What is Meekness? A Biblical Definition

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What is the definition of meekness? What’s the difference between the world’s view and God’s view of meekness?

Worldly Meekness

What is the definition of meekness? What’s the difference between the world’s view and God’s view of meekness? The world defines the state of being meek as having a quiet, gentle nature, easy to get along with and is submissive. Meekness describes someone who shows patient restraint and doesn’t take offense easily. That’s what most people think of meekness as, but many have the misconception that meekness is also a human weakness. Most ancient powers like the Greeks and Romans thought that meekness was evidence of cowardice or fear. The authorities of the day typically despised people who showed meekness or humility, seeing it as a weakness. I hope we don’t see meekness in that light because it’s actually an attribute that pleases God.

Godly Meekness

Meek people do not jump to conclusions or judge people in the sense of condemning them. They live by what Jesus said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). The prophecy of Jesus was that “his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear” (Isaiah 11:3). If meek people judge anyone, it is they themselves. They understand that they are to “show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1). Jesus proclaimed a blessing on the meek, saying, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5). The psalmist saw the value in meekness, writing that “the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace” (Psalm 37:11). Meekness is a godly attribute. Just look at Jesus Who submitted to the Father, and who would accuse Jesus of being weak?!

Moses’ Meekness

Meekness is not what the world thinks of as being weakness. Andre the Giant was a huge man. He was nearly 7 feet tall and weighed about 500 pounds. He was an imposing figure on the movie set where he guest starred in The Princess Bride. But he was exceedingly shy and very meek. Since this giant of a man was so meek, would anyone still think of him as weak? Of course not. Moses must have been a strong man too being a shepherd in the wilderness and even on the day of Moses’ death he was still in good physical condition (Duet 34:7). He was called the “meekest man on earth” (Num 12:3-5), but who among the Jews would ever accuse Moses as being weak? Meekness is strength under control. A meek person doesn’t over estimate their own self-worth, but they do esteem others better than themselves, as we’re commanded to do (Phil 2:3-5). Some of the meekest people I know are some of the strongest believers I know! You can be strong and meek at the same time. Just look at Jesus.

Embracing Meekness

Role of the Christian Grandparent

Meekness is a choice, which is why James tells us to “put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). The Book of James is considered New Testament wisdom literature, and in an inquiring way, James asks, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). In other words, prove yourself by your good conduct in doing good works for Christ but in gentleness and in meekness.

Putting on Meekness

The Apostle Paul wrote passionately to the Church in Corinth, saying I “entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor 10:1), showing us our Lord Himself had a quiet, meek spirit and the Scriptures prove that out as He was a tender-hearted shepherd. Jesus’ powerfully comforting words were said in meekness, where He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). Our yoke may be hard and our burden heavy, but Jesus says that “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30). Jesus Himself was meek, but in fact, we are commanded to “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col 3:12). The idea is, if you have to put something on, you’re not wearing it now, and if meekness is missing, put on that “meekness and gentleness of Christ.” Most of us tend not to be meek, which is why we see so many commands to “put on” meekness and humility, among other things.


Still don’t think God cares about meekness. God asks, In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds (Psalm 45:4)! And someday in the Kingdom, “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:19), but if you have never trusted in Jesus Christ, then you will be judged guilty someday; either after your death (Heb 9:27), or at Jesus Christ’s second coming (Rev 1:7, 20:12-15). I hate to say it but the results will be catastrophic for those who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev 21:8). This should explain to you why I plead with you right here and right now, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have all your sins washed away. This is only possible by His precious blood of the Lamb of God which can make you whiter than snow (Psalm 57:1; 2 Cor 5:21). There is absolutely no other way (Acts 4:12) to the Father (John 6:44) or into the Kingdom (Acts 16:30-31).

Here is some related reading for you: 4 Examples of Humility in the Bible

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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