Humility, Pride, and Bible Study

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Prov. 11:22 ESV). “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18 CSB). “A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor” (Prov. 29:23 CSB). Pride in ourselves terminates any hope of solid Bible interpretation. We all suffer a bit from personal pride in our Bible study. Pride is part of the baggage we bring to the Bible study table. If we approach the text with a proud mind, then we will never be able to learn anything from the Scriptures.

If we conduct our Bible study with pride, we will never ask for help from others and forfeit a great deal of learning. This affliction of pride is often seen in our view of the Scriptures. Should we cling to Sola Scriptura or Scriptura Nuda? Sola Scriptura means the Scriptures alone. However, the rich treasury of knowledge reserved in the commentary of others is welcomed as guides for a fellow traveler. Nuda Scriptura, on the other hand, is a paradigm which refuses to consult with others in the interpretation of Scriptures.

We must remember that no man or woman is the authoritative interpreter (this includes ourselves). God is the authority. All authority has been given to Jesus (Matt. 28:19-20). He is the Head of the church (Eph. 1:22, 4:15). Because of this truth, we reject the Catholic Magisterium. But we must also learn to reject the magisterium of self. Let us search the Scriptures humbly, consider the thoughts of others, settle on the revealed Truth, and grow in Christ.

The Pharisees suffered from their own pride which prevented them from seeing Jesus. Jesus was very humble in his attitude and approach to the Scriptures. John 5:37 records that humility. Jesus said, “And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.” Jesus contrasted his perfect heart with the Pharisee’s prideful heart saying, “How can you believe when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes only from God?”

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