Matthew 23:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 23:25, NIV: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

Matthew 23:25, ESV: “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.

Matthew 23:25, KJV: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Matthew 23:25, NASB: 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.

Matthew 23:25, NLT: 'What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy--full of greed and self-indulgence!

Matthew 23:25, CSB: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

What does Matthew 23:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus continues His devastating description of the practices of the scribes and Pharisees as Israel's religious leaders (Matthew 23:13–24). This is the fifth of the seven "woes" in Matthew account of this confrontation. Jesus again calls these men "hypocrites" (Matthew 23:13, 15, 23), which is from a Greek term literally referring to stage actors. They are pretenders who say one thing but do something else.

This new criticism comes in the form of a powerful word picture. Jesus captures exactly how the Pharisees live and lead God's people. Their emphasis on legalism, appearances, and worldly honor is like washing the outside of the cups and plates instead of the insides. No matter how clean they might look, these utensils would be filthy in all the ways that matter. The only reason someone would do such a foolish thing would be if they only cared about how they looked and cared little for actual cleanliness. The Pharisees wanted everyone to see them as clean, religiously perfect, and the most spiritual men of all.

Like dishes only washed on the outside, the insides of these religious pretenders were full of greed and self-indulgence. The Pharisees and scribes used details of the law as a cover up for their sin. They were not practicing it in humility, seeking to reject their own sinful attitudes and ideas. In short, their religion served themselves. It sought to satisfy their own desires as much as possible without ruining their prestigious reputations.