Meaning Of Pride In The Bible: What God Truly Hates

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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Pride is characterized by an excessive sense of self-esteem and entitlement. Satan is the source of all pride. Because of their conceit and arrogance, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, which led to the Fall of Mankind. So, what does pride mean in the Bible?

The great men of the Bible committed sins of pride, including the apostles. As the source of all sins and vices, we should be wary of pride. They trample on our character and gnaw on our souls. But not all forms of pride are bad or sinful.

Key Takeaways

  • Pride in the Bible is depicted as a dangerous sin that leads to arrogance and rebellion against God, but it can also have a positive aspect when it signifies self-respect and achievement.
  • God detests pride because it represents a self-centered obsession with one’s own importance, often leading to idolatry and disobedience.
  • Humility is the key to overcoming pride, emphasizing the importance of recognizing our limitations and God’s supremacy.

What Is The Meaning Of Pride?

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

— Proverbs 16:18

When we hear the word “pride,” we immediately allude to its negative connotation as being sinful, arrogant, or unloving. As the source of all sins, we abhor any reference that may point to our selfishness, uncaring attitude, or distorted sense of self-worth.

But pride is not always expressed as a negative quality in the Bible or in our mundane lives. On the contrary, it can carry a good and positive connotation that infers respect, confidence, and value for ourselves and other people.

The apostle Paul affirmed this positive sense of pride when he spoke to the believers in Corinth. 2 Corinthians 7:4 reads: “I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles.”

Pride, as described in the Bible, differs from the good pride we sometimes experience and feel in a good and honoring way. Secondly, it can also mean a good sense of gratification for some achievement or hard work. For example, we become proud when we accomplish a difficult task, our child garners an honors medal, or our country wins a gold medal in the Olympics.

In contrast, spiritual pride in the Scriptures equates to an obsession with oneself and an extreme sense of importance and entitlement. God hates arrogance and egoism. The Pharisees of the Bible exhibited sinful pride when they highly pontificated themselves over the people.

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Why Is Pride A Sin?

There are six things the LORD hates and seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

— Proverbs 6:16–19

Form Of Idolatry

Today, abortion[1] is an extreme form of pride. Millions of babies sacrificially die each year because of the termination of pregnancies. Their mothers believe that convenience or a career are more important than bearing a child from God. They claim that they proudly own their bodies and have all the rights to do whatever they like, including the termination of unborn babies.

The phrase “my body” is now a constant cry across many nations. But the Bible clearly says that God owns our bodies, and we have the duty to sanctify them as the abode of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 reads: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

God opposes the proud. A prideful person exhibits an attitude of the heart that expresses an exaggerated and unhealthy attention to oneself and an elevated view of one’s accomplishments, position, possessions, or abilities. In this respect, we become guilty of idolatry. God’s highest position in our hearts is replaced by our ego, or ourselves.

King Herod idolized himself, and he accepted the people’s worship. He also refused to attribute to God the greatness of his glory. As a result, God unleashed judgment and struck him with sickness and death. Acts 12:23 reads: “Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Rebellion Or Disobedience Against God 

In the Garden of Eden, pride led Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. The Devil tempted her so that she could be like God. Eve was not satisfied with her capacities and innately wanted to reach the character and qualities of God. Genesis 3:5 reads: “For God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Pride happens when we go against the laws and precepts of our Creator and think that we are invulnerable or immune from any external consequence. We feel that we are not good enough and want to exceed our limits. Pride is considered a great sin and rebellion against God because it is supposed to gather glory and excellence that belong to God alone. 

Form Of Conceit And Selfishness

The Pharisees were known for being knowledgeable and “experts of the Law.” However, Jesus Christ denounced them, not for their obedience and expertise in God’s commands but because of their pride and haughtiness.

Luke 18:11–14 reads: “The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. [The Lord said] For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

God opposes sin and conceit. The peril of pride is that many people are unaware of their pridefulness. It is a deep-seated sin that gnaws at our souls. Obadiah 3 reads: “The pride of your heart has deceived you; you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?'”

Pride is like malignant cancer that grows without a person knowing it. The growing tumor affects many other parts of the body and causes severe sickness and death. The manifestations of pride include perverse speech and self-pity.

A prideful person also does not seek or ask forgiveness from God or other people because he feels he is always right and cannot accept his sinful or imperfect state. But, we are called to hate pride and vanquish evil.

What Is Pride In The Bible?

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

— Romans 12:3

Pride: The Father Of All Sins

Before creation, an angel named Lucifer rebelled against God. He wanted to be God and attain His supremacy. Because of his covetousness and pride, God cast him down to earth, together with his insurgent followers (Isaiah 14:12–15).

Pride is excessive belief in one’s capabilities without regard for others. It blocks a person’s ability to recognize the authority and grace of a sovereign God. As the source of all sins and vices, pride also begets the other deadly sins.

Bible verses reveal why God detests pride. Proverbs 6:16–19 says, “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil; a false witness who breathes out lies; and one who sows discord among brothers.”

Detestable In God’s Eyes

God hates pride. The Pharisees were innately the most prideful people in the Bible. They often mistreated and spoke down to people below their class in society. Moreover, they delight, relish, and seek the adulation of the people.

Because of their knowledge of the Scriptures, they possess a false sense of self-entitlement and honor as referenced in the Bible. Matthew 23:6–7 reads: “They love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.”

But Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, saying, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (v. 12). We must remain vigilant about our own pride because God opposes the proud. With God’s grace, we can act differently and banish self-esteem.

The Ways Of The World

Satan is called the “Prince of this World” and the “Father of All Lies.” He is also the epitome of pride, and all sins emanate from him. 1 John 2:16 reads: “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

In our earthly existence, the influence and ways of Satan reign supreme. We are the descendants of our disobedient first parents and part of a fallen humanity. Pride rules our daily lives, as we seek all things only if they serve us or satisfy our interests. We really often don’t care if our attitudes and actions honor and serve God and other people.

Our primary pursuits are the satisfaction of our bellies and the expansion of our money and earthly treasures. We also experience deep gratification when we know that we have more than other people and are cut above the rest.

Sign Of The Last Days

The Bible reveals that sin, idolatry, and hardships will become more rampant and widespread. People will become more disobedient to God and will likely prefer to follow the path and ways of Satan. The sin of pride is a hallmark of people in the last days.

Pride is one of the sins that will be widespread among people. 2 Timothy 3:2 reads: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and unholy.” When we contemplate these verses and compare them to the realities of the present, we can arrive at the conclusion that we are at or nearing the end of time. Thus, we need to hate evil and stay vigilant.

What Are The 6 Different Forms Of Pride In The Bible?

  1. Self-promotion. We are guilty of pride when we seek and bask in the approval and compliments of others.
  2. Self-condemnation. When we hopelessly and always condemn ourselves because of our failures, we are guilty of pride. We falsely project the image of depression to get the sympathy of others.
  3. Self-adulation. We become proud when we give ourselves full credit for our success. For example, an Olympic gold medalist can say, “I won because I am the greatest.”
  4. Self-validation. When we expect or seek approval and admiration from God because of our good deeds, we are guilty of pride.
  5. Self-humiliation. We are guilty of pride because we are too preoccupied with ourselves and do not rejoice in the success of others. A suicidal person is proud because he is only concerned with his stature and destroys himself when his life expectations are not met.
  6. Self-demotion. When we announce in public our failures or shortcomings compared to other people to appease or affirm our inferiority, we are guilty of pride.

13 Very Important Examples Of Pride In The Bible

  • The pride of the Pharisees (Luke 18:9–14)
  • The building of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:4)
  • The stubbornness of Naaman (2 Kings 5:10–11)
  • Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6)
  • Goliath’s judgment of David (1 Samuel 17:41–42)
  • Jonah flees from God (Jonah 1:1–3)
  • The pride of haughty eyes (Proverbs 21:4)
  • The golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3)
  • Hidden pride of the disciples (Luke 9:46–48)
  • Herod tries to be God (Acts 12:21–23)
  • Saul persecutes the church (Acts 8:1-3)
  • Pharaoh refuses to listen to God (Exodus 8)
  • Uzziah’s pride led to his downfall (2 Chronicles 26)
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Pride is the deadliest sin because it rots our character and poisons our souls. It is the hallmark of the devil that disrupts our pious living and forfeits our right to identity in Christ.

Humility breaks down the embedded and insidious walls of pride. When we approach God in prayer and meekness, we assert the supremacy of our Creator and our utter helplessness in His sight.

God resists the proud, and we must remove pride from our hearts. Joy and peace will reign in our lives if we realize we are a mere, humble creation of God that is co-equal with the rest of humanity. But, in humility, we are also blessed by His abounding love, care, and grace.

Frequently Asked Questions

WhatI Pride In The Context Of The Bible?

In the context of the Bible, pride is often regarded as a negative trait, characterized by an excessive belief in one’s own abilities and importance, which can lead to rebellion against God and moral downfall.

Why Is Pride Considered A Sin In The Bible?

Pride is considered a sin in the Bible because it represents a self-centered focus and an inflated sense of one’s own importance, often leading to disobedience to God and lack of humility.

Are There Any Positive Aspects Of Pride Mentioned In The Bible?

Yes, there are positive aspects of pride mentioned in the Bible, particularly when it refers to a sense of satisfaction in one’s or others’ achievements, reflecting respect, confidence, and gratitude.

How Does The Bible Suggest Overcoming Pride?

The Bible suggests overcoming pride through humility, self-reflection, and acknowledging God’s authority and grace, thus prioritizing God’s will over personal ego and desires.

Can Pride Lead To Other Sins According To Biblical Teachings?

According to biblical teachings, pride can lead to other sins as it often breeds arrogance, selfishness, and a disregard for God’s commandments, potentially resulting in a range of immoral actions.

Who In The Bible Demonstrated Examples Of Sinful Pride?

In the Bible, figures such as the Pharisees, King Herod, and even characters like Adam and Eve demonstrate examples of sinful pride through their actions and attitudes that defy God’s instructions.

What Are The Consequences Of Pride As Depicted In The Bible?

The consequences of pride as depicted in the Bible include spiritual downfall, separation from God’s favor, and in some cases, physical or societal repercussions, as seen in the stories of various biblical characters.

How Does Pride Contrast With Humility In Biblical Teachings?

In biblical teachings, pride contrasts with humility as it focuses on self-importance and ego, while humility involves a respectful and modest view of oneself, recognizing one’s dependence on God.

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