Bold Humility

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold (2 Corinthians 3:12, ESV).

Be completely humble and gentle (Ephesians 4:2, NIV).

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians about being “bold” and in Ephesians about the need for “humility.”

Years back, a Russian, while I was in St. Petersburg, said to me, “I believe the Lord wants me to tell you that you are to develop a bold humility.”


Isn’t “bold humility” an oxymoron?

I need to be bold with the gospel and I know that I must be humble.  

I find it easier to be bold, as strong vision and initiative are celebrated. Becoming humble is problematic. When I tell people that I’m going to be bold today, they pray for me. But if I tell them that I’m going to be “humbler”… 

They smirk.

I know that boldness easily crosses the line to obnoxious and overbearing. While humility can be a false pride.

After years of consideration on “bold humility,” I have concluded that I’m neither naturally bold or humble.

If God tells me to do something – I second guess myself, mix in some anxiety, consider my inadequacies, and throw in doubt. Rarely do I boldly go where the Apostle Paul, Moses, and Isaiah have gone before me – that is, without a lot of trepidation.

Yet most of what I do requires bold proclamation and vision casting about the Great Commission.

I’m not naturally humble either. With success, I take credit and make sure that you notice! My visions are important – yours are too, but secondary. 

Bold humility… nope… but intimated and proud… that’s me.

However, I must still serve God. I can’t hide my gifts in fear of my sinful self.

The Apostle Paul helps me connect the dots between “bold” and “humility.”

Paul asks for prayer from the Ephesian church…

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should (Ephesians 6:19-20).

Paul’s boldness put him in chains.

Literally a “bold humility,” or furthering God’s Kingdom, no matter the cost.  

I believe my Russian friend was telling me to explain my vision of First Steps and the Great Commission, while giving God glory, and not giving up.

“Bold humility” stands in faith despite the cost – “boldness,” not fear, and “humility,” or a willingness to pay the price.

Bold humility. I pray that you have “bold humility” too.