Home      Examiners 5-7

Pride & Arrogance
Vol. 5 No. 7  May 2011
The subject of arrogance is treated extensively in the Bible. Pride and arrogance was manifested in the angelic realm prior to human history (Ezek. 28:12-17). Arrogance is a feeling or an impression of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims. The one who is arrogant or prideful typically exhibits an attitude of superiority and disdain towards those he considers unworthy.
The ultimate in human arrogance is ignorance of the righteousness of God and seeking to establish your own righteousness. Every person who adds something to faith in Jesus Christ is in a state of arrogance. The ultimate of human arrogance is not knowing about the righteousness of God or ignorance of that righteousness and seeking to establish your own righteousness.

 Arrogance is the antithesis of grace, the total blindness to the grace of God. Arrogance is synonymous with vanity, which is empty pride in regard to one’s person, attainments, or possessions coupled with an excessive desire to be noticed, a lust for attention, lust for approval or praise from others. Arrogance deceives its victim, (Jer. 49:16). Arrogance will bring dishonor in your life, (Prov. 11:2). Arrogance will cause self-destruction (Prov. 16:18).

The greatest sin among believers and the worst sin in the universe are pride and arrogance. Pride and arrogance turns self-righteous prissy Christians into evil people. In the same satanic trap today, Satan tempts us to step outside of God's provision and do it on our own. This is the arrogance of the believer who becomes legalistic!

Spiritual arrogance is an inflated opinion of self, a misapprehension which will persistently undermine one’s life and happiness. It is the individual’s worst enemy, a destroyer of life and welfare. Arrogance is a spiritual problem since it stems from old sinful nature of every person born into this world. It is part of the human nature and nobody is free from it except the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  At first, it was unknown to Adam and Eve who were created perfect, but it became a reality to Adam when he sinned. And because of Adam’s original sin, every human being born into this world inherited  arrogance through biological procreation.

Arrogance is divorcement from reality; it is a life of deception and lies. Arrogant people are skilled liars and deceivers. They wear their masquerade without the suspicion of others. Arrogance is a subtle enemy of truth, reality and spirituality. It is self-alienation causing the individual to over-estimate his ability, wisdom, capacity and experience. The arrogant person has created a false impression of himself, which produces personal disasters, contempt for authority; it breeds social class problems and gives birth to crimes. Arrogance cannot handle critical situations and might simply resolve to violence. Arrogance is interested only with self, not with the welfare of others or with the glorification of God, and it will destroy anything or anyone who will block its way to self-glorification. For an arrogant person, his fellowmen are simply tools for achieving his selfish ambitions. Arrogance robs an individual with his precious privileges and opportunities to fulfill the plan of God in his life.

Most mental illness is acquired through arrogance. When arrogance is blended with sentimentality and emotionalism, it produces terrible disasters. An individual may focus his eyes upon himself, creating illusions and imaginations that seems real to him, becoming a mental obsession leading to phobia, neurosis or psychosis. The mind that is occupied with self cannot understand and will not accept any authority. Such rejection of divine establishment authority is a symptom of rejection of God’s grace.

Synonyms and related terms in English include: pride, egotism, self-glory, self importance, conceit, haughtiness, and disdain. Arrogance begins in the mental attitude under the influence of the old sinful nature and is often manifested in overt behavior (Mark 7:21-23). Also, arrogance is demonstrated by disobedience to God’s commandments (Neh. 9:29). Whether in the mental attitude or through some overt exhibition, arrogance is unequivocally condemned in Scripture (James 4:16, 1 Peter 5:5) and arrogant people (believers and unbelievers) cannot escape the curses of God (Psa. 101:5, Prov. 16:5, 18).

Hebrew terms:
  1. Geah: pride, arrogance (Prov. 8:13).
  2. Geeh: pride, proud (Job 40:11-12, Isa. 2:12).
  3. Gaavah: haughtiness, pride, proud, proudly, swelling pride (Prov. 29:23, Isa. 13:11).
  4. Gaon: arrogance, pride, proud, pomp. The term also has a good sense when used of God’s eminence, majesty, excellence (Lev. 26:19, 23:9, Isa. 2:10, 19, 21, Job 37:4).
  5. Gobah: haughty, haughtiness (Psa. 10:4, Prov. 16:5, 18).
  6. Athaq: forward, arrogant, arrogantly (1 Sam. 2:3-4, Psa. 75:5).
  7. Zed: insolent, presumptuous, arrogant, proud (Psa. 119:21; Prov. 21:24, Isa. 13:11).
  8. Zadon: insolent, insolence, presumptuousness, arrogance, arrogant, presumption, presumptuously, pride (Deut.17:12, 18:22, Prov. 11:2, 13:10, 21:24).
  9. Zud: to boil up, to seethe; acted arrogantly, proudly, presumptuously, arrogant; possesses a strong nuance of the anger that often accompanies arrogance (Ex. 21:14, Deut. 17:11-13, 18:20; Neh. 9:16, 29, Dan. 5:20).
  10. Abar: to be arrogant, to become angry. As zud, this term has a strong nuance of anger (Prov. 14:16, Prov. 20:2).
  11. Yahir: arrogant, proud, presumptuous (Hab. 2:5).
  12. Rum: haughtiness, haughty loftiness, self-exaltation (Isa. 2:11, 17, Jer. 48:29).
  13. Rachab: in a good sense to be wide or spacious; figuratively to be arrogant or proud (Psa. 40:4, 101:5, Prov. 21:4, 28:25).
  14. Shaanan: arrogance, careless (2 Kings 19:28).
Greek terms:
  1. Alazoneia: arrogance, boastfulness, boastful pride (James 4:16, 1 John 2:16).
  2. Authades: one who pleases himself; hence self willed, stubborn, arrogant (Titus 1:7).
  3. Katakauchaomai: to exult over, to be arrogant toward, to prevail or triumph over (James 3:14).
  4. Tuphoo:  to wrap in smoke;  to be demented, to be conceited (1 Tim. 6:4).
  5. Huperephania: a state of undue sense of one’s importance bordering on insolence, arrogance, haughtiness, pride (Mark 7:22).
  6. Huperephanos: showing or thinking oneself to be above others, arrogant, proud (Luke 1:51, Rom. 1:30, 2 Tim. 3:2, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
  7. Huperogkos: of excessive weight or size, arrogant, arrogantly (Jude 1:16).
  8. Hupselophroneo: to be high-minded, arrogant (1 Tim 6:17).
  9. Phusioo to puff up or blow up, inflated, arrogant, (1 Cor. 4:6, 18-19, 5:2, 13:4).
  10. Phusiosis: a puffing up, conceit, arrogance (2 Cor. 12:20).

Believers are not to get swept up in the hype and boastful pride of life in the cosmos (1 John 2:15-16, 2 Tim. 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6). We, as believers, must direct our focus and energy on our spiritual growth. The adjusted Church Age believer will seek to exploit his privileged position in Christ. This is accomplished through the consistent intake and application of sound doctrine. The believer who fails to prioritize his life in accordance with the clear commands of Scripture and is captivated by “the things in the world” sets himself up for spiritual ruin (inconsistent attendance in Bible class in order to pursue details of life). Arrogance is a byproduct of the OSN and is initially exhibited in the mental attitude (2 Chron. 26:16, 2 Cor. 12:20). The bulk of humanity is under the domination of their old sinful nature.

The rational believer recognizes that “the things of world”, although very attractive, are also very superficial and will not satisfy. As believers we must see the importance of doctrine and its efficacy (cf. Prov. 3:15, Col. 2:5). Our position is unique. We have been delivered from “the domain of darkness” and transferred into the kingdom of Christ through faith in Christ (Col. 1:13-14). Despite our continued physical residence in the world, we are now viewed as citizens of His kingdom (Eph. 2:19, Phil. 3:20). We must not think and behave as we did when we lived in the realm of darkness (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 5:11, Col. 3:2, 1 Peter 1:14-16).

The difference between the arrogant female and arrogant male: The arrogant male:
  • Desire humility in the female
  • Incapable of loving woman
  • Desire to sex with women to humiliate them
  • Reject counsel of wise woman
  • Insecure of women (feeling a loss of manhood)
  • Uses flattery to deceive woman
  • A hero always ready to rescue women in distress
The arrogant female:
  • Desire humility in the male
  • Incapable of receiving love from a man
  • Incapable of submission to her husband
  • Humiliate man by manipulating him
  • Giving unsolicited counsel
  • Deceive by flattery of man
  • Malfunction in insecurity
Basic manifestation of arrogance:
  • Speech (1 Sam. 2:3, Dan. 4:30-37, Prov. 30:32).
  • Conduct  (Dan 5:22-23, Neh. 9:16)
  • Mannerisms (Job 15:20-25, James 2:1-4).
  • Haughty look (Psalm 101:5, Prov. 21:4)

Some areas of pride:

  • Strength, physical abilities, Lev. 26:19,
  • Military prowess (Judges 7:2).
  • Beauty, appearance (2 Cor. 5:12, cf. the fall of Satan, Ezekiel 28:17 Prosperity, money (Psa. 49:6, Ezek. 28:5, Hosea 13:6, 1 Tim. 6:17).
  • Religious devotion, superficial piety (Luke 18:11).
  • Intellect (Jer.9:23, Acts 17:1, Prov. 3:7).
  • Geographical location (John 1:46).
  • Racial arrogance (Rom 2:17).

There are an abundance of principles in Scripture concerning arrogance that a believer ought to have in his “doctrinal” frame of reference.  The failure to obey doctrine is arrogant (Neh. 9:16). Many in the world manifest arrogance by not seeking God even to the point of denying His existence (Psa. 10:4). Fools are arrogant and careless (Prov. 14:16, Prov. 1:7, Prov. 12:15).

The believer must not exalt himself as do many in the world. Instead, the faithful, obedient believer will be exalted by God. Such a believer may be enhanced in honor, fame, position, power, or financial prosperity (Josh. 3:7, 4:14, Psa. 37:34, 1 Chron. 14:2, 29:25, James 4:10). Emulate God’s attitude toward pride, arrogance, and evil…hate it (Prov. 8:13). The believer should not be conceited about his intellectual abilities and academic achievements (Prov. 26:12, Phil 3:4-5, also Acts 26:24).

In certain cases, God may afflict a believer in order to prevent arrogance (2 Cor. 12:7). If a believer has prospered financially and materially, he must not be prideful and attribute his wealth solely to his own effort. Instead the believer must recognize that God supplied it (1 Timothy 6:17) Instructs those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (Job 1:1-3, 10, 21, 42:10-12).

Those who are conceited commonly stir up strife (Prov. 28:25, Prov. 13:10, where “presumption” is pride or insolence). We are not to boast or speak with insolent pride (Psalm 75:4-7) especially among members of the Royal Family of God (Gal. 5:26, Rom. 10:12, 1 Cor. 12:13, Col. 3:11).

The believer who blindly follows his own plans without initially considering God’s directive will is arrogant (James 4:13-16). False teachers are characterized by self will and arrogance (2 Peter 2:1-20 false prophets, Deut.18:20, 22). Conversely the adjusted communicators of doctrine should exhibit a lack of self-will and arrogance (Titus 1:7). We must not be motivated by pride or conceit to make various applications in our niches (Phil 2:3). Do not engage in self promotion when God blesses you (Acts 14:8-18, also Acts 12:21-23). The one who is proud will be humiliated (Prov. 29:23). Pride goes before destruction (Prov. 16:18).

In Prov. 16:18, the term is expressive of physical calamity on a personal level (Prov. 18:12). God uses severity in His dealings with the arrogant. Pride is particularly offensive to God (Prov. 16:5, 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”). The punishment of the conceited and arrogant by God is assured. He will not put up with arrogance in the mental attitude (Psalm 101:5). Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.). He will tear down the house of the proud (i.e. the proud will be ruined, Prov. 15:25, Prov. 12:7, 14:11). He will rebuke those who go astray from the principles of sound doctrine, the arrogant (Psa. 119:21).

In the future, those who are arrogant will be overthrown by God (Isaiah 2:11-12). The proud look of man will be abased, And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased, (Isaiah 13:11) Thus I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud, And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.).

Within the study of arrogance, boasting is a core topic. Arrogance or pride may be verbalized through boasting. A study of Scripture reveals that there exists both sinful and non-sinful boasting. The majority of the boasting which we hear in the world is of the sinful type. Sinful boasting is to puff oneself up in speech or to speak of with excessive pride.

It is a verbal sin which is sponsored by the old sinful nature (Psa. 10:3, James 3:5-8, 4:16). In his arrogance, the boaster fails to acknowledge God, His plan, or His grace provisions. Ultimately God will silence all arrogant boasting (Psa. 5:5, Ezek. 35:13-14). The Anti-Christ is characterized by great boasting (Dan. 7:8, 11).

Various areas of boasting sponsored by the old sin nature:

  • Future plans (Luke 12:16-21).
  • False religion, idolatry (Psa. 97:7).
  • False teacher in regard to their followers (Gal. 6:13).
  • Toleration of evil (1 Cor. 5:6).
  • Other men (e.g. communicators, 1 Cor. 3:21, 4:6).
  • Anti-Semitism (Obadiah 1:12, Rom. 11:18).
  • Criminal activity, evil (Psa. 10:3, 52:1, 94:1).
  • Beyond one’s divine allotment (2 Cor. 10:13-16).
  • Deceitful business practices (Prov. 20:14).

In contrast to the majority of sinful boasting in the world, there is a legitimate form of boasting. It is referred to as sanctified or non-sinful boasting. While many people boast of themselves, the boasting of an adjusted believer is limited to God and His plan (Psa. 34:2, 44:8, Jer. 9:24, Rom. 15:17, 1 Cor. 1:31, 2 Cor. 10:17, Gal. 6:14). Various examples and areas, some of which overlap, where the believer may legitimately boast: The Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31 that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”). The person and work of Christ (Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world., Phil. 3:3). The knowledge of God and His divine viewpoint (Jer. 9:24, confidence or trust in God, Prov. 14:26, 27:1-6, Heb 13:6). For the believers that stayed the course in obedience to sound doctrine, a great amount of sanctified boasting will occur at the Bema seat (2 Cor. 1:14, Phil. 2:16, 1 Thess. 2:19, 1 Peter 4:13).

Sanctified boasting and the ministry

  • The pastor-teacher is permitted to boast in his right local church (2 Cor. 7:4, 14, 8:24, 9:2-6, 2 Thess. 1:4).
  • A local church may boast in their right pastor-teacher (2 Corinthians 1:14)
  • The pastor-teacher may boast about the authority which has been given to him by God. However he must not use it improperly (2 Cor. 10:8, cf. 1 Peter 5:2-3).
  • The pastor-teacher who is properly fulfilling the work in the ministry may boast (2 Cor. 1:12).
  • The pastor-teacher who supports himself in order to teach sound doctrine to those who desire it is allowed to boast (2 Cor. 11:9-10).
  • The adjusted pastor-teacher does NOT interfere with another doctrinal pastor-teacher and confines any boasting to his own canon (2 Corinthians 10:13-16).

In the world the majority of mankind is dominated by their old sinful nature. Consequently, mental arrogance, sinful boasting, and arrogant conduct pervade our world at every level of society. The wise believer will recognize this fact and staunchly refuse to be carried away by the “boastful pride of life.” We are citizens of heaven and as such should manifest a witness of the life free any form of arrogance.

Additionally the believer is to emulate God and hate pride. We must be careful to recognize that it is ultimately God who prospers us in our niches. Quite simply God will judge all those who are arrogant or conceited. The believer may engage in sanctified boasting but to a limited degree. Sanctified boasting places no confidence in our fleshly human abilities especially in a quest for spiritual maturity (Phil. 3:1). Great intelligence, good looks, worldly accolades and achievements do not commend a believer to God. Nor do these attributes give a believer an advantage in gaining the wreath.  Each believer in the Church Age has the same opportunity for spiritual advancement. It is the responsibility of each believer to exploit every opportunity for spiritual growth. The arrogant believer will reject the opportunity and privilege to advance and to grow in the spiritual life.

Every human being must take the responsibility for his own decisions and his own actions in life. You must take full responsibility yourself, based on your own wrong decisions related to:
  • Your associations
  • Your activities
  • Your motives
  • Your decisions
  • Your functions in life

This category of suffering deals with the natural consequences of sin, human good, evil, and bad judgment in our lives. All our sins have natural consequences in life, for which the individual who commits them must take full responsibility. We must always link consequences with bad decisions, rather than blaming someone else. Volition and decision is the source of both sins of ignorance and sins of cognizance. The consequences are generally classified as self-induced misery, self-imposed misery, and self-indulged misery.

The arrogant believers are:

  • Exhibits an attitude of superiority
  • Adds his good works to God’s system of grace
  • Adds something to faith
  • Seeking to establish his own righteousness
  • Blind to the grace of God
  • Stepping out of God’s provision
  • Living a life of deceit and lies
  • Skillful liars and deceivers
  • Living in false impression of himself
  • Disability to handle critical situations
  • Uses people to achieve his own selfish ambition
  • Resent and reject authority
  • Demonstrates disobedience to God’s Word
  • Blindly follows his own plan apart from God
  • Engage in self –promotion
  • Welcome evil ways
  • Makes bad judgments
  • Refuses to take responsibility for his own decisions and actions
  • Builds self-glory with the monument of human viewpoint
  • Always looking for human approbation and recognition
  • Exalts himself as a model of piety and devotion
  • Cultivates his life of weaknesses out of illusion and fantasy
  • Over-estimates his capacity and totally depends on it
  • Thinks that his suffering is unique and that he alone is suffering.

Religious people have pious arrogance which the devil uses to counterfeit true spirituality and godliness. Combined religious zeal and ignorance of Bible doctrine and you have an arrogance complex at the center stage. Arrogant but ignorant believers often attach importance to their pains, assuming that it brought them closer to God. Pious arrogance assumes human dead works under the power of old sinful nature is acceptable to God. They openly blaspheme the Essence of God. When a religious arrogant person is applause by the cosmic system it becomes first degree arrogance. That is the arrogance of Lucifer when he revolted against God, and the arrogance that will become antagonism toward God.

Pious arrogance with human love can destroy any organization, ministry or person because human self-esteem is always the road to hatred. Arrogance produces all types of pseudo-human love and pseudo-spirituality. This is the kind of love the politicians use to deceive the people and the love that glorifies man more than God. Such arrogance falsely blames his self-made misfortunes on others, on bad luck, on his childhood or on his parents.

An arrogant person lives in self-importance, succumbs to flattery and praises of men and builds his self-glory in monument out of human viewpoint. He thinks that he is very important in his country, in the world and especially to God. He believes that he is one of a kind who deserves special public recognition. This is the mental attitude of those who wanted to become president of his nation. Such arrogant person believed that he alone has the ability and capacity to do what he has done, and he alone can do what he wanted to accomplish. He is too proud to be humbled.

This spiritual problem is call false humility, which is the powerful strain of arrogance sometimes expressed as self-abasement or humiliation (Col. 2:18, 23) or self- degradation or asceticism. An arrogant person will exalts himself as a model of humility or piety. All he wanted is the public recognition and the divine approbation. He cultivates his piety and sentimentality as a means of capturing and controlling others. A pseudo- humble person is divorced from reality and divine viewpoint, he cover-up his weaknesses with self-sacrifices.

He overestimates his strength and totally depends on it, thinking that he can do better without God, he rejects the divine power. Arrogant people make decision from a position of weakness, blaming others for the very mistakes he manufactured for himself. He lives in the fantasy world of illusions, day dreaming and imagination that accomplishes nothing for God and nothing for men. His dreams and false motives demolish reality and truth.

There are three phases of arrogance:

  • Arrogance toward his fellowmen
  • Arrogance toward established authority
  • Arrogance toward the Bible and God

The third phase of arrogance is the worst and the most dangerous. This concerns the unbelievers who reject the Gospel of Christ and the believers who ignore and reject the authority of the Bible doctrine. Genuine humility responds to established truth by submitting to the temporal authority, and responds to Bible doctrine by living inside the plan and will of God. Genuine humility is submission to legitimate authority.

Humility (tapeinophrosune) literally, “the lowliness of mind” (Acts 20:19, Eph. 4:2, Phil. 2:3, Col. 3:12), refers to the lowliness of the mind of a believer who accepts the truth of Bible doctrine for personal growth and application. In greater context, genuine humility is teach ability of the believer toward Bible doctrine with the objective of reaching spiritual maturity. Genuine humility is freedom from subjectivity allowing the believer to fully comprehend objective reality.

A teachable Christian is a genuinely humbled Christian who desires, accepts and applies Bible doctrine without any reservation. A genuine humbled believer must learn God’s way and is willing to give up anything for the sake of Bible doctrine. Genuine humility is the result of Bible doctrine stored and resident in the soul, not an act of piety and sacrifice. It is the result of a renewal being created by God through the Bible doctrine stored and resident in the soul. Genuine humility is the initial strength of character that leads to all the Christian virtues in spiritual momentum. Genuine humility is a mental attitude and a way of life. As a system of thinking, genuine humility is freedom from arrogance. As a way of life, genuine humility is submission to legitimate authority. True humility is a system of thinking under pressure with courage and poise as its covering.

Humility is an essential part of capacity for blessing in time of the super grace believer (James 4:6). Humility accepts the fact that promotion comes only from God and that self-made promotion leads only to misery. Humility precludes any inordinate competition, self-promotion, self-advancement, self-glory. Humility prepares the believers to receive the blessings in time and eternity, while arrogance removes this capacity and privileges. Humility is the link that bridges the gap between freedom and authority, blessing and prosperity, power and victory.

Bible doctrine (epignosis) alone can turn an arrogant into a genuinely humble person. The daily but consistent and progressive intake of the Word of God gradually paralyzes the fortress of the old sinful nature which includes arrogance complex. Religious reformation results only to partial and temporal change that will eventually become more serious problem. There is nothing more terrible than a person who has rejected the Gospel of Christ but continue to call upon the name of God, and a person who rejects the Bible doctrine but continues to serve God. Nothing is more arrogant than the religious hypocrites. People will go to hell not because of sin which Christ has paid in full at the Cross, but because of their arrogance.  They replaced the perfect work of Christ with their self-righteousness.
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