One prominent feature of “The Meaning of Pride in the Bible” is its meticulous examination of biblical passages that highlight the presence of pride. These verses are carefully analyzed, providing readers with a thorough understanding of the contexts in which pride is mentioned and its implications. The author skillfully weaves together narratives, parables, and teachings from both the Old
In the theological sense, pride is defined as an excessive love of one’s own excellence. As a deadly sin, pride is believed to generate other sins and further immoral behavior and is countered by the heavenly virtue of humility. Titian: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
How much do you hate pride? Proverbs 8:13 says, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech.” Proverbs 11:2: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 16:5: “The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
The Meaning Of Pride In The Bible
The sin of pride is a heart attitude expressed in an unhealthy, exaggerated attention to self and an elevated view of one’s abilities, accomplishments, position, or possessions. Pride has been called “the cancer of the soul, “the beginning of all sin,” and “sin in its final form.” Ten Hebrew words and two Greek words are generally used in the Bible to refer to it. Pride, in its sinful form, is the direct opposite of humility, a trait that is highly praised and rewarded by God.
Pride is not always expressed as a negative quality in the Bible. It can carry a positive connotation of self-worth, self-respect, and self-confidence. The apostle Paul communicated a positive sense of pride when speaking to the believers in Corinth:
“I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles” (2 Corinthians 7:4, NLT).
Pride becomes sinful when it is excessively self-focused and self-elevating. This kind of pride is what most often appears in the Bible. The biblical sin of pride refers to a high or exalted attitude—the opposite of the virtue of humility, which is the appropriate posture people ought to have with God.
Charles H. Spurgeon described pride as “an all-pervading sin.” He said, “Pride is so natural to a fallen man that it springs up in his heart like weeds in a well-watered garden; its every touch is evil. You may hunt down this fox and think you have destroyed it, and lo! Your very exultation is pride. None have more pride than those who dream that they have none. Pride is a sin with a thousand lives; it seems impossible to kill it.”
Synonyms for pride in the Bible are “insolence,” “presumptuousness,” “arrogance,” “conceit,” “high-mindedness,” “haughtiness,” and “egotism.”
Pride Definition According To The Bible
Pride is a sinful attitude or spirit that causes a person to exalt or glorify themselves above God or others. It is an excessive or improper love of one’s own excellence or self-sufficiency. The Bible makes it clear that it’s okay to encourage and admonish each other and to take pride in the good works of God and His creation. We can be proud to be children of God. But we cross into sin when it revolves around ourselves.
The Hebrew word translated “pride” in the Bible means to act in a way toward others that makes it seem that you believe you are better than they are. “Loftiness” in this verse is commonly translated as pride in other verses of the Bible because it means swollen and, therefore, not humble. Pride is an excessive belief in one’s abilities or qualities. It often leads to arrogance, a sense of superiority, and a lack of humility. The sin of pride is an excessive preoccupation with one’s own importance, achievements, status, or possessions. This sin is considered rebellion against God because it attributes to one’s self the honor and glory that only God is due.
The Bible describes pride as the thing that precedes destruction, just as a haughty spirit goes before falling (Proverbs 16:18 ESV). However, note that self-directed pride that stems from conceit and outward pride pointed at the efforts or accomplishments of others are two completely different things from the Lord’s perspective. To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, even behavior and perverse speech (Proverbs 8:13). Hannah prayed, “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3).
Types of Pride In The Bible
Three types of pride, dignity, superiority and arrogance, are distinguished, their mental ingredients are singled out, and two experimental studies are presented showing that they are conveyed by different combinations of smile, eyebrow and eyelid positions, and head posture.
The Old Testament. While pride is sometimes used in the Old Testament in a positive sense (i.e., the “pride” of the land of Israel [ Psalm 47:4 ; Ezek 24:21 ] or, God’s “pride/majesty/excellency” [ Exod 15:7 ; Job 37:4 ; Isa 2:10 ]), its negative sense predominates, occurring in sixty-one texts. “Pride” is found mainly in the prophets and the books of poetry.
The main Hebrew root is gh [h’aG]; the most common term is gaon [/a”G], which occurs a total of twenty-three times. Included are the ideas of arrogance, cynical insensitivity to the needs of others, and presumption. Pride is both a disposition/attitude and a type of conduct.
A synonym gaba [H;b”G] means “to be high.” While used in a variety of senses, the normal meaning is pride or arrogance, in particular “an inner attitude of pride,” often linked with parts of the human body ( Isaiah 2:11 Isaiah 2:17 ). There is pride of the eyes ( Psalm 101:5 ; Isa 5:15 ); of the heart ( Ezekiel 28:2 Ezekiel 28:5 Ezekiel 28:17 ); of the spirit ( Prov 16:18 ; Eccl 7:8 ); and of one’s mouth/speech ( 1 Sam 2:3 ). A classic text includes the words “pride,” “conceit,” “arrogance,” and “haughtiness” ( Jer 48:29 ).
Fifteen Old Testament texts (NIV) contain the word “arrogance, ” nearly half of them (7) in the prophets ( Isa 2:17 ; 9:9 ; 13:11 ; Jer 13:15 ; 48:29 ; Ezek 7:10 ; Hosea 5:5 ; 7:10 ). Five references are in poetical texts ( Job 35:12 ; Psalm 10:2 ; 17:10 ; 73:8 ; Prov 8:13 ), and three others are found in Deuteronomy 1:43; 1 Samuel 2:3; 15:23.
What constitutes a “proud” person? The negative sense points to a sinful individual who shifts ultimate confidence from God to self. In the Wisdom literature, “the proud” are distinct from “the righteous” and “the humble.” Here the term is applied to non-Israelites, rather than to Israel. The Septuagint uses hyperephanos [uJperhvfano”], meaning one who is insolent, presumptuous, or arrogant, a scoffer or a mocker ( Psalms 119:21 Psalms 119:51 ; Prov 3:34 ). When the prophets accuse Israel of pride ( Jer 13:9 ; Ezekiel 7:10 Ezekiel 7:20 ; 16:56 ; Hosea 5:5 ; 7:10 ; Amos 6:8 ; 8:7 ; Zeph 2:10 ), the word hybristes [uJbristhv”] connotes a wanton, insolent person. Thus, in the Old Testament books, the prideful are generally associated with the wicked, the arrogant, the presumptuous, and those who are insolent toward God.
Most of the adjectives joined with “pride” in the Old Testament are negative in connotation, including words such as “stubborn” ( Lev 26:19 ), “overweening” ( Isa 16:6 ), “willful” ( Isa 10:12 ), and “great” ( Jer 13:9 ). In one instance the positive phrase “everlasting pride” describes the status of a restored Zion ( Isa 60:15 ). Most of the synonyms give a negative sense: contempt ( Psalm 31:18 ); wrongdoing ( Job 33:17 ); trust ( Psalm 62:10 ); arrogance ( Prov 8:13 ; Isaiah 2:11 Isaiah 2:17 ; 9:9 ); insolence ( Isa 16:6 ); and conceit ( Jer 48:29 ). An exception is “glory” ( Isa 4:2 ).
Finally, in the Old Testament, what are some of the results of pride? It led to Uzziah’s downfall ( 2 Chron 26:16 ); it hardened the heart of Nebuchadnezzar ( Dan 5:20 ); it goes before destruction ( Prov 16:18 ); it does not seek God ( Psalm 10:4 ); it brings disgrace ( Prov 11:2 ); it breeds quarrels ( Prov 13:10 ); it deceives ( Jer 49:16 ; Obad 1:3 ); it brings low ( Prov 29:23 ; Isa 2:11 ; 23:9 ); it humbles ( Isa 2:17 ; Dan 4:37 ).
The New Testament. In the New Testament, the abstract use of hybris u&bri” is completely absent. Rather, it refers to ill-treatment, hardship, disaster, or a violent or insolent person ( Acts 27:10 Acts 27:21 ; 2 Cor 12:10 ; 1 Tim 1:13 ). The word hyperephanos [uJperhvfano”] and its derivatives occur six times; twice in the Gospels ( Mark 7:22 ; Luke 1:51 ) and four times in the Epistles ( Rom 1:30 ; 2 Tim 3:2 ; James 4:6 ; 1 Peter 5:5 ). In its Greek background, the word meant overweening, arrogant, haughty.
mr 7:22 includes arrogance in a list of vices, the only such example in the Gospel texts. (Two other lists are found in Paul’s letters [ 1:29-31 ; Gal 5:19-23 ]).
God opposes the proud ( Prov 3:34 ). Both James ( 4:6 ) and Peter ( 1 Peter 5:5 ) cite this Old Testament text, including the word hyperephanos [uJperhvfano”], the “proud/arrogant” person. It stands in contrast to the word “humble, ” a quality that God honors. Paul’s list ( Rom 1:30 ) includes hybristes [uJbristhv”], one who behaves arrogantly toward those who are too weak to retaliate.
Finally, a remarkable example of hyperephanos [uJperhvfano”] occurs in the Magnificat ( Luke 1:51 ). Using language largely from the Old Testament, Mary tells how God will scatter the proud — possibly a reference to a specific group in society and political life. They are characterized by suppressing the masses, the poor and humble in Israel. God will overthrow them and exalt the lowly. While his wrath is upon the proud, he will visit the humble in grace.