What Is The Spirit Of Pride In The Bible?

Pride is a sin that the Bible warns strongly against. The spirit of pride is an attitude of arrogance, self-importance, and haughtiness that elevates self over God and others. Throughout Scripture, God opposes the proud and exalts the humble. As Christians, we must be on guard against any trace of pridefulness that would hinder our relationship with the Lord and our ability to love others. In this comprehensive overview, we will examine what the Bible says about the spirit of pride and its antidote – humility.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pride was the original sin that caused Lucifer’s downfall and continues to be the root of most other sins.
  • God hates pride and actively opposes the proud because it represents self-glorification and robs Him of the glory due His name.
  • Pride manifests in an inflated view of self, seeking honor and recognition, looking down on others, and denying one’s own limitations and dependence on God.
  • Pride often deceives people into thinking more highly of themselves than they ought and blinds them to their sins and shortcomings.
  • Scripture repeatedly instructs believers to walk in humility, considering others as more important than self and submitting fully to God’s will and authority.
  • Though the world promotes pride, God promises to lift up the humble and exalt them in due time. As we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, He will lift us up.
What Is The Spirit Of Pride In The Bible What Is The Spirit Of Pride In The Bible?

The Origin of Pride

Pride has its origins in the fallen angel Lucifer, who desired to exalt his throne above God’s and proclaim “I will” rather than submit to God’s authority (Isaiah 14:12-14). His prideful rebellion led to his downfall from heaven. Pride thus entered creation through Satan’s sin, as he aspired to supremacy rather than find satisfaction in God (1 Timothy 3:6). This represented the very first sin, predating the fall of man.

Just as pride caused Satan’s downfall, it also led to the first sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The serpent tempted Eve by telling her that if she ate the forbidden fruit, “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). Succumbing to the temptation to be “like God”, Eve disobeyed the Lord’s command not to eat the fruit. Adam likewise chose his own desires over submission to God. The root sin underlying their disobedience was pride – aspiring to be like God rather than find their purpose and identity in Him. This first expression of human pride led to the curse of original sin on all subsequent generations.

God Opposes the Proud

Because pride seeks to dethrone God and thwart His purposes, Scripture reveals how much God opposes pride and resists the proud. We read, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). He actively opposes those who exalt themselves against Him. Several other passages express this truth:

  • “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 16:5).
  • “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
  • “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).
  • “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everyone who is proud and lofty, and upon everyone who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2:12).

Over and over, the Bible states God’s disdain for pride and firm opposition to the proud. He will not share His glory with another or tolerate His creation exalting itself to the place of God. Though He is patient, in due time He will bring down and humble everyone lifted up in pride.

How Pride Manifests

The spirit of pride shows up in various forms and attitudes contrary to the humility exemplified by Christ. Here are some telling manifestations of a prideful heart:

1. Vanity and narcissism – This is an inflated view of self, appearance, accomplishments and abilities; seeking honor, admiration and applause from others (Proverbs 27:2). Vanity applauds oneself.

2. Arrogance and condescension – Having an attitude of superiority; looking down on others with scorn and contempt (Psalm 123:4). Arrogance looks down on others.

3. Self-righteousness – Believing one is holier and more righteous than others; a judgmental, critical spirit (Luke 18:9-14). Self-righteousness looks down on the supposed sins and flaws of others.

4. Self-sufficiency and independence – Thinking one does not need God or others; a sense of entitlement; taking credit for gifts and achievements rather than attributing them to God’s grace (1 Corinthians 4:7).

5. Self-promotion and ambition – Habitual promoting and flaunting of one’s achievements and abilities; striving after fame, prestige and status (1 Thessalonians 2:6).

6. Anger and impatience – Irritability when contradicted, criticized or treated without deference; refusing to submit to authority (Proverbs 13:10).

7. Minimizing and hiding sins – Making excuses for sins rather than honestly confessing them and repenting; hypocrisy (1 John 1:8).

Wherever we see these tendencies in ourselves, it is evidence of pride in the heart. Scripture exhorts us to honestly assess ourselves for pride and root it out.

Pride Deceives and Blinds Us

One of the dangers of pride is that it cunningly convinces us that we are justified in our high estimation of self and don’t need to change. It drives self-deception. Jeremiah 17:9 warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” Our corrupt hearts can skillfully justify our pride.

Pride also blinds us to our own faults. Revelation 3:17 speaks of the church in Laodicea which boasted of its wealth and thought it had need of nothing, not realizing it was wretched and miserable in God’s eyes. Their pride had blinded them to their true spiritual state.

If someone confronted them about their pride, their self-righteousness likely resisted and denied it. Self-defense mechanisms arise to excuse and disguise our sins. We clench our fist and refuse the medicine that would heal us. This is why we must pray with David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Only the discernment of the Holy Spirit can cut through self-deception and highlight our blind spots.

Biblical Examples of Destructive Pride

Several biblical accounts display the folly and destruction of unchecked pride.

1. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride: This Babylonian king grew arrogant due to his wealth and power. “The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built…by the might of my power…?’” (Daniel 4:30). For his pride, God judged Nebuchadnezzar by taking away his kingdom and making him live like an animal until he learned humility (Daniel 4:28-37).

2. Haman’s pride: In the book of Esther, Haman’s pride was provoked when Mordecai refused to bow down to him. He conspired to have all the Jews killed (Esther 3:5-6). Ironically, his pride led to his own downfall and death on the gallows he built for Mordecai (Esther 7:10).

3. The Pharisee’s pride: Jesus gave the example of a self-righteous Pharisee who prayed boastfully about his righteousness compared to a humble tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). He exalted himself but returned home unjustified before God.

These accounts warn us how pride sets us up for a fall. God will oppose the proud and bring them low in His timing.

Marks of True Humility

If pride is the great sin that God hates, humility is the Christlike virtue that receives His blessing. The Bible provides the following portrait of true humility:

  • Esteeming others as more important than self (Philippians 2:3)
  • Lowering oneself to serve and exalt others (Matthew 23:11-12)
  • Submitting fully to God’s will over one’s own (James 4:7)
  • Acknowledging gifts and abilities as from God, not self (1 Corinthians 4:7)
  • Ignoring insults and offenses against oneself (1 Peter 3:9)
  • Admitting when one is wrong; teachable and correctable (Psalm 141:5)
  • Finding satisfaction in honoring God, not self (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Not thinking too highly of oneself (Romans 12:3)

The ultimate model of humility is Jesus Christ, who emptied Himself of divine rights to become a servant and submit to death on the cross on our behalf (Philippians 2:5-8). Following Christ’s example, we must shun pride and walk in humble love for God and others. This receives great reward, for “God…gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Ways Scripture Instructs Us to Humble Ourselves

The Bible calls us as believers to a lifestyle of humility. Here are key ways it instructs us to humble ourselves:

  1. Recognize our dependence on God. Humility begins by acknowledging we have no strength or righteousness outside of Christ (John 15:5; Romans 7:18).
  2. Confess and repent of pride. 1 John 1:9 says if we confess our sins, God will forgive and cleanse us. Let’s admit to God when pride is in our hearts.
  3. Submit to authorities. Humbling ourselves means surrendering to the authorities God has placed over us at work, church, home, and government (1 Peter 2:13-17).
  4. Receive correction and rebuke. We should receive rebuke and correction with a humble, receptive spirit, even if it is undeserved (Proverbs 19:20).
  5. Esteem others as more important. Following Christ’s example, we should not merely look out for our own interests but also the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).
  6. Serve others. We must not think too highly of ourselves but lower ourselves to serve others, as Jesus did (Matthew 20:26-28).
  7. Give God the glory for all things. Humility requires recognizing that every good gift comes from Him, not our own greatness (James 1:17). Whatever we achieve is by His grace.

As we walk in humility, Scripture promises God will exalt us in due time (1 Peter 5:6).

God’s Promises to Those Who Humble Themselves

For all who humble themselves under God’s authority, He promises gracious blessings.

  • Exaltation: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10). He will elevate us at the proper time.
  • Honor: “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). He grants eternal honor to the humble.
  • Favor: “God…gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). His favor rests on those who depend fully on Him.
  • Revival: “I…revive the spirit of the humble” (Isaiah 57:15). Our passion for God is renewed as we humble ourselves.
  • Strength: “He gives power to the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). In humility, we find His strength in our weakness.

God promises to abundantly bless those who walk in humility before Him. His power is perfected in our weakness as we submit our pride to the transforming work of Christ and trust wholly in Him.


The spirit of pride is the original sin that separates humanity from intimate fellowship with God. Christ came in humility to restore us to a right relationship with the Father. As believers, we must reject any manifestation of pride in our hearts but rather walk in the humility modeled by Jesus. This humility recognizes our dependence on God, submits to His will, confesses sin, honors others, and points all glory to Christ alone. God assures that when we humble ourselves in His sight, He will exalt us and revive us by His grace. May we reflect the humble, servant heart of our Savior.

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