Reputation is an important concept that the Bible discusses in various ways. At a basic level, the Bible makes clear that having a good reputation is desirable, while having a bad reputation can create many problems. As Proverbs 22:1 states, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” Here are some of the key things the Bible says about reputation:
1. A good reputation comes from living wisely and righteously.
The book of Proverbs, in particular, connects having a good reputation to living a wise and righteous life. Proverbs 10:7 notes that “The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.” The point is that those who live upright and moral lives will be remembered well, while those who live wicked lives will be forgotten or remembered negatively. Ecclesiastes 7:1 also advises that “A good name is better than precious ointment.” Living life wisely and making good choices helps create a positive reputation.
Related verses that emphasize the connection between reputation and behavior include:
– Proverbs 3:3-4 – “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
– Proverbs 13:15 – “Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.”
– Proverbs 21:21 – “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
– Ecclesiastes 10:1 – “Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.”
The overall message is clear: Building a good reputation requires living wisely and making choices that honor God and bless people.
2. Guarding your reputation carefully is wise.
Since developing a good reputation takes time and consistent righteous living, the Bible advises being careful to guard it. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” Likewise, Ecclesiastes 7:1 advises, “It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.” The point is that accepting correction and rebuke from the wise helps maintain a good reputation, while foolish behavior damages it.
Additional verses about carefully guarding one’s reputation include:
– Proverbs 25:10 – “lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.”
– Ecclesiastes 10:20 – “Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.”
These verses advise being careful with speech and avoiding even private slander, since words have a way of getting out. Overall, the Bible cautions being slow to do things that could damage your reputation.
3. Having a good reputation can provide opportunities and benefits.
The Bible highlights various advantages that come with having a good reputation. Proverbs 22:1 notes that having favor with others is better than riches. A good name often provides opportunities that wealth cannot. Ecclesiastes 7:12 says, “For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.” Having wisdom protects reputation just as money provides protection. Additionally, Proverbs 13:15 notes that “good sense wins favor.” A reputation for wisdom and good judgment can open many doors.
Some other relevant verses include:
– Proverbs 3:4 – “So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
– Proverbs 19:22 – “What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar.”
– Acts 2:47 – “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” The early church’s reputation led to growth.
In short, the Bible makes clear that having a good reputation can bring opportunities, favor, and benefits in life. It is clearly an asset worth protecting.
4. Do not obsess over what others think.
While Scripture speaks positively of having a good reputation, it also contains warnings not to obsess over what other people think. Proverbs 29:25 notes that “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Letting go of fearing man’s opinions and finding security in God is key. Similarly, Paul writes in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Pleasing God should be the priority.
Additional relevant verses include:
– Psalm 118:6 – “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
– Isaiah 51:7 – “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.”
– 1 Corinthians 4:3 – “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court.”
While reputation matters, the Bible warns against becoming captive to what others think. Pleasing God must remain the priority.
5. Having a bad reputation can be very harmful.
In contrast to the blessings of a good reputation, the Bible makes clear that having a bad reputation can be very damaging. Proverbs 10:7 notes that “the name of the wicked will rot.” No one wants to associate with those known for wickedness. Proverbs 19:26 says, “He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.” Violent and rebellious behavior damages one’s name. Exodus 23:1 warns against spreading false reports and warns that “you shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” Associating with those of ill repute and engaging in false testimony harms reputation.
Additional verses that warn of the harm of having a bad reputation include:
– Proverbs 6:33 – “He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”
– Proverbs 9:7 – “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.”
– Proverbs 13:5 – “The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.”
There are often real costs and consequences to having a reputation for wickedness, unrighteous living, or foolish choices. The Bible advises avoiding these pitfalls.
6. Do not rejoice when others fall.
While those who engage in evil and folly do damage their own reputations, the Bible warns against rejoicing and celebrating when this happens. Proverbs 24:17-18 cautions, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.” Taking pleasure in the downfall of the wicked displeases God. Obadiah 1:12-13 also warns against boasting over a brother’s day of misfortune. Even when reputation judgments are just, respond with gravity, not gloating.
Related verses include:
– Proverbs 17:5 – “Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.”
– Ezekiel 33:11 – “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:6 – “[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”
Though someone may damage their reputation through poor choices, maintain an attitude of love, not spiteful joy. Celebrating downfalls often damages reputation as well.
7. Focus on cultivating inward righteousness first.
As important as reputation is, the Bible calls believers to focus first on cultivating inward righteousness and good character. 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds that “The Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Peter 3:16 advises, “Have a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” What matters most is righteous living, regardless of reputation.
Additional verses calling for inward purity include:
– Psalm 51:6 – “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
– Proverbs 4:23 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
– Matthew 23:25 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”
– 1 Timothy 1:5 – “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Genuine inner righteousness should be the priority. Reputation will follow and be revealed in time through outward actions.
8. Wait on the Lord to exalt and vindicate.
When facing accusations, attacks, or misunderstanding that damage reputation, the Bible encourages waiting patiently on God in faith. 1 Peter 2:23 notes that when Jesus was reviled, “he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” Waiting on God’s timing clears the conscience and the reputation.
Relevant verses of assurance include:
– Psalm 37:6 – “He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”
– Isaiah 54:17 – “‘No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.'”
– Romans 12:19 – “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'”
Rather than obsessing over reputation, believers can trust God to ultimately reveal truth and vindicate in his timing.
9. Restore gently those who have fallen.
For those whose sin or poor choices have led to a damaged reputation, Scripture provides hope through the possibility of repentance, restoration, and forgiveness. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” Even serious falls from those like King David led to restoration. The goal should be repentance and rebuilt character.
Relevant verses on gentle restoration include:
– Matthew 18:15 – “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
– 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 – “Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”
– Galatians 6:2 – “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
The Bible offers hope for those who have damaged their reputations to find forgiveness and rebuild.
10. Take comfort in your identity and value in Christ.
For believers, the most important truth about reputation comes from what God says about our identity and value in Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 notes Christians are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” Ephesians 1:4 adds that God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Believers’ worth is based on being cherished children of God, not the opinions of others.
Key verses about worth in Christ include:
– Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
– Isaiah 43:4 – “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.”
– John 1:12 – “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
– Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”
Those who trust in Christ can find confidence, comfort, and purpose in their unchanging value before God, regardless of reputation’s highs and lows.
In summary, the Bible provides much wisdom on the importance of reputation, how to build a good name, the benefits this brings, and warnings against prioritizing outward approval over inward righteousness. Most importantly, believers have comfort in their identity in Christ, secure regardless of reputation.