- 1 The Bible’s View of Pride:
- 2 Is It Possible To Be Proud Of Who We Are And Not Sin?
- 3 The Bible’s Negative View of Pride:
- 4 The Bible’s Positive View of Pride:
- 5 The Consequences of Sinful Pride:
- 6 Examples of Sinful Pride in the Bible:
- 7 Personal Qualities that are Indicators of Sinful Pride:
- 8 Humility is the Trademark Quality of Positive Self-Worth:
- 9 The Bible’s Instructions for Overcoming Pride:
The Bible’s View of Pride:
Many people think they have to be self-promoting and full of confidence to be successful. However, the Scriptures teach that Christians are to be filled with humility. Consider passages like Deuteronomy 8:17-18 which says we are in error when we think we have acquired our own success without God’s help.
While the world promotes pride as a positive trait, the Bible frequently claims that pride can be a sinful attitude. There are several passages that describe the attitude of humbleness that God desires:
Is It Possible To Be Proud Of Who We Are And Not Sin?
Can someone have a positive self-image and still remain humble? Surprisingly, the Scriptures address the concept of pride in both a negative and positive way.
The Bible’s Negative View of Pride:
In the negative sense, pride is sinful when we possess an arrogant or over-inflated ego that refuses to submit to God or has no respect for others.
Pride becomes sinful when we wrongly assume that we do not need God or anyone else. Sinful pride, therefore, is often boastful, conceited, and condescending.
When someone arrogantly believes that they alone have achieved or acquired something of value, then sinful pride has taken root in their heart.
Prideful people will often look down upon other people by thinking they are better than them. They can be conceited, prejudiced, or judgmental.
Sinful pride is a distorted and elevated since of worth over others. It is arrogantly assuming you are more important or worth more than someone else.
The Bible’s Positive View of Pride:
While much of what the Bible says about pride can be described as negative and sinful, there is a positive quality of self-worth that is also mentioned in the Scriptures. For example, the Bible expresses the appropriateness of positive self-worth when we understand our value as children of God. For example, the Psalmist writes:
Having a positive sense of your worth as one of God’s creations is both healthy and good. The phrase “positive self-esteem” could be used to describe this knowledge of our worth. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul even made some statements that reveal a sense of positive pride in his ministry.
- For instance, he said in Romans 11:13, “…I take pride in my ministry.”
- In 2 Corinthians 7:4 he writes, “…I take great pride in you.”
- In Galatians 6:4 Paul says, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.”
In each of these examples, Paul uses the word “pride” to describe a positive trait rather than a sinful or negative attitude. Other Bible translations use words like honor or magnify instead of pride when translating these verses, but the idea is in recognizing a person’s true value as opposed to the false sense of worth that accompanies sinful pride. When correctly understood our value as God’s children results in a right view of self and others. #FearTheWonder
However, there are consequences for having an over-inflated ego that looks down upon others.
The Consequences of Sinful Pride:
God takes a very strong stance against the prideful person who considers himself better than others or who neglects to recognize God’s blessings upon their life. He has vowed to punish those who arrogantly boast in their own glory rather than honoring Him. Several passages indicate that there are serious consequences for exhibiting a prideful and arrogant attitude.
The Bible further depicts the way in which the proud person who builds themselves up will ultimately be brought down by their sin.
Thus, the proud are often embarrassed or ashamed when they fail because of their great boasting. The Bible provides several stories of arrogant people who fell from their self-made lofty pedestal of pride.
Examples of Sinful Pride in the Bible:
There are several examples in the Bible of individuals who allowed a negative and sinful spirit of pride to result in their demise.
Lucifer fell from Heaven because of Pride: Lucifer, who was once an archangel in heaven, allowed a negative spirit of pride to lead him astray.
Uzziah’s pride caused him to lose his position as king – The Old Testament records the exploits of the kings of Israel detailing both their accomplishments as well as their prideful destructive moments. One of those kings, Uzziah, was sixteen years old when he became the monarch of Israel. (You can read about King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26). God helped him to become very successful and prosperous, and he amassed a great army. However, after Uzziah became very powerful, he also became prideful, and he stopped trusting in the Lord God. As a result, God inflicted him with leprosy and he had to give up the throne and live a life of solitude while his son ruled the kingdom in his stead. Uzziah’s story shows that negative sinful pride is rooted in a self-reliant attitude that fails to acknowledge that our self-worth and our blessings come from God.
Nebuchadnezzar lost his sanity until he humbled himself – Another example comes from the Book of Daniel when a Babylonian king named Nebuchadnezzar became filled with pride. He claimed that his vast kingdom, power, and wealth were all due to his own greatness rather than acknowledging the blessing of God upon his life. Through a prophetic dream, Nebuchadnezzar learned that he would be made as low as a dog and lose his kingdom for a time until he humbled himself before the Lord. According to the story in Daniel 4, the dream was fulfilled, and he became like a wild animal eating grass and driven into the countryside exposed to the elements until he acknowledged God.
Personal Qualities that are Indicators of Sinful Pride:
There are several qualities that prideful people possess that are indicators of a negative and sinful attitude.
Prideful people refuse to listen to the wise counsel of other people, arrogantly assuming they already know what is best.
Prideful people can often be bull-headed, pushy, confrontational, or unwilling to compromise. They are also full of boastful words, building themselves up to anyone who will listen.
Humility is the Trademark Quality of Positive Self-Worth:
The Bible repeatedly encourages us to be humble in our estimations of ourselves when comparing our worth to others. A person who exhibits humbleness is aware of their value, and yet, they encourage and build others up who do not believe in their own self-worth.
Humility can best be defined as knowing your worth, and yet serving others.
The Example of Jesus
Jesus is the best example of exhibiting humility even though He is above all creation and creatures as the Son of God.
The Bible’s Instructions for Overcoming Pride:
If you are struggling with a prideful spirit or want to overcome the temptation of arrogantly thinking you are better than others, the Bible offers some clear guidance.
Ultimately, the acknowledgement that each person is equally valuable to God can help you to not become conceited. By having other people’s interest as equally important as your own, there will be less of a temptation to develop an attitude of pride or arrogance.
In this passage, Paul is reminding the Corinthians that they are equal and therefore no one is better than someone else. He further notes that whatever blessings they may possess, they did not acquire them on their own; instead, every blessing is a gift from God. When we remember these two truths: that we are not better than others, and that every good thing we possess is from God, then we will not boast with a prideful or sinful heart.
All Scripture quotations are to the Holy Bible. New International Version. Nashville: Zondervan, 2011.