Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible

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Proverbs 21:24

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 speak to the subject.

In fact, if you look carefully, Scripture speaks to all matters pertaining to life…

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2 Timothy 3:16

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness….

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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.  Therefore, 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 what 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.

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