What the Bible Teaches



Chapter 160

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Meekness and Humility

160.070.000       Torrey: p139, T:VII
Topic 70:   The Meekness of Jesus Christ.

160.070.010       Torrey: p139, T:VII, P:1
POINT 10:   In biblical usage, meekness means gentleness, caring, lack of contentiousness. It is not mere submission to injustice out of fear, weakness or lack of strength of moral character.

      Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

   Many people are bothered by this passage, because it seems out of character with the rest of the Bible. Would anyone really want to live forever on an Earth where those in charge lacked courage, the wisdom to recognize what is just and the strength to stand up for it? Did Jesus really die so a bunch of "wimps" could be put in charge?

   The biblical concept of meekness must not be confused with "wimpiness," i.e., fear, weakness, lack of strength of moral character, lack of the courage of one's convictions. Jesus was meek, and yet He spoke out boldly, even knowing that it would lead to torture and execution.

      1 Corinthians 4:21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?

      2 Corinthians 10:1 By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you -- I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away!

      Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

      2 Timothy 2:24-25 [24] And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. [25] Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

      Titus 3:1-2 [1] Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, [2] to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

   In biblical usage, meekness is that attitude of mind that is opposed to harshness and contentiousness, and that shows itself in gentleness and tenderness in dealing with others. The thought of "meekness" as "patient submissiveness under injustice and injury," does not seem to be the prominent thought in the Bible usage of the word. The thought rather of gentleness in dealing with and correcting the errors of others seems to be the predominant thought.

   Viewed in this light, it is clear why "the meek ... will inherit the earth" -- God wants people in charge who think and act as He would.

160.070.020       Torrey: p139, T:VII(1), P:1
POINT 20:   Jesus Christ was meek.

      Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

      2 Corinthians 10:1 By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you -- I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away!

      Matthew 21:5 Say to the Daughter of Zion, "See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

160.072.000       Torrey: p140, T:VII(2)
Topic 72:   How the Meekness of Christ was Manifested.

160.072.010       Torrey: p140, T:VII(2), P:1
POINT 10:   The meekness of Jesus Christ was manifested in His not breaking the bruised reed or quenching the smoking flax.

      Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.

   Christ dealt tenderly with the broken, and cherished the fire that had well-nigh gone out.

160.072.020       Torrey: p140, T:VII(2), P:2
POINT 20:   The meekness of Jesus Christ was manifested in His gently telling the outrageous but penitent sinner that her sins were forgiven and to go in peace.

      Luke 7:38, 48, 50 [38] and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. [48] Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." [50] Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

160.072.030       Torrey: p140, T:VII(2), P:3
POINT 30:   The meekness of Jesus Christ was manifested in His tenderly saying to the poor afflicted one who had tried to steal the blessing unseen by any: "Daughter, your faith has healed you."

      Mark 5:33-34 [33] Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. [34] He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

160.072.040       Torrey: p140, T:VII(2), P:4
POINT 40:   The meekness of Jesus Christ was manifested in the gentleness with which He rebuked the stubborn unbelief of doubting Thomas.

      John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

160.072.050       Torrey: p141, T:VII(2), P:5
POINT 50:   The meekness of Jesus Christ was manifested in the tenderness with which He rebuked Peter's self-confidence and subsequent unfaithfulness and thrice-repeated and flagrant denial of his Lord.

      John 21:15-17 [15] When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." [16] Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." [17] The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

160.072.060       Torrey: p141, T:VII(2), P:6
POINT 60:   The meekness of Jesus Christ was manifested in His gentle, tender and pleading reproof of Judas Iscariot, His betrayer.

      John 13:21, 27 [21] After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me." [27] As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. "What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him

160.072.070       Torrey: p141, T:VII(2), P:7
POINT 70:   The meekness of Jesus Christ was manifested in His praying for His murderers.

      Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

160.080.000       Torrey: p141, T:VIII
Topic 80:   The Humility of Jesus Christ (Main Topic)

160.080.005       Torrey: no
POINT 5:   Humility defined.


   Like "meek", "humble" is a word that is often misunderstood and a quality that is often viewed as a weakness. Funk and Wagnalls defines "humble" (in part) as: free from pride or vanity; modest; unpretentious; respectful.

160.080.010       Torrey: p141, T:VIII, P:1
POINT 10:   Jesus Christ was humble in heart.

      Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

160.082.000       Torrey: p141, T:VIII(2)
Topic 82:   How the Humility of Jesus Manifested Itself.

160.082.010       Torrey: p141, T:VIII(2), P:1
POINT 10:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His not seeking His own glory.

      John 8:50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.

160.082.020       Torrey: p141, T:VIII(2), P:2
POINT 20:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His avoiding publicity and praise.

      Isaiah 42:2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.

   Many professed followers of Jesus Christ court publicity. He shunned it. He strictly charged those whom He had benefited not to make it known. He had no advertising agency.

160.082.030       Torrey: p142, T:VIII(2), P:3
POINT 30:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His associating with the despised and outcast.

      Matthew 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples.

      Luke 15:1-2 [1] Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. [2] But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

160.082.040       Torrey: p142, T:VIII(2), P:4
POINT 40:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His patient submission to outrageous injury and injustice.

      Isaiah 50:5-6 [5] The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. [6] I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.

160.082.050       Torrey: p142, T:VIII(2), P:5
POINT 50:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in silence under outrageous injury and injustice.

      Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

160.082.060       Torrey: p143, T:VIII(2), P:6
POINT 60:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His silence under false accusations.

      1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

      Matthew 26:60-63 [60] But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward [61] and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'" [62] Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" [63] But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."

      Luke 23:8-10 [8] When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. [9] He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. [10] The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.

   Jesus did not defend His own good name. He left that to God. He "committed Himself to Him that judges righteously," and to the One who has given Him "the name that is above every name."

      Philippians 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,


   Reviser's Note: We are often encouraged to "act like Jesus." Jesus submitted to injustice for a unique reason -- to open a path to salvation for all men. This is one instance in which we should not act like Jesus. It has often been said that "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." By failing to speak out against false accusations, we become co-conspirators

160.082.070       Torrey: p143, T:VIII(2), P:7
POINT 70:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His coming to minister and not to be ministered to.

      Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

160.082.080       Torrey: p143, T:VIII(2), P:8
POINT 80:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His performing the most humble and menial and repulsive services for others.

      John 13:4-5 [4] so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. [5] After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

160.082.090       Torrey: p143, T:VIII(2), P:9
POINT 90:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His choosing the lowliest place of service as a slave, instead of the loftiest place of glory as God.

      Philippians 2:6-7 [6] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, [7] but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

160.082.100       Torrey: p143, T:VIII(2), P:10
POINT 100:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His being "obedient to death, even death on a cross."

      Philippians 2:8 [8] And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!


   Most Christians incorrectly believe that crucifixion was the normal Roman method of execution. It is believed that crucifixion was developed by the Persians about 600 B.C. (which makes the prophetic description of Christ's crucifixion in Psalm 22 all the more significant, since crucifixion did not exist when the Psalm was written). Also, cruel as the Romans were, even they reserved crucifixion mainly for the worst criminals and some political prisoners.

   Also, crucifixion was not merely a slow, brutal, torturous method of execution; it was considered an utterly disgraceful method of execution. It was viewed as such a disgrace that first-century Jews usually refused to bury persons who had been crucified, often leaving their corpses out in the open to rot or be eaten by animals. This is the manner of death that Jesus freely accepted because the Father willed it.

160.082.112       Torrey: no
POINT 112:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His becoming man.

   Jesus Christ is and always has been God. He is and always had been omniscient. He is and always had been all-powerful. Merely by becoming a man He gave up more power than we can even imagine, more than a man would give up by becoming an amoeba.

160.082.122       Torrey: no
POINT 122:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His being a respectful son to His earthly parents.

   Note: At one point during the wedding at Cana, Jesus addresses Mary as "Woman, ...." Although in English it seems surly and condescending for a son to address his mother as "Woman", in Aramaic such usage did not have negative connotations.

160.082.132       Torrey: no
POINT 132:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His being willing to die for people who have sinned against Him, often repeatedly.

   A proud man, an arrogant man, would say "Why should I suffer for people I cannot trust, people who wrong me, ask my forgiveness, and then wrong me again?"

160.082.142       Torrey: no
POINT 142:   The humility of Jesus Christ was manifested in His being willing to die for people who He knew would never accept Him and who would never be thankful for His sacrifice.


   Jesus did not die so that all men will be saved; He died so that each man can be saved. The Bible makes it clear that those whose names were not written in the book of the living before the creation of the world will not be saved. Revelation 20:15 Jesus knew this, yet He still died not only for the righteous, but also for these.

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