Building Character

How To Teach Your Kids The Biblical Definition of Humility

Are you concerned about raising an entitled child? Then it’s important that you put effort into teaching your child to be humble. Teaching your kids the definition of humility in the Bible is challenging, but it’s worth it.

As St. Augustine said, “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”

Is it humble for me to give you advice on humility? Probably not. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that true humility is one of the most important lessons in life, so it’s worth pursuing.

What Humility Means in the Bible

Humility by the world’s definition often seems to indicate (to me at least) that you lack self-confidence. But God elevates. Humility in Christianity means getting your confidence from God, who loves and values you more than you do yourself.

Biblical humility means believing what God says about you over anyone else’s opinion, including your own. It requires embracing who you are in Christ over who you are in the flesh. To be biblically humble is to be so free of concern for your own ego that you unreservedly elevate those around you.

bible definition of humility for kids - believing what God says about you over anyone else's opinion, including your own

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How To Define Humility To A Child

The above definition might be too difficult for a young child to understand. So here’s a few different ways to explain biblical humility to a young child.

  • Humility means being willing to learn.
  • To be humble is to be curious about others.
  • Humble people listen because they know they don’t know everything.
  • Humility is believing what God says is more true than what you think.
  • To be humble is to trust that what God says about you is right.

Why Humility Is Important

With this definition of humility it becomes easier to see the benefits that humility has. Gone are the pitfalls of thinking too high or too low of yourself. You are free to be and to think about yourself less.

When your confidence is in Christ alone, you are free to focus on others, treating them with elevated regard, honoring and serving them. You can “consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3, HCSB).

In addition, humility is the virtue that begets all other good virtues. Being humble means being teachable. If you are humble you are ready to learn how to be patient, kind, and most importantly, you are willing to be transformed by God.

Humility is believing what God says about you over anyone else's opinion, including your own. #Christian #humility #humbled Click To Tweet

10 Tips For Teaching Kids Biblical Humility

You may wonder if you can teach someone humility, especially a child. Yes, you can, but it’s not easy.

The most impactful way is to show examples of humility in your own life. As you learn it better yourself, you become better at teaching it.

For extra encouragement you can download theses bible verse coloring pages here for free for you and your kids!

Here’s a few ideas to help you teach humility.

  1. Be a student of your child. One definition of being humble is being teachable. If you want to model humility, you must first get it yourself. The best way to learn humility is to be a student of your child.
  2. Be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19).
  3. Direct your attention and theirs on being curious about and attentive to God and others.
  4. Teach them that every gift is from God and meant to be used to serve and honor others (I Peter 4:10).
  5. Boast in your weaknesses, confess your faults, and redirect personal glory towards God.
  6. Never humiliate your children, but help them navigate humiliation as an opportunity to challenge hidden pride and grow (Proverbs 11:2).
  7. Steer clear of competition and comparison.
  8. Direct their attention to the things of awe which point to the Creator.
  9. Recognize their efforts, but give God the praise for their qualities.
  10. Help them identify examples of humility you see in them and others.

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image of the definition of  humility in the bible for kids

Bible Verses About Being Humble

Some of the greatest examples of humility can be found in the bible. Aside from Jesus, Paul might be one of the best examples and teachers of humility in the bible.

Why is humility so emphasized? I believe it’s because humility is the first most necessary step to salvation. As he said, “unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” And it is a necessary practice after coming to Christ, as practiced when we die to ourselves.

What Paul Said About Humilty

Paul said, “I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, HCSB).

In Romans 12:3 Paul says, “For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.”

In Philippians, Paul says, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3, HCSB).

In I Corinthians 1:28-31, Paul points out that God chooses the weak and the lowly, to put to shame the things that are strong.

“God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something,  so that no one can boast in His presence.  But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.”

Jesus and Humility

How does God teach us humility? The same way we ought to teach our children, by example!

Jesus is the ultimate example of humility. As Paul taught us, “Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

If you want strive to be as humble as Jesus, then you need to surrender to God and what He says about you – over your own or anyone else’s opinions about yourself.

Jesus and the Humility of Children

Christ had a special esteem for the weak and lowly. Jesus welcomed children saying, “Allow the little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to ones like these” (Matthew 19:14).

He drew attention to the humility of children. “In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’

Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them, and said, ‘Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven’” (Matthew 18:1-4).

Jesus specifically taught us not to devalue or judge children, saying, “See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

God calls us to esteem children as Christ did, to value them as a good gift from God. “Behold, children are a heritage of Yahweh. The fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). If we are humble towards children, they will learn humility by our example.

Humility Quotes That Inspire

Even after all of the above you may still feel that true biblically humility is difficult to grasp, much less teach. Or maybe you feel like you get it, but struggle to do it. Well, here’s some inspiring quotes to both focus and motivate you.

Some of these are from Christian leader, but not all. However, many of these are fun quotes to share with the kids.

“If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, “He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.”
― Epictetus

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for? (Fun Fact: this quote is most often wrongly attributed to C.S. Lewis)

“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
(A good one for the kids)

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!”
― C. JoyBell C.

“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Includes edited excerpts from Parenting in Christ: Treasures For Parenting From Jesus

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy:

How to Raise Grateful Kids

How to Deal with An Entitled Teenager

How to Teach Your Kids Biblical Integrity

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Christina Dronen

Christian mom who practices gentle parenting. Author of the Parenting In Christ Bible study discussion guides.

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  1. Marcie Cramsey says:

    I agree, “the best way to learn humility is to be a student of your child.” While children are born with a sinful nature, initially their innocence seems so untainted by the selfishness of this world. The catch is, what are they learning from us as they grow? While not perfect, let’s hope we are striving to teach them by our example how to have the mind and behavior of Christ. Great post!

    1. Thanks so much Marcie. And so true that those first few years are so vital in terms of what our children catch. Do they catch us apologizing or defending our ego?

  2. Brittany says:

    I love how the Bible uses examples of children, and thanks for this amazing reminder about how we are simply vessels. Christ needs to be seen above all else, and we need to become less. This is great 💕

    1. Yes! Christ above all else – and he elevates us. There’s such a stability and peace in getting our identity in Christ.

  3. Annie says:

    I think that’s my biggest parenting takeaway so far – how much about Christ I learn by watching my children. It’s humbling and such a reminder of Jesus’ words. And I totally agree – teaching by example is so effective!

    1. There really is so much to learn from our kids. By worldly standards we wouldn’t expect so, but Jesus sees it differently. And so we should too – it’s a shame when we miss the sweetness and opportunity of learning from our children.

  4. Emily | To Unearth says:

    I love your point about teaching humility as a way to learn humility. It’s amazing how much we learn when we teach! And it can be hard to try to figure out ways to be humble throughout our day, so realizing we need to set an example and teach humility to others is a great way to approach that!

    1. Thanks Emily. 🙂 Great point too – by being aware of our example and our aim in guiding our kids, we can hold ourselves to a higher standard too. Humility really is the mother of all virutes!

  5. Melinda Viergever Inman says:

    “For when I am weak, then I am strong” Beautiful words about humility. When we grasp this, at last, it changes everything! Jesus and Paul modeled it for us. May we all grow in humility as we walk in their steps! Thank you for sharing these insights!

    1. Thanks Melinda 🙂 Yes I think this point from Paul makes it easier to want to be humble. It’s safe. God’s got us covered. Christ is more than willing and able to overcome our weaknesses.

  6. Melissa Henderson says:

    Life would be much nicer if we all practiced humility. 🙂

    1. Seriously!! So much drama comes from ego and insecurity. And how much more connected would we all be if we stayed humble?

  7. Oh I love this post! Humility is so important and not something we often focus on teaching our children. Thanks for sharing…pinned!

    1. Thanks Mary! I really do think it’s hard, but good to teach our kids to be humble. Hope it’s helpful 🙂

  8. I enjoyed this post and the verses you shared, so I pinned it! I really strive to teach my kids to be humble.

    1. Thanks Meghan. So glad you found it encouraging and it’s so good that you are striving to teach your kids humility too 🙂 This world could use more humility right now!

      1. This is not only an article for parents but anyone who needs tor remember that we teach humility by first being humble. I don’t have children but this is something I still need for myself and to model to my nieces and nephew. Thank you for sharing.

        1. Thanks Tona – so true. As Christians we ought to be making disciples of more than just our kids and doing it by example for sure! Your nieces and nephew will be blessed by your humble example 🙂

  9. Christina, this is probably the most wisdom filled post I’ve ever read. Really good and thought provoking. My hubby and I were just talking the other day about how dangerous someone who is into ‘appearances’ is because we’ve been sadly and unfortunately thrown under the bus by someone who was very much into appearances.

    Then I read this and you quoted St Augustine saying, ““Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” I felt like whoa, God wanted me to see this today so I could understand and begin healing. Thank you so much sweet friend. I absolutely love this post and will be sharing it!

    1. Thank you so much Donna! That’s such a sweet compliment. I love that quote from St Augustine and it really proves to be true in life. Being humble is being teachable- how can we grow in any other virtue without being teachable!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with this thoughtful person. I pray God brings you to complete healing and fullness in Him.

  10. Hi! Thank you so much for sharing this list. Also, I appreciate that you included a table of contents function. Learning humility is a lifelong process.

    1. Thanks Adriana – glad you found it helpful. Learning true humility – getting our identity in Christ truly is a lifelong process!! I’m still a work in progress myself.

  11. Dani James says:

    Fantastic tips! I really enjoyed this and learned a bit more about humility for myself too!

    1. Thanks Dani. 🙂 Glad you found it helpful. I think humility is tricky to understand well – at least the Christian meaning of it anyway 😀

  12. Teaching humility is certainly an important characteristic to learn.

    1. It is! And I think teaching it may be even harder than learning it. Sadly, some folks resort to trying to humiliate – which actually has the opposite effect. :S

  13. God resists the proud and gives more grace to the humble, so it’s important we not only teach our children humility but we practise it as well.

    1. Absolutely! Humility especially is better caught than taught..

  14. What an awesome lesson for children to be guided through and learn. Especially when our culture dictates the opposite. May God use your writings to bless and uplift many !

    1. Thanks Ava. I think true humility- getting your identity in Christ – really can’t come without some instruction. But it will reap a lifetime of benefits!

  15. Great tips here for teaching kids humility! and also some great tips for us adults. I especially loved your advice to be a student of our children and reminding us that we need to be humble first.

    1. Thanks Luisa, I’m glad to hear these tips are helpful. It’s so important to be humble first! 🙂

  16. I love your definition of humility. Believing what God says of me over what anyone else, or even myself, thinks. And how modeling humility is the best way to teach it to our children.

    1. Thanks Teresa. I poured over scripture and other though writers on humility. It’s what seemed just right 🙂 The beauty of this definition is that it sometimes elevates you. Like if you think “Oh I’ve got no good purpose,” humility says your opinion is wrong. God says in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It is humble to choose to believe this over your own opinion.

  17. Ohh this is so good!! What a great angle and encouragement! Thanks so much for writing this

    1. Thanks Kari – So glad you liked it. Encouragement is what I aim for 🙂

  18. Wow! This post packed with so many nuggets of wisdom on humility. It is so important we take the time to teach this to our children. I also love your definition of what it means to have biblical humility. So good!

    1. Aw thanks Adriane. 🙂
      I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found some nuggets of wisdom. I hope they bless you.

  19. In a world where there are so many people thinking about themselves, teaching children biblical humility is very important. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your encouraging words Elizabeth. It really is. 🙂

  20. This is such a poignant post! I love the way you explain the difference between the way the world views humility and the way it is shown biblically. Thanks for laying all of this out as a guide for teaching children. Great resource for guiding them in finding their identity in Christ!

    1. Oh thank you Rachel.
      Yes – identity in Christ is absolutely key 🙂 Nail on the head.

  21. This is such a great read. Thank you for this blog post. I know this will come in handy for my kids. Blessings, Joni

    1. Thanks Joni. I’m so glad you found it helpful 🙂 Blessings to you!

  22. Teaching our kiddos humility is so important for them and for the communities they will be a part of.

    1. So true, Mamie! There’s a shortage of humility today causing too much havoc, if you ask me. It’s so important to learn it while they’re young. Arrogance can also be caught if we aren’t careful.

  23. I like your definition of humility. And I agree that teaching humility to our children starts with us as parents living it out daily.

    1. Thanks Summer. I think it’s a more encouraging definition than what we most often hear about -but of course, living it is the most important thing!

  24. Hannah says:

    Amazing words of wisdom has been shared in this post, I love your definition of humility and all the tips you shared. I pray for the grace to be able to put these words into practice. God bless you 🙏

    1. Thank you so much Hannah. I have same prayer 🙂

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