In Proverbs 27:2, King Solomon offers wisdom for dealing with the problems of human pride and boasting:
“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips” (NKJV).
Solomon advises, “Let another man praise you,” because it’s far better to be applauded by someone else than to sing our own praises. In Proverbs 25:27, wisdom informs, “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory” (ESV). Only arrogant and insecure people feel the need to toot their own horn. If our accomplishments have merit, other people will notice, and we should leave it to them to admire or compliment.
Proverbs 25:6–7 also warns against self-promotion: “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, ‘Come up here,’ than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.” A humble person lets others offer recognition and promotion, whereas a presumptuous person sets himself up for humiliation and rebuke.
Jesus paralleled the lesson of Proverbs 25:6–7 in Luke 14:7–11, closing with this comprehensive application for all of life: “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (verse 11). In His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord taught this kingdom paradox: “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth” (Matthew 5:5, NLT). When we let go of our desire for a place of honor and greatness, we gain the whole world (Matthew 19:30; 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 9:46–48).
The Pharisees constantly wanted others to recognize their superiority and excellence. John 12:43 says of them, “For they loved human praise more than praise from God.” These people were too egotistical and self-righteous to see that their faith was empty and worthless. Jesus asked them, “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44).
The apostle Paul taught, “When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them” (2 Corinthians 10:18, NLT). Jesus Himself said, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me” (John 8:54).
Instead of boasting about himself and his accomplishments, Paul boasted in his weaknesses so that the power of Christ might be made evident through them (2 Corinthians 12:5, 9–10). “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world,” he declared (Galatians 6:14, ESV). In Jeremiah 9:23–24, the Lord said, “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”
Paul echoed Jeremiah when he considered everything he had gained “as loss for the sake of . . . knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:7–10).
The Bible repeatedly warns against boasting (1 Samuel 2:3; Psalm 75:4) and instructs believers to “let the one who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31; see also 2 Corinthians 10:17). “My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad,” declared David in Psalm 34:2 (ESV).
Paul explained, “Your boasting is not good” (1 Corinthians 5:6). In Romans 1:30, Paul identified it as sinful. James called such arrogant boasting “evil” (James 4:16). So, for this reason, the wisest course is to “let another man praise you” instead of applauding yourself.