Bible Verses About Self Control: What Does the Scripture Say?

What does self control mean in the scriptures

There are many times that we are left disappointed by the things of this world and we are wondering about our next actions. We ask ourselves, should I respond to the wickedness shown to me or just let Go?. At other times, we are tempted severely by the devil, and we are just thinking about our next action.

Whatever difficulties or disappointments that happen in life are for the strengthening of our character. The devil knows that we are children of light, so he tries to trick us to lose the Godly characters we’ve put upon ourselves when we accepted Jesus Christ.

When you are severely tempted to sin, you must pause for a second and think about your next action. Should I Go along and commit this sin? Will my father in heaven be happy with my next move? Bible verse about self-control and self-restraint are critical for you to stay firm and continue serving God truly.

We all agree that the devil’s actions are tailored to our deceit. He tries to tempt us with things that have short term pleasures. The devil tells us to fornicate because he knows we may accept the idea. He tells us to steal because its an easy way to get rich quick.

Whatever the situation, you must exhibit dominion over the affairs of your body. You must tell yourself that you will never do things that are unacceptable to Christ. You must discipline your body for eternal Glory. In all, exhibiting the will power to control your behaviors, actions and lusts are essential in the service of God.

Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Christians in corinthians admonished them to always be in charge of their body. This is because, if you don’t, you may quickly fall out of the race for salvation.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.  1 Corinthians 9:27


What does self-control mean?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines self-control as

restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires

Other synonyms are continence, restraint, self-command, self-containment, self-discipline, self-mastery, self-possession, self-restraint, and willpower.


What does the bible say about self-control?

What does the bible say about self-control


Whatever our situation in life, there are already bible words and stories that are there for our learning. At all times, we must check through the scriptures to identify Gods instructions.

Self-control is significantly needed in the service of God. When we control our actions, desires, and lust, we surely will make our Father in heaven happy with us.

A perfect example of a man that exhibited self-control in the bible is David. He was a poor man with low esteem, yet he is was a man after God’s heart.

But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command. 1 Samuel 13:14

Because of the grace of God over his life, it made King Saul jealous of David. He was jealous of David because of the successes recorded in the battlefield and the praises received by David on return from the battle of the Philistines.

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.  1 Samuel 18:6-9

Out of jealousy, Saul tried to kill David several times until David ran away from him. Yet, he chased David into the wilderness and unluckily for him, where he entered a cave to cover his feet, David, and his men were hiding there.

And David’s men requested David to Kill him.

The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord. 1 Samuel 24:4-6

Even in the midst of clear intent over his life, David knew the laws of God. He knew killing Saul was against the wish of God. He had self-control over his desires and actions even when under pressure from his men to do so. David showed self restrain and spared the life of Saul.

In the end, Saul acknowledged David’s righteousness and said

And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.  1 Samuel 24:17


7 Bible verses about self-control Explained

Bible verses about self-control

I have compiled a list of bible verses to edify you about self-disciple while in God’s service

1. Proverbs 25:28 on the need for Self-control

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

This is King Solomon the child of David saying that a man without self-discipline is like a city without defenses. You can’t serve God without putting up walls around your life.

When you are tempted, self-control stops you from sinning. You pause for a while and examine your next step. Self-discipline makes you ask yourself the right questions when tempted by the devil. Should I go on and sin? Will my actions please the almighty God?

At all times, we must control our spirit and our body. When we have the urge to sin, we must put on self-restraint.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

2.  2 Peter 1:5-6 on supplementing our faith with self-control

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

There are many ways we can please God. The most important is through Faith. If you do not have faith in God’s existence and mighty power, there is no way you can please him.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

The apostle Peter is saying, while faith is critically needed in God’s service, we must supplement it with other good qualities. We must add virtue and always behave in a way morally acceptable to God and our neighbors. We must add knowledge. And then, we must put on self-control in God service.

Through these other qualities, we may know how to serve God better. If we have knowledge, we quickly know the commandments of God. if we have self-control, we learn to control our lust and emotions even in the midst of temptations.

3.  1 Peter 4:7  Being self-controlled for our prayers

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers

Peter, the apostle of Jesus Christ, knew that we are already in the last days. It is already thousands of years since Peter wrote this verse. However, he makes the point that we are getting closer and closer to the end of the world.

He advised us to be prayerful especially in these last days. We must remain steadfast too and be righteous. If we fail to do this, we will be judged by our heavenly Father.

While giving into prayers, we must be sober and self-controlled. Or else, God forbid, we will not receive what we ask from God.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:13

4.  2 Timothy 1:7 we all have the power of self-control

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

If you are worried about why you can’t control your emotions and lust, you need not look further than yourself. We have all been blessed with the spirit of self-control. We only need to activate it.

Next time the devil tempts you, you need to activate the sound mind God has already given us. Should I continue with sin? Should I walk in the power of the holy spirit?

God’s blessings are never of evil. He has taken away the spirit of fear and has given us love. You cannot love God and be scared of him.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19

5.  Galatians 5: 22-23 on Self-control as a gift of the holy spirit

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

Bible verses about self-control and anger

Because we are all born into this world in sin, there is a need for repentance. Repentance brings forgiveness and The Comforter into our lives. This comforter, which is the action force of the almighty God, is the Holy Spirit.

The holy spirit come upon our lives on accepting Jesus as our savior. It bears fruits in us quickly, and self-control is one of those new qualities. The holy spirit teaches us how to be slow in action and have self-discipline over our affairs and emotions.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18

6.  Titus 2:11-12 on being self-controlled and upright in God’s service

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age

The world is filled with billions of people. We have all sinned, but through Christ’s death, God has given us the grace to receive salvation. The phrase “all people” implies that there is no limit to God’s forgiveness when we repent. He wants us to earn salvation.

Nevertheless, this salvation does not come easily. We must suffer for the sake of Christ and shun ungodliness and worldly passions. Worldly passions are things of the flesh, that if we continue to do, we will miss God’s kingdom.

Instead, Paul is asking us to live a Godly life that will please God. We should be self-controlled, patient, and upright in everything we do. If we do this and endure until the end, we will reap eternal glory.

7.  Titus 1:8 on self-control as a quality for being a leader in the church

But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

While writing to Titus, a direct appointee of Paul, he admonished him about the qualities of a bishop. That they must blameless and have self-control.

Paul knew that without self-control, we would not be able to achieve anything as a Christian. We will find ourselves doing the wrong thing. Let alone a bishop. While writing to Timothy, he reemphasized on self-control being a quality of a leader at the church.

Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,  1 Timothy 3:2


Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Bible verses about self-control and anger

James 1:19 (KJV)

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath

Ecclesiastes 7:9

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools

Ephesians 4:26

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,


Dunn is a medical doctor by profession, philanthropist, and a firm believer of Christ. Suffering for Jesus is an attribute of a faithful Christian, and I hope to win new souls to Christ with every chance that I get.

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