The Blessing of Humility is the final work of author Jerry Bridges. In this book, Bridge’s leads the reader to look at the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and discern how each action Christians are called to throughout this passage is way of living out humility. Towards the very beginning of The Blessing of Humility, Jerry Bridges points out that humility is the second most-taught character trait in the New Testament – second only to love. Humility is foundational to Christian character; as all other traits are built on the traits of love and humility. It is very fitting for Bridges to author a book on the subject of humility, as throughout his own life he was known to exemplify this trait. Many who were able to know Bridges personally remarked on the truly humble man he was.
In the first chapter of The Blessing of Humility, Bridges focuses on the precepts and promise of God. The first focus is on precepts (or commands). Christians are commanded by God to be humble. A life of humility is not merely an option for believers, but it is what Christians are required to do. This is seen in many laces throughout the Bible, such as 1 Peter 5:5, which calls Christians to ‘clothe yourselves with humility’. Christians aren’t just commanded to be humble with no reward, but believers are given the promise that God will exalt the humble, He will give grace to those who are seeking humility, and best of all, He promises a relationship with him to those who are humble.
The next eight chapters deal with linking each Beatitude to humility. The second chapter discusses the poor in spirit, and I found this chapter incredibly helpful. Whenever I’ve read through the Beatitudes in the past, I’ve always skipped over the poor in spirit one, assuming it didn’t apply to me. When I read through this chapter of The Blessing of Humility, I was hit with the realization that this DOES need to apply to me. The poor in spirit recognize the depths of their sin, and realize that apart from Christ they are completely destitute, with no help, and helpless to change their situations. The poor in spirit cry out to the Lord, believing in His grace to save them from their brokenness and sin. This is a characteristic that MUST describe all Christians. As we continue to grow in the grace of our Lord, we will continue to see more and more of the sin in our lives. This should cause us to realize that, apart from Christ, we are destitute, hopeless and without help. But, because of God’s love which He has so lavishly poured on us, we are able to be freed from the bondage of sin.
The following seven chapters continued to expound on the Beatitudes, and continued to reveal to me things about the Lord that I did not know before I read The Blessing of Humility.
“I would say that it is impossible to truly walk in humility without to some degree appropriating the truth of the gospel every day.”
In the final chapter of The Blessing of Humility, Bridges walks through how the gospel and humility are related. According to Bridge’s, in order to walk in humility we must appropriate the gospel to ourselves daily. The gospel is the most important part of Christianity, we never move past the gospel. It is important for Christians to remind themselves of the gospel daily, something Bridges emphasizes in this final chapter. Towards the end of this chapter, Bridges lists three Scriptures that were helpful to him throughout his life in doing this. They are: 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:5-6, and Philippians 3:9. Over the last weeks as I’ve been reflecting on this book and finding practical ways I can live out humility, this chapter has been incredibly helpful. Part of developing humility is growing in our understanding of how much we sin and how much God has forgiven us through Christ. Once we truly understand the magnitude of our sin, we will be humbled by the grace of our great Savior.
Bridges did an excellent job with The Blessing of Humility. Throughout the book, Bridges provides the reader with tons of Scripture along with real life examples to support the points he is making. Bridges writes in a way that is accessible to non-scholars, without watering down the truths of the gospel. Lay people and seminary students both will be able to glean much from this book. The Blessing of Humility is excellently organized, divided neatly into chapters dealing with the command of humility, a chapter for each beatitude that exemplifies humility, and a final chapter to address how the reader should practice what was learned throughout the book.
In conclusion, I want to recognize the immense blessing of The Blessing of Humility. This book has given me a renewed understanding of the significance of the trait of humility. Humility is not often a trait that is addressed, even in Christian circles, but I am so grateful to the Lord that Jerry Bridge’s recognized the blessing that comes with humility, and wrote this book. As I read through The Blessing of Humility, I recognized attitudes in my own life that are not humble, and ways that I can actively change in order to grow in mercy and meekness. I cannot say enough good things about The Blessing of Humility, if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you pick up a copy. I was so convicted of my need to grow in the area of humility as I read The Blessing of Humility, and I can write with great certainty that if you read this book you will also be convicted and encouraged of your need to grow in humility.
Bridges, Jerry, The Blessing of Humility. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2016. 119pp. Paperback, $12.99.
Visit the publisher’s page.
Thanks to Tyndale House for the review copy!