Is Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible?


One underlying premise of this blog is that what is defined as “narcissism” in the secular world of psychology is equivalent to what is called “insolent pride” in the Bible.   The basis for making this assertion is the substantial, but not necessarily  1:1, overlap of traits.




As Narcissistic Personality Disorder is still being researched in the formal field of psychology, and is only generally defined in the world of pop psychology, it does not have a clear, official definition  (see here).   Therefore, it stands to reason that there cannot be a complete 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”.


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.


Please see also

Best Match Between Secular and Biblical Definitions of Narcissism

The Divergence of Secular and Biblical Approaches To Narcissism

Secular Definitions – Narcissism Was Formerly Called Megalomania





Narcissistic Traits – Inflated View, No Follow-Through


Proverbs 25:14 – Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.

Rain was considered a good thing in the Bible – especially in the region in which the Bible was written (the arid Middle East).  It was a source of the most  important physical component of life.  So, when clouds and wind kicked up, it was anticipated for rain to follow – as a good thing.  As a result, clouds and wind without rain without the resulting rain would be a significant disappointment.
Out of their inflated view of themselves, narcissists will boast about how good they are at _____________ (fill in the blank – basically, whatever they’re trying to impress others with at that particular moment).   But more often than not, their boasts are not supported by reality.   So anyone who relies on a narcissist’s inflated claims is going to get hurt in some way.
When dealing with people that focus on telling you how great they are, you might be dealing with a narcissist – make sure you get outside verification of their claims, rather than just accepting the (possible) narcissist’s claims.

Narcissist* Traits – They Do Not Think They Are In Need of Help (Pharisee Case Study)


John 9:39-41

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.


The narcissistic Pharisees were in fact blind, even though they claimed that they could see.  They were blind to the true condition of their hearts, thinking themselves to be righteous teachers and spiritual leaders, when in fact their hearts were full of evil thoughts, desires, and motives.  Jesus later was very direct in pointing out to the Pharisees their blindness. Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God – continued


James 1:5-8

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.


When dealing with an N that is driving us crazy, in addition to crying out “God help me!”, God invites us to ask Him for wisdom.  This is HIS wisdom – not human wisdom – including practical  tips, things of the heart, and even things from God’s perspective.  James says that if you ask for wisdom, He will give it to you – generously.


But there is an important qualifier to getting this wisdom – “not doubting”.  The doubting here is not so much doubting as to whether you will receive the wisdom, but doubting as to whether you really want it – whether you really want to do things God’s way even if He gave you the clear right answers.   We know this is through James’ statement in verse 7 – ” For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”   Double-mindedness is to have two minds or opinions on the same subject – wanting to do things God’s way, but at the same time wanting what we ourselves want.  With that heart, God could tell us the right answer, and we might not even know we received the answer because we were only looking for the answer we wanted to see.  In order to ask for true wisdom in dealing with the situation, to receive it, and to KNOW that we have received it, we must start with the heart attitude that we will act on the wisdom God gives us without interjecting our own “will” into the matter.


This invitation to ask for wisdom is in the context of trials, which James describes as tests (we will look into this later).  Of course, our challenge with our narcissist certainly qualifies as a trial and a test.


James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


So go ahead – ask for wisdom in how to deal with your challenging narcissist.  But don’t expect to get what you are asking for unless you are truly serious about doing it His way instead of your own way.  All along being aware of the admonition in Proverbs:


Proverbs 14:12

12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.


Narcissist* Traits – There Is No Limit To Their “Kingdom Building”


Habakkuk 2:4-5

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.
“Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man,
So that he does not stay at home.
He enlarges his appetite like Sheol,
And he is like death, never satisfied.
He also gathers to himself all nations
And collects to himself all peoples.


One characteristic of true narcissists / those with insolent pride is that there is no limit to their desire for being exalted by others.   They are the ultimate “kingdom builders”, with the goal of showing their “greatness”.  The only thing limiting them is their opportunity.  That is why classic narcissists like Hitler and Napoleon would could be relatively obscure, but when given the opportunity would move quickly to create the biggest kingdom possible – at the expense of many other people, of course.

As the ultimate narcissist, this very much applies to Satan.  Satan’s goal is to gather to himself all nations, and collect to himself all people – to himself and away from God – even though Satan knows full well that those people will be utterly destroyed as a result.   (See here for the first step in not falling into Satan’s trap)



  • Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

Additional Perspectives on The Pharisees


Since the Pharisees are one of the key Biblical case studies on Narcissists and how to deal with them (see How We Know The Pharisees Were Narcissists), it is important that we understand the entire picture.  For some additional background:


Continue reading

Narcissist Case Studies – How We Know “The Pharisees” Were Narcissists, Part 2

.                                                                                      see here for Part 1

Isaiah 28:14-16

14 Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers,
Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we have made a pact.
The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by,
For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”

16 Therefore thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.


The “cornerstone” reference is clearly is clearly referring to Jesus:


Matthew 21:42 – Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected,This became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Mark 12:10 – Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone;

Luke 20:17 – But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone’?

Acts 4:11 – He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone.

Ephesians 2:20 – having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

1 Peter 2:6 – For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”


Therefore, God says in Isaiah 28 that He was sending Jesus in response to the rulers in Jerusalem, whom He called scoffers.  The rulers in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ arrival were the religious leaders (Scribes, Pharisees, Chief Priest, etc.) – so God was clearly calling them “scoffers”.   And according to Proverbs 21:24, scoffers is one of the names for those filled with insolent pride.

"Proud", "Haughty", "Scoffer" are his names, who acts with insolent pride. Proverbs 21:24

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

Revisiting Narcissist* Traits


Matthew 7:16-18

16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thornbushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.


They Like The Thought of Being Superior .

They Actually Think They’re Better

Sitting in the Seat of Scoffers / Narcissists as Judge .

They Refuse To Listen

Looking On Others With Contempt

They Deceive Themselves

They Never Learn

They’re Impossible To Please

Religious (Maybe), But Not Truly Moral or Righteous .

They Are Deceivers (and Liars)

Big Time Hypocrites

Making It Look Good

They’re Conflict Creators

They Lack Perspective On What’s Important

They Have Poor Judgment

They Add Fuel To Fires

Nothing But Strife

They Focus On Your Version Of Their Problem .

They Want To Be The Center of Attention

What is Narcissism


  • Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

Narcissistic Personality Disorder* In The Clergy

3 John 1:9 – I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.


Matthew 7:15 – Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.


In a very recent study discussed in the paper FREQUENCY OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER IN PASTORS: A PRELIMINARY STUDY“, the researchers found a relatively higher percentage of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (“NPD”) among the clergy than in the regular population.  The study discussed the impact of the NPD pastors’ approach to ministry as well as the negative impact on their congregations.


Continue reading

Consequences For Narcissists*, Continued


Psalm 31:23

23 ……. The Lord preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.


Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.


Jeremiah 17:10 – “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.


While narcissists* (those with insolent pride) often do seem to “get away with” their actions, God says that ultimately they will receive everything they deserve.  While we discussed here and here the timeless consequences which they will receive, narcissists will also consistently and repeatedly receive consequences in their current lives as well.  These consequences are partly the natural consequences of straying from God’s perfect design for successful living, but also are God’s way to get the narcissists’ attention in order to avoid the much more serious timeless consequences.  (Of course, narcissists tend not to listen.)
Some of the consequences include:

He Does See What They’re Doing

Proverbs 15:11 – Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord, How much more the hearts of men!

Psalm 94:8-11

Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
And when will you understand, stupid ones?
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
10 He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke,
Even He who teaches man knowledge?
11 The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath.


As we said here, one fear that we may have in our dealings with a narcissist (one with insolent pride) is that the narcissist might be “getting away with it”.   Holding on to this fear prevents us from releasing things to God and turning our focus to our own heart, actions, and responsibilities – rather than on what the narcissist is doing.  Our fear that the narcissist will receive no consequences is based on two separate fears:  1.  That God does not see what’s going on, and  2.  That even if He does see, He is not going to do anything about it.


Even though a narcissist / one with insolent pride may work very hard to conceal their true goals, motives, and tactics for achieving what they want – and even though they may fool most people most of the time – God fully sees what they’re doing and the evil in their hearts that is driving their actions.  And He will not let them get away with it, but will judge them and provide the exact consequences needed.


Letting God do His job frees us to learn and do a much wiser and more peaceful way of dealing with the narcissist.


Psalm 131


131 O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.








The Intimacy of Being Consoled


Psalm 94:18-19

18 If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.


Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


 For those who have been hurt by a narcissist*, a serious amount of comfort and healing are needed.  While a certain amount of comfort can be provided by friends, there is a limit to what a friend can provide.  Even if your friends have not also been fooled or tainted by the narcissist’s deceptions, they friends may not really understand the damage the narcissist has done.  But even more fundamentally, no other human can truly feel everything you’re feeling.

Continue reading

Can Narcissists Change? – Introduction


A big question for those who are dealing with a narcissist / those with insolent pride is often “Is there any hope”?   They are hoping in the midst of their despair that somehow things will change.  While hope can come in different forms,  what they often mean by this is “Will this person (narcissist) ever change?”.   The short answer is …… it IS possible:


Matthew 19:26 –And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”


Daniel 4:37 – Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, God spent 7 years taking the proudest, most powerful person in the world and humbling him – clearly demonstrating His ability to do it.   “All things are possible with God”, and if He could humble Nebuchadnezzar, He can humble anyone.

Continue reading

The Biblical Perspective on Narcissism* = Hearts + Relationships


Another way to view our dealings with narcissists* is as a 3-way relationship.  Yes, it mostly feels as though it is “us vs. them”, and that we need to struggle through dealing with these difficult people on our own.  And while there is some truth to that, we will not be able to have full success in dealing with them until we understand God’s involvement in the equation (see here and here).    So, while we may succeed on our own in applying solid tactics in our dealings with the narcissist – which may definitely help us maintain sanity – we will not be able to achieve the full level of “victory” in our lives that is possible without bringing God into the equation.


The following diagram illustrates the 4 relationship dynamics involved in our dealing with narcissists:

  1. Us with the narcissist
  2. God with the narcissist
  3. God with us

NRel 5.1 Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – David’s Prayer for Justice


Psalm 94

94 O Lord, God of vengeance,
God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O Judge of the earth,
Render recompense to the proud.
How long shall the wicked, O Lord,
How long shall the wicked exult?
They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly;
All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.
They crush Your people, O Lord,
And afflict Your heritage.
They slay the widow and the [d]stranger
And murder the orphans.
They have said, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”

Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
And when will you understand, stupid ones?
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?

Continue reading


Real Help For Real Heartache

Be Loved, To Love

We Love Because He First Loved Us

Boundlessly Good

God's Motive For All That He Does