15 Bible Verses on Selfishness

Adda Frick
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Selfishness is putting your own desires and wants above the needs of others; it is loving yourself and seeking your own gain while ignoring others. By this definition, selfishness is the opposite of God and His perfectly loving character. Because of this, those who live selfishly do not abide in God (1 John 3:17). The Bible clearly teaches God’s people to live contrary to this pattern of selfishness by serving others and denying oneself, and that those who practice selfishness only have temporal gain and no lasting satisfaction. These verses outline what selfishness is and how it juxtaposes God’s righteous character and commands:

What Does the Bible Say About Selfishness?

Old Testament

Psalm 119:36
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!

Proverbs 11:24
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

New Testament

Mark 8:34–35
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Luke 12:33–34
Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

1 Corinthians 10:24
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

1 Corinthians 13:4–5
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

James 1:14–15
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 3:14–16
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

1 John 3:17
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

For Further Reading:

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