A woman expressing contempt with her eyes.

What Does Contempt Mean in the Bible?

In the Bible, contempt refers to a deep disrespect or disdain toward God, His commandments, or His appointed leaders. It represents a rebellious attitude and a refusal to acknowledge God's authority and sovereignty. Contempt is portrayed as a serious offense, often leading to judgment and punishment. 

The Bible emphasizes the importance of humility, reverence, and obedience to avoid falling into contempt. Examples include King Saul's disobedience and the Pharisees' self-righteousness, both showing how contempt can lead to one's downfall and hinder their relationship with God. Repentance and humility are essential to overcoming contempt.

What Does Contempt Mean in the Bible?

A hand holding a Bible to the sky.

Contempt, in the biblical sense, refers to a deep feeling of disrespect or disdain toward God, His commandments, or His appointed leaders. It is often associated with rebellion against divine authority and a refusal to acknowledge God's sovereignty. The Bible warns against contempt, emphasizing the importance of humility and reverence before God.

Throughout the Bible, contempt is depicted as a serious offense with severe consequences. Those who show contempt toward God or His representatives are often portrayed as facing judgment and punishment. For example, in the Old Testament, King Saul's contempt for God's commandments led to his downfall and ultimate demise.

How is Contempt Portrayed in the Bible?

Contempt is often portrayed in contrast to reverence and obedience. The Bible teaches that those who honor God and His laws will be blessed, while those who show contempt will face judgment. In the New Testament, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their contemptuous attitude toward others, emphasizing the importance of humility and love.

Additionally, contempt is seen as a barrier to spiritual growth and relationship with God. The Bible teaches that those who harbor contempt in their hearts are unable to fully experience God's grace and blessings. It is only through repentance and humility that one can find forgiveness and restoration.

How do we show contempt to God?

Showing contempt toward God can take various forms, primarily stemming from a lack of reverence, disobedience, or a rebellious attitude. One way is through disobedience to God's commandments, choosing to ignore or disregard His instructions. This disobedience demonstrates a lack of respect for His authority and wisdom.

Another way is through a lack of gratitude and acknowledgment of God's blessings. Failing to appreciate His provision and care can reflect a dismissive attitude toward His goodness and generosity.

Disregarding prayer and neglecting communication with God is also a form of contempt. Prayer is a way to connect with God, and by neglecting it, one can show a lack of desire for a relationship with Him.

Additionally, displaying arrogance and self-sufficiency, believing that one does not need God or His guidance, is a form of contempt. This attitude denies God's sovereignty and wisdom, asserting one's independence from Him.

Overall, contempt toward God is manifested through actions, thoughts, or attitudes that demonstrate a lack of reverence, gratitude, and obedience toward Him.

What is the sin of contempt?

In a spiritual context, the sin of contempt is a manifestation of pride and disobedience toward God. It involves looking down upon or disregarding God's authority, commandments, or teachings. Contempt can arise from a sense of superiority, where one believes they know better than God or that His rules do not apply to them. This attitude of superiority is often rooted in arrogance and a lack of humility.

Contempt can also be directed towards others, showing disdain or disrespect for fellow human beings who are created in the image of God. This form of contempt violates the command to love one another and to treat others with kindness and respect.

The sin of contempt is serious because it represents a rebellion against God's authority and a rejection of His wisdom and guidance. It disrupts our relationship with God and others, leading to discord and conflict. Overcoming contempt requires humility, repentance, and a willingness to submit to God's will and teachings.


In conclusion, contempt in the Bible is depicted as a serious offense that carries significant consequences. It is associated with rebellion against God and His commandments, and is seen as a barrier to spiritual growth. The Bible teaches that humility, reverence, and obedience are essential in avoiding contempt and experiencing God's blessings.


  1. Can contempt be forgiven?

Yes, contempt can be forgiven through repentance and genuine remorse. The Bible teaches that God is merciful and willing to forgive those who sincerely seek His forgiveness.

  1. How can we avoid falling into contempt?

We can avoid falling into contempt by cultivating a humble and reverent attitude toward God and His commandments. Regular prayer, study of scripture, and fellowship with other believers can help strengthen our faith and guard against contemptuous thoughts and actions.

  1. Are there examples of contempt in the Bible that we can learn from?

Yes, there are several examples of contempt in the Bible, such as King Saul's disobedience and the Pharisees' self-righteousness. These examples serve as warnings against the dangers of contempt and the importance of humility and obedience.

  1. Does contempt only refer to disrespect toward God?

Contempt in the Bible can refer to disrespect toward God, His commandments, and His representatives. However, it can also extend to contempt toward others, as seen in Jesus' teachings on loving our neighbors and treating others with kindness and compassion.

  1. How does contempt affect our relationship with God?

Contempt can hinder our relationship with God by creating a barrier between us and Him. It can prevent us from fully experiencing God's love and blessings, as it is rooted in pride and rebellion. By cultivating humility and reverence, we can strengthen our relationship with God and avoid falling into contempt.


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Please Note: Nothing replaces having and reading your own Bible. Therefore, the purpose of these articles is to help strengthen your desire to read scripture daily and learn how to seek and find answers to your spiritual questions there. Through reading God’s word, we begin to understand HIS love for us and develop a personal relationship with HIM. If you are not a Chistian and would like to know more about Christianity or the Bible, we encourage you to start by finding a local Christian community, visiting a Christian church and seeking out ways to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his ministry.