- Virginia Brown
Self-Love is Biblical
I’ve made comments from the pulpit that are incorrect. I apologize for this. I am a sinner saved by grace. Amen!? One incorrect comment I’ve made went something like, “The Bible doesn’t teach us to love ourselves.” I don’t believe this anymore. After spending some more time in the Word of God, I have come to see that my comment is incorrect.
There are three places in the NT where a form of self-love is either implied or explicitly commanded. In Matt 22:39, Jesus commands, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus teaches that we should love others with the same degree of devotion that we have towards ourselves. Paul says something similar in Eph 5:28: “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” Paul takes the principle of self-love that Jesus taught and applies it to marriage—a husband should love his wife like he cares for his own body. The most explicit statement regarding self-love in Scripture is Phil 2:4. Paul writes, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Paul commands self-love in the form of “looking out” for one’s own interests.
As these passages demonstrate, the Bible teaches a certain degree of self-love. The Bible does not teach us to love ourselves the way that much of our culture teaches—like in a “follow your heart,” “be true to yourself” type of way. Rather, self-love in these passages might be better understood as self-care. We need to properly care for ourselves so that we can be most effective in caring for others. Getting into the nitty gritty, sometimes in life what you need most is not Bible reading, prayer, fasting, evangelism, or fellowship. Rather, what you need most is to eat a good meal and to get a good night’s rest (see 1 Kings 19:4–8). Properly care for yourself so that you might be a more effective tool in the Lord’s hand.