Book Review: From Pride to Humility

Book by Stuart Scott

Review by Richard Shin

When I was handed Stuart Scott’s From Pride to Humility: A Biblical Perspective, I was taken aback by how thin the book is. Rather than a book, it resembled more a pamphlet. I soon found out that the book is a revised chapter out of The Exemplary Husband; I didn’t know this fact until I came across a reference to “husbands” (p. 24) at the end of the book. I realized that the book was preparing me to become much more than a husband; I was learning what it meant to be truly humble before my Lord. Although the book was originally intended for men, the Biblical truth that leads to rebuke and encouragement is applicable for everyone.

Scott makes a solid claim in the introduction by stating that “The question is not, ‘Do I have [pride]?’ but, ‘Where is it?’ and “How much of it do I have?'” (p. 2). We are all prideful; it is the “epidemic vice” (p. 2) that led to the Fall of Man, and will only cease to exist in Heaven. It is at the root of all of our sins. In Martin Luther’s The Large Catechism, Luther noted that if the First Commandment is observed, all others follow naturally (III, Part First, First Commandment). His statement is rooted in the idea that if you love God, you will obey His commandments, and desire to worship Him in all that you do. At the center of all our sins, we believe we are better than God (pride), and so we subconsciously decide it is better to obey our flesh, rather than God’s Word. It is a sign that we are not worshipping God; we are worshipping other idols (e.g. our desires, our possessions, our careers, etc.) above God.

I received an (at the time) unpleasant wake-up call with a list of thirty examples of the manifestation of pride. The best part of this humble pie was the Biblical references he gives with each example. They were impactful because with each example and verse, I was reminded continually of how much God knows me. He knows my deepest, darkest sins that lie in direct defiance against Him. Yet He predestined me to be saved so that I may be used for His purposes. And by reading this list and God’s Word from which the list originated, I stood naked before my Lord and Savior, stripped of any reason to see why I am better than anyone else. And oddly enough, I realized I was finding my appropriate place in His presence, not even worthy to untie the strap of His sandals (Mark 1:7).

If the book was devoid of everything but rebuke, I would have come out of it with severe depression. But the latter half of the book discusses putting off our pride, and putting on humility. Appropriately enough, the first example Scott gives is that of Christ. The humility He displayed by laying aside His majesty, coming to Earth, and dying our death is and forever will be the ultimate example of selflessness. Christ’s example is even more appropriate because “humility is the one enabling quality that will allow us to become all Christ wants us to be” (p. 1).

Scott contrasts the examples of pride with those of humility. God’s power and promise of sanctification become ever so real for the believer. It is refreshing to know we can become more like Christ in humility. And it’s also comforting to know that after we are convicted of our sins, God doesn’t just leave us to fend for ourselves; we have the ministry of the indwelling Spirit to guide us. We also know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, for His purposes (Romans 8:28). So, it’s not a matter of identifying and eliminating each manifestation of pride, but fully and wholeheartedly trusting in God’s perfect plan of redemption, namely trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross (2 Cor. 1:9). And because Christ finished the work for us, we have no reason to worry in our struggle to attain humility. As Paul says, we “stand firm in our faith” (1 Cor. 1:24).

The book is a short read. If you think you’re not prideful, you really need to read this book. If you think you’re prideful because the Bible says you are, but you’re not sure why, read the book. And if you know you’re prideful and are trying to find ways to humble yourself, read the book. Depending on how seriously you choose to chew on Scott’s (and more importantly, God’s) words, you may find a deeper level of pride than you knew you had, yet also find yourself loving Christ more than you ever did before.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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