Boasting and Bragging

By Linda Mihalic

A boast is a loud voice, an outcry, clamor; speaking big, threatening; proud or vain-glorious speech; to vaunt, to brag; an expression of ostentation.Oxford English Dictionary
  Boasting is to glorify oneself in speech, to talk in a self-admiring way, to speak vaingloriously, to extol oneself, to vaunt, brag, to speak of with excessive pride or ostentation.Oxford English Dictionary
  Bragging is arrogant or boastful speech.

Goliath the giant was the biggest braggart in the Bible; his size made him over-confident. He boasted for 40 days about what he would do to the army of Israel, then fell in an instant, slain by a stone slung by one stripling youth.

  When you boast, you exalt the self, not God or your soul; thus, on the Via Christa, boasting is characterized as the fine art of self-glorification. Boasting and bragging are misuses of the spoken Word and soul taints. A braggart is an arrogant loudmouth. Braggarts and boasters are usually unaware of how ridiculous they sound and appear.

Edna Lister on Boasting and Bragging

Do not cross the line where self-confidence becomes boasting.–Edna Lister, October 21, 1951

Boasting always creates a challenge. It’s best not to talk too widely about your success, for boasting invites a challenge.–Edna Lister, Jesus, the Man of God, December 5, 1954

Boasting includes a claim on a virtue, and means you are chuck full of opinions and prejudices.–Edna Lister, August 11, 195.

Jesus said, "If I bear witness of myself, yet my witness is true"–John 8:14. He also said, "If I honor myself, my honor is nothing. It is my Father who honors me."–John 8:54. These declarations strike a delicate balance between boasting, bragging, exalting self, and speaking about God to entice and persuade others to follow law and seek the Father through impersonal service.–Edna Lister, Before Abraham Was, I AM, March 18, 1956

You never think to boast when you have become law.–Edna Lister, Ambassadors of Love, July 8, 1956

When you say "I" about any personal achievement, you are probably boasting.–Edna Lister, June 6, 1957

One who boasts loses his place. You use your own soul substance as boasting. No one on the inner boasts.–Edna Lister, May 15, 1958

Jesus never stopped preaching against pride. You can be proud, but you may not have pride. You are too proud if you boast.–Edna Lister, As I See the World, June 15, 1958

You leave others with nothing good to say about you if you are always busy boasting.–Edna Lister, As the World Sees Me, June 22, 1958

Love does not parade itself means don’t blow your own horn.–Edna Lister, June 22, 1958

If you live by God’s honor, you don’t boast about it.–Edna Lister, August 7, 1958

Any thought of self, How great I am! or Where am I? lands you on the bottom.–Edna Lister, October 13, 1958

You may not boast about a miracle, which is a gift, directly from the hand of God.–Edna Lister, Follow Me, November 29, 1959

God cannot give credits to one who credits himself. You cannot boast and get credits from God too. This is the law: Your own credits to self use up soul substance.–Edna Lister, Life Triumphant, May 27, 1962

If you boast, you are ready for a tumble.–Edna Lister, Your Sacred Light, November 10, 1963

A braggart expands his own ego until he bursts.–Edna Lister, January 26, 1964

Pride in the little me makes you boast, and turns you into sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.–Edna Lister, The Word: Your Magic Wand, April 12, 1964

You can hypnotize yourself into a state of miserable sin, or you can boast, I am a god. Both extremes are born of pride.–Edna Lister, The Eight Great Powers of Being, October 18, 1966

Every statement you make is dedicated to you. You must prove every declaration you make about yourself.–Edna Lister, Faith Complete Now, November 15, 1970

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New Testament on Boasting and Bragging

The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!–James 3:5

If the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.–Romans 11:17-18

We dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commendthemselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. 10:17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.–2 Corinthians 10:12-18

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Old Testament on Boasting and Bragging

The mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.–Proverbs 15:2

Whoso boasts himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.–Proverbs 25:14

Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.–Proverbs 27:1-2

Ishmael boasted of himself to Isaac, saying, I was thirteen years old when the Lord spoke to my father to circumcise us, and I did according to the word of the Lord which he spoke to my father, and I gave my soul unto the Lord, and I did not transgress his word which he commanded my father. And Isaac answered Ishmael, saying, Why dost thou boast to me about this, about a little bit of thy flesh which thou didst take from thy body, concerning which the Lord commanded thee? As the Lord liveth, the God of my father Abraham, if the Lord should say unto my father, Take now thy son Isaac and bring him up an offering before me, I would not refrain but I would joyfully accede to it. And the Lord heard the word that Isaac spoke to Ishmael, and it seemed good in the sight of the Lord, and he thought to try Abraham in this matter.–Jasher 22:42-45

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of boast: Middle English bosten, from bost, a brag.

Etymology of brag: Middle English braggen, from brag, ostentatious.

Boasting and bragging are misuses of the spoken Word and soul taints.


Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.–William Shakespeare

Boasting is generally annoying. Even those that boast themselves cannot endure that other people should boast. But there is one kind of boasting that even the humble can bear to hear—nay they are glad to hear it. The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. That must be boasting in God—a holy glorying and extolling the Most High with words sought out with care that might magnify his blessed name. You will never exaggerate when you speak good things of God. It is not possible to do so. Try, dear brethren, and even boast in the Lord.–Charles Haddon Spurgeon


The Ancient Book of Jasher. Mr. Samuel, trans. New York: M.N. Noah and A.S. Gould, 1840, p. 58.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Shakespeare, William. All’s Well That Ends Well, Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Act 4, Scene 3. W.J. Craig, ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1914.

Spurgeon, Charles Haddon, Exposition on Psalm 34:2. Kingston, Ontario, Canada: Spurgeon Ministries. [February 21, 2017].

Related Topic

See Self-Exaltation