What Does The Bible Say About Narcissism

by Ryan Hart | Updated on October 13, 2023 | Post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

The Bible declares pride a sin, and narcissism is often rooted in excessive pride. The Bible teaches us to focus not only on our own interests but also on the interests of others. Narcissists, on the other hand, tend to prioritize their own desires and needs above all else.

While the Bible doesn’t specifically use the term “narcissism,” it provides guidance on how to deal with difficult people and cultivate humility and compassion.

In this article, we’ll explore what the Bible says about narcissism and how we can apply its teachings to our relationships with others.

Bible sitting on lectern

Narcissism in the Bible

When we talk about narcissism in the context of the Bible, we need to understand it in terms of sin and evil.

In the Bible, we see numerous examples of people consumed by their pride and self-importance, leading them to commit sinful acts and ultimately suffer the consequences.

The Bible teaches us that we should not be self-centered or self-absorbed, but rather, we should love and serve others as Jesus did.

Philippians 2:3-4, it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

The sin of narcissism is not just about being vain or self-centered, but it also involves a lack of empathy and concern for others. This is why it is important to recognize and address this issue in ourselves and others.

God calls us to be humble and to serve others, not to seek glory or attention for ourselves. As it says in Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Characteristics of Narcissism

Narcissism is a term used to describe a preoccupation with oneself. It is characterized by a high level of selfishness, vanity, and pride. Here are some of the common traits associated with narcissism:

  • Selfishness: Narcissists are known for their extreme self-centeredness. They often prioritize their own needs and desires over those of others.
  • Pride: Narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance. They believe they are superior to others and deserve special treatment.
  • Arrogance: Narcissists often come across as arrogant and haughty. They may belittle others and dismiss their opinions and feelings.
  • Conceit: Narcissists have a strong need for admiration and praise. They may go to great lengths to ensure that they are seen as special or unique.
  • Lovers of self: Narcissists are preoccupied with themselves and their own needs. They may spend a lot of time and energy trying to enhance their own image and reputation.
  • Lovers of money: Narcissists are often motivated by a desire for wealth and material possessions. They may be willing to sacrifice relationships and other important aspects of life in order to achieve financial success.
  • Lovers of pleasure: Narcissists may also be driven by a desire for pleasure and enjoyment. Risky or harmful behaviors may be engaged in in order to experience excitement or pleasure.
  • Greed: Narcissists may have an insatiable desire for more. They may never be satisfied with what they have and always want more.
  • Envy: Narcissists may be jealous of others who have things they want. They may feel resentful or bitter when others have success or good fortune.
  • Slander: Narcissists may engage in gossip or slander in order to elevate themselves and tear others down.
  • Foolishness: Narcissists may make poor decisions and engage in reckless behaviors. They may not consider the consequences of their actions.
  • Selfishness and vanity: Narcissists are often preoccupied with their appearance and may spend a lot of time and money on their appearance.
  • Entitlement: Narcissists may feel entitled to special treatment or privileges. They may believe that they are above the rules that apply to others.
  • Wrath: Narcissists may have a quick temper and be prone to anger and aggression.
  • Lies and rebellion: Narcissists may lie or manipulate others in order to get what they want. They may also rebel against authority and rules.
  • Abusiveness and disobedience: Narcissists may be abusive or neglectful towards others. They may also be disobedient and refuse to follow rules or instructions.

Biblical Figures and Narcissism

When it comes to the topic of narcissism, the Bible provides us with examples of both positive and negative behavior. Let’s take a look at a few biblical figures and their relationship with narcissism:

Jesus Christ

Jesus is the ultimate example of selflessness. He put the needs of others before his own, even to the point of sacrificing his life for the salvation of humanity. Throughout his ministry, Jesus taught his followers to love their neighbors as themselves and to serve others with humility and grace.

Peter

Peter is a great example of how even the most devoted followers of Jesus can struggle with narcissism. In Matthew 16:21-23, Peter rebukes Jesus for predicting his own death, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

Jesus responds by calling Peter out for his selfishness, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Paul

Paul is another biblical figure who struggled with narcissism early in his life. Before his conversion to Christianity, Paul was a zealous persecutor of the early church. However, Paul’s life was transformed after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus. He became a humble servant of Christ, dedicating his life to spreading the gospel and serving others.

Disciples and Apostles

The disciples and apostles of Jesus also provide us with examples of both positive and negative behavior when it comes to narcissism.

On the one hand, we have Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. On the other hand, we have figures like John the Baptist, who famously said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Biblical Teachings on Narcissism

When it comes to narcissism, the Bible has a lot to say about it. In fact, the Bible warns us about the dangers of self-centeredness and pride. Here are some of the teachings from the Bible on narcissism:

  • Humility: The Bible teaches us to be humble and to put others before ourselves. Philippians 2:3-4, it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” This is a clear reminder that we should not be self-centered and should instead focus on the needs of others.
  • Love: The Bible also teaches us to love one another. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, it says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” This reminds us that we should not be self-centered but instead focus on loving and caring for others.
  • Righteousness: The Bible teaches us to seek righteousness and to do what is right. In Romans 12:17-18, it says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This reminds us that we should not be self-centered but instead focus on doing what is right.
  • Mercy: The Bible teaches us to be merciful and to show compassion to others. In Matthew 5:7, it says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” This is a reminder that we should not be self-centered but should instead focus on showing mercy and compassion to others.
  • Grace: The Bible teaches us about the grace of God and how it is freely given to us. In Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” This is a reminder that we should not be self-centered but instead focus on God’s grace.
  • Spirit: The Bible teaches us about the Holy Spirit and how it can help us overcome our self-centeredness. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”

How to Respond to Narcissism

As a Christian, knowing how to respond to someone who displays narcissistic behavior can be challenging. The Bible teaches us to respond with compassion, empathy, and understanding, even towards those who hurt us.

It’s important to remember that narcissists often have deep-seated fears and insecurities that drive their behavior. Rather than responding with anger or a haughty spirit, we should seek to understand their perspective and show them the love of Christ.

One way to do this is by taking an interest in their lives and hobbies. Narcissists often crave attention and praise, so by showing genuine interest in what they enjoy, we can help to build a positive relationship with them.

At the same time, it’s essential to set healthy boundaries and not allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. We can do this by responding assertively rather than aggressively and seeking peace whenever possible.

Ultimately, our goal as Christians is to be a light in the world and to help lead others to heaven.

Overcoming Narcissism

If you struggle with narcissistic tendencies, the Bible guides you on how to overcome them. It’s not an easy process, but it is possible to change with faith and spiritual growth.

Firstly, recognize that your focus on self is not aligned with God’s purpose for your life. Instead of seeking attention and approval from others, focus on serving and loving others. This shift in mindset can help you break free from the cycle of self-centeredness.

Next, rest in the knowledge that you are loved by God just as you are. You don’t need to constantly seek validation from others to feel worthy. When you prioritize your relationship with God, you can find true rest and peace.

It’s also important to acknowledge that your narcissism is a result of your fleshly desires. By surrendering your desires to God and relying on His strength, you can overcome them. This means letting go of your need for control and allowing God to guide your life.

In the final days, it’s especially important to guard against narcissism. The Bible warns that people will become lovers of self, but as a Christian, you are called to love God and others above all else.

Person reading bible verses

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a narcissist go to heaven?

Yes, a narcissist can go to heaven if they confess their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Bible says in Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

What does the Bible say about narcissistic mothers?

The Bible does not specifically mention narcissistic mothers, but it does talk about honoring your parents. Ephesians 6:2-3 says, “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Why did God send me a narcissist?

It is not accurate to say that God sends narcissists into our lives. However, God can use difficult situations, including relationships with narcissists, to teach us important lessons and help us grow spiritually. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

What does God say about narcissistic husbands?

The Bible does not specifically mention narcissistic husbands, but it does talk about how husbands should treat their wives. Ephesians 5:25-28 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

What does the Bible say about divorcing a narcissist?

The Bible does not specifically mention divorcing a narcissist, but it does talk about divorce in general. Malachi 2:16 says, “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” However, Jesus also acknowledged that divorce can happen because of a hard heart (Matthew 19:8). If you are considering divorce, it is important to seek wise counsel and prayerfully consider your decision.

What is the spiritual root of narcissism?

The spiritual root of narcissism is pride. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Narcissism is a preoccupation with self and a high level of selfishness, vanity, and pride. To overcome narcissism, one must humble oneself and seek God’s will for one’s life. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

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About the Author:
Ryan Hart

Ryan Hart is a certified relationship coach and writer. His mission is to help make connections between people better, stronger, more meaningful, and longer lasting using technology.

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