People who are self-righteous are judgmental, believing that their views are correct and that any other views are wrong or misguided.

It is often accompanied by feelings of superiority and an unwillingness to accept different opinions or perspectives.


Bible Verses on Self Righteousness

Self-righteousness is the belief that one is morally superior to others, often leading to a lack of empathy or understanding of others’ perspectives or experiences.

It can manifest as a judgmental attitude towards others and an overestimation of one’s own abilities or moral standing.


A person who is self-righteous will always believe they are right and everyone else is wrong.

It is a call for every Christian to live a righteous life, a righteousness that comes from God which is made manifest in accepting the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away a sinful nature.


Being self-righteous is seen as a despicable thing in thing in the eyes of God and so, therefore, is not given a place in Christianity.

That is why Jesus and the apostle Paul were particularly harsh in the New Testament toward people who tried to live lives of self-righteousness.


Romans 10:3

For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.-

Romans 10:3

Romans 10:3

This verse speaks to the issue of self-righteousness. It states that the Jews were ignorant of God’s righteousness and sought to establish their own.

This means that instead of trusting in God’s righteousness to save them, they were trying to establish their own righteousness through their works.

This is contrary to God’s plan of salvation, which is based on grace, not on works. God’s righteousness is the only way to gain eternal life, and no amount of human effort can ever achieve it.

Philippians 3:4-6

Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.-

Philippians 3:4-6

Philippians 3_4-6

In a way, Paul is showing that a self-righteousness is a form of self-reliance and self-importance, which he has given up in order to find true righteousness in Christ.

He is showing that true righteousness is not something that one can attain on their own, but rather, it is something that is given to them by God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Self-Righteous Biblical Meaning

The term “self-righteous” generally refers to a sense of moral superiority or being convinced of one’s own righteousness, often in a way that is considered arrogant or unjustified.

Matthew 23:27-28

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.-

Matthew 23:27-28

Matthew 23_27-28

In a biblical context according to the verse above, self-righteousness is a term that can refer to individuals or groups who believe that they are in a state of righteousness or salvation through their adherence to religious laws or beliefs, but who may lack humility or empathy for those who do not share their beliefs.

Bible Verse that Talks About Self-Righteousness

Many bible verses talk about self-righteousness and condemn it as a Character that is not suitable for the people of God.

In the Bible, self-righteousness is frequently mentioned as something that Christians should avoid. These are the traits of a person who typically thinks they are better than most, if not all, other people.

Here are two bible verse that talks about self-righteousness.

Luke 18:9-14

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Luke 18:9-14

Luke 18_9-14

This parable by our lord Jesus Christ highlights the danger of thinking too highly of oneself and not recognizing one’s need for God’s grace and forgiveness.

The tax collector is held up as an example of true righteousness because of his humility and acknowledgment of his own sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.-

Ephesians 2:8-9

Ephesians 2_8-9

According to this verse, no one can earn salvation by their own efforts and no one can boast about their own righteousness, salvation comes from faith in Jesus Christ alone.

It reminds us that we are saved by grace, not by works and that we should not trust in our own righteousness but in the righteousness of Jesus.

What Does the Bible Say About Self-Righteousness?

According to the bible, a self-righteousness is a form of pride and arrogance, which is contrary to the humble and repentant spirit that God desires in His followers.

Matthew 23:5

Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long.-

Matthew 23:5

Matthew 23_5

This passage is often interpreted as a criticism of self-righteousness, as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time were more concerned with appearing righteous to others than with truly living righteously before God.

Similarly, in Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector, in which the Pharisee boasts about his own righteousness and looks down on others, while the tax collector humbly admits his sins and asks for God’s forgiveness.

The message of this parable is that true righteousness comes from humility and repentance, not from self-righteousness.

What is Self-Righteousness According to the Bible

Self-righteousness, according to the Bible, is the act of thinking or feeling that one is morally superior to others without the reality of it.

It is a state of mind and heart that is characterized by an over-inflated sense of one’s own righteousness, and a corresponding lack of humility and empathy for others.

Self-righteousness is often associated with a lack of understanding of one’s own sinfulness and a failure to recognize one’s dependence on God’s grace.

In the Bible, self-righteousness is often associated with religious leaders and people who are more concerned with appearances and following the letter of the law than with truly living according to God’s commandments.

Bible Verse on Self

Self refers to an individual’s sense of self, or their own identity and personality. Self-righteousness refers to the belief that one’s own actions and beliefs are morally superior to those of others.

It is often characterized by a lack of empathy and an unwillingness to consider alternative perspectives.

In relation to each other, self and self-righteousness refer to an individual’s sense of self and their belief in the moral superiority of their own actions and beliefs.

Galatians 6:3

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.-

Galatians 6:3

Galatians 6_3

This verse is encouraging humility, and self-awareness, reminding us that all that we have, and all that we are, is from God.

Nobody is capable of achieving righteousness on their own, but rather it is a gift from God.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.-

Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverbs 3_5-6

This verse is teaching us to put our trust in God, and not in our own abilities or understanding. It’s a call to rely on God’s guidance and submit to His will in all aspects of our lives

If we trust and submit to God, He will guide us on the right path and bring us success.

Self-Righteousness is a Sin

self-righteousness is considered a sin in Christianity. It goes against the teachings of humility, grace, and the understanding that all people are equal in the eyes of God.

Self-righteousness can lead to a lack of empathy and compassion for others, which is at odds with the fundamental principles of love and compassion that many religions espouse.

In Christianity, self-righteousness is often associated with the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders in Jesus’ time who were known for their self-righteousness and lack of empathy for those they deemed to be “sinners.

Jesus often criticized the Pharisees for their self-righteousness and taught his followers to be humble and compassionate towards others.

Self-Righteousness vs God’s Righteousness

Self-righteousness is often associated with a lack of understanding of one’s own sinfulness and a failure to recognize one’s dependence on God’s grace.

In the Bible, self-righteousness is often associated with religious leaders and people who are more concerned with appearances and following the letter of the law than with truly living according to God’s commandments.

In the Bible, self-righteousness is often contrasted with God’s righteousness, which comes from humility, repentance, and faith in God’s grace.

The Bible teaches that no one can achieve God’s righteousness through their own efforts and that we are all in need of God’s forgiveness and grace.

God’s righteousness, according to the Bible, is not about earning God’s favor, but about responding to God’s grace by living a life that honors and glorifies Him.

Examples of Self-Righteousness

Self-righteousness is the feeling or belief that one is morally superior to others, and can manifest in various ways in different individuals or groups. Here are some examples:

  • A religious leader who preaches about the importance of humility and forgiveness, but privately harbors feelings of superiority towards those who do not share their beliefs.
  • Church members believe that they are saved and going to heaven, while others in the congregation or outside of the church are not. This can lead to feelings of superiority and a lack of compassion and outreach toward non-members.
  • A vegan who belittles and shames others for their dietary choices, despite having no medical or ethical reasons for avoiding animal products.
  • A self-proclaimed “woke” person who believes they have a better understanding of social justice issues than others and are quick to correct and berate those who disagree with them.
  • A person who constantly shares about their charitable deeds or volunteer work on social media, but does not truly care about the cause or does it for personal gain.
  • Church leaders use their position to impose their own beliefs and practices on others, without allowing for a diversity of thought or personal conscience.
  • Congregants who judge and gossip about others in the church, create a toxic and unwelcoming environment. Church members only attend service to be seen as religious or to gain social status, but do not truly engage in the faith or live out its teachings in their daily lives.

Spirit of Self-Righteousness

As it will be likened to the character of a person who is controlled by it, the spirit of self-righteousness makes a person who is controlled by it convinced of his own righteousness, especially in contrast with the actions and opinions of others.

It is related to legalism, in which one’s own efforts are seen as sufficient to achieve righteousness, rather than trusting in the righteousness of God.

This spirit is strongly condemned by Jesus and Paul in the New Testament, and it is a temptation that all believers must be aware of and guard against.

Characteristics of a Self-Righteous Person

A self-righteous person has the following characteristics;

  1. A self-righteous person has a strong sense of moral superiority and believes that their
  2. Beliefs and actions are always right.
  3. They may be judgmental and condescending towards others, viewing them as inferior.
  4. They may be unwilling to consider or accept alternative perspectives or opinions.
  5. They may be inclined to impose their own beliefs and values on others.
  6. They may be dismissive of constructive criticism or feedback.
  7. They may have difficulty acknowledging or taking responsibility for their own mistakes or shortcomings.
  8. They may be very critical of others but not able to take criticism themselves.
  9. They may be rigid in their thinking and unwilling to change their mind.
  10. They may see themselves as the only one who is right and others as wrong.
  11. They may lack empathy and understanding of other people’s feelings and experiences.

Sermon on Self-Righteousness

It’s interesting that this is a tale about wonderful healing, but it takes place in the distance. The Pharisees’ blindness and callousness are the main themes of the narrative.

Self-righteousness obstructs our overall vision because it is blinding! There are three ways that we can notice a decline in our general vision:

1. Self-righteousness prevents us from seeing God

Mark chapter 3:1-6

[1] Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. [

[2] And they watched Jesus,[a] to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him.

[3] And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.”

[4] And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.

[5] And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

[6] The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Mark chapter 3:1-6

Mark chapter 3_1-6

Jesus, the Son of God, is right there in front of them, displaying the goodness, love, and power of God, but all the Pharisees wanted to do was find something against him to accuse him of. God gave us the Sabbath as a commandment with our welfare in mind.

The Israelites were to emulate God, who rested on the seventh day after creating the universe and everything in it, by keeping the Sabbath. God forbade work on the Sabbath, but the Pharisees defined “work” according to their own standards.

The disciples considered picking grains when they were hungry to work. In this instance, healing a person is their interpretation of “work.

Thus, they rejected Jesus and sought to find a charge against him simply because he did not adhere to their human traditions and expectations. They wanted to reject and reproach the Son of God!

God desires to specifically address the problems you are experiencing. God desires to win your heart. He wants to transform you internally. He wishes to uplift your soul. He desires to employ you as His specially chosen instrument.

But our arrogant desire to judge the worship and the sermons prevents us from seeing God. If all we see on a Sunday morning is a few people singing and a 40-minute speech, That, in my opinion, is useless.

On the other hand, going to church to see our glorious Lord will be incredibly fulfilling and transformative.

2. Self-righteousness prevents us from knowing our own sin

In verse 5, Jesus displays a wide range of emotions. When he notices the heart’s hardness, anger and grief are mixed together.

Most likely, they all believed that they were right. They believed they were zealous for God, but Jesus could see how their hearts had grown hard, cold, and unyielding. They did not find Jesus’ compassion for man and restoration of his hand to be wonderful and beautiful.

They responded by going to meet the Herodians supporters of the Herodian dynasty with whom they had no prior friendship and hatching a plot to kill Jesus.

They were unaware of how sinful their hearts had become, the most pious men of that era are now revealing themselves to be killers. They believed they were right when they were utterly mistaken due to their sense of self-righteousness.

When we admit that we are sinners and give up depending on ourselves, the wonderful truth of the gospel is complete.

When we have faith in the Great Exchange that occurred on the cross, it is finished. Jesus Christ patiently suffered the death we deserved in order for us to receive His righteousness through faith in Him.

God wants to make us right through His Son because He doesn’t want us to carry around the guilt and shame of our sins. We, therefore, look to Christ’s life and righteousness to clothe and cover us after confessing our sins and giving up our reliance on ourselves.


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