settings icon
share icon

What does it mean to clothe yourself with humility (1 Peter 5:5)?

clothe yourself with humility

In 1 Peter 5:5, the apostle writes, “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’” (ESV). The Greek word translated as “clothe” means “to tie round in a knot.” In other words, believers should fasten and gird themselves with humility toward one another. Humble service to one another does not mean that we are inferior to our brothers and sisters in Christ; instead, it shows our willingness to put their needs before our own (see Philippians 2:4).

To make his case for why we should serve one another in humility, Peter says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” The matter is simple: God’s grace is given to those who humble themselves before Him. This truth is also expressed in Proverbs 3:34, but in a much more pointed way: “Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor” (ESV).

In Luke 1:46–56, also known as “The Magnificat,” Mary magnifies the Lord for exalting the humble and humbling the proud:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 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; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever (ESV).

The connection between humiliation (not to be confused with embarrassment) and exaltation is a common New Testament theme. In James 4:10, for instance, James writes, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (ESV). And in 1 Peter 5:6, the apostle advises us to “humble [ourselves], therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt [us]” (ESV).

The ultimate example of humiliation turned to exaltation is Jesus Christ. In Philippians 2:5–11, also known as the “Hymn of Christ,” the apostle Paul describes Christ’s example of humble service. Prior to His incarnation, Christ was in “the form of God” (verse 6, ESV). The word form means the same as having “equality with God.” Although He could have “grasped” and held to His heavenly privileges, He chose to “[empty] Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (verse 7, ESV). He did this not for His own benefit, but for ours (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9). As a human, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8, ESV). The unimaginable pain and suffering of His crucifixion was the ultimate example of humiliation (see Matthew 27:35). Because of His humility, however, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11, ESV).

So, what does it mean to be clothed with humility? It means, quite simply, that we adopt the same attitude or mindset as Christ. Humility, then, is more than lip service to God and others. Rather, it should exude from the wells of our spirits for the world to see: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is heaven” (Matthew 5:16, ESV).

Return to:

Questions about 1 Peter

What does it mean to clothe yourself with humility (1 Peter 5:5)?
Subscribe to the

Question of the Week

Get our Question of the Week delivered right to your inbox!

Follow Us: Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon Instagram icon
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy
This page last updated: April 25, 2024