False humility can actually result in developing haughtiness in the individual, for he may tend to think he is righteous on his own merit; or he may feel that he is accomplishing his ends, not realizing that he cannot deceive Jehovah. If haughtiness develops, he will in time be humbled in a way that he will not enjoy. He will be brought low, and it may be to his own destruction.—Pr 18:12; 29:23. [excerpted: “humility,” Insight Vol. 1]
Jesus Christ’s Humility. Jesus Christ, when on earth, set the greatest example of a humble servant of God. On the evening before his death, Jesus girded himself with a towel and washed and dried the feet of each of his 12 apostles, a service customarily performed by menials and slaves. (Joh 13:2-5, 12-17) He had told his disciples: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mt 23:12; Lu 14:11) The apostle Peter, present that night, remembered Jesus’ fine example in living up to his words. He later admonished fellow believers: “All of you gird yourselves with lowliness of mind toward one another . . . Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”—1Pe 5:5, 6.
Two other Hebrew verbs involving “humility” are ka·naʽʹ (literally, subdue [oneself]) and sha·phelʹ (literally, be or become low). In the Christian Greek Scriptures the word ta·pei·no·phro·syʹne is translated “humility” and “lowliness of mind.” It is drawn from the words ta·pei·noʹo, “make low,” and phren, “the mind.”
A person can achieve a state of humility by reasoning on his relationship to God and to his fellowmen, as outlined in the Bible, and then practicing the principles learned. A Hebrew word, hith·rap·pesʹ, translated “humble yourself,” means, literally, “stamp yourself down.” It well expresses the action described by the wise writer of Proverbs: “My son, if you have gone surety for your fellowman, . . . if you have been ensnared by the sayings of your mouth, . . . you have come into the palm of your fellowman: Go humble yourself [stamp yourself down] and storm your fellowman with importunities. . . . Deliver yourself.” (Pr 6:1-5) In other words, throw away your pride, acknowledge your mistake, set matters straight, and seek forgiveness. Jesus admonished that a person humble himself before God like a child and that, instead of trying to be prominent, he minister to or serve his brothers.—Mt 18:4; 23:12.
Or, a person may learn humility by being brought low, humbled by experience. Jehovah told Israel that he humbled them by causing them to walk 40 years in the wilderness in order to put them to the test so as to know what was in their heart and to make them know that “not by bread alone does man live but by every expression of Jehovah’s mouth does man live.” (De 8:2, 3) Many of the Israelites no doubt profited from this severe experience and gained humility from it. (Compare Le 26:41;2Ch 7:14; 12:6, 7.) If a person or a nation refuses to become humble or to accept humbling discipline, such will suffer humiliation in due time.—Pr 15:32, 33; Isa 2:11;5:15. [excerpted readings: “humility,” Insight Vol. 1]