Clothe Yourself With Humility

by Mike Ratliff

[5] 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.” [6] Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, [7] casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:5-7 ESV)

Humility was not considered a virtue in the ancient world any more than it is in our day and time. Oh, it is given lip service here and there, but what I have seen get the most attention from people is arrogance that is rooted in pride. When this is rampant in the world it is understandable, but when so-called Christian leaders become so puffed up with their own importance that they refuse to listen to any constructive criticism whatsoever nor will they change the course of their ministries in case they may damage their public image, well, those are men living according to the flesh not in the Spirit. The imperative in the passage above is not just for leaders. It is for all of us. We know this since it is in the context of being subject to our elders. Let’s look at it a bit closer.

5 Ὁμοίως, νεώτεροι, ὑποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις· πάντες δὲ ἀλλήλοις τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην ἐγκομβώσασθε, ὅτι [ὁ] θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται, ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν. 6 Ταπεινώθητε οὖν ὑπὸ τὴν κραταιὰν χεῖρα τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα ὑμᾶς ὑψώσῃ ἐν καιρῷ, 7 πᾶσαν τὴν μέριμναν ὑμῶν ἐπιρίψαντες ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν, ὅτι αὐτῷ μέλει περὶ ὑμῶν. (1 Peter 5:5-7 NA27)

5 Likewise, younger men, be submissive to elders. All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes proud men, but to humble men he gives grace. 6 Therefore, be humbled under the mighty hand of God that you may be exalted in due time, 7 having cast all of your anxiety upon him because it matters to him concerning you. (1 Peter 5:5-7 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

The “likewise” in v5 translates the adverb ὁμοίως or homoiōs and could have been rendered as “similarly” for it is referring back to Peter’s instructions in 5:1-4 to elders, the shepherds of the flock. This part of the passage is written to νεώτεροι or neōteroi, “ new, young.” This is everyone who is not an elder or pastors or spiritual leaders of the church. The church members, the νεώτεροι are to give honor, deference, and respect to spiritual maturity (1 Corinthians 15:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14; Titus 3:1,2; Hebrews 13:7,17). Look at the examples in our time where young so-called Christian leaders in the new-Evangelicalism have done the exact opposite, refusing to listen to those who are older and more mature.

How are we to live before others? We are to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another. The words “clothe yourselves with” translates the Greek verb ἐγκομβώσασθε or enkombōsasthe the Aorist tense, Imperative mood, Middle voice case of ἐγκομβόομαι or enkomboomai, “dress, clothe.” The Aorist, Imperative denotes a command, request, or entreaty. It is used for general exhortations and for things that must be begun at that very moment. The Middle voice makes this somewhat reflexive in that we are told to do something to ourselves or with ourselves. In the Greek, the verb meaning is to tie something on oneself with a knot or a bow. It was often used of a slave putting on an apron over his clothes in order to keep his clothes clean. What is this telling us then? Humility or “lowly mindedness” is an attitude that one is not too good to serve.

In v6 we are told that we are to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. We are to submit when hardships come. When we are wrongfully accused or we are discovered to have some disease or one of our children is in rebellion or we have suffered some great financial loss or we have lost our job or we were a Bible teacher at church and were falsely accused by liars with another agenda and so lost our position or our church’s leadership decided to go seeker sensitive and no matter how well we challenge their decision, no one listens, et cetera. You see, these humbling scenarios come in all sorts of designs and conditions and from every conceivable direction and yet, if we will obey this command to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God in the midst of what does not make any sense to us, we have this promise, “be humbled under the mighty hand of God that you may be exalted in due time having case all of your anxiety upon him because it matters to him concerning you.” God will lift up the suffering, submissive believers in his wisely appointed time just as he did his servant Job.

Where is your heart my brethren?

Soli Deo Gloria!

11 thoughts on “Clothe Yourself With Humility

  1. Col 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

    For an interesting slant on this conversation; what is “false humility”?


  2. I’ve seen so many men fall into a prideful stance because they hold the office of a SERVANT to the people in the local church. Peter, who was not the first Pope, gave excellent advise to those who serve in the office of elder: “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1 – 3, ESV).

    All who serve Christ, in an office or not, have NOTHING to be proud of. We are to be humble, thankful creatures who realize we have been saved from God by God and have nothing to boast about – except God!


  3. That’s right Manfred, that is why we must stand firm in the doctrines that make it clear that our Salvation is all of God’s Sovereign Work complete in Christ. All in Christ are so because of the what God has done, not what they have done. None deserve it, none have earned it. Those in authority are only usable when they know this as well and so God must make each of us broken vessels, often to the point that we walk with a limp and are seen as outcasts by most who call themselves Christians, but God uses those who humble themselves under the mighty hand of God this way and so are usable in the Kingdom.


  4. Humility comes with an acknowledgment of knowing who the Sovereign, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe is, His Holiness, His Excellencies and a realization of who we, as mere creatures, really are in our depravity and inability. This only comes by God’s grace. The more we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the more we see ourselves for who we really are, the more grateful, thankful, and humble a person will be. Soli Deo Gloria!


  5. Humility—“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”-Proverbs 11:2

    People want wisdom but they don’t want to humble themselves–I shake my head in sadness as I’ve come across many Christians who are saved, but they are indifferent and provincial with God’s transcending love.

    Obviously they’ve put Jesus on the bookshelf. If you spend time with Jesus and find out how humble and gentle he truly is in heart, there’s no way a person can leave and not want to treat others the same way. The truest JOY I’ve ever known is treating others the way I’m learning how Jesus treats me and when I do put it into practice, the JOY is giving HIM all the glory and honor and I find the most delight in the Lord!

    Btw Mike your countenance on your face is so kind and humble. Thanks for the wonderful post


  6. Dear Mike,

    Thank you.
    “When wisdom enters your heart,
    And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
    Discretion will preserve you;
    Understanding will keep you,
    To deliver you from the way of evil…” Proverbs 2:10-12

    I praise God for allowing you to be a voice of godly wisdom.

    In humbleness of heart, charisse


  7. it’s so sweet to trust in Jesus,,, Charisse,Thank you for that Proverb “I did eat those words and they are so sweet in my mouth


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