These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16–19—NKJV)

There are few people on this earth who are more insufferable than arrogant people. Though pride is often noted among men, arrogance is a good deal beyond run-of-the-mill self-importance. Arrogance tends to decouple from the moorings of reality and virtue while setting itself adrift on the tides of ignorance. There are men who display arrogant airs (perhaps because they are extremely good at one thing) but mix in ignorance and they become detestable.

Scripturally speaking, there are several biblical words that lend meaning to God’s disdain for “the proud look.” The book of Proverbs uses the word “foolish” to describe someone who is ignorant of God’s wisdom either willfully or through just not knowing it (therefore he is open, silly, inexperienced, a simpleton with little sense or reasoning ability, therefore easily deceived—Proverbs 1:4–5, 7:7). “Pride” is an over-high opinion of oneself, exaggerated self-esteem, conceit by exaggerated sense of superiority in one’s own worth (Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”). “Arrogance” is being full of undue and unwarranted pride and self-importance leading to an overbearing manner and haughty carriage—it is manifest as great pride in oneself and disdainful scorn and contempt of others (Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.”).

There is a “fifty dollar” English word that is used to describe this ugly and boorish behavior. It is the word “supercilious.” The word is a compound of “super” (above) and “cilium” (eyelid). It takes its meaning from the look and facial expression of raised eyes. It is the idea of looking down upon others in disdainful contempt. It is characterized by a combination of exaggerated self-importance and scornful dismissal of everyone else’s importance. The marriage of haughty pride and ignorance is a deadly concoction. All of this is pretty ugly.

Of course, this state of superciliousness is natural to the ungodly, unregenerate man. Hymn writer W.T. Sleeper used a striking phrase in the third verse of his invitational hymn “Jesus, I Come.” He writes, “Out of unrest and arrogant pride, Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come. Into Thy blessed will to abide, Jesus, I come to Thee.” This unregenerated, haughty heart of man is what Paul speaks of in Romans 1:18–32 which includes these words, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud….”

The mere idea that God specifically tells you that He hates the proud look, should cause you to stand up and take notice. It is for this reason that the believer is so very often called upon to “humble yourself under the mighty hand of God,” it is how a “fist-shaking” sinner comes to genuine repentance. Micah 6:8 reads, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Believers are to mirror who God is (having His indispensable treasure within us as if we were earthen pottery that, when it is broken, is quickly discarded—2 Corinthians 4:7) as Jeremiah 9:24 states, “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the LORD.”

The practical outworking of this is that every believer needs to recognize where pride dwells within and deal with it before it gives rise to an arrogant superciliousness toward others. Romans 12:3 enjoins, “to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Remember the example of our Lord and Master found in Philippians 2:1–8. Trust and obey.