What is Pride? Why is Pride sinful?

This might be a long question. Hope everyone can bear with it.

The dictionary word for pride is “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”

Basically the worldly definition of pride is some sort of feeling derived from self achievements or from someone closely related. And the Bible definition is “the feeling above derived without seeking God”.

The first question of pride is what form of pride is considered pride? Many people even bible teachers felt it’s OK to “Take Pride” in self. National Pride, Race Pride, Religious Pride, Family/Clan/Tribal Pride, etc. Isn’t that Pride as well? Whenever there’s a recognition ceremony and you are being called up to take the award, isn’t that Pride as well? Or your children gets first placement in exams and your children went up the stage, isn’t that Pride as well for your children and yourself? There are even more examples where we feel the pride of achievements of having completed a job/mission with team mates, those are Pride too right? People come and congratulate us for the success achieve, we shake hands instead of showing scorn or arrogance in ignoring the handshake. But the handshaking itself is a feeling of Pride, or are we to say that we don’t deserve the handshake and shouldn’t not be in such ceremony in the first place. Pride is a feeling not an action. The action would be Boasting while the behavior/attitude would be Arrogant. So is all forms of Pride the same and sinful? If all Pride is a sin, then we should not be standing for the National Anthem singing with a face and voice full of Pride. However in Galatians 6:4 “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else”. The Bible ask to “Take Pride in ourselves without comparing to others”. And yet the Proverbs 8:13 “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech”. So again we are back to Pride is still a sin.

Now the second part of the question, why is Pride sinful? It was Pride which led Lucifer’s downfall into Satan. Bible verses Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”. On contrast for God declare in Job 41 “who could do those things other than himself”, that’s a huge sense of Pride in there. When Jesus declare in John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And yet while Christians declare that we have the One True God and The Resurrection of Christ was the uniqueness that no other religion possessed, we call it Truth, others call us Arrogant and Prideful. So is telling the Truth is considered a sinless Pride. If so then why is it wrong/sinful to tell out the truth of our own achievements without being Arrogant in it like the handshaking example above. It is actually considered a courtesy to shake hands with people who congratulate you. Now I want to look at if Pride is sin then why does God have them himself? What I mean is How could a God that hates Pride and Arrogant and yet have them himself? Does it mean that Pride itself is considered to be equal of God status? And that any man that has Pride is considering himself/herself as God? John 15:5 " “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

If all Pride is a feeling derived from self glorified is sin, then how about those Pride derived from from God. Or rather does glorying God is a feeling of Pride? Bringing the Good News or Apologetics comparison to others are considered sinless Pride?


Hi @Kenny_Chen,

You have a great question! It seems you have already done a significant amount of study and thought about this, and more may likely be required. I have found that it is questions like these, as well as the study and prayer for understanding that they require, that have been and continue to be a critical part of my growth in Him.

I do want to take some time to study your question with you.
In the meantime, I have some questions for you:

  1. Have you used a concordance to find all the verses which have the English word pride in them? (I like Strong’s)? It seems from your question that you may have.
  2. Have you used the Strong’s definitions to help define each Hebrew word (and the root word from which it was derived) that has been translated as ‘pride’ in the English?

==Blueletterbible.com is one free tool which can make 1 & 2 easy.
Search for the word “prid*” to get prideful, etc.
Turn on Strong’s
Click on the various Strong’s numbers to get the root word(s), definitions and read through all the verses where that Hebrew word was used.

  3. Have you used a Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary?  

This was written by a Christian man in 1828 describing the meanings of the words as used then, and tend to be the meaning of those who translated His Word into English, especially if you are using the KJV. English is a living language, definitions change, using a modern dictionary to try to discern the intent of translators can be confusing, sometimes even distorting the truth.


@Kenny_Chen I think we have to begin by recognizing that the word pride has multiple definitions.

  1. Sense of satisfaction derived from your own or others’ achievements
  2. Sense of self-sufficiency that leads someone to think they have no need of God
  3. Sense of self-righteousness or self-centered thinking that leads to maligning or mistreating other people

In Scripture, we see that God condones definition (1). Believers can be proud of their position in Christ Jesus and boast in the Lord. We may also be proud of those who are walking with God and doing what is good and honorable and true. Likewise, it is perfectly find to be proud of achievements.

James 1:9-11 - Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

2 Cor 7:4 - I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

Definitions (2) and (3), however, are the type of pride that leads to destruction. Pride is often connected with arrogance - a sense that one does not need God or is better than others.

Proverb 8:13 - The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Another way to define the kind of pride that is wrong is to contrast it with Christ’s humility.

Philippians 2:3-7 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

One Way to God

It is not proud to state that you know Jesus is the only way to God if it is true. In additional, all religions and worldviews make exclusive truth claims. People who say that you cannot know the truth are saying, in effect, the truth is that you cannot know the truth. Their claim is just as absolute as the Christian claim. We cannot avoid making truth claims. The question is, do we have good reasons to believe them? And in Christianity we have good reason to trust that Jesus is who He claimed to be!


Having to read through several days worth of ancient hebrew to come with a short conclusion that pride was translated from many hebrew word and the root of those word usually meant “to be exalted, to be lifted up, to be majestic”. The root was a word meant to glorify God.

Surprisingly of all the hebrew word translated into pride only Proverb 8:13 “ge’ah” was translated as pride and arrogance; and this particular hebrew word only appear once in the whole bible. Not really a language scholar this mystery will not be solved by me anytime soon.

It does come to a conclusion the reason pride or hubris was considered sinful was due to it being used for exalting the Most High One. A superiority feeling above all else without taking God into consideration. However the various hebrew word for pride was also translated into something positive depending on the whole sentence. Therefore it was not what the word meant but what the meaning was translated into words.

By the way regarding translating to the old English meaning of Pride,

PRIDE , n. [.] 1. Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others. [.] [.] …

The Old English Pride stands from a negative view point. It is accordance to KJV version where Pride is only seen as negative. While the modern version follows the modern dictionary. As such the old definition of Pride are the ones to be considered as sinful.

Thank you for the enlightenment.

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Thanks @SeanO for replying to this post. What I was really looking into was the meaning of Pride. Because my small group was debating that all Pride are sin and we should have no Pride. My conclusion was a prideless human would be low self-esteem and suicidal. How could such a human even exist? Thus post my rant and comparison.

Thank you again for those biblical verses and other referencing. Much appreciated.

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