20 Key Verses About Pride In The Bible

The Bible gives us many accurate insights into human nature. The theme of pride emerges time and time again in the Scriptures. God warns us of the sin of pride, what it looks like, and how to keep from being prideful. Exploring some of these Bible verses about the sin of pride shows us God’s timeless wisdom, and guides us in not allowing man’s pride to overshadow the humble spirit that God wants us to possess. 

When we look at this sin of pride from a Biblical perspective, we can see the contrast between a proud heart and a humble spirit. If we devote ourselves to learning more Scriptural principles of this pride of the heart, God will show us things in His Word that we never saw or understood in the past. Frequently when I approach a subject like this with prayer and an eagerness to understand God’s take on it, He will show it to me with jaw-dropping clarity. 

peacock with tail fanned

God knows that none of us are so very different from those who went before us, whose lives are recorded in the pages of the Bible. He teaches us patiently, often with real-life experiences and examples of what He wants us to learn. 

The Bible covers it all: the temptations we face, the emotions and insecurities that overtake us at times, the situations, types of people, and hardships we go through, and so, so much more. God knows what our problems are and He knows how we should best deal with them. We merely have to ask, and He will show us His way in all of life. 

As I have been exploring the subject of pride in the Bible, here are some of the things I’ve learned: 

  1. Pride is a sneaky evil way that creeps into man’s heart and builds up so gradually that we often fail to realize the trouble we’ve gotten ourselves into. 
  2. Everyone has some kind of a problem with pride, although our own conceits and temptations are usually difficult to see with our own eyes. 
  3. Pride is a terrible offense to the Lord God and if we allow it to blind us, He will deal with us and the pride within us, both strongly and severely, and in His perfect timing.
  4. God has a strong hatred of evil, but because of His steadfast love for His people, He is faithful to extend grace, mercy, and ultimately forgiveness to all who have been prideful, when we turn to Him in confession and repentance.

Types Of Pride In The Bible

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions – is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (CSB) 

The three types of pride in the Bible are addressed in this passage. Many scholars believe that every instance of pride is rooted in one of these three areas: 

  • the desires of the flesh 
  • the desires of the eyes 
  • the pride of life 

These are all sinful attitudes that turn us away from God for the want of something else that we are more focused on than Him.  The more we set our heart on that thing, the less we see of the Lord God. 

The Message Bible says it this way: “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from Him.” 1 John 2:16 (MSG)

Our aim should never be to go after our own selfish desires, but rather to run fast after God. Yet the Bible tells us that pride does just the opposite – it pushes a man or a woman farther from God, and pulls the focus to the pride of his heart instead. 

Symptoms Of Pride In The Bible

The evil way of pride robs us of blessings. It steals our joy, our peace, our relationships, and our stability.  Some of the ways we can recognize pride are described in the Bible. Here is a list of some of the symptoms of the sin of pride and the ways pride can be disguised. 

Anxiety And Fearfulness 

The mistaken belief that a person’s well-being is up to them alone can cause fear and anxiety to run rampant. When we appoint ourselves to be the masters of our own lives, we are ultimately placing in our own hands more responsibility than we were ever meant to carry. We weren’t created to run our own lives. We were created to depend on the mighty hand of God.  

1 Peter 5:6-7 tells us we should cast all our cares on Him, because He cares about us. 

Extreme Negative Emotions Such As Anger And Rage 

When we try to run our own lives without God, we will easily become offended and angry. This is what the Bible calls a haughty spirit. When things don’t go our way and we lose control, we can become out of control, displaying angry outbursts and fits of rage.  

Proverbs 21:24 says that the proud and arrogant person behaves with insolent fury. 

Strife And Inability To Get Along With Others 

A prideful person believes in their own eyes that they deserve something from other people. They are takers, not givers. Nice gestures are often done with the intent of gaining some form of repayment in return. These expectations strain relationships and cause strife. Being easily offended comes with the territory when we are prideful, self-centered, and arrogant. 

Proverbs 13:10 tells us that “arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice.”

Comparison And Preoccupation With What Others Think 

If we are preoccupied with outward appearance or what others are thinking, constantly in competition with others, whether it is obviously apparent or is hidden inside, we may have the sin of pride. If we live to look better, smarter, or more blessed in any way than others, are obsessed with what others think of us, or are judgmental about others and feel superior to others, this should be a red flag.

C.S. Lewis said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.”  Galatians 6:4 cautions us about comparing ourselves with others. 

Controlling Or Attempting To Control Other People

Controlling people have a problem with pride which makes them appear confident and full of themselves. However, the majority of these people truly have low self-esteem and must boost their confidence to feel like they are equal to or better than others. They have trouble allowing God to be in charge and will scheme and manipulate to be in control of their lives, situations, and the people around them. 

Other symptoms of pridefulness are: 

  • Lack of wisdom, or foolishness according to the Bible  
  • Dissatisfaction and ungratefulness
  • Refusal to listen to reason, or ask for help 
  • Unwillingness to submit to God 

[As we read about the sin of pride, it’s very easy to identify it in other people, but let’s not forget to watch for the signs of a proud heart in our own lives.] 

Dangers Of Pride In The Bible

And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.”  Romans 1:23-24a (NLT)

Pridefulness is a very dangerous and harmful place to be. God hates pride, the haughtiness of men, and He considers pride to be evil. In the end, God allows prideful people to go their own way, giving them up to follow the evilness of their hearts. 

He says,“But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” in Jeremiah 17:10 (NLT).

When we insist on continuing down the slippery road of any sin, God may allow it, and then also allow the consequences of our own work of sin to fall upon us, in His timing. 

The story of Haman in the book of Esther is a perfect example of someone who was destroyed by his pride. That story didn’t turn out at all like Haman thought it would. He ended up being hung on the gallows he had built for an innocent man whom he had schemed against in his hateful pride. In the end, God’s mighty hand fell on Haman and destroyed him. 

20 Verses about Pride In the Bible

Throughout the entire Bible, there are many words used to indicate pride. Some of them are arrogant, insolent, haughty, presumptuous, stubborn, willful, scoffer, boastful, mocker and fool, and of course pride, prideful, and pridefulness.

Proverbs 16:18 

Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”  (CSB)

An arrogant and haughty spirit will be followed by a spiritual fall, which leads to the danger of opening the door for further evil. 

Proverbs 11:2

When arrogance comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.”  (CSB)

If a prideful person sees his error, changes his ways, and develops a humble heart, he has done a wise thing. 

Romans 16:17-18

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them, because such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.” (CSB)

God’s people are to steer clear of, even avoid those who create divisions among people and who draw believers away from the faith. In their selfish ambition, they are serving only themselves and are out to deceive the unsuspecting.  

Psalms 5:3-4

The boastful cannot stand in your sight; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who tell lies; the Lord abhors violent and treacherous people.”  (CSB)

The Lord hates boastful evildoers, and He abhors violent and treacherous people.

Jeremiah 48: 29-30

We have heard of Moab’s pride, great pride, indeed – his insolence, arrogance, pride, and haughty heart. I know his outburst. This is the Lord’s declaration. It is empty. His boast is empty.”  (CSB)

God always knows the evil things that pride does to violate His people. He is well aware of this, and He knows their prideful boasting is not gaining them the status that they think it is.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”  (CSB)

Paul had a physical problem he was tormented with. He had asked God to take it away, but God told him to depend on His grace, “for My power is made perfect in weakness”. We need to remember that the grace of God is always enough to get us through. Exalting ourselves for our own comfort isn’t necessary when we have God’s grace.

Daniel 4:37

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of the heavens, because all his works are true and his ways are just. He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”  (CSB)

This king had been prideful, but God humbled him by taking his kingdom away from him, driving him into seclusion to live like a wild animal, eating grass like a cow for seven years, his hair and nails growing completely wild until he was ready to acknowledge God as the powerful Most High. 

1 Timothy 1:13-14

Paul is not ashamed to tell anyone about his former life. The pride of his heart and his arrogance were a thing of the past, and he wanted everyone to know the mercy and grace of God, and the faith and love that loving Jesus Christ brings.

2 Timothy 3:2

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people. (CSB)

Paul warns Timothy of the people who have any or all of the above traits. Even today, we see people with the outward appearance of a humble heart, but who operate out of their own selfish ambition and act in total opposition to God’s word. 

Jude 1:17

But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit.” (CSB)

Jude is telling us that those who operate from a proud heart are acting out of an evil heart, not under the humble Spirit of God. 

Proverbs 21:24

The arrogant and proud person, named “Mocker,” acts with excessive arrogance.”  (CSB)

the Bible labels proud and arrogant people as “mockers”. We must be cautious not to act with arrogance, or we may be made a mockery of.

Philippians 2:3

 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV)

This selfish ambition and conceit are signs of the pride of life and should be signs to us that we need to change.  

Proverbs 9:7-8

“The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke the wise, and he will love you.”  (CSB)

There are lots of differences between mockers (those acting in arrogance) and the wise. One major difference is how they react to being questioned or corrected. The mocker will lash out in hatred at the one who attempts to correct him, but the wise person will recognize the need for and will appreciate an honest correction.

Proverbs 3:34

“The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous; He mocks those who mock but gives grace to the humble.”  (CSB)

If we have a true and healthy fear of the Lord, living and acting with humble hearts, God will not mock us, but give us grace. 

Proverbs 6:16

“The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” (CSB)

God knows the heart of man, and in this verse, He tells us what He hates to see in our hearts. 

Hosea 13:6 

When they had pasture, they became satisfied; they were satisfied and their hearts became proud. Therefore they forgot me.”  (CSB)

In this verse, God was speaking through the prophet Hosea to the people of Israel who had gone astray. They had become prideful and satisfied with themselves. In that process, they had forgotten God and forgotten that He expects a humble spirit in the heart of man, not self-satisfaction. 

Jeremiah 49:16

As to the terror you cause, your arrogant heart has deceived you. You who live in the clefts of the rock, you who occupy the mountain summit, though you elevate your nest like the eagles, even from there I will bring you down. This is the Lord’s declaration.” (CSB)

When we elevate ourselves, we can expect God to bring us down. He said it through the prophet Jeremiah to His people, who had become arrogant and were operating out of evil thoughts and ideas.

 Proverbs 24:17

“Don’t gloat when your enemy falls, and don’t let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, or the Lord will see, be displeased, and turn his wrath away from him.”  (CSB)

Here is a lesson we all must take note of. You must be careful not to have pride of your heart when you see someone get what they deserve. 

Psalms 119:78

“Let the arrogant be put to shame for slandering me with lies; I will meditate on your precepts.”  (CSB)

When we are oppressed by a prideful and arrogant person, we need to step out of the way and leave the consequences of their pride to God. He will deal with them with His sober judgment. We must beware of taking such great matters into our own hands by trying to deal with these arrogant people – it just isn’t our job. 

Jeremiah 9:23-24

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things, I delight, declares the Lord.”  (ESV)

Boasting in ourselves is forbidden by God. If we feel the need to boast about something, we have plenty to brag about in our God, the King of Heaven, who loves us beyond measure, who understands and knows us, who is just and righteous and concerns Himself with the things of earth and the hearts of man. 

How Should We Deal With Prideful People? 

From these verses about pride in the Bible, we can learn how to react to and deal with a prideful person. The following list is a short and easy guideline for coping with the arrogant and prideful people we may have in our lives.

1. Don’t try to fix them or point out their fault. 

2. Step aside and allow God to deal with them.  Trust that He will deal with them but in His way and His own time. None of that is up to us. 

3. Focus our eyes on the Lord Almighty and on His word.

4. PRAY for them – here’s how:

Pray against a haughty spirit or attitude of pride, both in ourselves and in those we do life with. Pray that God will show prideful people how great and awesome He is, so they will clearly see it and bring glory to Him, turning completely away from their prideful attitudes and actions. 

Prayer is the first thing to do when we are tempted by pride. Through prayer, God will help us uncover the temptation of pride and turn our thoughts away, getting us back on safer ground.

Prayer is the believer’s way of going into battle. You can learn more about spiritual warfare in The Battle Between Good And Evil: Spiritual Warfare Scriptures and Equipping For Spiritual Battles: Putting On The Armor Of God. 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us that we have weapons of God that are stronger than those of men. These spiritual weapons will demolish strongholds, arguments, and every proud thing that is raised against the knowledge of God. These weapons help us to take our thoughts captive in order to be obedient to Christ.” 

God instructs us to avoid the sin of pride by having a humble heart, by having a higher regard for others than for ourselves, and by serving them. Having a humble spirit requires us to have a large measure of faith, but when we are doing what the Lord commands, acting out of obedience, He will see and reward those who have honored God’s word above their feelings or desires. 

Scriptures About Pride In the Bible

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  1. Thanks! Since I have a tendency to want to ‘fix’ people, this has been a valuable lesson in my own life.

  2. I love the call out that we shouldn’t waste our time or efforts attempting to “fix” prideful people. It reminds me of David, who refused to act out against Saul, trusting that God would deal with him Himself. And He did!