Biblical Definition of Meekness

When we explore the concept of meekness in the Bible, it is important to understand the context and the perspective from which it is presented. Meekness, often misunderstood, is a humble attitude that combines gentleness, self-control, and an enduring trust in God. This quality is highly valued and praised throughout the scriptures, particularly in Jesus’ teachings in the Beatitudes.

One of the most well-known references to meekness can be found in Matthew 5:5, where Jesus states, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” This statement highlights the great reward and spiritual prosperity that comes from cultivating a humble demeanor that is in line with God’s guidance in our lives. By examining Jesus’ teachings and other biblical examples, such as Moses, we can gain a clearer understanding of meekness and the role it plays in our spiritual growth.

As we delve deeper into the concept of meekness in the Bible, it becomes clear that this virtue is not synonymous with weakness or passivity. Instead, it signifies strength, self-control, and an unwavering trust in the divine plan. Embracing meekness allows us to live with humility, wisdom, and a spirit of service, ultimately leading to our spiritual prosperity and fulfillment.

Biblical Definition of Meekness

what does meek mean in the bible
Biblical Definition of Meekness

Meekness is often misunderstood in today’s society, but it holds significant value in biblical teachings. In the Bible, meekness implies elements of gentleness, humility, and kindness, which are virtues of high importance for believers. To provide a deeper understanding, we will discuss meekness in both the Old and New Testaments.

Meekness in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for meekness is “עֲנָוָה” (anavah), which originates from “anwah” and means “to bend over,” “to bow down,” or “to be low” (source). Meekness denotes a submissive and humble attitude towards God, along with a gentle disposition towards others.

A prime example of meekness in the Old Testament is the character of Moses. The Bible states, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3, KJV). Moses displayed meekness in his leadership approach, possessing humility and patience while guiding the Israelites.

Here are a few key qualities that the Old Testament associates with meekness:

  • Reverance: Bowing down to God and submitting to His will
  • Humility: Recognition of one’s own limitations and dependence on God
  • Patience: Enduring suffering without resentment or anger against others or God
  • Gentleness: Being kind-hearted and considerate in interactions with other people

Meekness in the New Testament

In the New Testament, the Greek word for meekness is “πραΰς” (praus), which can be translated as gentle or humble (source). Jesus Christ is the perfect embodiment of meekness, as demonstrated in His interactions and teachings.

In Matthew 5:5, Jesus proclaims, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” This statement highlights the reward for those who exhibit meekness in their life. Furthermore, Jesus invites His followers to learn from Him, saying, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29, NRSV).

We can identify the following attributes of meekness in the New Testament:

  • Self-Control: Exhibiting restraint and discretion in emotions and actions, especially during conflicts or hardships
  • Kindness: Acting with compassion and understanding towards others, even those who wrong or mistreat us
  • Humility: Acknowledging our human weaknesses and seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit to live a righteous life
  • Trust in God: Relying on God’s wisdom and direction instead of solely depending on our own abilities or resources

In both the Old and New Testaments, meekness is a crucial virtue that followers of God must strive to cultivate. It involves submitting to God’s will, exhibiting humility, and treating others with gentleness and kindness. Embracing meekness enriches our relationship with God and allows us to live a life that reflects His love and grace.

The Beatitude of Meekness

The Beatitude of Meekness
The Beatitude of Meekness

Interpreting ‘Blessed Are the Meek’

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) is one of the key Beatitudes found in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. To fully comprehend this declaration, we must understand the meaning behind the word “meek.” In the Bible, the term meek does not signify to be weak, passive, or timid. Instead, it refers to being gentle, patient, and humble. Demonstrating meekness means exhibiting self-control, being open to God’s guidance, and showing others compassion and kindness.

Examples of meekness in the Bible:

  • Jesus: He exemplified meekness through His humility and willingness to humbly obey His Father’s plan.
  • Moses: Described as the most meek man on earth (Numbers 12:3), Moses led the Israelites through patience and submission to God.

Meekness, as presented in the Bible, offers a counterintuitive message in a world that values self-promotion and dominance.

The Promise of Inheriting the Earth

The reward promised to the meek in the Beatitudes is inheriting the earth. This doesn’t only imply attaining material possessions but also encompasses experiencing spiritual prosperity and a profound connection with God. Meek individuals express complete trust in God, believing that He will work for them and vindicate them when faced with opposition [^3^].

  • 1 Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”
  • Matthew 11:29: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

By embracing a meek approach to life, we can expect to develop a meaningful relationship with God, positively impact others, and maintain a sense of inner peace.

Meekness and Jesus’ Teachings

what does meek mean in the bible
Meekness and Jesus’ Teachings

Jesus as the Model of Meekness

In the New Testament, Jesus is the epitome of meekness. His teachings often revolve around the principle of being gentle, humble, and self-controlled. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth” (Matthew 5:5). Meekness is not about being weak or passive; rather, it’s about demonstrating strength through humility, trust in God, and a gentle spirit.

When we examine Jesus’ life, we see how He exhibited meekness in various situations. Despite having the power to perform miracles and command legions of angels, He chose to submit to the will of the Father and endure persecution, betrayal, and ultimately, crucifixion. Jesus displayed strength under control and a willingness to follow God’s plan, teaching us the importance of meekness in our own lives.

The Invitation to Take Jesus’ Yoke

Jesus extends a clear invitation to us through his teachings, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). This passage highlights Jesus’ gentleness and humility, as well as the transformative power of meekness. In choosing to take Jesus’ yoke, we are aligning ourselves with His teachings and embracing meekness as a core principle of our faith.

By following Jesus’ example, we learn to:

  • Submit ourselves to the will of God.
  • Trust in God’s plan and timing.
  • Demonstrate gentleness and humility in our interactions with others.
  • Find joy in our submission to God’s purposes.

The Fruits of Meekness in Christian Life

Inner Transformation and Meekness

Meekness is a valuable virtue that is sometimes misunderstood. In the Bible, meekness refers to an attitude of humility, gentleness, and trust in God. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit that brings inner transformation and spiritual growth. This inner transformation occurs as we cultivate an attitude of submission and obedience towards God, allowing His grace and power to work in our lives.

James and Peter, two of Jesus’ disciples, emphasized the importance of meekness in the context of spiritual growth. As James wrote, “With meekness receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Peter encouraged the believers to humbly submit to one another and grow in the qualities of gentleness and humility (1 Peter 3:15-16).

Meekness leads to a deepening of our trust in God, as we recognize our need for His wisdom and righteousness. The meek are promised joy, peace, and an inheritance of the earth. These qualities are further reflected in the fruits of the Spirit, such as patience, kindness, and self-control.

Social Implications of Living Meekly

Living meekly has social implications that extend beyond our personal relationship with God. Meekness influences how we relate to others in our daily lives. The consequences of this virtue are often evident in our interaction with others, as we prioritize their well-being and put their needs before our own.

Jesus taught that the meek are peacemakers who seek reconciliation and harmony in their relationships. They are considerate, patient, and strive to live out Christ’s example of love and compassion. By embodying meekness, we become better servants of others and are equipped to handle conflicts, offenses, and disagreements in a Christ-like manner.

In the context of social interactions, meekness is not weakness or passivity but a sign of strength and composure. A meek person maintains their inner strength and courage while yielding and submitting to others, as they recognize the value of mutual respect and cooperation.

Ultimately, meekness plays a vital role in both our personal spiritual growth and our relationships with others. By embracing this fruit of the Spirit and allowing it to shape our character, we can experience an inner transformation that brings us closer to God and positively impacts our interactions with those around us.

Challenges and Misconceptions

what does meek mean in the bible
Challenges and Misconceptions

Meekness vs. Weakness

One common challenge in understanding the biblical concept of meekness is the misconception that it implies weakness or passivity. However, meekness embodies a gentle and humble spirit while possessing immense strength and power.

Taking a closer look at some biblical examples, we find that Jesus Himself was described as meek1. In reality, meekness is far from being weak. It represents strength under divine control, exemplifying the proper balance between anger and gentleness. True meekness involves being bold and courageous while remaining completely submitted to God’s authority and guidance.

Practical Exercises in Meekness

Developing meekness in our lives requires intentional practice and conscious effort. Here are some practical exercises to help us grow in this virtue:

  1. Self-reflection: Examine personal triggers that lead us to anger and consider how we can submit those emotions to God for His control and guidance.
  2. Humility: Cultivate genuine humility by recognizing our need for God’s grace and acknowledging the strengths of others.
  3. Active Listening: Practice listening to others with empathy and understanding, valuing their perspectives and insights.
  4. Forgiveness: Extend grace and forgiveness to those who have wronged us, reflecting God’s forgiveness to us in Christ.
  5. Serving Others: Actively seek opportunities to serve and support others, especially those in need, putting their well-being ahead of our own.

By incorporating these exercises into our spiritual journey, we become more attuned to the meekness of wisdom in our lives. It is through these intentional steps that we can experience the transformative power of meekness and cultivate a deeper relationship with our Creator.


  1. Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.”

The Reward of Meekness

The Reward of Meekness
The Reward of Meekness

In the Bible, meekness refers to a gentle, humble, and servant-hearted spirit before God and others. This virtue is highly valued and rewarded. Jesus himself emphasized the importance of meekness in his Sermon on the Mount, declaring, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

We can break down the reward of meekness into three essential aspects:

  1. Spiritual Growth: By embracing a meek spirit, we develop a deeper relationship with God. Meekness enables us to put our trust in God, roll our anxieties onto Him, and patiently wait for His guidance.
  2. Strong Relationships: Meekness allows us to foster positive relationships with others. By adopting a gentle, humble, and patient attitude, we can navigate challenges and resolve conflicts more effectively.
  3. Inheritance of the Earth: Jesus promised that the meek will inherit the earth, a symbolic representation of the blessings and rewards, both spiritual and material, that God bestows upon them.

While cultivating meekness might seem counterintuitive in today’s competitive and individualistic society, it remains a powerful tool in our spiritual growth and journey with God. By adopting meekness as a virtue, we align ourselves with God’s will and experience the blessings He has promised to those who walk in humility and gentleness.

Frequently Asked Questions

what does meek mean in the bible
Frequently Asked Questions

What are the characteristics of a meek individual according to biblical scripture?

According to biblical scripture, a meek person possesses humility, patience, and reliance on God. They recognize their own shortcomings and depend on God’s grace, avoiding any sense of entitlement (source). A meek individual also practices patience in difficult circumstances and responds with gentleness when insulted.

How is meekness defined within the context of the Beatitudes?

In the Beatitudes, meekness is a quality that Jesus praises, saying “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This virtue is associated with spiritual prosperity and happiness from God’s perspective (source). It emphasizes a lifestyle of humility, patience, and dependence on God.

In biblical terms, what is the significance of being described as meek by Jesus?

Being described as meek by Jesus in the Bible signifies an individual who possesses a virtuous character, rooted in humility and reliance on God. Meek individuals are promised joy, peace, and an inheritance of the earth, reflecting the importance of this virtue in the biblical teachings (source).

Who are the individuals characterized as meek in biblical narratives?

Several individuals in the Bible are characterized as meek, including Moses, who was described as the meekest man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). Other examples include Jesus himself, who demonstrated meekness through his servant-like actions and obedience to God’s will (source).

What does the phrase ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ imply in a scriptural sense?

In a scriptural sense, the phrase “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) implies a future reward for those who practice meekness. It signifies that by embodying the qualities of meekness, humility, and dependence on God, these individuals will be granted blessings, such as inheriting the earth, as well as experiencing God’s favor and protection (source).

What perspectives does the Bible offer regarding the virtue of meekness?

The Bible offers various perspectives on the virtue of meekness: it is a highly regarded quality both in Jesus’ teachings and throughout biblical narratives. Being meek not only brings spiritual blessings and rewards but also reflects the character that God desires for His followers, emphasizing the importance of submission to His will and reliance on His provision in our lives.

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