WebDef: Pride

Pride /prid/ Noun: Preoccupation with self. One of the seven deadly sins.

We live in interesting times, when words gain new meanings. For some, the word pride is associated with dignity, and standing up for one's rights as children of God. It's good to recognize your worth and not allow yourself to be trod upon. We're considering the original meaning of pride, in this post.

In the original meaning, pride is hubristic, and involves the placement of self in the center of all one's preoccupations. Rather than a healthy focus on God, family, and others, pride concerns itself with self. It is self-centered. Such a belly-staring focus can lead us so far astray that St. Augustine once wrote simply, "Pride is the commencement of all sin,"1 and St. Thomas Aquinas echoed the sentiment, "Inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin."2 Sometimes, such pride is referred to as vanity. Below are just a few of the many verses that can be found throughout the Bible, covering the pitfalls of pride:

A Dozen Bible Verses on Pride

  • As pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. – Prov. 11:2
  • Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD. – Prov. 16:5a
  • Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. – Prov. 16:18
  • Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him. – Prov. 26:12
  • Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. – Prov. 27:2
  • A person's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. –Prov. 29:23
  • Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty person glory in his might, let not the rich person glory in his riches. – Jeremiah 9:23
  • For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. – 1 John 2:16
  • Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. – Romans 12:16
  • Do nothing through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3
  • But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. – James 4:6
  • For if a person think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. – Galatians 6:3

1St. Augustine, Anti-Pelagian Writings, Chapter 33 [XXIX]—Not Every Sin is Pride. Available online at Christian Classics Etherial Library http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf105.xii.xxxvii.html and last accessed April 16, 2016.
2Aquinas, St. Thomas. Summa Theologica, Second and Revised Edition, 1920. Online Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight. Online at http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2077.htm and last accessed April 16, 2016.

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WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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