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Pictures and portraits of people have been around throughout history. In time, famous artists started focusing on themselves, painting self-portraits. Rembrant, Van Gogh, de Goya, Renoir and Rockwell – all created selfies long before “selfie” was a trendy word.
What is a selfie? A selfie is a picture of a person, taken by that person. Whether it be the portraits of long ago or the selfies of today, there is, and has been, a narcissistic obsession and love affair with self that can not be denied due to the sheer volume of examples that exist today.
In 2 Timothy 3:2-5 (HCSB), part of the text warns about “self-loving.”
“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power.“
“Lovers of self” is a translation of the Greek word φίλαυτος philautos. Some of the different bible versions translate φίλαυτος philautos as the following:
2 Timothy 3:2 (CJB) Complete Jewish Bible
2 Timothy 3:2 (NIV) New International Version
lovers of themselves,
2 Timothy 3:2 (AMP) Amplified Bible
lovers of self
2 Timothy 3:2 (KJV) King James Version
lovers of their own selves,
2 Timothy 3:2 (ESV) English Standard Version
be lovers of self,
2 Timothy 3:2 (ISV) International Standard Version
lovers of themselves,
As you can see, the above translations are in agreement as to how the word φίλαυτος philautos should be translated in the text.
In WORDsearch, the Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary states:
5204. φίλαυτος philautos adj
Philautos is a compound of the Greek words phileō (5205), “to love” or “to have affection for,” and autos (840), “self.”
Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “5204. φίλαυτος.”
Could you imagine Paul just after receiving 40 lashes minus 1 using a mirror to show his back so he could take a selfie of lash marks to show people what he had done for the Kingdom?
Jesus taught just the opposite of these things. He taught us not to promote ourselves. He taught us that our right hand should not even know what our left hand is doing when we were giving. He did not teach us to take a selfie while putting money in the collection plate. He taught us that when we pray, to go into our room, close the door, and pray to our Father is secret.
When one honestly considers the other words used in this warning 2 Timothy, and when one considers the context of the other verses surrounding this warning, then we can conclude that self-loving is not a good thing. We were bought for a price, and all that we say and do as followers of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ) reflects on Him and His Name. Let’s remember that as we go through life, pushing away selfish thoughts and focusing on Jesus.
Bill Bannister writes for Even If…Ministries. You can read more here.