Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible

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Proverbs 21:24 – “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names, Who acts with insolent pride.

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You may have found this blog because you have a “narcissist” in your life, or  in the life of someone you care about.   At first, you may not have known that you were dealing with a narcissist, but the pain and damage this selfish, arrogant, condescending, domineering person caused might have driven you to search for answers on what was going on, and on how to deal with this difficult person.  As you went online or to books on  Amazon, you read more about who this person is, and how he operates.  And you likely read some explanations as to how he got this way, or advice regarding how to deal with this “narcissist”.  In the process of trying to learn everything possible in your search for answers, you may have decided to explore what the Bible has to say on the subject.

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While the Bible does not specifically refer to “narcissism” –  which takes its name from Greek mythology – it does have a lot of wisdom on the subject.   Human nature has been the same since the beginning of mankind, and the Bible speaks much about the nature of man as well as how to relate to people – so the kind of people whom the secular world refers to as “narcissists” should also be evident in the Bible.  It is a matter of finding the terms which the Bible uses to describe the people which the secular world calls narcissists.  We can then use the Biblical terms for a comprehensive look at the Bible says about Narcissism.

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The term which the Bible uses is “insolent pride”.   We can know that “insolent pride” is the Biblical equivalent to “narcissism” because the characteristics of insolent pride line up with the traits of narcissism.

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Proverbs 21:24 – “Proud,” “Haughty,” “ Scoffer,” are his names, Who acts with insolent pride.

From Dictionary.com

Insolence (noun)

1.  contemptuously rude or impertinent behavior or speech.

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“Insolent pride” is more than just pride.  It is pride that is contemptuous, looking down on others.   Think of a queen that sees herself as above everyone else, as though they only exist to serve her.  
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This also is part of a classical description of narcissism.
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Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride. The term originated with Narcissus in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
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A biblical study of narcissism can begin with a study of “insolent pride”, “scoffers”, and “haughtiness”.
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See here for more on secular definitions of narcissism
See here for more on the biblical hebrew definition of “insolent pride”
See here for more on the biblical hebrew definition of “proud”
See here for more on the biblical hebrew definition of “haughty”
See here for more on the biblical hebrew definition of “scoffer”
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Narcissistic Personality Disorder is still being researched in the formal field of psychology – and is only generally defined in the world of pop psychology – and as such does not have a clear, official definition  (see here).   Therefore, there cannot be a clear 1;1 match between the terms “narcissism” and “insolent pride”, when one of the terms is not precisely defined.   But, there is enough overlap of traits that we can use the term “narcissism” as an approximation for “insolent pride”.
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TheBibleOnNarcissists

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Going back to the initial discussion above, the reason we are even using the term “narcissism” is that many people who are searching for answers on how to deal with these troublesome people will likely search using the term “narcissism”, as that is the term with which they are most familiar.  But the most precise and real answers will come from the Biblical understanding of “insolent pride”.  That is why we are using the terms synonymously, even though there is not a precise match-up between terms.

47 responses

  1. hello!,I like your writing very so much! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert on this area to resolve my problem. Maybe that is you! Having a look ahead to look you.

    • Very true. There are many of these in Christian churches and circles. That’s where I’ve met the bulk of them. They defile and darken and kill anything that’s good just with their character and if no good or decent person is around to hold them accountable. Thanks for this article. Do you have others on the Bible’s stance on narcissism? What about how to deal with or relate to a narcissist?

      • Thanks much for your comments. This website is an ongoing search on what the Bible has to say on the subject. Ultimately we hope to discuss more practical ways for dealing with narcissists. The right hand column shows the blog entries by topic. I hope they are helpful!

      • I see the right hand column. I read some articles and bookmarked the homepage. Happy to hear that someone is addressing this. It seems to me, especially recently, that God has a real case against narcissists (especially when they are preying in Christian circles) even if the average person and Christian doesn’t think much about them.

        From what I hear and have experienced, narcissists are often impune, and church pastors and ministers are the last to take note of them (I recently suffered at the hands of one who is the men’s ministry leader at a popular church here, and his pastor didn’t take apparent steps when I told him this). I’ll be doing a lot of reading here. Again, it seems that while I prefer to avoid this issue, the Lord is ‘leading me’ to understand and address it.

        If you have time or haven’t heard of it, here is an almost perfect story which 48 Hours carried not too long ago about a ‘Christian narcissist’ and the mysterious death of his wife at the International House of Prayer University: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3hy84e?GK_FACEBOOK_OG_HTML5=1

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  40. I just linked this page to another Christian site about the narcissist and while doing so remembered an ex-narcissist that I currently know and have known for about the past month. He told me about his salvation experience, and it’s the only testimony of salvation that has ever made an impact on me because of how deep into his heart God had to go to reach him. This is not something you even reasonably hope to hear about on any given day. It dawned on him that he used to be a narcissist when I showed him an article on the other site (https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/the-christian-narcissist/). I can direct him to this site on biblical perspectives– since he admits to still struggling sometimes with narcissistic traits– so he can get some help on dealing with it or at least on what the Bible says about it. I know you have some articles on dealing with a narcissist (basically, avoid them); but what about articles on relating to or helping a former narcissist who’s now saved.

    • The section on the right column called “The Road” has a category called “Redemption & Healing”, and a sub-category called “For Narcissists: How Can I Change”? That is where the posts on Biblical concepts for what the secular world might term “recovering narcissists”. I hope to do more searching into that area in the future.

      In the meantime, I would encourage you and your friend to begin your own sincere search of the Scriptures. Using tools like Bible Gateway and beginning search terms such as pride and humility, he might make more progress than he realizes. A good theme verse for your friend might be Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

      • Thanks for the info. As far as doing studies with my friend, I’m a very honest person (I terrify most Americans with my level of honesty) and will say that his wife is not in a hurry to let him learn to break from his narcissism… It’s a security thing for her, but it’s terrible. I will however ask him about doing these studies. Thanks.

  41. My husband is a narcissist who had affairs and no empathy i was deeply hurt by gaslighting etc i have been that woman that vented to people about him i was so devastated i still am i feel so overwhelmed and alone (hes in prison ) this is so evil and i dont want to encourage him continuing this way i really dont know what to do except distance myself from him and i hope that im not making it worse any suggestions we have been together 30+ years and i just realized its narcissism and i feel like an idiot i knew he had ongoing drug issues but i thought he loved me and we could deal with it together some years ago i found out about other women and the nightmare started unfolding thank u

    • My heart breaks when I read stories like yours. But, ultimately God wants us to use our deep pain as a motivation to diligently seek Him – since He knows that He is the One who can really help us in every sense of the word (inwardly and outwardly). For several reasons I am not in a position to provide counseling, but may I suggest that you take a look at the posts “Crying Out, Seeking God”, and “Crying Out, Seeking God – Continued”. When I was at my wits end in a particular situation, I simply cried “Lord, please help me!”. While there was not an immediate resolution, it was the start of a multi-year (still on-going) process where HE led me to a much better place. I will pray for you.

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