Pride in the Bible : The Bible speaks of pride in both a positive and negative sense. In the positive sense, pride is seen as a good thing when it is a reflection of the character of God and His work in our lives. For example, Psalm 34:2 says, “My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.” This verse speaks of the joy and pride that comes with trusting and obeying God.
In a negative sense, pride is seen as a sin and an attitude of self-importance and superiority. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” This verse speaks of the danger of pride and how it can lead to our downfall. In this sense, pride is a sin that should be avoided.
Having seen that the Bible provides for positive and negative pride, let us quickly see some exhibition of pride in the Bible
Naaman’s Refusal to Get into the Water
- The Bible in 2nd Kings 5:10-11 ESV says, “And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’”
Naaman had a severe disease called leprosy, which would eventually kill him if nothing was done about it. Elisha told Naaman that God would heal him if Naaman would go wash in the Jordan River, which was a very gross body of water. Naaman was too proud of a man to do so, but eventually, he changed his mind and was healed.
Another act of pride was shown when Simon the Magician Tries to Buy the Holy Spirit
“(Acts 8:18-19 says, Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’”
Simon saw the Holy Spirit work through the Apostles, and he wanted the same gift. In an ultimate act of pride, Simon tried to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit with money. He tried to take a gift that came from God’s grace and buy it for his prideful pleasure.
The eating of the Forbidden Fruit by Adam and Eve
The Bible said in the Book of Genesis 3:6 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
When God made the universe, He gave the first humans, Adam and Eve, one rule. That was not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Due to their pride, they thought they knew more than God and ate the fruit anyway.
The Persecution of the Church by Saul
The act of Pride by Saul can be seen in Acts 8:1-3“
And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.”
Saul, who would later become the apostle Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, persecuted the early church. Before Saul met Jesus, he was a prideful person who thought he was better than the Jewish Christians. Saul thought he had the right to beat, imprison, and kill them.
8. The Golden Statue of Nebuchadnezzar
“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And the herald proclaimed aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.’” (Daniel 3:1&4-5 ESV)
In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar makes a giant gold statue of himself and forces everyone to bow to it. The sin of pride is seen here by Nebuchadnezzar making much of himself instead of God. Later in the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar’s pride leads to him having a very hard time in his life.
9. The Pharisee Judges the Sinner Woman
“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 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, and 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. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.’” (Luke 7:36-39 ESV)
The sinner woman, who was probably a prostitute, cleans Jesus’ feet and puts a lovely smelling perfume on Him. The Pharisee, instead of seeing a woman who needs the love of Christ Jesus, judges her and sees a woman who he thinks is the scum of society (as someone fulfilling mens’ lust of the flesh). This prideful person judges the woman because he views himself as better than her.
Another manifestation of Pride in the Bible is seen in Judas Selling Jesus for 30 Pieces of Silver
Here is a combination of pride and greed.
In the Book of Matthew 26:14-17 ESV, we see that “ one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.”
Even though Judas traveled with Jesus for three years, hearing Him teach God’s word, he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. In a prideful moment of defiance, Judas thought he was better than Jesus and was willing to trade Jesus to those that wanted to kill Him.
Another Pride in the Bibleis seen in Building a Tower to Reach God
“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’” (Genesis 11:4 ESV)
At this point in history, there was one language. In this Bible verse, the proud people think that they can build a tower to God and be better than Him. Since God hates pride, He humbles the people by changing their languages and spreading them worldwide.
Herod’s Trial to Be God is another act of Pride in the Bible
“On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately 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.” (Acts 12:21-23 ESV)
Herod puts himself in the place of God by allowing people to worship him as a god. The ultimate sign of pride is thinking and allowing others to believe that you are God.
Pharaoh’s Refusal to Listen to God
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me’…But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.” (Exodus 8:1 & 15 ESV)
God tells Pharoah by the mouth of Moses to let His people, the Israelites, go from slavery under the Egyptians so that they may serve the Lord. In a sign of his pride, Pharaoh tells God “no” multiple times, is plagued, repents, and then tells God “no” again.
Pride goes before a fall or simply put, pride begets fall. The direct opposite of pride is humility. As Christians, we should live life of humility just as Jesus did. Jesus despite being God, lived like a servant, served human and still sacrificed his life to save mankind.
May God give us the grace to live life of humility