Bible Verses about Self-Control

Self-control: “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.” Below are verses which relate to self-control. Some of these are examples and comparisons. Others are information and directives. The verses are by no means exhaustive. Please feel free to offer additional passages that speak to you regarding self-control in the comment box below.

In comparison, self-control:

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)

“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32

Our responsibility to be self-controlled:

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:13

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6

“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8

“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5

“Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 23:20-21

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Colossians 3:5-8

” But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 1 Corinthians 7:9

“that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,” 1 Thessalonians 4:4

Self-control is evidence of faith and the Holy Spirit in our lives:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 20 For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. . . 26 If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:19-20, 26-27

Passages of consequence with a lack of self-control:

Eve and Adam eat forbidden fruit–disobeys God. (See Genesis 3:17-19)

Cain kills Abel–does not control his envy and jealousy. (See Genesis 4)

Esau trades birthright for porridge–does not control his hunger. (See Genesis 25:29-34)

Lot’s wife turns into pillar of salt–does not control longings. (See Genesis 19:15-26)

Abraham has child with servant-girl, Hagar, rather than waiting upon God’s promise with Sarah. Ishmael and Hagar is sent away and wars continue to this day as a result. (See Genesis 16:2)

Moses kills an Egyptian–doesn’t exercise forbearance and restraint. Seeks to exact justice that was not his to render. (See Exodus 2:14)

Moses strikes the rock–doesn’t control impatience. (See Numbers 20:1-12)

David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband–doesn’t control his sexual appetites, or his desire to go to any length to give into them. (See 2 Samuel 11:1-27, Chp.14)

Peter’s impulsive blow to soldier’s ear when Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. (See Luke 22:49-51)

Bearing false witness–Ananias and Sapphira. (See Acts 5:1-11)

Examples of self-control:

Joseph ran from Pharoah’s wife–didn’t succumb to her wiles. (See Genesis 39)

David not killing Saul when he had opportunity. (See 1 Samuel Chapters 24 and 26)

Jesus when He resisted temptations in wilderness. (See Matthew 4:1-11)

Jesus waiting three days, and not going to Lazarus before he died. Emotion did not dictate His actions. (See John 11)

Jesus’ sinlessness. (Hebrews 4:15)

Compiled by © Hariette Petersen, SelahV Today, 2011