What Does the Bible Say about Haughty Eyes?

Pride makes us conceited and drives us to believe that we merit all that we see. It makes an individual harbor disdain toward others. It keeps an individual from taking in anything from God. The proud heart magnifies itself, not God.

Arrogant man straightening his tie at his office

"Haughty eyes" are mentioned in Proverbs 21:4. Let's look at multiple translations of this verse:

  • An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin (KJV).
  • Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. (ESV)
  • Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the unplowed field of the wicked, produce sin (NIV).
  • Wicked people are controlled by their conceit and arrogance, and this is sinful (GNT).
  • Arrogance and pride, distinguishing marks in the wicked, are just plain sin (The Message).

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines haughty as: “blatantly and disdainfully proud: having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior.”

So, what is a high look? Have you ever seen someone who walks around with their nose up in the air as if they have to look down just to see you? They think of themselves as better than everyone else. They think that other people are beneath them.

We could say that those types of people are self-centered, preoccupied with themselves and with their own affairs. Maybe egotistical, excessively conceited, or self-absorbed in themselves.

Or maybe they are arrogant, having or revealing an exaggerated sense of their own importance or abilities. But most definitely we could say that those people are prideful, having an excessively high opinion of themselves.

What Does the Bible Say about Haughty Eyes?

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful; (Proverbs 30:13).

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness (Luke 11:34).

The light is Christ. The eye is an example of spiritual knowledge and understanding. Sinful longings make the eye see less, unable to see the light of the presence of Christ.

On the off chance that we struggle seeing God at work, we should have our spiritual vision checked to ensure there are no sinful thoughts or desires that might be blocking out the light of Christ.

Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate (Psalm 101:5).

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

Proud individuals rarely assess their shortcomings and do not expect hindrances. They think they are over and above the frailties of ordinary people. In this perspective, they are easily entangled.

Incidentally, proud individuals rarely understand that their pride is a problematic concern, although everybody around them is very much aware of it.

We ought to ask somebody we trust whether vanity, pride, or self-satisfaction has hindered us to potential warning signs. That individual may assist us with staying away from a fall.

For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:16).

Worldliness is not only external behavior but also internal behavior. It gets its beginning from within the heart. It is portrayed by three perspectives:

1. Lust of the flesh. Distraction with satisfying actual physical longings.

2. Lust of the eyes. Materialism, wanting, and aggregating things.

3. Pride of life. Fixation on one’s status or significance. The serpent enticed Eve with these areas (Genesis 3:6).

Likewise, when the Devil enticed Jesus in the wilderness, these were his three avenues of assault (Matthew 4:1-11).

To look down upon is defined as to consider someone or something lesser or inferior in some way.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6).

Both young and old can profit from Peter’s guidelines. Pride regularly holds seniors back from attempting to comprehend young adults and young adults from paying attention to their elders. Peter advised both young and old to be modest and serve one another.

Young adults ought to follow the initiative of those older who have wisdom, who show others the proper example. We are to regard our elders, pay attention to the young, and be sufficiently humble to concede that we can gain from one another.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6).

What Makes Pride a Sin?

Pride makes us conceited and drives us to believe that we merit all that we see, contact, or envision. It creates within us greedy cravings for things far beyond what we actually need.

We can be delivered from our egotistical longings, by lowering ourselves before God, understanding that we do not require anything except God’s mercy and grace.

When the Holy Spirit fills us, we begin to understand that this present world’s enchanting attractions are just modest substitutes for what God has to offer us.

The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector (Luke 18:11).

People with pride in their hearts like to think and act like the Pharisees at the temple. The Pharisee did not go to the sanctuary to appeal to God, however, to declare to all inside earshot how great he was.

The tax collector perceived his transgression and asked for forgiveness. Piety or self-righteousness is hazardous. It prompts pride. It makes an individual harbor disdain toward others. It keeps an individual from taking in anything from God.

The proud heart magnifies itself, not God. The Pharisee left the Temple still not in a right relationship with God.

We are to monitor our pride.

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God (Psalm 10:4).

Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar (Psalm 138:6).

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished (Proverbs 16:5).

Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud (Proverbs 16:19).

For further reading:

What Makes Pride a Sin?

Does Pride Really Go Before the Fall? (Proverbs 16:18)

Why Shouldn’t We Lean on Our Own Understanding?

How All Generations Can Be a Part of the Church

Why Must We Fix Our Eyes on the Lord?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Paul Bradbury


Chris SwansonChris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. Chris is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. During his service, he received numerous awards and citations. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry, an M.B.A., and a B.S. in health administration. Chris and his wife Vicki of 24 years reside in Madison, Alabama. If you are interested in having Chris deliver God's Word at your place of worship, you can reach him here.