TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  Pride

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Chapter 38  Part I

Pride

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

See also:

To be conceited is to be vain, having an excessively high opinion of yourself.

Jer 13:15  Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. ▤ 

Rom 11:20b  So do not become proud, but fear. ▤ 

Gal 5:26  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. ▤ 

Phil 2:3  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ▤ 

Rom 12:3  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. ▤ 

The phrase “measure of faith” is commonly understood to refer to the amount of faith one has (in God). Some think it refers more specifically to our faith as applied to serving others, and especially to the spiritual gifts we have been given (cf. vv. 6-8). Others take it to refer to the Christian faith. Irrespective of which is correct, Paul may be implying that the fact that this “measure of faith” has been given to us by God – rather than coming from ourselves – is one reason as to why we should think soberly or realistically of ourselves.

1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. ▤ 

Ps 131:1  O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. ▤ 

In the first two clauses David speaks of not being proud. In the second part of the verse, he appears to be speaking of not aspiring to accomplish distinguished achievements (cf. CEV) and/or mastering subjects requiring great intellect (cf. GNT). To desire such things for the sake of status is indicative of pride.

Isa 16:6  We have heard of the pride of Moab— how proud he is!— of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right. ▤ 

Ezek 16:49  Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. ▤ 

Do not be arrogant

See also:

1Sam 2:3  Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. ▤ 

Prov 8:13  The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. ▤ 

The speaker is Wisdom personified. In speaking of hating evil and then immediately of hating pride and arrogance, the verse implies that pride and arrogance are in fact evil – and thus should be hated and spurned.

Prov 16:5  Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. ▤ 

Prov 21:24  “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride. ▤ 

Those who are arrogant typically scoff at others.

Rom 11:17-21  But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing rootw of the olive tree, 18do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. ▤ 

w Greek root of richness; some manuscripts richness

Here Paul warns his Gentile readers not to be arrogant and proud about their inclusion amongst God’s people while unbelieving Jews were “broken off”. In v. 12 Paul warns that we should not be proud about our position in Christ, as it is dependent on us continuing in faith rather than anything of ourselves. Rather than being proud and arrogant we should fear the consequences of not continuing in faith.

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

2Tim 3:1-2  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, … ▤ 

  • Paul’s disdain for arrogance amongst the Corinthians:

1Cor 4:18-20  Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. ▤ 

Do not be haughty . . .

To be “haughty” is to be arrogant and disdainful, viewing oneself as superior.

Rom 12:16a  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.x ▤ 

x Or give yourselves to humble tasks

1Tim 6:17  As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. ▤ 

Ps 101:5  Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. ▤ 

Note that it is David speaking, as king. He would not tolerate people who were haughty and proud.

Prov 6:16-17  There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, … ▤ 

Isa 3:16-17  The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, 17therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts. ▤ 

The women were walking along “with outstretched necks” – i.e. “with their noses in the air” (GNT, NIrV, NLT) – indicative of them seeing themselves as above others.

. . . Do not think you are better than others

Deut 17:19-20  And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel. ▤ 

Verse 20a is saying that the king “should not think he is better than his fellow Israelites” (NCV™; cf. CEV, GNT, NIV).

1Sam 18:18  And David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who are my relatives, my father’s clan in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” ▤ 

David provides a good example of not thinking oneself to be better than others – as does Daniel in Daniel 2:30 below.

Isa 65:5  … [There are those] who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. ▤ 

Here God is speaking against obstinate Israelites, who self-righteously considered themselves above others.

Dan 2:30  But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind. ▤ 

Luke 18:9-14  He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayedy thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” ▤ 

y Or standing, prayed to himself

1Cor 4:7  For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? ▤ 

Any notable attributes or talents that we might have are all ultimately gifts from God – not from ourselves. Thus we have no reason to think of ourselves as “better than others” (NCV™; cf. AMP, GNT, NIV, NLT) nor boast.

Gal 6:4-5  But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5For each will have to bear his own load. ▤ 

In v. 4 Paul is saying that we should evaluate our own actions without making comparisons with others – as it is for our own actions that we are responsible (v. 5). Paul may well have in mind the making of such comparisons in the hope of seeing oneself as better than others (cf. AMP, CEV). Note that the use of “boast” likely has in view “personal satisfaction” (NLT) rather than sinful pride.

  • To think you are better than you are, is just deceiving yourself:

Gal 6:3  For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ▤ 

Groundless conceit appears to be in view. If you think you are important when you are not, you are just kidding yourself. The implication may be that no one should think themselves important.

Do not be wise in your own eyes . . .

Rom 12:16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.z Never be wise in your own sight. ▤ 

z Or give yourselves to humble tasks

Prov 3:5-7  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. ▤ 

In conjunction with not thinking yourself to be wise (v. 7), do not consider your own understanding – with your own perceptions and evaluations – to be sound enough to trust in (v. 5). Rather, trust in God.

Isa 5:21  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! ▤ 

Isa 10:12-13  When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, hea will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. 13For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones. ▤ 

a Hebrew I

Ezek 28:6-7  … therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god, 7therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. ▤ 

The clause “you make your heart like the heart of a god” has the sense “you think you are as wise as a god” (GNT, NLT; cf. NCV, NIV).

Rom 11:25  Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers:b a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. ▤ 

b Or brothers and sisters

1Cor 4:10  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. ▤ 

The Corinthians considered themselves wise – in contrast to Paul’s apparent foolishness – something which Paul scorns here with his use of irony.

. . . Seeing yourself as wise is associated with foolishness

Prov 26:12, 16  Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. ▤ 16The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly. ▤ 

To be wise in one’s own eyes leads to an unrealistic trust in one’s own judgment, making one very vulnerable to trouble. Hence there is more hope for a fool than for such a person (v. 12). Verse 16 is saying that lazy people see themselves as wiser than people who give considered answers. Such a view is obviously foolish.

Prov 28:11  A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out. ▤ 

Having riches does not mean that one is wise – though such success may well lead a person to think themself wise. The verse indicates that a rich man with such an attitude is not wise, even foolish.

Rom 1:22-23  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. ▤ 

This illustrates that thinking oneself wise can in fact lead to foolishness.

1Cor 3:18-20  Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” ▤ 

In v. 18b, Paul is saying that one needs to stop seeing oneself as wise in accordance with this world’s wisdom – in fact “become a fool” in the eyes of this world – in order to become wise by God’s standards. For worldly wisdom is foolishness in God’s eyes (v. 19).

2Cor 11:19-20  For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. ▤ 

Verse 19 suggests that pride in their own supposed wisdom had made new, exclusive teaching attractive to the Corinthians. But in fact foolishness was evident in them putting up with foolish false teachers (v. 19), even ones that exploited them (v. 20).

1Cor 8:1-2  Now concerningc food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. ▤ 

c The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians’ letter; see 7:1

In v. 2 Paul may be meaning that anyone who considers themself knowledgeable has an unrealistic understanding of human knowledge and its limitations (cf. v. 1) and so is really flawed in their knowledge.

  • The wise man should not boast of his wisdom:

Jer 9:23  Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, … ▤ 

Do not be self-righteous . . .

Deut 9:4, 6  Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you. ▤ 6“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. ▤ 

Here God warns the Israelites against seeing themselves as righteous, which was most definitely not the case (v. 6b).

Luke 18:9-14  He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayedd thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” ▤ 

d Or standing, prayed to himself

The Pharisee’s prayer was one of self-righteousness and self-justification. As such he failed to be justified before God – in contrast to the humble and contrite tax collector.

Matt 9:10-13  And as Jesuse reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” ▤ 

e Greek he

The “righteous” (v. 13) appears to be used in an ironical sense, to denote the self-righteous – “those who think they are already good enough” (NLT; cf. NIrV). To such Jesus could offer nothing, for only those who recognized themselves as “sick” (v. 12) – i.e. acknowledged they were sinners – could see the value of his call and the need to respond to it. The same is the case today.

Isa 65:5  … [There are those] who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. ▤ 

As commented earlier, God is speaking against obstinate Israelites, who self-righteously considered themselves above others.

. . . Self-righteousness causes one to overlook sin

Prov 30:12  There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth. ▤ 

Jer 2:34-35  Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things 35you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’ ▤ 

Claiming innocence in the face of one’s sin only worsens one’s culpability, making one even more liable to God’s judgment.

Rom 2:17-24  But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” ▤ 

Having the law and a special covenantal relationship with God had resulted in many Jews seeing themselves as righteous (vv. 17-20), when in fact their practices showed them to be far from this (vv. 21-22). Thus by their hypocrisy they had brought dishonor to God (vv. 23-24).

1Jn 1:8, 10  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ▤ 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ▤ 

Self-righteousness is behind such misguided thinking.

Prov 16:2  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. ▤ 

This is speaking of people generally, rather than those who are particularly self-righteous. We naturally see things from our own perspective, tending to see what we do as right.

  • Trusting in one’s righteousness can lead to sin:

Ezek 33:13  Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. ▤ 

When such a righteous man esteems his righteousness to the point of trusting in it, he then becomes self-righteous – which leads to evil and the consequent punishment.

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

See also:

John 5:41, 44  I do not receive glory from people. ▤ 44How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? ▤ 

John 12:42-43  Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. ▤ 

This illustrates that loving glory or praise from men more than from God (v. 43) leads to unfaithful actions (v. 42b).

1Thes 2:6  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. ▤ 

Acts 10:25-26  When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” ▤ 

In conjunction with not embracing such a gesture – one which was to his glory – Peter would not allow it to continue.

Acts 12:21-23  On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. ▤ 

Verse 23a implies that Herod embraced this glory from the people.

Luke 6:26  Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. ▤ 

When the vast majority of people speak well of someone, it is usually indicative of their life and beliefs being compatible with a worldly viewpoint. As such they basically live independently of God and his will, making them subject to his judgment. Thus, rather than embracing glory from people we should be very wary of it.

  • A person is tested by the praise they receive:

Prov 27:21  The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise. ▤ 

Note: Pride can easily stem from riches and power

Riches and power – as with other forms of success – can easily lead to pride.

Deut 8:12-14  … lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, … ▤ 

Ezek 28:5, 17  … by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth ▤ 17Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. ▤ 

This speaks of the King of Tyre (although some think that Satan is ultimately in view). In v. 17, “beauty” speaks of the splendor of the King and his possessions, stemming from his wealth (v. 5). Physical beauty is of course another thing that can lead to pride.

Prov 28:11  A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out. ▤ 

Riches can lead a person to thinking themself wise – which is indicative of pride.

2Chr 26:16  But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. ▤ 

This suggests that Uzziah’s power was the main reason for his pride.

Ezek 30:6  Thus says the Lord: Those who support Egypt shall fall, and her proud might shall come down; from Migdol to Syene they shall fall within her by the sword, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Ezek 31:3, 10  Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and forest shade, and of towering height, its top among the clouds. ▤ 10“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because itg towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, … ▤ 

f Or its top went through the thick boughs; also verses 10, 14

g Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew you

Assyria’s “height” (v. 10) – its great power and standing amongst the nations – resulted in its pride.

2Ki 14:10  You have indeed struck down Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home, for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you? ▤ 

Amaziah, king of Judah, had tasted military success against Edom, showing him to have some power. This led to his arrogance or pride – “your heart has lifted you up”.

1Tim 3:6  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. ▤ 

This is speaking of credentials required for church overseers. Such success in quickly rising to a position of power can lead to conceit, even amongst God’s people.

  • Knowledge can lead to pride:

1Cor 8:1  Now concerningh food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. ▤ 

h The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians’ letter; see 7:1

Pray for persecuted Christians

Pride in Action: Self-Exaltation and Boasting

Do not exalt yourself . . .

Prov 25:6  Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, … ▤ 

Prov 30:32  If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. ▤ 

The last clause appears to be saying to stop such talk.

Prov 12:23  A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly. ▤ 

Wise people “don’t make a show” (NLT) of what they know. To do so would be a form of self-exaltation.

Mark 12:38-40  And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” ▤ 

The self-exalting practices of vv. 38-39 also intimated great piety, like the lengthy public prayers (v. 40a). Presumably then the severity of the punishment (v. 40b) was in part due to their evil in taking widows’ houses being exacerbated by such pretentiousness as well as their hypocritical praying.

Mark 10:35-37, 41-45  And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” ▤ 41And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,i 44and whoever would be first among you must be slavej of all. 45For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ▤ 

i Greek diakonos

j Greek bondservant (doulos)

James and John basically ask Jesus to promise that he will exalt them above all others throughout the afterlife (v. 37). Verse 41 demonstrates that such aspirations of or claims to greatness can incense others. In v. 42, Jesus may well be portraying rulers wrongly reveling in their exalted positions (cf. Luke 2:25 ), akin to actually exalting themselves. In vv. 43-44, Jesus teaches that any aspirations of greatness should in fact be channeled into humble service. (Extracts from the parallel passage in Luke follow, it having some subtle but notable differences.)

Luke 22:24-27  A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. ▤ 

Luke 9:46-48  An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” ▤ 

In speaking of welcoming such a child “in his name”, Jesus appears to be speaking of welcoming one as being of him – or possibly on his behalf (cf. NLT) or for his sake (cf. AMP). (These alternatives are to some extent interrelated anyway.) To welcome a child or a humble believer as such, is in effect to welcome Jesus himself. Thus Jesus rebukes the disciples’ desire to be the greatest by associating a little child, who had little or no status in the eyes of the world, with himself and ultimately God. Jesus draws the conclusion that the one who is the least amongst God’s people, unassuming and humble like a child, is in fact the greatest. This is reflected in Jesus’ own example (cf. Mark 10:43-45 ; Luke 2:26-27 ).

2Cor 10:12  Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. ▤ 

Paul appears to begin the verse with irony or sarcasm in disapproving of those “who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves” (AMP).

2Cor 12:11  I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. ▤ 

In the preceding couple of chapters, Paul had expounded his credentials in order to defend his credibility as an apostle. He acknowledges here that such self-exaltation was foolish, although the Corinthians had left him little option. He then is careful to qualify his status in a self-effacing manner, portraying himself as “a nobody” (AMP).

. . . Honor others, rather than yourself

See also:

Ps 15:4  … in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; … ▤ 

We should honor others who fear God.

Rom 12:10  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. ▤ 

Phil 2:3  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ▤ 

We should consider others more significant and so “more important” (NASB, NCV) than ourselves. In doing so we honor others above ourselves in our thoughts, which is reflected in our words and deeds.

1Tim 5:3  Honor widows who are truly widows. ▤ 

1Pet 2:17  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. ▤ 

Prov 25:27  It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.k ▤ 

k The meaning of the Hebrew line is uncertain

Matt 6:2  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. ▤ 

  • Punishment for exalting oneself against God:

Ezek 35:13-14  And you magnified yourselves against me with your mouth, and multiplied your words against me; I heard it. 14Thus says the Lord God: While the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate. ▤ 

Do not dress lavishly for outward appearances

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.

1Pet 3:3-5  Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, … ▤ 

Verse 5a illustrates that we should adorn ourselves by the way we act (cf. 1Tim 2:9 ) – as opposed to trying to promote ourselves by outward appearances.

1Tim 2:9-10  … likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. ▤ 

Isa 3:16-24  The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, 17therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts. 18In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21the signet rings and nose rings; 22the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. 24Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. ▤ 

In “mincing along as they go” (v. 16) – taking “quick, short steps” (NIrV®) – the women were probably trying to use ornaments “tinkling” on their feet or ankles (v. 16) to draw attention to themselves. This was consistent with their excessive emphasis on outward appearances, evidenced by the many things they wore or used for their appearance (vv. 18-24).

Luke 20:46  Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, … ▤ 

  • Splendor can corrupt:

Ezek 28:17  Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. ▤ 

The concept of splendor corrupting is relevant to all who would aspire to outward grandeur, even on a small scale.

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

Luke 14:7-11  Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” ▤ 

Luke 18:9-14  He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayedl thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” ▤ 

l Or standing, prayed to himself

Matt 23:11-12  The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. ▤ 

In v. 11 Jesus is saying that who willingly serves the others will be the greatest (cf. Matt 18:4 ) – as affirmed by v. 12b.

Prov 25:6-7a  Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, 7for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. ▤ 

Ezek 21:25-26  And you, O profanem wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, 26thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. ▤ 

m Or slain; also verse 29

Job 5:11  … he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. ▤ 

The term “lowly” most likely means “humble” (GNT, NCV) or “poor and humble” (NLT).

Luke 1:52  … he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; … ▤ 

The reference the mighty probably has primarily in view bad rulers (cf. Ezek 21:25-26 ) who typically seek to further exalt themselves.

1Pet 5:6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, … ▤ 

  • The humble are the greatest in God’s kingdom:

Matt 18:4  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ▤ 

In the parallel account in Luke, Jesus says, “For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” (Luke 9:48)

Do not boast about yourself . . .

See also:

Ps 75:2-4  At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. 3When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah 4I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn; … ▤ 

Particularly in view of God’s greatness (vv. 2-3), the boastful – and indeed all people – have no grounds to boast (v. 4).

Prov 27:1-2  Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. 2Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. ▤ 

1Cor 4:7  For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? ▤ 

1Cor 9:16  For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! ▤ 

Paul considered his wonderful work in preaching the gospel as no reason for him to boast, for it was not something he did on his own initiative – he had to do it; it was a duty given him by God. Additionally, Paul may have had in view the fact that God enabled him to do the work.

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

2Cor 12:5-6  On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. ▤ 

Jude 1:16  These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. ▤ 

1Ki 20:10-11  Ben-hadad sent to him and said, “The gods do so to me and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.” 11And the king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.’” ▤ 

The king of Israel rightly implied that one should be wary of boasting about doing something one is yet to accomplish.

Isa 10:12-13  When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, hen will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. 13For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones. ▤ 

n Hebrew I

. . . Only boast about God and Jesus Christ

Boasting about/in God involves boasting of God himself and what he has done or will do, including what he has done for/with oneself.

Ps 34:2  My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. ▤ 

Ps 44:8  In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah ▤ 

Jer 9:23-24  Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” ▤ 

If one has to boast, one should boast about matters that really count, primarily knowledge of God and God’s attributes and deeds. Note that v. 24 may be speaking of: boasting of knowing God, including knowing that he is the Lord who exercises such things (cf. NLT); or both boasting of knowing God and boasting of God being the Lord who exercises such things (cf. CEV).

1Cor 1:31  … so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ▤ 

Gal 6:14  But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whicho the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ▤ 

o Or through whom

Rom 15:17-18  In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, … ▤ 

Here Paul is effectively “boasting” (NASB) of what Christ had accomplished, through him – rather than simply what he himself had done.

Phil 3:3  For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of Godp and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— ▤ 

p Some manuscripts God in spirit

Other translations indicate that the idea of glorying in Christ is linked to: boasting in him (NLT, NRSV); taking pride in him (CEV, NCV); and rejoicing or exulting in him (GNT, NKJV).

Heb 3:6  … but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.q ▤ 

q Some manuscripts insert firm to the end

In association with boasting about God and Jesus Christ, we should boast about the future hope that they have given us.

2Cor 11:30  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. ▤ 

In boasting of the things that showed his weaknesses (cf. 2Cor 12:9 ; 2Cor 12:5 ), Paul would make known how Jesus Christ had empowered him (cf. 2Cor 12:9 ) and likewise what Jesus Christ had done through him. In boasting as such, Paul was effectively boasting of Jesus Christ.

  • Paul boasted about his weaknesses so that Christ’s power would be with him:

2Cor 12:7-9  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,r a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ▤ 

r Or hears from me, even because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. So to keep me from becoming conceited

In boasting of his weaknesses, Paul acknowledged them and was open to, even dependent on, Jesus Christ’s empowerment. As per 11:30 immediately above, indirectly Paul was boasting about Jesus Christ.

Boasting about oneself typically is bad

James 4:16  As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. ▤ 

Boasting is typically indicative of arrogance – and is evil.

1Cor 5:6  Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? ▤ 

Ps 94:4  They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. ▤ 

Boasting is characteristic of evildoers (cf. Ps 52:1 ).

Ps 52:1  Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. ▤ 

Boasting itself is bad enough, but even more so if it is boasting of evil.

Isa 16:6  We have heard of the pride of Moab— how proud he is!— of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right. ▤ 

Moab’s boasts were baseless, false claims. Boasting has an inherent tendency to overstate facts and thus is often characterized by falsehood.

2Cor 11:17-18  What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not with the Lord’s authority but as a fool. 18Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. ▤ 

As noted earlier, in 2 Corinthians 10-12 Paul felt compelled to boast to try to prove his credentials as an apostle and to counter the boasts and claims of false apostles (cf. 2Cor 10:8, 13-17 ; 2Cor 12:1 ). In doing so, Paul acknowledges that boasting is in itself foolish and merely in accordance with “human standards” (NRSV).

Ps 5:5  The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. ▤ 

The boastful are not permitted or able to stand before God; in his holiness God does not tolerate boastfulness. One could say that he “cannot stand the sight of” (GNT) boastful people.

  • In “boasting” to defend his ministry, Paul did not exceed the truth:

2Cor 10:8, 13-17  For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. ▤ 13But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, 16so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. 17“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ▤ 

In the latter part of v. 8, Paul may be meaning that in his boasting he would not be put to shame “for exceeding the truth” (AMP). In boasting to defend his ministry and credibility, Paul ensured he did not claim anything that was beyond the limits of what was true (vv. 13-15a). As such he did not want to boast about the work of others as if it were his own (vv. 15-16), but essentially only about what the Lord had done through him (v. 17).

Boasting is of no benefit and even destructive

Prov 25:14  Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give. ▤ 

Jer 48:30  I know his insolence, declares the Lord; his boasts are false, his deeds are false. ▤ 

A number of other translations interpret the second part of the verse as indicating that the boasts “accomplish nothing” (NIV®, NLT; cf. AMP, GNT, NASB, NCV).

2Cor 10:18  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. ▤ 

Commending oneself, boasting about what one has done, counts for nothing. For God’s approval is only for those whom Jesus Christ commends.

2Cor 12:1  I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. ▤ 

In the first half of the verse, Paul would appear to have in mind that he needed to go on boasting – to counter false claims in his current circumstances (cf. 2Cor 11:17-18 ; 2Cor 10:8, 13-17 ) – though in itself there is nothing to be gained by boasting.

Prov 17:19  Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction. ▤ 

The second part of the verse figuratively implies that one who boasts is “asking for trouble” (GNT, NCV, cf. NLT). As well as inviting destruction itself (cf. Ps 12:3 ), boasting and the accompanying pride naturally tend to lead to trouble (which is probably what is primarily in view here).

Ps 12:3  May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, … ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Outcomes of Pride

See also:

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

See also:

Deut 8:14  … then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, … ▤ 

Hos 13:6  … but when they had grazed,s they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me. ▤ 

s Hebrew according to their pasture

2Chr 26:16  But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. ▤ 

Uzziah’s pride led him to be unfaithful to God.

2Chr 32:24-25a  In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the Lord, and he answered him and gave him a sign. 25But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. ▤ 

Ps 10:4  In the pride of his facet the wicked does not seek him;u all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” ▤ 

t Or of his anger

u Or the wicked says, “He will not call to account”

In their pride, the wicked have no desire and see no need to seek God (v. 4). Note that the last clause appears to speak of the wicked thinking and/or telling themselves that there is no God.

Ps 36:1-2  Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart;v there is no fear of God before his eyes. 2For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. ▤ 

v Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Jerome (compare Septuagint); most Hebrew manuscripts in my heart

Note that flattering oneself is indicative of pride.

Ps 138:6  For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. ▤ 

Given what precedes it, the final phrase probably means that God distances himself from the proud (cf. NCV, NLT), “keeping an eye on them” from afar.

1Pet 5:5  Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ▤ 

The quotation is from Proverbs 3:34, which is also quoted in James 4:6.

Prov 21:4  Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lampw of the wicked, are sin. ▤ 

w Or the plowing

Pride is actually sin – and evil (cf. Mark 7:21-23 ) – and so detrimental to a relationship with God.

Mark 7:21-23  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. ▤ 

1Cor 10:12  Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. ▤ 

Pride is not specifically referred to here, but Paul does appear to be warning against a self-confidence bordering on smugness or pride. Such an attitude makes one vulnerable to sin (cf. AMP, NLT).

. . . and acting presumptuously is linked with not obeying God’s commands

As used in the following contexts, “presumption” or acting presumptuously involves arrogance, assuming that one’s own perspective is right. As such it evidences pride.

Neh 9:16, 29  But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. ▤ 29And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey. ▤ 

Deut 1:42-43  And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ 43So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the Lord and presumptuously went up into the hill country. ▤ 

1Sam 15:23  For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king. ▤ 

The two similes in the first statement may well be associating presumption with rebellion against God. The comparison with idolatry emphatically underlines the evilness of being presumptuous, here manifested in rejecting God’s word.

Ps 119:21  You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. ▤ 

As with “presumption”, “insolence” is akin to arrogance – and so indicative of pride.

Pride and arrogance lead to ill treatment of others

Ps 10:2  In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. ▤ 

Ps 31:18  Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. ▤ 

Ps 56:2  … my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. ▤ 

Ps 73:6-8  Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. ▤ 

Ps 94:2-6  Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve! 3O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? 4They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. 5They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage. 6They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; … ▤ 

Ps 119:51, 69, 78, 85, 122  The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. ▤ 69The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; ▤ 78Let the insolent be put to shame, because they have wronged me with falsehood; as for me, I will meditate on your precepts. ▤ 85The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law. ▤ 122Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. ▤ 

Ps 123:4  Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud. ▤ 

Ps 140:5  The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net;x beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah ▤ 

x Or they have spread cords as a net

Zeph 2:10  This shall be their lot in return for their pride, because they taunted and boasted against the people of the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

This suggests that deriding others is symptomatic of pride.

Gal 5:26  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. ▤ 

  • Insolence leads to strife:

Prov 13:10  By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom. ▤ 

Pride is associated with self-deception and flawed understanding

See also:

Self-deception and flawed understanding are inevitably outcomes of pride. Conversely they are often causes of or exacerbate pride. Note that flawed understanding includes both a lack of understanding and over-confidence in otherwise good understanding (or wisdom or knowledge).

Obad 1:3-4  The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock,y in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” 4Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord. ▤ 

y Or Sela

Gal 6:3  For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ▤ 

Having an inflated opinion of oneself indicates pride, and means one has deceived oneself.

1Cor 3:18-20  Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” ▤ 

Thinking oneself to be wise “by this world’s standards” (GNT, NLT cf. NCV, NIV) reflects pride. Ironically it is also indicative of being self-deceived (v. 18a), for worldly wisdom is in fact ultimately foolishness, as God knows and shows it to be (vv. 19-20).

1Cor 8:1-2  Now concerningz food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. ▤ 

z The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians’ letter; see 7:1

Verse 1b associates knowledge – that is apart from love – with pride, leading one to proudly think of his or her self as knowledgeable (v. 2a). Such knowledge is flawed as one can only wisely use knowledge in humility, with an awareness of the limitations of one’s knowledge. So anyone who has become puffed up or proud over their knowledge is in fact not as sound in knowledge and wise as they think. As such, their pride has led to self-deception.

2Cor 10:12  Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. ▤ 

Paul’s adversaries were viewing their own conduct as the standard, and then taking pride in measuring up to it (cf. ZBC). Their resultant self-commendation reflected pride and reflected a lack of understanding and self-deception.

1Tim 6:3-4a  If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sounda words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. ▤ 

a Or healthy

Isa 16:6  We have heard of the pride of Moab— how proud he is!— of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right. ▤ 

Moab’s pride led her to make boasts that were baseless, false claims – quite possibly self-delusions rather than deliberate lies.

Isa 47:10  You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” ▤ 

This is an example of over-confidence in one’s wisdom and knowledge misleading one into a proud, false opinion of oneself.

Jer 13:15-17  Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. 16Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. 17But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive. ▤ 

In v. 17 Jeremiah may well be speaking of the people being “too proud to listen” (CEV). Pride (vv. 15, 17) is a key reason why people do not pay attention and listen to God’s word – leaving them with a flawed understanding.

Jer 43:2  Azariah the son of Hoshaiah and Johanan the son of Kareah and all the insolent men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The Lord our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there,’ ▤ 

In their insolence the men failed to recognize and understand that Jeremiah had been sent by God.

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

See also:

Prov 16:18  Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. ▤ 

2Chr 26:16  But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. ▤ 

2Ki 14:10  You have indeed struck down Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home, for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you? ▤ 

This warning was given by Jehoash king of Israel to Amaziah king of Judah. In his arrogance Amaziah would not withdraw from threatening Israel, resulting in his downfall (cf. vv. 11-14).

Prov 18:12  Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. ▤ 

Prov 29:23  One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. ▤ 

Prov 11:2  When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. ▤ 

Matt 23:12  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. ▤ 

Prov 22:4  The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.b ▤ 

b Or The reward for humility is the fear of the Lord, riches and honor and life

  • One is better off being humble and poor than sharing loot as one of the proud:

Prov 16:19  It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. ▤ 

The term “lowly spirit” refers to “a humble spirit” (NASB, NKJV; cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT). The future prospects of the proud – spoken of in the preceding verse (v. 18 ) – and the contrasting future prospects of the humble, affirm the validity of the verse’s assertion.

God punishes the proud and arrogant . . .

Ps 31:23  Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. ▤ 

Prov 15:25  The Lord tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries. ▤ 

Prov 16:5  Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. ▤ 

Isa 10:12  When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, hec will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. ▤ 

c Hebrew I

Jer 13:9  Thus says the Lord: Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. ▤ 

Jer 48:29, 38-39  We have heard of the pride of Moab— he is very proud— of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance, and the haughtiness of his heart. ▤ 38On all the housetops of Moab and in the squares there is nothing but lamentation, for I have broken Moab like a vessel for which no one cares, declares the Lord. 39How it is broken! How they wail! How Moab has turned his back in shame! So Moab has become a derision and a horror to all that are around him. ▤ 

Jer 50:31-32  Behold, I am against you, O proud one, declares the Lord God of hosts, for your day has come, the time when I will punish you. 32The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up, and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it will devour all that is around him. ▤ 

Ezek 30:6  Thus says the Lord: Those who support Egypt shall fall, and her proud might shall come down; from Migdol to Syene they shall fall within her by the sword, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Zeph 2:9-10  Therefore, as I live,” declares the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Moab shall become like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomorrah, a land possessed by nettles and salt pits, and a waste forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder them, and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.” 10This shall be their lot in return for their pride, because they taunted and boasted against the people of the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

Zeph 3:11  On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. ▤ 

Mal 4:1  d “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. ▤ 

d Ch 4:1-6 is ch 3:19-24 in the Hebrew

Luke 1:51  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; … ▤ 

God has scattered those whose pride is evidenced in the thoughts of their hearts.

Luke 11:43  Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. ▤ 

In their pride the Pharisees loved the most important seats in the synagogues and being acknowledged in public. Such pride was a key factor in Jesus in effect condemning them.

1Tim 3:6  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. ▤ 

This may well be intimating that the devil was conceited. Those who are likewise conceited will be punished as he was (cf. AMP) and/or will be (cf. CEV).

Rev 18:7-8  As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ 8For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her. ▤ 

. . . God brings down and humbles the proud

2Sam 22:28  You save a humble people, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down. ▤ 

Job 40:11-12  Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. 12Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. ▤ 

In underlining Job’s unworthiness to question him, God is here pointing out things he does that are way beyond Job’s capabilities – including humbling every proud person.

Isa 2:11-12, 17  The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 12For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low; ▤ 17And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. ▤ 

Isa 13:11  I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. ▤ 

Isa 14:12-15  How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;e 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. ▤ 

e Or in the remote parts of Zaphon

This is speaking of the king of Babylon, but like Ezekiel 28:17 below, some understand it to be also referring to Satan and what is often thought to be his fall from an originally exalted position (cf. 1Tim 3:6 ).

Isa 23:9  The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory,f to dishonor all the honored of the earth. ▤ 

f The Hebrew words for glory and hosts sound alike

The “pride of all glory” is speaking of all that is glorious in a worldly sense.

Isa 25:11  And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim, but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skillg of his hands. ▤ 

g Or in spite of the skill

Isa 26:5  For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. ▤ 

Ezek 28:17  Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. ▤ 

Dan 4:37  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. ▤ 

Dan 5:20-21  But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. ▤ 

Obad 1:3-4  The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock,h in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” 4Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord. ▤ 

h Or Sela

  • God does not answer the proud:

Job 35:12  There they [wicked people] cry out, but he does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Antithesis of Pride: Humility

See also:

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

See also:

Mic 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,i and to walk humbly with your God? ▤ 

i Or steadfast love

Dan 10:12  Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. ▤ 

This shows that humbling ourselves before God is important for prayer.

Isa 58:5  Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? ▤ 

One can infer from this that we are to constantly humble ourselves before God – not just in formal worship.

Isa 66:2  All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. ▤ 

The phrase “I will look” appears to have the sense “I will have regard for” (cf. AMP, CEV, NIV).

Zeph 2:3  Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands;j seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord. ▤ 

j Or who carry out his judgment

This suggests that humility is vital in order to seek God.

1Pet 5:6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, … ▤ 

The admonition to humble themselves “under the mighty hand of God” is probably a reference to either: God allowing or ordaining the sufferings the readers were experiencing (cf. 1:7; 4:12, 19; 5:10); or, as the final clause suggests, trusting in God’s mighty power and deliverance.

  • Those with child-like humility are the greatest in God’s kingdom:

Matt 18:1-4  At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ▤ 

Jesus’ reference to greatness in the kingdom of heaven (v. 4) looks back to the disciples’ question in v. 1. He associates such greatness with child-like humility – without which one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (v. 3).

Humbly acknowledge your unworthiness before God and Jesus Christ

Gen 18:27  Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. ▤ 

Job 40:1-5  And the Lord said to Job: 2“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” 3Then Job answered the Lord and said: 4“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. 5I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” ▤ 

Job’s sense of unworthiness before God was no doubt accentuated by God confronting Job with his foolish, presumptuous questioning of him, the Almighty.

Job 33:6  Behold, I am toward God as you are; I too was pinched off from a piece of clay. ▤ 

Here Elihu speaks to Job – rather than directly to God – of their unworthiness before God, by pointing to their humble origins.

Mark 7:25  But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. ▤ 

Luke 5:8  But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” ▤ 

On witnessing Jesus’ miraculous, divine power (cf. vv. 4-7), Peter acknowledged his unworthiness before Jesus.

Luke 7:6-7  And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. ▤ 

Luke 7:37-38  And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. ▤ 

The woman’s act not only demonstrated great love towards Jesus (cf. v. 47), it demonstrated her humility, even a sense of unworthiness, before him.

Luke 17:10  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;k we have only done what was our duty.’ ▤ 

k Greek bondservants

The reference is to our attitudes as servants of God or Jesus Christ (cf. Humility is important for obeying and serving God, below).

John 1:26-27  John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” ▤ 

John the Baptist is speaking in regard to Jesus (cf. John 3:29-30 ).

Gen 32:10  I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. ▤ 

Here Jacob humbly acknowledges before God his unworthiness of God’s great blessing. David similarly acknowledges his unworthiness of God’s blessing – on a couple of occasions: “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” (2Sam 7:18b); and, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly?” (1Chr 29:14a).

  • John humbly accepted that he needed to take a lesser role to Jesus:

John 3:29-30  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30He must increase, but I must decrease.”l ▤ 

l Some interpreters hold that the quotation continues through verse 36

John the Baptist likened his preparatory role to that of a friend attending a bridegroom (v. 29b). Now that Jesus had come, John humbly and realistically states that he needed to take a lesser role (v. 30).

Fast as a means of humbling yourself before God

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.

Ezra 8:21  Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. ▤ 

Ps 35:13  But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowedm on my chest. ▤ 

m Or my prayer shall turn back

David’s fasting – along with his putting on sackcloth – is indicative of him humbling himself (cf. NASB, NIV, NKJV) before God.

Ps 69:10  When I wept and humbledn my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. ▤ 

n Hebrew lacks and humbled

1Ki 21:27-29  And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. 28And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29“Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.” ▤ 

Be humble towards others

See also:

Eph 4:1-2  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, … ▤ 

In speaking of humility in association with characteristics that pertain to relating to people rather than to God (cf. Col 3:12 ; 1Pet 3:8 ), it would appear that Paul has humility towards others in view.

Col 3:12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, … ▤ 

1Pet 3:8  Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. ▤ 

1Pet 5:5  Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ▤ 

Rom 12:16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.o Never be wise in your own sight. ▤ 

o Or give yourselves to humble tasks

Phil 2:3  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ▤ 

Luke 22:25-27  And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. ▤ 

In contrast to the heads of the Gentiles, leaders amongst Christians are to “become as the youngest” (v. 26a) – a key requirement of which is humility – and serve the others (vv. 26b-27).

Eph 3:8  To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, … ▤ 

In 2 Corinthians 12:11, somewhat similarly Paul humbly tells his readers: “I am nothing.”

  • Show courtesy toward all people:

Titus 3:2  … to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. ▤ 

Humility is important for obeying and serving God

See also:

Phil 2:5-8  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,p 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,q being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ▤ 

p Or which was also in Christ Jesus

q Greek bondservant

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

Zeph 2:3  Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands;r seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord. ▤ 

r Or who carry out his judgment

The first part of the verse associates humility with obedience to God (cf. Phil 2:8 ); similarly the second associates it with righteousness.

2Chr 30:8, 10-11  Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. ▤ 10So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. 11However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. ▤ 

Some of the people of the northern kingdom of Israel accepted the invitation of Hezekiah – the king of the southern kingdom of Judah – to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover (v. 11), in submission to God’s will and in accordance with serving God (v. 8).

Luke 17:7-10  “Will any one of you who has a servants plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,t and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;u we have only done what was our duty.’” ▤ 

s Greek bondservant; also verse 9

t Greek gird yourself

u Greek bondservants

Even when completing tasks God or Jesus Christ have given us, rather than presume to be shown any favor or acknowledgement from them (vv. 7b, 9), we ought to be ready to continue serving them (v. 8) and acknowledge that we are merely unworthy servants (v. 10).

Acts 20:18b-19  You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; … ▤ 

God cares for and blesses the humble

See also:

Ps 18:27  For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. ▤ 

Ps 149:4  For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. ▤ 

Ps 25:9  He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. ▤ 

Ps 138:6  For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. ▤ 

This appears to point to God’s care of the humble (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Ps 147:6  The Lord lifts up the humble;v he casts the wicked to the ground. ▤ 

v Or afflicted

Prov 22:4  The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.w ▤ 

w Or The reward for humility is the fear of the Lord, riches and honor and life

Isa 57:15  For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. ▤ 

Zeph 3:11-12  On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. 12But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord, … ▤ 

This illustrates God’s mercy and favor to the humble.

Luke 1:52  … he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; … ▤ 

1Pet 5:6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, … ▤ 

James 4:6  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” ▤ 

Matt 5:3  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ▤ 

The “poor in spirit” are those who in their spirit acknowledge that they are impoverished in spiritual matters. They know they are “spiritually poor” (GNT) with “great spiritual needs” (NCV™, cf. NLT) – an attitude reflecting at least a degree of humility.

  • God was mindful of Mary’s humble state in his unique blessing of her:

Luke 1:46-49  And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. ▤ 

Not humbling yourself can bring dire consequences

See also:

Ex 10:3-5  So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. 4For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, … ▤ 

Here God threatens Pharaoh with a further judgment if he did not humble himself before God, bowing to his demand.

Jer 44:10-11  They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers. 11“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah. ▤ 

Dan 5:22-23, 30  And you his son,x Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. ▤ 30That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. ▤ 

x Or successor

Pray for persecuted Christians