The term “vanity” frequently appears throughout the Bible and is not painted in good light. It is a unique word used to drive different messages depending on the context. When the bible talks of vanity, it refers to excessive pride or worthlessness. So, what does the Bible say about vanity? Is vanity a sin?
Most religions consider vanity as a sin. Vanity is often used to describe excessive pride and to value oneself at the expense of others and God. The Bible is also clear that having a proud heart is a sin before God. Proverbs 21:4 says, “Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.”
So, what does the Bible say about vanity? How does God feel about vanity? Where did the sin of vanity come from? Why are vanity and pride considered separate sins? Is vanity of the deadly sins? What makes vanity a sin? What are the dangers of vanity? How can Christians recognize the sin of vanity? How can Christians overcome the sin of vanity? What are some bible verses about vanity? Continue reading to get the answers to these questions and more.
What does the Bible say about vanity?
As mentioned earlier, vanity is considered a sin in most religions. Ecclesiastes 1:2 says, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless”! We can surely say that King Solomon, the author of the book of Ecclesiastes, tasted true vanity. He had everything a man could have; wealth, wisdom, many wives and concubines, popularity, and a good relationship with God. However, despite having it all, Solomon understood that all those meant nothing to God at the end of the day.
In the book of Proverbs 31:30, David wrote that beauty is vain, but what matters is if one fears the Lord. David emphasized the importance of humility frequently in the book of Proverbs. It is keen to note that the Bible describes David as a man after God’s own heart; therefore, his teachings align with God’s will.
How does God feel about vanity?
God discourages vanity among Christians and encourages humility. Bible scholars agree that the sin of vanity often brings envy, pride, jealousy, and strife, among other negative things, to us. What vanity simply does is devalue what is essential and heighten what is trivial. God tells us in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Philippians 2:3-4 reads, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others.”
Where did the sin of vanity come from?
Theologians from Got Question Ministries agree that the Bible indicates that the sin of vanity originated from the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, which led to Good cursing humanity. Romans 8:20 says, “For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope.”
In other words, God’s curse upon man in Genesis 3:17-19 marked the beginning of sin and loss of perfection. It led to God’s creation falling short of the original purpose, and the earth became full of sin.
Why are vanity and pride considered separate sins?
Pride and vanity are considered separate sins because one can have pride without being vain. Vanity is excessive pride. Pride often comes from being full of your abilities and achievements. On the other hand, vanity is being excessively proud of your appearance and abilities. Vanity makes it all about you. You shift the focus to yourself at the expense of others and God. Vanity is simply regarding yourself better than anyone else and ensuring the spotlight remains on you.
Is vanity one of the deadly sins?
Bible scholars like Reverend Paul Scalia argue that vanity is one of the deadly sins as it is an extension of pride, the root of all evil. The seven deadly sins, according to Christian Theology, are; envy, lust, pride, wrath, gluttony, sloth, and greed. Pride is so big of a sin that it led to the fall of Lucifer. 1st Timothy 3:6 says, “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.”
What makes vanity a sin?
Vanity is a sin because it takes all the greatness from God to oneself. Some scholars refer to vanity as self-idolatry. God is clear in the Bible that we shall not worship any other god than Him. What vanity does is that it separates us from the divine grace of God by shifting our focus from the things that matter to glorifying ourselves.
What are the dangers of vanity?
One of the biggest dangers of the sin of vanity is that it will cloud your judgment. It will lead you to over-inflate opinions about yourself and make you the center of everything. Additionally, vanity will lead you to focus on things that do not have value and lose sight of your need for God. God dislikes a proud heart and urges us to be humble and seek him.
How can Christians recognize the sin of vanity?
You can recognize vanity from your actions and even speech. When you put yourself as the center of everything you do and every conversation, then the sin of vanity has grabbed your heart. Vanity will also make you dismiss the joy of others to bring the spotlight back to you.
Additionally, the sin of vanity makes one view themselves as better human beings, hence will not interact with people of lower standards. If you recognize these patterns in what you do, then know the sin of vanity has captured your heart.
How can Christians overcome the sin of vanity?
The one and only way to overcome vanity is by being humble. Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low positions. Do not be conceited.”
Therefore, we must follow the example of Jesus and walk as he did. The book of Philippians 2:5-8 says that Jesus took the humble position of a slave and accepted to be born as a human being. It goes ahead and notes that though he was God, never on earth did he equate himself to God. He was humble during his time on earth.
Therefore, God hates a proud heart. And the only way to overcome the sin of vanity is by being humble and not viewing yourself as better than anyone else.
Bible verses about vanity
Ecclesiastes 1:14 reads, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving wind.”
Solomon, for sure, lived a full life and experienced true vanity. He had everything that any man could wish for, but in all his wisdom, he declared everything vanity before the eyes of God.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”
Solomon implies that the only thing that matters is to please God. Jesus, in the gospel books, also emphasized that we should set our minds on the heavenly treasures, for they are the only treasures that matter. Everything on earth shall come to pass.
Ecclesiastes 6:2 says, “A man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.”
Solomon continues to insist that earthly wealth and possessions are vanities. And getting it from the top wealthiest men in the Bible, then valuing your wealth is vanity.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.