What does the Bible say about…
hypocrite / hypocrisy

Greeke: ὑποκριταὶ —transliterations: hypokritai, hypokritḗs, hupokrités

Meaning: a theatrical actor; a figurative two-faced person; a pretender

In ancient times, this was a person who put on a mask and pretended to be someone he was not. In religion, a hypocrite is someone who disguises or conceals their true nature, motive or feelings behind a false appearance.

Our Lord severely rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. These men were seemingly the very most Godly people in all Judaism, but it was fake—a two-faced show. On the inside, they were rotten, sinful and greedy lovers of acclaim, money and power. They were disobedient and utterly ignored what would actually pleases God—love, kindness, mercy and so on. In God’s eyes, they were not truly Godly at all.

Christ told his listeners to beware of doing good deeds inorder to be admired by others (as is the case with some modern celebrities in our day),

“…when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. …” —Matthew 6:2a NASB

Heeding God’s direction, many followers of Christ through the centuries have given to the poor very discreetly or anonymously.

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. …” —Matthew 6:5a NASB

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” —Matthew 6:16 NASB

Note: The Greek word ἀφανίζω (aphanizó) translated “neglect” (above) literally means to make unseen or to hide, i.e., they discolored their faces with makeup.

Hypocrites preying on impoverished widows

The Jewish religious leaders (and all Jews) were supposed to be actively aiding impoverished widows in various ways. Most leaders were not; they abused them. Sitting across from the Temple treasury, Jesus told his disciples,

Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” —Luke 20:46-47 NASB (also Mark 12:38-40)

Immediately after saying this, Jesus observed a destitute widow giving her last 2 cents to the treasury of these hypocrites who probably deceived her. He then revealed that this entire oppulent, godless Temple would be utterly destroyed, a Divine judgment that used the Roman army for His purposes in 70 AD, dissolving the hard-hearted Jewish nation for 2,000 years. The vast majority in Galilee and Judea rejected their Messiah who fully verifed his identity with thousands of miracles. Instead of believing and following God incarnate, they caused His execution.

After listening to another example of their rewriting of God’s laws for selfish purposes, Christ said to the Pharisees and scribes,

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” —Matthew 15:7-9 ESV

All people are susceptible to hypocritical thinking, not just religious leaders. Jesus gave this reminder about hypocrisy that so easily slips into judgmental, self-righteous sinners’ minds,

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” —Matthew 7:3-5 NASB

True followers of Christ are to be HUMBLE, open and honest—flaws and all—lovingly and patiently encouraging each other toward spiritual maturity in Christ—truth, confession, goodness, righteousness and good works.

“Their lives should be like an open book, easily read.” —Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies…

Job 8:13 in the King James Version and NKJV

“The hypocrite’s hope shall perish” (Job 8:13 KJV). The Hebrew word here translated as “hypocrite” is חָנֵף (chaneph) which literally means the “godless” or “profane,” as it is rendered by the KJV in Jeremiah 23:11: “…For both prophet and priest are profane”.

Job 8:13 NASB and ESV: “…the hope of the godless will perish”

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Article Version: September 19, 2017