Bible verses about Self-Love
The term “self-love” can be described in two different ways; biblical and worldly. Worldly self-love is full of envy, corrupted, and malicious thoughts. On the other hand, biblical self-love is a selfless, God-centered love where we accept who we are in Christ.
And the freedom and confidence we have in ourselves because of our faith in Him. So let’s take a deep dive into self-love and what the Word of God has to say about it.
1. 1 Peter 3:4 ”Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
Now even though Peter was speaking specifically to Christian wives, he was also speaking to the characteristics of Christians in general. Paul is addressing the fact that what God needs from us is not our outward appearance, though still important in terms of modesty, but more importantly, is a heart set on the Lord.
That non perishable, unfading beauty of a humble and quiet spirit. One who is willing to live by faith. So as beings made in His perfect image, fearfully and wonderfully made, remember you are altogether beautiful, and precious in his sight.
2. Romans 2:8 ”But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath.”
Paul is conveying here that glory and eternal life await those who earnestly seek God’s face [v.7]. However, for those who are self-seeking and continue to live in unrighteousness, they will receive God’s fury and wrath. Choosing to live for our own selfish desires, only puts us in bad standing with God.
So if we want to please Him, then we cannot continue living only to please ourselves. One day we will be judged according to our work, and as such we have to make sure we live a life of obedience to the Word so that on that day we can hear “Well done.”
3. Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
The Bible tells us that we are in the world but not of the world [John 17:14-16]. Which means as believers we are to live and breathe the word of God. Not allowing our “fleshy” desires to lead us down a dark path.
Paul is urging believers to stop running after what the world can offer us and start seeking our happiness in God. There is no profit in gaining the world because at that point we will lose our soul.
We have to move away from this “me-first” mentality and transform our minds so we can live according to the perfect will of God.
4. Romans 15:1-3 “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
Paul’s letter to the church was to make clear that those who were strong in faith should seek to help those whose faith is weaker. We shouldn’t be so self-pleasing that we push aside the ones who are struggling or lack certain knowledge of the Gospel.
After all, God didn’t work to please himself. We are servants of God and therefore we are to serve, not be served. Paul is also encouraging the strong to not take advantage of the weak. In a way, we are to be each others’ crutch and play our part in the Great Commission [Matthew 28:16-20].
5. Philippians 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
In his letter, Paul is declaring the importance of humility. He is instructing us not to act self-focused but rather others-focused. It is not a good thing to belittle others so we can feel better about ourselves. Godly love does not envy or boast or tear down one another.
As Children of God, we should walk in His example by putting away selfish ambitions. This “holier than thou” mentality does not qualify us for the Kingdom of God. If we are indeed believers of Christ, then we are to act Christ-like and remember not to be so caught up in going to heaven that we forget to take others with us.
6. Mark 12:31 “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
An important part of being true Christians is thinking of others and learning how to love them as ourselves. Here, Jesus was asked by a scribe “Of all the commandments, which was the greatest?”
In which He replied that the first is loving God with all our hearts, then secondly, loving our neighbors as ourselves. And our neighbor doesn’t just mean the person next door to us but also the strangers we meet on the street.
Being self-centered and only looking out for “me” alienates us from others and God. And so while it is okay to love and respect ourselves we also need to show others that same love and respect.
7. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Even though the text says a “new” commandment it doesn’t necessarily mean new since it seems to be a regular theme throughout the scriptures. When Christ took our sins to the cross, it wasn’t because he was forced to but it was His steadfast love for us.
And His many examples of humility is the foundation on which we as believers should build our Christian life. And by spending time in God’s presence, His perfect power and love will shine through us and pour out to others.
8. 2 Timothy 3:1-4” But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good. Traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
It is no secret that we are now living in the last days. A time that Paul warned us will come. A time where we have to be on our guard.
He also gave a description of what the nature of people will look like, one of which is that they will be more concerned about pleasing themselves rather than pleasing God. People will even state that they are Christians but will have no form of Christ in them. This all stems from the love of self.
And so it is important more than ever that we stand firm on who we are and what we are called to do. Not to let pride, money, hatred, self-love, and other forms of ungodliness deter us from being true Christians.
9. Proverbs 16:5 “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”
The lord said that punishment and judgment await those who are proud in heart. When we are prideful and put “self” before everything else it takes us down a very dark path.
One where we begin to live for ourselves, relying on our own capabilities for happiness. But living life that way will cause us to miss out on the blessing that God has for you and the blessing of others through us. If you think too highly of yourself, God will show you how small you are.
So it doesn’t matter how rich, well-educated, or well-dressed we are if our heart is black and nasty. What God wants from us is a clean, willing and humble heart. The Bible says God resists the proud, and it is the humble hearts who will receive mercy and grace.
10. Proverbs 19:8 “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.”
The Word of God is like food for our souls, food that it needs in order to grow. And so when we read the Bible and seek knowledge, the Bible says we indeed love ourselves and are doing a great kindness to our soul.
However it is not only important to gain knowledge, but it is also to retain that knowledge. Similarly, if you hate yourself you won’t care about your health, but once you do, you will do everything you can to take care of it. So it is all about gaining, retaining and exercising his Word.
11. Proverbs 22:4 “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.”
The word humility means thinking lowly of ourselves. And no, it doesn’t mean we should have low self-esteem, it is just admitting we are no better than anyone else and that without God we are nothing. It is an act of thinking about others and not constantly praising ourselves.
The Bible states that both humility and the fear of the Lord are qualities every believer should have in order to reap the benefits God has for us. And that we may receive a life full of riches, honor and blessing in abundance.
12. Proverbs 27:2 “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.”
It is important that as believers we should avoid self-praise because it is a recipe for disaster. Praise should come from others who see our good work and not from our own mouths. And yes, at times it is easier said than done, I mean who doesn’t have moments when we enjoy talking about ourselves. However, an excessive amount of this is called boasting.
Think of it like being in the presence of someone and all they talk about is themselves, annoying right? So saying that to say this, self-promotion in all its forms is not a good quality to have and it’s certainly not pleasing to God.
13. Galatians 5:24-26 “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Paul’s message to Christians is that once you have a desire to follow Christ then you have to crucify the flesh and its desires. Now, this is not saying we should nail ourselves to a cross and kill ourselves, but rather learn to sacrifice self-seeking desires.
He also says that when we put flesh over the spirit of God we become conceited, provoking and envious, which leads to self-promotion. If we are to truly live in the Spirit, that requires being submissive to God. And so before we become self-destructive, Paul says let’s learn to walk by Spirit and not by the flesh.
14. Galatians 6:3 “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
Pride is something that can cause us to become so self-reliant, needing anyone else to help us even when we are in need. To also think of ourselves as the hero of our own story, or think of ourselves as better than anyone else, but the Bible says we are only fooling ourselves.
The focus on this statement is that no man is an island and as such we should not try to stand alone. Paul is therefore encouraging us that as one body in Christ, our duty is to share each other’s load and help each other to grow. For the Bible tells us where there is unity there is strength.
15. James 2:8-9 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
In this verse“Love your neighbor as yourself” James is telling us we are to treat others the way we would like them to treat us. Which doesn’t mean we are to love ourselves less than others but to think of ourselves as equal in the eyes of God. There are so many people today who think because of their status in life or how rich they are, that they shouldn’t associate themself with the poor or lower class.
But James is telling us that we shouldn’t show favoritism because of who we are and how we see others. We are to take the focus off ourselves and focus on how we can help others despite their background. And it all begins with our act of humility, valuing not only ourselves, but others as well.
16. 1 Corinthians 10:24 “ Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”
Using the example of Christ, who did many acts of kindness, not for His own benefit, but rather helping those in need, should be on our to-do list. It is important as Christians that we not allow our own desires to trap us in a state of selfishness.
If we are to truly serve Christ, then we must be like the good Samaritan and seek to help others just as Jesus did. We should not try to seek our own but aim to seek the edification and benefit of others. In short, we are called to serve and not to be served.
17. Matthew 7:12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
The golden rule “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you” is a message not only for believers but non-believers as well. Can you imagine a world where everyone applied this rule, if there was less of a self-first mentality? A little far-fetched yes, given the state of the world, but God still expects us to pursue this rule so we can be better Christians.
18. Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
As believers, it is vital that we must sacrifice the needs of our flesh. In other words, if we choose to follow Christ, we shouldn’t be so focused on our own agenda, or our own worldly desires. If we choose to follow Christ then we can’t give him half of us, he is asking for it all.
And know this, there can be no crown without a cross. We all have to go through something to achieve something. But we definitely won’t be carrying it alone, for the Bible says he shall renew our strength, his power is made perfect in weakness.
As followers of Christ, “self ”is something we have to put under subjection. We should not make idols of ourselves, as we know God’s view on Idol worship. And so our focus should be on God, whose love covers and adorns us with strength and dignity. And know that whatever is on the inside that’s what will manifest on the outside. The love you give today, will pave the way for tomorrow.