Sermon quotes on humility

Augustine of Hippo

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.

Edmund Burke

True humility-the basis of the Christian system-is the low but deep and firm foundation of all virtues.

Winston S. Churchill

The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.


John Climacus

An angel fell from Heaven without any other passion except pride, and so we may ask whether it is possible to ascend to Heaven by humility alone, without any other of the virtues.

Stanley Hauerwas

Only the one true God can take the risk of ruling by relying on the power of humility and love.

Charles Hodge

The doctrines of grace humble a man without degrading him and exalt him without inflating him.

T.B. Joshua

True humility means total dependence on God for everything.

Joshua Choonmin Kang

Humility brings peace, for when we reach the low place, we needn’t worry about falling down anymore.

The Spirituality of Gratitude 

Joshua Choonmin Kang

[God’s] greatest grace is found at the lowest place

The Spirituality of Gratitude 


Timothy Keller

The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. 


Thomas a Kempis

Let this be thy whole Endeavour, this thy prayer, this thy desire, that thou mayest be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only.

Spencer W. Kimball

Humility is royalty without a crown.


C.S. Lewis

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

C. S. Lewis

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

A Mind Awake: An Anthology of C. S. Lewis 

Thomas Merton

The mission of Christian humility in social life is not merely to edify, but to keep minds open to many alternatives. The rigidity of a certain type of Christian thought has seriously impaired this capacity, which nonviolence must recover.


Andrew Murray

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.


Andy Murray

The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us in our daily conduct.


John Newton

I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master.

Eugene Peterson

St. Paul tells us that Jesus Christ, the revelation of God become human, “set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death-and the worst kind of death at that: crucifixion” (Phil. 2:5-8, The Message) In other words, when God became man, revealing to us our sheer humanity, he didn’t come in the form of a superhuman, but “experienced the poverty of human existence more deeply and more excruciatingly than any other man could.” He became absolutely poor and of no account: ‘a root out of dry ground…no form or comeliness…despised and rejected…we esteemed him not” (Isa. 53:2-3 RSV)

Tell it Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in his Stories and Prayers

Eugene Peterson

And yet I decide, every day, to set aside what I can do best and attempt what I do very clumsily–open myself to the frustrations and failures of loving, daring to believe that failing in love is better than succeeding in pride.

Source Unknown

If pride turned some of the angels into demons, then humility can doubtless make angels out of demons.

Symeon the New Theologian

A person who suffers bitterly when slighted or insulted should recognize from this that he still harbors the ancient serpent in his breast. If he quietly endures the insult or responds with great humility, he weakens the serpent and lessens its hold. But if he replies acrimoniously or brazenly, he gives it strength to pour its venom into his heart and to feed mercilessly on his guts. In this way the serpent becomes increasingly powerful; it destroys his soul’s strength and his attempts to set himself right, compelling him to live for sin and to be completely dead to righteousness.

Henri Nouwen 

When he found himself desiring to be treated as one of the pigs, he realized he was not a pig but a human being, a son of his father. This realization became the basis for his choice to live instead of die.

David Brooks

Humility is freedom from the need to prove you are superior all the time, but egotism is a ravenous hunger in a small space—self-concerned, competitive, and distinction-hungry. Humility is infused with lovely emotions like admiration, companionship, and gratitude.

The Road to Character

Timothy Keller

Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves.

Timothy Keller

Mary was a nobody who became greater than everybody, simply because God came to her and she responded in the humblest possible way. She reasoned, she doubted, she surrendered, she connected with others. You can, too.

The Mother of God (Encounters with Jesus Series Book 10) Penguin Publishing Group.

Jerry Bridges

The character trait of humility is the second-most frequently taught trait in the New Testament, second only to love.

The Blessing of Humility, The Navigators.

Jerry Bridges 

In the Greco-Roman world of Paul’s day, humility was a despised trait. They viewed it as a sign of weakness. And our culture today is no different from that world of two thousand years ago. Maybe it’s a little different in our Christian circles. We may even admire humility in someone else, but we have little desire to practice it ourselves.

The Blessing of Humility, The Navigators

Timothy Keller

Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves.

Timothy Keller

Mary was a nobody who became greater than everybody, simply because God came to her and she responded in the humblest possible way. She reasoned, she doubted, she surrendered, she connected with others. You can, too.

The Mother of God (Encounters with Jesus Series Book 10) Penguin Publishing Group.

Theophan the Recluse

The invincible weapon against all our enemies is humility.

Jonathan Edwards

It is true that he [Christ] has awful majesty; he is the great God, and is infinitely high above you; but there is this to encourage and embolden the poor sinner, that Christ is a man as well as God; … and he is the most humble and lowly in heart of any creature in heaven or earth…. You need not hesitate one moment; but may run to him, and cast yourself upon him…. Whatever your circumstances are, you need not be afraid to come to such a Savior as this…. Be you never so poor, and mean, and ignorant a creature, there is no danger of being despised; for though he be so much greater than you, he is also immensely more humbled than you.

Sermon: “The Excellency of Christ.”

Martin Luther

The Son of God did not want to be seen and found in heaven. Therefore he descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh, laid himself into the womb of his mother and into the manger and went on to the cross. This was the ladder that he placed on earth so that we might ascend to God on it. This is the way you must take.

Augustine of Hippo

If you ask me what is the first precept of the Christian religion, I will answer first, second and third, Humility.

John Chrysostom

Humility is the garden of all the virtues.

Dallas Willard

I have a lot to be humble about.

William Sloan Coffin

There is no smaller package in the world than a man wrapped up in himself.

Richard G. Capen Jr.

Of all the values at our disposal, humility seems to be the least attractive. You don’t see many television ads or billboards extolling the virtues of humility, do you?

Living the Values That Take You the Distance (New York, Harper, 1996), p.80.

Millard Erickson

What he was attempting to instill in his disciples was the attitude of a servant: humility and a willingness to put others ahead of oneself. In that culture, washing the feet of others would symbolize such an attitude. But in another culture, some other act might more appropriately convey the same truth. Because we find humility taught elsewhere in Scripture without mention of footwashing (Matt.20:27, 23:10-12; Phil.2:3), we conclude that the attitude of humility, not the particular act of footwashing as such, is the permanent component in Christ’s teaching.

Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), p.131.

C.S. Lewis 

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.

G.K. Chesterton.

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

Orthodoxy, 121.

Source Unknown

The way up is to go down; the way down is to go up.

Eugene Cho

Be humble. The world is bigger than your view of the world. And certainly, God is much bigger than your view of God.

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

[Humility is] to become like Jesus in his willingness to choose the hidden way of love rather than the way of power.

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Practices that Transform Us, InterVarsity Press, 2005, p.12.

Madeleine L’Engle

Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.

G.K. Chesterton

What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth.

Orthodoxy (New York: Garden City, 1959), p.31-32.

G.K. Chesterton

The secret of life lies in laughter and humility.

Brett Hansen

I’ve learned that Jesus is both terribly dangerous and terribly safe. For the proud, he is the biggest threat imaginable. And for the humble, he is the securest refuge.

The Truth about Us: The Very Good News about How Very Bad We Are, Baker Publishing Group.

Eric Greitens

I begin with humility, I act with humility, I end with humility. Humility leads to clarity. Humility leads to an open mind and a forgiving heart. With an open mind and a forgiving heart, I see every person as superior to me in some way; with every person as my teacher, I grow in wisdom. As I grow in wisdom, humility becomes ever more my guide. I begin with humility, I act with humility, I end with humility.

Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, HMH Books, 2015, p.3.

Charles Hodge

We could search the world over, but we could not find a man so low, so degraded, or so far below the social, economic, and moral norms that we have established for ourselves that he had not been created in the image of God.

Systematic Theology, Vol.2, Scribner, 1965, p.99.

Thomas à Kempis

Love to be unknown.

John Milton

But what will not Ambition and Revenge Descend to?

Who aspires must down as low

As high he sor’d, obnoxious first or last

To basest things.

Paradise Lost

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Humility. 


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