Scripture on Self-Discipline

The Bible has a lot to teach us about the importance of self-discipline

As I’ve continued to reflect on the importance of self-discipline, I’ve begun looking up various Bible verses that speak to it. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

“Prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.” 1 Peter 1:13

Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Proverbs is especially rich with advice on discipline:

  • “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7
  • “You will say ‘How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructions? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.” Proverbs 5:12-14
  • “An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.” Proverbs 5:22-23
  • If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.” Proverbs 15:32
  • “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” Proverbs 16:32
  • “The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!’” Proverbs 22:13
  • “If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.” Proverbs 25:16
  • A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28

It’s interesting to note that the the righteous woman in Proverbs 31 is marked by discipline. She does the right things at the right times and her family is better off for it.

Which verses stand out to you? Where do you want to be more disciplined in your life?