Best Match Between Secular and Biblical Definitions of Narcissism

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

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The phrase above “inflated sense of their own importance” is the key linkage between the secular and Biblical definitions.  It has echoes of

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Romans 12:3, 16

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith……. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but[n]associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

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“Inflated sense of own importance (Mayo) is approximately = “haughty in mind” (Romans 12:16) = “insolent pride” (Proverbs 21:24).  Therefore, Mayo’s definition (of narcissism) is approximately equal to the Biblical term (insolent pride).

 

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