Pride: An Attitude to Avoid – Exploring the Passages

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. According to Proverbs 13:10 (printed below,) what is one consequence of pride?

Pride only breeds contention, but wisdom is found with those who accept advice. (Proverbs 13:10)

One common by-product or result of pride is contention: wherever the attitude of pride is displayed, contention will appear. Consider Galatians 5:26; “Let us not become conceited—provoking each other, envying each other.”

2. What is another consequence of pride? See Proverbs 11:2 (printed below)

When pride comes, then comes shame; but wisdom is found with the humble. (Proverbs 11:2)

When you entertain a spirit of pride, you are liable to part company with wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 indicates that wisdom is a close friend of humility, a friend for whom pride has little time and no use. When you make pride your companion, pride will eventually introduce you to folly, and the two of them will lead you down a road that leads to shame. Pride will convince you that you can do something stupid or foolish and get away with it (because you are so very wise or strong or clever or special.) But the final outcome will not be success; on the contrary, it will prove to be shame.

3. How does Proverbs 16:5 (printed below) describe Jehovah’s attitude towards pride?

Everyone who has a proud heart is detestable to Jehovah. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Proverbs 16:5 informs us that “a proud heart is detestable to Jehovah.” “Detestable” is a very strong term, expressing the Lord’s divine abhorrence of pride. Why does God detest the sinful attitude of pride (and all of its manifestations: arrogance, conceit, contempt)? Pride is man’s desire to attribute to himself what he has received from God. Furthermore, pride is man’s desire to usurp for himself the place and the honor that rightfully belong to God. The latter part of Proverbs 16:5 is actually a solemn oath (literally reading “hand to hand;” as men would shake hands in pledge) that God will by no means allow the sinful attitude of pride to go unpunished.

4. Consider Proverbs 16:19 (printed below). Which alternative mentioned in this proverb is recommended? Why do you think this is so?

It is better to have a humble spirit and dwell with the poor, than to divide the plunder with the proud. (Proverbs 16:19)

It is better to have a humble spirit and keep company with the poor (those who have nothing, and are even considered as being outcasts), than to enjoy great abundance if it means being in the company of the proud. The point of the proverb is this: a humble spirit is to be cherished as being of far greater value than the wealth of the world. Furthermore, do not associate with proud men, avoid them at all costs, so that you do not become like them.

5. Consider Proverbs 26:12 (printed below). How would you explain the meaning of the phrase, “a man who is wise in his own eyes?” What does this proverb tell us about such a man?

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12)

A man who is “wise in his own eyes,” or in his own estimation, is a man who, animated by a spirit of pride, views himself as being wise and knowledgeable; he is not open to receiving instruction so that he may become truly wise. Indeed, he may even treat with contempt and ridicule any attempt to instruct him. This proverb teaches that there is more hope for a fool than for such a man. That is to say, there is more hope that a fool will listen and learn—and Proverbs has very little hope for a fool.