Humility Illuminated: The Biblical Path Back to Christian Character, By Dennis R. Edwards alt

Humility Illuminated

The Biblical Path Back to Christian Character

by Dennis R. Edwards
Foreword by Marlena Graves

Humility Illuminated
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Published: November 07, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0045
  • ISBN: 9781514000458

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The modern church is immersed in a competitive, polarized, and status-driven society. It's hard to have conversations about important issues when so many are defensive and unwilling to learn. Too often, Christians fall into these same traps. The health and witness of the church urgently depend on recovering an essential biblical virtue: humility.

New Testament scholar Dennis R. Edwards illuminates humility as a, if not the, distinctive identity marker of followers of Jesus. Tracing the theme throughout Scripture, he demonstrates how true humility is grounded in submission to God and becomes manifest in all areas of life. Edwards defuses common misconceptions about humility and explores its role in Christian community, conflict, leadership, suffering, worship, and stewardship.

As we learn from and honor the humble instead of the power-hungry, humility paradoxically empowers God's people—including those who are often marginalized. Filled with stories from the author's ministry experience, Humility Illuminated addresses common areas of leadership failure and how to avoid them, applies biblical texts on humility to multiethnic ministry and justice work, and issues a compelling challenge to the church.

Biblical humility is not a tactic, and it's not just "being nice." It's a revolutionary path to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

"Dennis Edwards eloquently writes that the (all-but-extinct) virtue of humility 'brings truth's light by throwing back the shutters of arrogance and opening the window of curiosity.' Similarly, this wonderful book—by someone who embodies its subject—offers a window into the multifaceted Christian identity marker of humility before God and others, throwing back the shutters of distortion and misunderstanding. Well-researched, wise, and highly readable, this is a timely book for all Christians in an age of competition, self-promotion, and division."

Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland

"In Humility Illuminated, Dennis R. Edwards elevates the practice and power of humility as a central indicator of a sincere Christ-follower. In providing a careful exploration of the complexities of humility, Edwards gives his readers a grounded trajectory to follow that is both fresh and robust, leading to faithful practice. Infused with astute biblical analysis and proficient pastoral experience, Edwards is a practitioner of humility who the church ought to follow."

Rose Lee-Norman, executive pastor at Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and adjunct professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University

"In Humility Illuminated, Dennis R. Edwards challenges us to move beyond the trappings of church and live into the example of Jesus. This book serves as an invitation to let American competitiveness fall by the wayside as we embrace the humble posture of the marginalized among us. Sitting with these words reminds us that if Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, humility is the safest path to godly community."

R. G. A. "Trey" Ferguson, cohost of Three Black Men podcast and author of Theologizin' Bigger

"Edwards points out that Christian humility is not episodic but a whole way of life, a vital necessity for the life of discipleship. Humility is much misunderstood and misapplied as self-hatred, as 'humble bragging,' as passivity. Edwards strikingly paints a picture of Jesus-centered humility as singular devotion to God, a posture of peacemaking with others, and the quiet power to seek justice for everyone made in God's image. By the end of the book, it dawned on me, humility is maturity."

Nijay K. Gupta, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary

"Our ultracompetitive culture encourages us to outstrip others in quests for social status and prestige, and these temptations affect individual Christians and the ethos of church communities. In Humility Illuminated, Dennis Edwards provides a rich treatment of how Scripture prizes humility as both internal disposition and social practice. He draws on his many years of pastoral experience to wisely counsel readers on how to follow Jesus in the way of humility, which enriches our common humanity, connects us intimately to others, and generates hope."

Timothy Gombis, author of Power in Weakness: Paul's Transformed Vision for Ministry

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Marlena Graves

Introduction: Rediscovering Humility for Our Times
1. Yielding: Where Humility Starts
2. Embodying: The Example of Jesus
3. Communing: Mutual Love Instead of Self-Promotion
4. Reconciling: Navigating Conflict
5. Shepherding: Setting an Example Through Service
6. Enduring: Putting Our Suffering into Perspective
7. Worshiping: Glorifying God with Our Whole Selves
8. Stewarding: Attitude More Than Obligation
9. Empowering: Power to the People Who Are Poor in Spirit

Scripture Index


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Dennis R. Edwards

Dennis R. Edwards (PhD, Catholic University of America) is associate professor of New Testament as well as vice president for church relations and dean of North Park Seminary, Chicago. He has worked in urban ministry for over three decades, including serving as a church planter in Brooklyn and Washington, DC. His books include Might from the Margins and the Story of God Bible Commentary on 1 Peter.