How do we know that Pharisees and especially their leaders the Chief Priests were full of insolent pride (Narcissists)? There are three ways:
- Verses that directly refer to their insolent pride
- Compare the traits and tactics of the Pharisees with what the Bible says about Narcissist traits and tactics
- Compare the traits and tactics of the Pharisees with what the secular literature says about Narcissist traits and tactics
Number 1 above is by far the best – direct statements and linkages from the Bible. Number 2 above lends itself to circular reasoning – so it can be used, but best in conjunction with number 1. Number 3 would be similar to seeing someone in the news – lets say Kim Kardashian and Chris Jenner, and say “they’re obviously a narcissist” – but in this case the narcissist’s behavior is being reported “in print” by the Bible instead of today’s news.
There is no verse that outright says “the Pharisees were filled with insolent pride”. However, this comes close:
The Pharisee and the Publican
9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away,was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The key phrases that infer that this Pharisee had insolent pride:
“Who trusted in themselves”
The essence of pride
“Viewed others with contempt”
The essence of insolence
“Praying this to himself”
He saw himself as the center of his universe, not God
“for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus linked all of the above with the Pharisee exalting himself in pride.
Especially through his ending statement in this story, Jesus was confirming that this Pharisee was exalting himself, the essence of pride.
Jesus began with the phrase “some people” – not all Pharisees were this way. But on the other hand by using a Pharisee as the example, he was making a point about the pride of the Pharisees as a group.
Since we can say as a group that the Pharisees were filled with insolent pride, we can now take key elements of the Pharisees’ behavior and look for clues on Narcissists traits and tactics.