“spirit.” This is a good example of the word “spirit” referring to a person’s attitude.
“stumbling.” The Hebrew literally reads, “stumbling,” but this is an example of the figure of speech tapeinosis, or “belittling,” where something is purposely made lesser in impact to catch our attention. The person does not just “stumble,” there is a calamity, a disaster, but the word “stumbling” grabs our attention and forces us to say, “Is that all?” Then we realize the true impact of the verse: a puffed-up spirit, an arrogant attitude, goes before disaster.
Pride makes us think more highly of ourselves than we should, and it produces in us a sense of overconfidence and self-importance. When we are full of pride, we can lose sight of thinking things through clearly and sensibly. Thus, as a consequence, pride leads us to experience disaster in our lives. We are warned against succumbing to the temptation of pride because the consequence can be very high, even deadly.
Illustration: Kami Rita Sherpa, the world record holder for the number of times summitting Mount Everest.
Verses: Prov. 16:18, 5; 8:3
Teacher: Jerry Wierwille