When we start to examine different Bible verses about serving others, it doesn’t take long to see that God’s opinion about servanthood is much different than what is reflected in today’s culture.
The world is full of pride. If we listen to it’s wisdom we quickly become selfish and arrogant because the world idolizes self.
The idea of loving others as yourself, or considering others above yourself is considered foolish and weak.
The greatest among you will be your servant. – Matthew 23:11 NASB
As we consider this idea of loving and serving others, some other thoughts and questions may come to mind.
- What does the Bible say about loving and serving others?
- Should I serve my enemies?
- Can we serve God by serving others?
Let’s dive into some of these thoughts and more as we look at some different scriptures about serving others.
What Does the Bible Say About Serving Others?
One biblical definition of serving others we can find by looking at the word ‘servant’ in the verse listed above in Matthew 23:11.
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The original word is diakonos and means “one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister”.
I love how the definition of this word includes the word “minister”. Here is another verse.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45 NASB
If we were to read this verse in Mark in the King James Version we see that the word for serve or served is actually “minister”. Jesus did not come to be ministered to, but to minister…
People have lots of different thoughts about ministry and what it looks like, but if we break it down to its core, ministry is simply serving others.
Bible Verses About Serving in the Church
There are so many bible verses about serving others in the church, but one of my favorites is found in 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul is telling the Corinthians about spiritual gifts.
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB
If we were to go on reading in 1 Corinthians 12 we would see Paul explaining how the church is designed to function as a body. The different gifts given to each one, or person, has a part to play in serving others and building up the body as a whole.
We also see in Ephesians 4 that our gifts were given to us for the purpose of serving others.
And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-14
Here is another great verse about using our gifts (God’s grace) in serving one another.
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the multifaceted grace of God. – 1 Peter 4:10 NASB
Bible Verses About Serving Outside the Church
Not only are we called to serve and build up the body of Christ, but also the Lord wants our ministry to reach into the world.
Serving the Poor
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done. – Proverbs 19:17
This is just one of many verses about serving the poor and needy. When we serve those who are poor, the orphans, widows, outcast, weak, and the needy, God says that we are serving Him.
The Light of the World
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16
Another reason why we want to serve and love others is that it sets us apart from the world. Like I mentioned earlier, the wisdom of the world does not embrace servanthood.
Therefore, when we serve and love others, especially our enemies, we are acting contrary to the flow of society. It makes us look different.
We stand out.
People may even wonder “why?”.
When we serve others, we are acting as a light to the world.
Bible Stories About Serving Others
There are lots of different examples of service in the Bible. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Bible Verses About the Apostles Serving Other
Paul was an apostle called by God to take the gospel to the gentiles. Before leaving Ephesus, these are the words that Paul spoke to the elders of the church…
“You yourselves know that these hands served my own needs and the men who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35 NASB
The apostles also served others by preaching and sharing the gospel with others.
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:29-32 NASB
The greatest need of every person on earth is to hear the gospel that they may receive salvation by grace through faith. Therefore, one of the greatest ways we can serve another is to share Christ with them.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. – Romans 10:17 NASB
Bible Verses About Tabitha Serving Others
I absolutely love the story of Tabitha. There is so much we can learn from her. Here is her story.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which when translated means Dorcas); this woman was excelling in acts of kindness and charity which she did habitually. 37 But it happened at that time that she became sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upstairs room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” 39 So Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the room upstairs; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. – Acts 9:36-40 NASB
This was a woman who served and loved others! Let’s look a bit closer at these verses and pull out some of Tabitha’s characteristics that are revealed.
- Tabitha was a disciple of Jesus
- She exceeded in acts of kindness and charity
- She showed kindness habitually
- She served the widows
- She served by using her own hands and talents
Tabitha is a great example for us of what it means to serve and love others.
Bible Verses About Jesus Serving Others
Last but definitely not least, we come to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus spent much of His time on earth serving others. God first, then all who came to Him. There are a couple of specific examples of how He served others that I want to discuss.
Jesus Served Others by Washing Their Feet
As Jesus sat in the upper room with His disciples sharing their last supper together, Jesus suddenly gets up, wraps a towel around His waist and leans down…
Then He poured water into the basin, and began washing the disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel which He had tied around Himself. – John 13:5 NASB
This was an act of humility. Usually, the servants were the ones who would wash their master’s feet. Jesus was giving His disciples an example to follow.
“Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’; and you are correct, for so I am. 14 So if I, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example, so that you also would do just as I did for you. 16 Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. – John 13:12-16 NASB
Jesus Served Others by Dying on the Cross
One of my all-time favorite verses is found in the book of Philippians. In chapter 2 we see Paul encouraging the saints in Philippi to serve each other by taking on the attitude of Christ.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. – Philippians 2:3-8 NASB
We Serve God By Serving Others
The Bible makes it very clear that when we serve and love others we are, in fact, serving God.
A preacher I heard recently said, “we can’t love God apart from loving others, and we can’t love others apart from loving God”. Al Tennison
That’s so true. The two go hand in hand.
Beloved, let’s love one another; for love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:7-8
We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister. – 1 John 4:19-20 NASB
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