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Bible Study: Characterized by humility

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: Matthew 5:7-8

Discussion Questions:

  • How would you define mercy? Define purity.
  • What relationship do you see between humility and being merciful? Between humility and being pure?
  • Without naming names or sharing situation specifics, how do you see humility demonstrated within the Christian community? How do you see a need for greater humility within that community?

Food for thought:

If you were asked to list the building blocks of Christian character, what traits would you identify? Love of God? Of course. Love for one’s neighbor? Certainly. Faith? Without a doubt. What else? Consider these words from Jerry Bridges, author of “The Blessing of Humility,” from which the current MasterWork study is drawn:

“The character trait of humility is the second-most frequently taught trait in the New Testament, second only to love. At one time I counted 50 instances of love taught, either by precept or example, in the New Testament; I counted 40 instances of humility. I regard these two traits as the foundational stones of Christian character. All other character traits, in one way or another, are built upon love and humility.”

Does it surprise you humility is taught in the New Testament “second only to love”? You hear and study a lot about love, but what about humility? How much “air play” does humility receive from the voices you listen to?

Just as many believers identify 1 Corinthians 13 as the love chapter — the source of concentrated teaching on love — so Bridges identifies the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 as the Bible’s concentrated emphasis on humility. Want to know what love looks like? Ponder Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13. Want to know what humility looks like? Spend time digesting Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:7-8 addresses humility’s offspring — mercy and purity. Perhaps our minds gravitate toward the demonstration of mercy seen in meeting the physical needs of others. We can sometimes witness great compassion of those who have experienced natural disaster or been abused or neglected by others. But God’s greatest mercy to us is not His provision for our physical needs but His provision for our spiritual needs — forgiveness for our sin and reconciliation to Him. How does our humility at receiving such undeserved mercy translate into spreading that forgiveness? How does the purity to which He has cleansed us with that forgiveness show itself in our lives from day to day and situation to situation? May humility characterize us in all we do.


MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at lifeway.com/masterwork.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources