. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NIV)
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; (WEB NAS NIV)
Titus 3:2 to speak evil of no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all humility toward all men. (WEB NIV)
James 1:21 Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (WEB NAS)
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. (See NIV)
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: (WEB)
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Psalms 45:4 In your majesty ride on victoriously on behalf of truth, humility, and righteousness. Let your right hand display awesome deeds. (WEB NIV)
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes shame, but with humility comes wisdom. (WEB NIV)
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of Yahweh teaches wisdom. Before honor is humility. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Proverbs 16:19 Better is humility of spirit with the poor, Than to apportion spoil with the proud. (YLT)
Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is proud, but before honor is humility. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Proverbs 22:4 The result of humility and the fear of Yahweh is wealth, honor, and life. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Proverbs 29:23 The pride of man humbleth him, And humility of spirit upholdeth honour. (YLT)
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the land, who have kept his ordinances. Seek righteousness. Seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of Yahweh's anger. (WEB JPS YLT NAS RSV NIV)