Does the Bible tell us to be selfless?

21 03 2011


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4 responses

21 03 2011
Erik B

I guess it’s a good thing it wasn’t written in English since it has some things to say about related words. 🙂

21 03 2011
Tim Courtois

Interestingly, you’ve anticipated my next post! Part of what I’ll eventually be discussing is, “What is a Biblical understanding of ‘selfishness’?”. I would argue (and will discuss soon) that the way we speakers of English have come to use these words (selfless/selfish) has potentially damaging consequences, and there are higher values than “selflessness” (such as LOVE). Hope you’ll stick around for the discussion!

21 03 2011

Do you think the word “selfless” only has the connotation of the literal “self-less,” in a devaluing sense? Or has it kind of come to be synonymous with actions and attitudes that are so much more concerned with others that the concern for self is minimized, without necessarily devaluing self? Is selfless a bad word?

21 03 2011
Tim Courtois

Good question Troy.
I think the word “selfless” has ridden the fence between the two definitions you’ve listed, and as a result has ended up in that dangerous territory where usage of the word is sometimes damaging, and other times helpful – and it’s often difficult to tell which is which. I personally would prefer that we strike it from our vocabulary, and instead of praising people for being “selfless”, we start praising people for being “loving” – which is a much higher – and more Biblical – value.

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