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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 8356 unselfishness
8356 unselfishness

8356 unselfishness

Putting the concerns and interests of others before one’s own. Jesus Christ was the supreme example of this and believers should follow his example, denying themselves in order to serve others.

The supreme example of selflessness is that of Jesus Christ himself

In his life and work Jn 5:30; Ro 15:3 See also Mt 15:32; Jn 13:3-5; 2Co 8:9

In his dying for others Mt 20:26-28 pp Mk 10:43-45 Php 2:5-8 See also Isa 53:3-12; Jn 10:17-18; Ro 5:6-8; 1Co 15:3; 2Co 5:14; 1Th 5:10; 1Pe 2:22-24; 1Pe 3:18; 1Ti 2:6

Unselfishness is a result of a relationship with Jesus Christ

Christian discipleship begins with a denial of self-interest Mt 16:24 pp Mk 8:34 pp Lk 9:23 Mk 10:45 See also Ro 6:6; 2Co 5:15; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9

It springs from an experience of life with Jesus Christ Php 1:21-24 See also Php 3:7-11

It is inspired by the example of Jesus Christ Php 2:4-5 See also Jn 13:14-15; 1Jn 3:16; 1Jn 4:19-21

It is the result of the Spirit’s work in the believer Gal 5:22-26

Putting others first is fundamental in Christian behaviour

Ro 12:10; 1Co 10:23-24 This was particularly so when it came to the exercise of personal scruples. See also Ro 14:7; Ro 15:1-2; 1Co 8:9; Eph 4:32-5:2; Col 3:13; 1Ti 6:18

Unselfishness involves a proper attitude to one’s own self-importance

Php 2:3 See also Ro 12:16; Gal 6:2-3; Eph 4:2; Eph 5:21; 1Pe 3:8; 1Pe 5:5

Unselfishness is expressed in Christian service

Lk 22:26; Gal 5:13 See also 1Pe 4:10; 1Pe 5:2

Examples of unselfish behaviour

Those who put others first Ge 13:8-9 Abraham; Ex 32:31-32 Moses; Ru 1:16-17 Ruth; 1Sa 12:3-5 Samuel; Ne 5:14-18 Nehemiah; Mk 12:41-44 a poor widow; Mt 15:21-28 a mother; Mt 26:6-13 pp Mk 14:3-9 a woman with a jar of perfume; Jn 3:27-30 John the Baptist; Ac 4:32-37 the first Christians; Ro 16:3-4 Priscilla and Aquila; 1Co 16:15 the household of Stephanas; Php 2:20-21 Timothy; Php 2:29-30 Epaphroditus

Paul’s ministry was motivated by the interests of others 1Co 10:32-33; 1Co 11:1 See also Ac 20:33-35; 1Co 9:3-15,19-23; 2Co 11:23-29; 2Co 13:4; Php 2:17; 1Th 2:8-9,19-20

See also

2339Christ, example of

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