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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Undue confidence in and attention to one's own skills, accomplishments, state, possessions, or position. Pride is easier to recognize than to define, easier to recognize in others than in oneself. Many biblical words describe this concept, each with its own emphasis. Some of the synonyms for pride include arrogance, presumption, conceit, self-satisfaction, boasting, and high-mindedness. It is the opposite of humility, the proper attitude one should have in relation to God. Pride is rebellion against God because it attributes to self the honor and glory due to God alone. Proud persons do not think it necessary to ask forgiveness because they do not admit their sinful condition. This attitude toward God finds expression in one's attitude toward others, often causing people to have a low estimate of the ability and worth of others and therefore to treat them with either contempt or cruelty. Some have considered pride to be the root and essence of sin. Others consider it to be sin in its final form. In either case, it is a grievous sin.

“Boasting” can be committed only in the presence of other persons (1 John 2:16; James 4:16 ). “Haughtiness” or “arrogance” measures self as above others (Mark 7:23; Luke 1:51; Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5 ). This word refers primarily to the attitude of one's heart. 1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:4; and 2 Timothy 3:4 use a word literally meaning “to wrap in smoke.” It emphasizes the plight of the one who has been blinded by personal pride.

Pride may appear in many forms. Some of the more common are pride of race, spiritual pride, and pride of riches. Jesus denounced pride of race (Luke 3:8 ). The parable of the Pharisee and the publican was directed at those guilty of spiritual pride, the ones who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9 ). James 1:10 warns the rich against the temptation to be lifted up with pride because of their wealth.

Gerald Cowen

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Pride'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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