TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

I.  Pride

Set/Reset Bookmark

Go to Bookmark

Chapter 38  Part I


Pride is one of the greatest dangers to one’s life as a believer, yet it is also one of the most subtle. Pride has an adverse effect on both one’s relationship with God and one’s relationships with others. The opposite to pride is humility, which correspondingly is very much a key factor in living an ongoing and effective Christian life.

Pride in Thought

Do not be proud or conceited

Jer 13:15  [Jeremiah:] Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken.  ESV

Gal 5:26  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another.  NET

Do not be arrogant

1Cor 13:4  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant …  ESV

Do not think you are better than others

Deut 17:20  He [the king] should not think he is better than his fellow Israelites, and he must not stop obeying the law in any way so that he and his descendants may rule the kingdom for a long time.  NCV™

Do not be wise in your own eyes . . .

Isa 5:21  How horrible it will be for those who think they are wise and consider themselves to be clever.  GW

. . . Seeing yourself as wise is in fact associated with foolishness

Prov 26:12  Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.  NET

Do not be self-righteous

Luke 18:9-14  Jesus also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else. 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ 13The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’ 14I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  NET

Do not embrace praise from people – particularly in preference to praise from God

John 5:41, 44  [Jesus, to the Jews:] I do not accept praise from people, … … 44How can you believe, if you accept praise from one another and don’t seek the praise that comes from the only God?  NET

Note: Pride can easily stem from riches and power

Ezek 28:5  [God, to the ruler of Tyre:] By your great skill in trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart is proud because of your wealth.  NET

2Chr 26:16a  But once he became powerful, his pride destroyed him [Uzziah].  NET

 Questions for Section A

Pride in Action: Self-Exaltation and Boasting

Do not exalt yourself . . .

Prov 25:6  Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; …  NKJV

. . . Honor others, rather than yourself

Rom 12:10  [Paul, to believers:] Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself.  CEV

Phil 2:3  [Paul, to believers:] Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.  NET

In accordance with honoring others rather than ourselves, we should treat others as more important.

Do not dress lavishly for outward appearances

1Pet 3:3-4  [Peter, addressing wives:] You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you do your hair, or the jewelry you put on, or the dresses you wear. 4Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God’s sight.  GNT

To dress lavishly is in effect an attempt to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others. Correspondingly, it evidences vanity, which is also closely associated with pride.

Those who exalt themselves will be humbled – and those who humble themselves will be exalted

Matt 23:12  And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  NET

Do not boast about yourself . . .

See also:

1Cor 13:4b  Love does not brag, it is not puffed up.  NET

Prov 27:2  Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.  NET

. . . Only boast about God

Jer 9:23-24  The Lord says, “Wise people should not boast that they are wise. Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful. Rich people should not boast that they are rich. 24If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says the Lord.  NET

If one has to boast, one should boast about matters that count, primarily knowledge of God and his attributes and deeds.

Boasting about oneself typically is bad

James 4:16  [James, to some of his readers:] But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong.  GNT

Boasting is of no benefit . . .

Jer 48:30  I know his [Moab’s] gall,” declares the Lord, “and it’s futile; the boasting that they do is futile.  ISV

. . . Boasting leads to trouble

Prov 17:19b  Whoever brags a lot is asking for trouble.  NCV™

 Questions for Section B

Outcomes of Pride

Pride is very detrimental to a relationship with God . . .

Deut 8:14  [Moses, to the Israelites:] … make sure that you do not become proud and forget the Lord your God who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves.  GNT

Ps 10:4  [A psalmist, to God:] The wicked are too proud to turn to you or even think about you.  CEV

In their pride, the wicked have no desire and see no need to seek God, often due to a perceived self-sufficiency. Being “full of themselves” they have no room for God in their lives.

. . . Arrogance is also detrimental – notably in not obeying God’s commands

Neh 9:16, 29a  [Levites, to God:] But theyour own ancestorsacted arrogantly. They became stubborn and wouldn’t obey your commands.29You warned them in order to bring them back to your teachings, but they became arrogant and would not obey your commandments.   GW

Pride and arrogance lead to ill treatment of others

Ps 31:18  Silence those liars— all the proud and arrogant who speak with contempt about the righteous.  GNT

Ps 10:2  In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor …  ESV

Pride is associated with self-deception and flawed understanding

Obad 1:3-4  [God, to the nation of Edom:] Your pride has deceived you. Your capital is a fortress of solid rock; your home is high in the mountains, and so you say to yourself, ‘Who can ever pull me down?’ 4Even though you make your home as high as an eagle’s nest, so that it seems to be among the stars, yet I will pull you down.  GNT

1Tim 6:4a  [Paul, speaking of a typical false teacher:] This person is full of pride and understands nothing, but is sick with a love for arguing and fighting about words.  NCV™

Pride leads to one’s downfall – in contrast to humility

Prov 18:12  Before destruction the heart of a person is proud, but humility comes before honor.  NET

God punishes the proud and arrogant . . .

Prov 16:5  The Lord detests those who are proud; truly they will not go unpunished.  ISV

Mal 4:1a  “Certainly the day is coming! It will burn like a furnace. All arrogant people and all evildoers will be like straw. The day that is coming will burn them up completely,” says the Lord of Armies.  GW

. . . God humbles the proud

Isa 2:11-12  A day is coming when human pride will be ended and human arrogance destroyed. Then the Lord alone will be exalted. 12On that day the Lord Almighty will humble everyone who is powerful, everyone who is proud and conceited.  GNT

 Questions for Section C

Antithesis of Pride: Humility

Humility is the opposite of pride. It is a most critical attitude for maintaining one’s guard against things that can cause one to fall – spiritually and otherwise. This is in contrast to pride which opens oneself up to many kinds of destructive dangers (as reflected in the previous section, Outcomes of Pride).

Be humble, particularly before God

Mic 6:8b  This is what the Lord requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God.  GW

Dan 10:12  Then he [an angelic messenger] said to me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel, for from the very first day you applied your mind to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come in response to your words.  NET

Humbly acknowledge your unworthiness before God

Gen 18:27  Abraham spoke again: “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. I am only a man and have no right to say anything.  GNT

Luke 7:6-7  So Jesus went with them. When Jesus wasn’t far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell him, “Lord, don’t go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to come into my house. 7And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say the word, and my servant will get well.  CEV

Fast as a means of humbling yourself before God

Ezra 8:21  [Ezra the priest:] I called for a fast there by the Ahava Canal, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and seek from him a safe journey for us, our children, and all our property.  NET

Possibly fasting is seen as a means of humbling oneself as it heightens our sense of our own weakness and insufficiency, particularly as we come before God.

Be humble towards others

Eph 4:2a  Be humble and gentle in every way.  GW

1Pet 5:5b  And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  NET

Humility is important for obeying and serving God

Phil 2:5-8  [Paul, to believers:] You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 6who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. 8He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!  NET

Jesus Christ’s example illustrates the role of humility in obeying and serving God, thus pointing to the importance of humility for doing so.

God cares for and blesses the humble

Ps 18:27  [David, to God:] You rescue the humble, but you put down all who are proud.  CEV

Ps 25:9  [David, speaking of God:] He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.  ESV

1Pet 5:6  [Peter, to believers:] Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  GNT

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians