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.
Heeding God’s direction, many followers of Christ through the centuries have given to the poor very discreetly or anonymously.
“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.
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”
- The Widow’s 2 mites incident
- Some skeptics ask, why would I want to be a Christian when so many in the Church are hypocrites? Answer