Matthew 23:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 23:26, NIV: "Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."

Matthew 23:26, ESV: "You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean."

Matthew 23:26, KJV: "Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."

Matthew 23:26, NASB: "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that theoutside of it may also become clean."

Matthew 23:26, NLT: "You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too."

Matthew 23:26, CSB: "Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside of it may also become clean."

What does Matthew 23:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Yet again, Jesus calls the Pharisees blind (Matthew 23:16–17, 19). He has condemned them for putting on a show of religiosity while having selfish hearts. This is as absurd and disgusting as cleaning the outside of cups and plates while the insides are filthy. Jesus' continual description of them as "blind" reveals they lacked even the ability to see the truth for what it was. They did not have the capacity to lead the people well because they refused to see what was right in front of them (John 5:39–40).

Instead of trying to appear pious while letting selfishness run unchecked in their hearts, they should clean themselves up on the inside. A clean-minded person will naturally act in clean ways (Matthew 15:11). If the Pharisees sincerely rejected greedy attitudes and appetites, they would naturally become known as selfless, servant-hearted men. Instead, they pretended to be holy while continuing to serve themselves in every way they could get away with.

The imagery of something pretty on the outside, but repugnant on the inside, will be given an even more dramatic use in the next verses (Matthew 23:27).