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Prominence Without Pride

Updated on January 27, 2010

TITLE                         :           Prominence Without Pride

TOPIC/LESSON      :           James: Apostle of Practical Christianity – Lesson 1

TEXT                          :           Selected Scriptures (James)

THRUST                   :           The purpose of this lesson is for the student to exercise                                                   humility in different areas of the Christian life and                                                                service.


·        Share someone you know who you admire for his humility

·        “The humble man will not be thinking about his humility.  He will not be thinking about himself at all.” (C.S. Lewis)


1.      Humility Defined

·        Humility was not a new word when the New Testament was written, but in those days being humble means being coward.

·        Secular authors used the word “humility” negatively.  It was a word for slaves.

·        But Jesus took a despised term, and both by example and in His teachings, redefine the meaning of humility and made it a crowning grace.

·        Mathew 5:5

·        Today, dictionaries define humility as “the absence of pride or self-assertion.”

·        The Old Testament word closes to humility is the Hebrew word anawah which means gentleness and implies suffering.

·        The New Testament writers used the Greek word, Tapeinophrosurne, which means lowliness of mind.

2.      Humility Demonstrated

2.1.  In Christ’s incarnation

·        What is Christ’s true identity?  Despite Christ’s true nature, what did Jesus do for us?

·        Philippians 2:5-7

·        Notice also that in James 1:1, the apostle referred to himself as the “servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  James recognized the deity of Christ by placing Him co-equal with God.

·        James probably remembered the times he spent with his brother Jesus.  In spite of Jesus’ deity, James witnessed Jesus’ full humanity and how he lived as s true servant.  James humility was passion after the lifestyle of his brother and Lord, Jesus Christ.

   2.2.  James identity

·        What are the possible reasons for James to be proud of?

o       He is the half brother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

o       The Lord personally appear to him after the resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:7).

o       He held a prominent position being one of the foremost leaders of the early church.

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·        You can just imagine how the early believers  turned to James for counsel.  Surely, he had many valuable insights to share to them growing up in the same homes as Jesus.

   2.3.  In James’ introduction

·        Despite  James’ privileged position   in the early church, how did he introduce himself?

·        James 1:1

·        James did not engage in name-dropping or boasting by compiling an impressive list of credentials in his resume.  Instead James presented himself as a servant. The Greek word James used to refer to himself is doulos which means a slave.

 2.4.  In James’ instruction

·        Some Bible students say James’ materials was well-organized, while others have been unable to discern a clear pattern in various topics he dealt with.  But James’ original Hebrew audience did not find his apparently rambling style difficult at all.

·        One of the Hebrew words for preaching is charaz, which literally means stringing beads. So James letter may be likened to a handful of pearl being dropped one by one to the reader’s mind.

·        Hence, James’ teaching method of quickly moving from one topic to another, pulling together familiar proverbs and teachings from Christ into  forceful and prophetic sounding sermon is a normal teaching style among Hebrews.

·        How can we express humility in various areas of Christian life and service based on James’ teachings?

            2.4.1.  Humility in rejoicing in One’s Social condition.

                        James 1:09-10

            A man should maintain humility even though he becomes rich. For one cannot place his perfect security in wealth, for he cannot bring it with him when he dies.

2.4.2. Humility in receiving God’s word.

            James 1: 21-25

            A man must be humble in accepting moral instructions from the Word of God.  He must honor what the Bible says on certain moral issues.  He must accept God’s Word as the Supreme authority when it comes to morality.

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2.4.3.  Humility in Remembering the Poor

            James 1:27

            James 2:1-3

            A true humble person practices charity.  He is concern after the plight of the poor in the society and do something to alleviate their burden.  A true humble person shows no favoritism in treating his fellow man.  He will treat both rich and poor equally.

2.4.4. Humility in Resisting False Motive in Service.

            James 3:1  / James 3:13

            A true humble person has wisdom in giving caution to those who want to achieve leadership position in the church.

2.4.5.  Humility in Relating with One Another.

James 3:16-17         

            A true humble person has great consideration, esteem, mercy, sincerity in dealing with other people. He esteem others better than himself.  He is not partial in his judgments. 

2.4.6. Humility in Responding to God.

James 4:6, 10

            A true humble person never resist God’s discipline and dealings with him.  He is submissive to God’s plan for his life.  He never question the ways of God.  He never grumble in times of trials and difficulties.  He trust completely God’s wisdom.


·        What areas of your life do you need to cultivate humility?


                        “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

                        (James 4:10)


Bible Knowledge Commentary

James: Apostle of Practical Christianity by Robert P. Lightner and Bernard Thompson.

This Bible study material was prepared By Ramil Dizon cell group leader of Grace Bible Church Professionals Ministry.


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    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi DeBorrah K. Ogans it is very encouraging to read your comment. Thank you for gracing this hub. REmain blessed and best regards.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Crisitina, Wonderful enjoyable insightful read on humility! As you stated: "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

      Beautiful! Thank you for sharing, In His Love & Blessings!

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi Dave Mathews nice to hear from you. It is very encouraging to read your comment. In fact attaining the virtue of humility is a lifelong process. God's humbling process is a lifelong process. We should never cease from improving on the virtue of humility as long as we live. It is like pursuing christlikeness, it should never stop. Remain blessed always.

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi SaintatLarge nice to hear from you. Thank for dropping by and it is very encouraging to read your comment. Remain blessed always.

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi Unchained Grace thank you for taking time to read this hub. Thank you also for additional insights. Truly it is the Lord who sees the heart of every person. God will deal properly with every hypocrisy, nothing will escape His knowledge. Let us continue to trust His wisdom. Remain blessed always.

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi RevLady nice to hear from you again. Thanks for an encouraging comment. Remain blessed.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      8 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Cristina, thank you so very much for opening our eyes, and teaching us or re-teaching us the meaning of Humility, a lesson so many of us seem not only lacking in thought as well as practice. Humbleness is one of the hardest things to achieve especially when we desire to cry out, look at me, look what I have accomplished, see how good I am.

    • Saintatlarge profile image

      Saint Lawrence 

      8 years ago from Canada

      cristina, nice job on this hub. i am one who enjoys the simplicity of teaching from the practical in life. Humility is the small "c" in christian and the big "C" in Christlikeness. Blessings, L.

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 

      8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      In the five chapters in James, he focuses on more than five different subjects while chapter three appears to focus predominantly on the venomous tongue. I've found it to be a short, but very powerful tool in both Bible Studies and spreading God's Word in that James was a plain speaking individual. Left very little open to different interpretation other than what was initially intended.

      In terms of humility, meek does not mean weak. Never did, but the boisterous ones in our lives often mistake it for just that. One thing which has crossed my path often is the misinterpretation of promotion and humility.

      In a city with over 1,800 registered churches, it is paramount that you must promote yourself, your events and your organization for the sole purpose of developing recognition and visibility in order to bring in those who are effectively pulled 1800 different ways.

      You will note I did not say "glorify" in any way. When an organization or individual is recognized for something, they attain a level of visibility. Someone knows what you're doing and now has the option to react.

      When your focus is to help a group which is virtually ignored by the bureaucrats and politicians, you have to reach out for resources and some form of assistance. There's no getting around that. Until you have actually been in this position, the charlatans whining from their ivory towers will attempt to rebuke you for "hustling" in God's name. Guess what? When God gave us the vision of working with the homeless, gangbangers, prostitutes and substance abusers, we knew we'd be up against it. However, since very few of God's Chosen Hypocrites care to do anything, it leaves us with following through God's Vision.

      Perhaps my manner of speaking does not sound humble to you or anyone else. You gotta fight out here. This type of outreach ain't the cozy little green room of TBN nor is it the self-righteous shield of those who preach deliverance and leave it at that.

      Deliverance at street level in a city like Baltimore requires a personality type born of experience. God can use our past as a refined gift for completing His Vision.

    • RevLady profile image


      8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      One of the marks of the Christian is our humility. Thank you for this thorough explanation of what it means to be humble in spirit.


      Forever His,


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