What does the Bible teach about arrogance?

The Bible is abundantly clear that arrogance is something that God hates. It is abominable to the Lord and in direct opposition to how He instructs us to live. In the book of Proverbs, arrogance is included first on the list of things God hates (Proverbs 6:16–19).

Jesus talked about what defiles people, and pride is one of the things He mentioned (Mark 7:20–23). Arrogance is included on the same list as slander, theft, and murder, which shows the gravity that God places on it. The Bible promises that arrogant people will be punished: "Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished" (Proverbs 16:5; see also Isaiah 13:11).

Arrogance is in direct opposition to godliness because it exalts self above all, and especially, above God. The story of King Nebuchadnezzar is an example of pride bringing a person low. When Nebuchadnezzar took credit for building his kingdom on his own, he was banished to the wilderness by God, living like an animal, and it wasn't until he gave God the credit due Him that he was restored to his kingdom, saying: "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble" (Daniel 4:37; Daniel 4:28-37).

Love is the opposite of arrogance because it exalts others above self. The life of Jesus exemplifies this. He came to serve and to give His life for others. Jesus told His disciples, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:42–45).

Throughout the Bible, there are clear instructions that we are to put others before self. This is because arrogance and pride destroy our relationships with others. "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3; see also Romans 12:3). If you do exalt yourself in arrogance, the Bible says that you will subsequently fall: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). In direct contrast, Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). God gives grace to those who are humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; see also Proverbs 3:34).

While arrogance is clearly a sin, remember that you can be confident without being arrogant (Galatians 6:4). Our confidence comes from God, which means we cannot exalt ourselves above Him, as He is the source of all things good in our lives. "'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.' For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends" (2 Corinthians 10:17–18). Avoid arrogance. Stay humble and let God be the source of your confidence.

Related Truth:

Pride—What does the Bible say?

Does the Bible say anything about ego?

What does the Bible say about self-esteem?

Does the Bible talk about self-love / loving self?

What does the Bible teach about confidence?

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