Pride, Spiritual Arrogance & Judgmentalism (Bible Study) – Part 1

[To read this study in its entirety, please go to the Bible Studies page on this website and download the PDF.]
Of all the sermons I’ve heard since I began attending Evangelical churches in 1990, there are few that I remember. However, there was one sermon I will never forget. It was the summer of 1993, and a pastor at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee gave a sermon on the sin of pride. I remember this sermon for two reasons: Number one, I probably learned more in that sermon than in any other, because I had never seriously considered the negative effects of pride on our lives. Number two, and more important, it was the only sermon on the negative effects of pride that I’ve ever heard, even though I’ve listened to over 1,000 sermons in my life. Is the sin of pride so insignificant that it only deserves to be the focus of one in every 1,000 sermons? Let’s take a look at all the Bible verses that instruct us on the matter and see just how significant the sin of pride is in God’s eyes.
Proverbs 6:16-19, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”
Context: Unlike most of the books in the Bible, the book of Proverbs has no context. Its verses contain general wisdom which is meant to apply to everybody.
Analysis: These are not the only things that the Lord hates, but pride is first among those listed here.Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I hate.”
Analysis: Pride and arrogance are the foundation for numerous evil acts. Jesus even said to His disciples that “an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God (John 16:2).” Those who persecuted Christians were arrogant in their beliefs and failed to examine whether or not their beliefs and actions were appropriate. Likewise, much of our sin is also the result of arrogance and failure to re-evaluate our ways.Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Analysis: Those who are proud in their knowledge are closed-minded and are often proven wrong later. Those who are humble keep their minds open and learn the truth.
Also, we are often proud as the result of our circumstances, such as having a prestigious job title, making a lot of money, or having a beautiful physical appearance. Our pride turns to disgrace when we lose these things or fail to obtain them in the first place. When we possess biblical humility, on the other hand, we realize that all people are of equal value in God’s eyes, regardless of their circumstances. So we become free of having our self-worth determined by these ever-changing events. Biblical humility prevents us from being too proud to associate with the beggars, while it frees us from being too ashamed to associate with those whom society deems as elite.

Proverbs 13:10, “Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom.”
Analysis: Just like we saw in verse 11:2, know-it-alls create trouble, but those who are willing to listen to others gain useful knowledge.

Proverbs 16:5, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.”
Analysis: This proverb flies in the face of what our culture teaches us today. We teach children to be proud in order to counter any feelings they may have of inferiority, when we should teach them biblical humility. Meanwhile, many of us Christians believe we are so much better than those who do not live our version of the Christian lifestyle.

Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
Analysis: Those who think they are unbeatable invariably get beat.

Proverbs 21:4, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.”
Analysis: This verse couldn’t be any more clear—pride is sin. Of course, I must clarify that there are several definitions of pride. Webster’s defines pride as “1 a) an unduly high opinion of oneself; exaggerated self-esteem; conceit b) haughty behavior resulting from this; arrogance. 2 proper respect for oneself; sense of one’s own dignity and worth; self-respect. 3 delight or satisfaction in one’s own or another’s achievements, in associations, etc.”. The Bible opposes both the first and third definitions. The second definition is acceptable, however, because we are allowed to feel good about ourselves. But we are prohibited from feeling that we are better than others because of our actions, possessions, children, or any other reason.

Proverbs 27:1-2, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
Analysis: Boasting is simply a verbal expression of pride. Boasting about past or anticipated success has become more common in recent decades, whether it be in professional sports, music, or everyday life. It’s seen by many Americans as a cool thing to do. Yet, when we exalt ourselves above others in this manner, we earn their resentment, thereby creating divisions among people rather than unity.