The concept of self-love is not directly addressed in the Bible. However, there are principles and verses that relate to valuing oneself and caring for oneself in a balanced way. Here is an overview of what the Bible teaches about self-love and loving oneself:
We are created in God’s image
The Bible teaches that human beings, both men and women, are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). This gives human life sacred value and worth. Knowing that we reflect God’s image provides a foundation for proper self-love and self-care.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made
The psalmist declares, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). God has carefully crafted each person. This should lead us to appreciate our bodies and minds as amazing gifts from the Creator. Caring properly for oneself is one way to honor God’s handiwork.
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit
In the New Testament, Paul writes, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Since God’s Spirit lives in us, we should care for our health as good stewards of the Lord’s temple.
Love your neighbor as yourself
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:37-39). Loving ourselves is the baseline for loving others. Proper self-love provides balance and perspective.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Romans 12:2 instructs, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Godly self-love means rejecting worldly values that demean our God-given worth. It also involves embracing truthful thinking aligned with Scripture.
Put others first with humility
The Bible warns against pride and promotes humility and consideration of others. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Self-love should not become self-centeredness.
Be content in Christ
The apostle Paul learned to be content in every situation through the strength of Christ (Philippians 4:11-13). His example reminds us that our identity and worth is in who God says we are, not in anything else. Genuine self-love stems from knowing we are deeply loved children of God.
Avoid flattery and pride
Proverbs 27:2 warns, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.” Self-flattery and obsession with outer appearance can be manifestations of pride. True self-love recognizes our positive qualities without vanity.
Care for your emotional health
King Solomon observed, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). A healthy self-image involves nurturing positive emotions, dealing properly with failures, and cultivating spiritual peace in Christ.
Cast your cares on the Lord
Rather than being burdened by anxiety, we are urged to cast our cares on the Lord, trusting in His great love and sovereignty (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22). Coming to God in prayer and leaving worries at His feet contribute to emotional health and self-care.
God comforts and strengthens
The Bible frequently speaks of God comforting and strengthening His people in times of distress and doubt (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 46:1). Remembering God’s presence and mighty hand helps fortify a positive self-image even in difficult seasons.
Warnings against pride and self- indulgence
While properly valuing oneself, Scripture also warns against pride and self-indulgence. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3).
Deny yourself, take up your cross
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Saying no to selfish desires and embracing sacrifice for God demonstrates true biblical self-love and God-dependence.
Be diligent and wise
The Bible promotes diligence, wisdom, sound judgment and discretion. “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you,” Proverbs 2:11 notes. Making wise lifestyle choices is part of stewarding oneself well.
Confess your sins and weaknesses
The apostle James wrote, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Admitting faults, shortcomings and struggles to God and others leads to forgiveness, emotional healing and freedom.
In summary, the Bible does not directly address self-love, but offers principles and examples that shape a balanced, godly understanding of self-love. Key themes include recognizing our sacred value in God’s eyes, caring for our whole self, putting others first with humility, embracing our identity in Christ, avoiding pride and self-indulgence, trusting God’s care during hard times, and honestly confessing struggles. Self-love in a Christian context ultimately means loving ourselves as those created to love God and others.