The Sin of Pride in the Bible 1920x1080 Article Image

The Sin of Pride in the Bible

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Problem with Pride.

Proverbs 16:18

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Problem with Pride.

Pride is a problem that all wrestle with—and those who think they don’t probably have more of it.

Proverbs 16:18
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

What Pride Is Not 

Sinful Pride Is Not the Same as a Good Self-Image

In Jesus, you are somebody. The Bible describes Christians as the righteousness of God in Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 5:21.)

When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:3-5,15), that was humility. Jesus was not thinking lowly of Himself; He knew that He came from God. But knowing that, He washed His disciples’ feet.

Humility is not thinking lowly of yourself. It is not thinking of yourself at all.

Sinful Pride Is Not the Same as Taking Pride in Your Work

When we say someone “takes pride in his work,” that’s not the kind of pride we are warning about. When a job is well done and you get recognition, or when a parent is grateful for the grades a child makes, that is not sinful pride.

What Is the Sin of Pride?

An Attitude of Independence From God

Pride is an attitude of, “I don’t need you, God. Stay out of my life.”

You might say, “I don’t have that.” Question: do you pray regularly? “Well,” you say, “I don’t pray as much as I ought to.”

You don’t pray because you don’t feel the need to. You think, “I can handle it.” If you are wrestling with prayerlessness, you are really wrestling with pride.

Ungratefulness to God

Paul asked this penetrating question: “What do you have that you did not receive?” (See 1 Corinthians 4:7.)

“I worked for it,” you say. Who gave you the ingenuity, the strength, the energy? You don’t have one blessed thing that you have not received.

Thinking You Are Better than Others

Here are some indicators of pride.

A proud person…

  • Will not admit mistakes, and becomes irritated when corrected for mistakes.
  • Accepts praise for gifts over which they have no control: beauty, talent, etc.
  • Refuses to take counsel and learn from others.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man” (C.S. Lewis; Mere Christianity)

Here are five ways pride devastates your life.

Pride Defies God

The Book of Proverbs provides wonderful lessons on the sin of pride.

“These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look…” (Proverbs 6:16-17a) Seven things God hates, and number one is pride. “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 16:5a).

Why does God hate pride so much? Pride created the devil. Pride turned Lucifer, the son of the morning, into Satan, the father of the night. Among Paul’s standards for a preacher was that he must be “not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).

Pride ruined humanity. In the Garden of Eden, do you think the temptation was to taste a particular kind of fruit? No—the temptation was, “You will be like God.” (See Genesis 3:5.)

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5b). God lines Himself up in battle against the proud!

Pride Ruins the Heart

The seat of pride is the heart.

“A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin” (Proverbs 21:4). That is, a man who plows his field without giving God thanks for sun, rain, and germination is proud. He is “self-sufficient.”

We were born with pride and selfishness in the heart. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). These things are not learned; they are part of human nature.

Pride Divides Society

There has never been an argument, war, divorce, or church split in which pride was not the major factor.

“By pride comes nothing but strife” (Proverbs 13:10a).

“He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife” (Proverbs 28:25a).

If God resists the proud, then the proud man is out of fellowship with God. Any man, woman, or child who is out of fellowship with God will also be out of fellowship with other people.

Often, we are not trying to solve the problem—we are trying to win the argument. That is pride. You might be right and still be the problem because of your attitude.

Pride Brings Dishonor

What does the proud person want? Praise, honor, esteem. What does he get through pride? “When pride comes, then comes shame” (Proverbs 11:2).

“The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility” (Proverbs 15:33). Humility, not pride, comes before honor. “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).

The proud man wants to be praised, petted, honored. The very thing he wants, he loses the admiration of others. He ends up not with admiration, but contempt.

Pride Destroys Souls

Pride populates Hell. “The LORD will destroy the house of the proud” (Proverbs 15:25a).

Pride is the road to national ruin.

But God says,

2 Chronicles 7:14
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Some of you are in financial ruin. Why? Because your neighbors keep buying things you can’t afford—and you think you have to keep up.

A proud person’s emotions will be thin, because you are controlled by circumstances. The right car, the right clothes, the right decorations—emotionally, it will get to you.

But pride is primarily eternal spiritual ruin.

Jesus once told a story of a Pharisee and a tax collector praying:

Luke 18:11-14
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus’ Example of Humility

Jesus showed us that the way up is down.

Philippians 2:5-10a
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men…. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”

God is going to give to His saints, who follow Christ in genuine humility, a greater position than Satan had before he fell. The Bible says that we will judge angels (see 1 Corinthians 6:3)—and Satan is a fallen angel.

List of Scriptures Referenced in this Article

Proverbs 6:16-17, 11:2, 13:10, 15:25,33, 16:5,18, 21:4, 28:25, 29:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 13:3-5,15; 1 Corinthians 4:7, 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:6; Genesis 3:5; 1 Peter 5:5; Mark 7:21-22; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Luke 18:11-14; Philippians 2:5-10

More Bible Verses About the Sin of Pride

Leviticus 26:3-4,18-19
“If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit….And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.”
Job 35:12-13
“There they cry out, but He does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to empty talk, nor will the Almighty regard it.”
1 John 2:16
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”