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The Difference Between Prophets and Narcissists

There is a phrase that John Newton liked to use. He saw a difference between notions in the heart and notions in the head. That which was in the heart would lead to action and affection. But notions in the head typically led to a cold and formal religion. And he liked to refer to some as “banging notions in the head”. He’s not using the word but I think Newton is describing a narcissistic tendency. A narcissist doesn’t have curiosity. They cannot handle diversity of thought and opinion. Their world is colored in black and white—with the narcissist being the handler of the varying shades.

If you disagree with a narcissist they will not be able to articulate your position effectively. A prophet can do this. A prophet can listen. What happens when you disagree with a prophet? Typically the prophet weeps as he entrusts you to the Lord’s care. Not a narcissist. A narcissist will fight until you line up. Here is a picture:

But, when others do not behave the way the narcissist wants them to, they become unsettled and easily upset as they do not know what to expect next as others and things are not going according to their plan. A textbook narcissist demands others say or do whatever they want so they can reach their delusional goals, as other people are simply characters in their play, as they often will not consider others a real human being with thoughts and feelings.


There are a few more signs that might help you discern between a narcissist and a prophet. Narcissists will tend to isolate and try to gather a following. A prophet is more community and other-oriented. The key here is whether or not the goal and aim is God. Even the harshest words of the prophet are aimed at drawing into a deeper relationship with God. The prophet’s words do not terminate upon the prophet. It is not allegiance to the prophet but to the word of God that matters. This is not the case with a narcissist.

What happens when you discover that the “prophet” isn’t actually speaking the words of God but is actually a narcissist? We will tackle that question next time.

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.