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Posts Tagged: pride

Intellectual Pride in Interpreting the Bible

Apr. 1, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

A group of students in Cambridge came up with a list of seven common ways pride expresses itself. We list them in our hermeneutics class when we call our student's attention to humility as being the most important and most neglected interpretive virtues. 

1. Using irony or sarcasm gently or subtly to humiliate an opponent.

 2. Not listening to an opposing argument but moving straight to its weaknesses.

3.  Not affording an opposing argument the same charitable interpretation that I would expect my ideas to receive before they were criticized. In other words, assuming the worst.


4.  Arguing ad hominem (attacking the character of the person rather than the content of their arguments).

5.  Pretending I understand something much better than I do, especially in front of non-academics.

6.  Being resentful when people outside my area demonstrate a sound grasp of aspects of it, because I thereby cease to be the fount of all knowledge.

7.  Using terms or phrases I know only some in a group will understand, to create an inner circle and exclude others.[1]

[1] This list comes particularly from Vanhoozer’s “Advanced Theological Prolegomena” lectures.

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The Achilles Syndrome: A Reflection of the Ego

Jan. 12, 2015By: Eduardo Mendes

“God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my name forever, the name you shall call me  from generation to generation.’”   Exodus 3.14-15 

I personally do not enjoy watching the movie Troy because the good guy dies and that reality does not make me happy... But there is something in this movie that always makes me stop and think: the Achilles Syndrome. A perfect warrior who, driven by the success of his own name, thought he could achieve all he wanted. In the end he realized it was all an illusion.


It’s very intriguing to see how driven Achilles was by his EGO. When we watch this movie we think: how can he be so arrogant? There is no doubt that EGO has been the greatest enemy of man, be it in the home, in society, in the work place, and even in the church.

Another movie that brings us this idea is The Devil’s Advocate. In one of the scenes, actor Al Pacino, representing the devil, states that vanity is his favorite sin.

I confess that the idea of this text applies in the first place to me. I struggle with the devil’s favorite sin. Sometimes I catch myself making decisions based only on my EGO; I desire to promote my own name or to leave my mark in history. Because of the Achilles Syndrome, which is clearly shown in the Troy movie, I constantly need to call out to the Lord and ask Him to help me make decisions in my life which are focused on His glory. 

Even in the face of my struggles in this area, God has manifested His grace in my life using ways that are different and that often appear to be inadequate (Job 2). I believe that they’re tools used by God Himself to place in me the correct understanding about who He is and who I am (Psalm 135). All that results is the fruit of His sovereign action over my decisions, in order to mold His servant for His glory.

I like the passage in Judges 6: 

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” 

The idea in this text is that God enables regular people for His glorious mission. This is where my heart should be: aware that I am nothing but on who is in the hands of the Creator (Genesis 1 – Revelation 1:8) I can be a part of this glorious mission. What a great privilege and challenge – who am I before such a great Creator?

Unfortunately, this feeling that I am nothing is not always shown in my life. Al Pacino, playing the devil, reveals that this problem of people seeking their own interests and not living for the glory of God is a universal one. Sometimes I get tired of dealing with this problem which is so strong in my life and in the lives of so many others.

I have been a church member for 35 years and have seen many problems. I have noticed that, unfortunately, most of them spring from the Achilles Syndrome.

Lord, how long will we live for our EGO? Give us a heart which is focused on your kingdom; may our decisions have as their foundation the glory of Your NAME and not ours.

I would like to invite the reader to pray this prayer with me because I believe that this has always been and continues to be today, the greatest problem in humanity. Let´s consider together the EGO issue which has destroyed so many families through divorce, so many societies through wars and so many churches through divisions and intrigues. 

Cry out to the Lord like David in Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.

Let’s not allow the Achilles Syndrome to dominate us. Let’s stop exalting our own names and begin to exalt the NAME OF OUR SOVEREIGN GOD. May He be exalted forever. Amen


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