The Meaning of Matthew 23:25 Explained

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.

YLT: 'Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye make clean the outside of the cup and the plate, and within they are full of rapine and incontinence.

Darby: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within they are full of rapine and intemperance.

ASV: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess.

What does Matthew 23:25 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 23:13-26 - Woes For The False-Hearted
These repeated woes may be translated, Alas for you! Our Lord with unfailing accuracy indicates the inevitable doom which such conduct as that of the Pharisees and scribes must incur. He forewarned them that they could expect nothing in the dread future but the judgment of Gehenna-the metaphor being taken from the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where fires were kept burning to consume rubbish and refuse.
Hypocrisy is hiding under a cloak of religion the sins which the ordinary moralist and worldling would condemn. It is very injurious, because it hinders men from entering the Kingdom, Matthew 23:13. It is punctilious in its exactions, because while it strains out gnats, it swallows camels, Matthew 23:23-24. It expends itself on outward ritual-the Pharisees would not enter Pilate's hall on the day before the Passover, but they murdered the holy Savior. Above all things, let us be true, professing to be no more than we are! [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 23

1  Jesus admonishes the people to follow good doctrine, not bad examples
5  His disciples must beware of their ambition
13  He denounces eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness,
34  and prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem

Greek Commentary for Matthew 23:25

From extortion and excess [εχ αρπαγης και ακρασιας]
A much more serious accusation. These punctilious observers of the external ceremonies did not hesitate at robbery But the inside is the more important. Note the change to singular in Matthew 23:26 as if Jesus in a friendlier tone pleads with a Pharisee to mend his ways. [source]
Platter [παροψίδος]
παρά , beside, ὄψον , meat. A side-dish, with the accompanying sense of something dainty; later, as here, the dish itself as distinguished from its contents. [source]
Excess [ἀκρασίας]
ἀ , not, κράτος , power. Hence conduct which shows a want of power over one's self' incontinence or intemperance. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 23:25

Matthew 23:13 Hypocrites [υποκριται]
This terrible word of Jesus appears first from him in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:16; Matthew 7:5), then in Matthew 15:7 and Matthew 22:18. Here it appears “with terrific iteration” (Bruce) save in the third of the seven woes (Matthew 23:13, Matthew 23:15, Matthew 23:23, Matthew 23:25, Matthew 23:27, Matthew 23:29). The verb in the active The MSS. that insert it put it either before Matthew 23:13 or after Matthew 23:13. Plummer cites these seven woes as another example of Matthew‘s fondness for the number seven, more fancy than fact for Matthew‘s Gospel is not the Apocalypse of John. These are all illustrations of Pharisaic saying and not doing (Allen). [source]
Luke 11:39 Platter [πίνακος]
The word rendered charger in Matthew 14:8, on which see note. Compare, also, παροψίς , platter, Matthew 23:25. [source]
Luke 11:39 Now [νυν]
Probably refers to him. You Pharisees do now what was formerly done.The platter (του πινακος — tou pinakos). The dish. Old word, rendered “the charger” in Matthew 14:8. Another word for “platter” (παροπσις — paropsis) in Matthew 23:25 means “side-dish.”But your inward part The part within you (Pharisees). They keep the external regulations, but their hearts are full of plunder See note on Matthew 23:25 for a like indictment of the Pharisees for care for the outside of the cup but neglect of what is on the inside. Both inside and outside should be clean, but the inside first. [source]
Luke 11:39 The platter [του πινακος]
The dish. Old word, rendered “the charger” in Matthew 14:8. Another word for “platter” (παροπσις — paropsis) in Matthew 23:25 means “side-dish.” [source]
Luke 11:39 But your inward part [το δε εσωτεν υμων]
The part within you (Pharisees). They keep the external regulations, but their hearts are full of plunder See note on Matthew 23:25 for a like indictment of the Pharisees for care for the outside of the cup but neglect of what is on the inside. Both inside and outside should be clean, but the inside first. [source]
1 Corinthians 7:5 That ye may give yourselves unto prayer [ινα σχολασητε τηι προσευχηι]
First aorist active subjunctive of σχολαζω — scholazō late verb from σχολη — scholē leisure (our “school”), and so to have leisure (punctiliar act and not permanent) for prayer. Note private devotions here. That Satan tempt you not (ινα μη πειραζηι — hina mē peirazēi). Present subjunctive, that Satan may not keep on tempting you. Because of your incontinency A late word from Aristotle on for ακρατεια — akrateia from ακρατης — akratēs (without self-control, α — a privative and κρατεω — krateō to control, common old word). In N.T. only here and Matthew 23:25 which see. [source]
1 Corinthians 7:5 Because of your incontinency [δια την ακρασιαν υμων]
A late word from Aristotle on for ακρατεια — akrateia from ακρατης — akratēs (without self-control, α — a privative and κρατεω — krateō to control, common old word). In N.T. only here and Matthew 23:25 which see. [source]
2 Timothy 3:3 Incontinent [ἀκρατεῖς]
Or intemperate, without self -control. N.T.oOnce in lxx, Proverbs 27:20. Ἁκρασία incontinence Matthew 23:25; 1 Corinthians 7:5; Song of Solomon 4:3. [source]
Hebrews 9:9 As pertaining to the conscience [κατὰ συνείδησιν]
Having shown that the division of the tabernacle proved the imperfection of the worship, the writer will now show that the Levitical ritual did not accomplish the true end of religion. The radical defect of the Levitical system was its inability to deal with the conscience, and thus bring about the “perfection” which is the ideal of true religion. That ideal contemplated the cleansing and renewal of the inner man; not merely the removal of ceremonial uncleanness, or the formal expiation of sins. Comp. Matthew 23:25, Matthew 23:26. For συνείδησις consciencesee on 1 Peter 3:16. [source]
Hebrews 10:34 Spoiling [ἁρπαγὴν]
Only here Matthew 23:25; Luke 11:39. Allied with ἁρπάζειν tosnatch away. [source]
Hebrews 1:3 When he had by himself purged our sins [καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος]
Omit by himself; yet a similar thought is implied in the middle voice, ποιησάμενος , which indicates that the work of purification was done by Christ personally, and was not something which he caused to be done by some other agent. Purged, lit. having made purification. The phrase N.T.olxx, Job 7:21. Καθαρισμός purificationoccurs in Mark, Luke John, 2nd Peter, oP., and only here in Hebrews. The verb καθαρίζειν topurify is not often used in N.T of cleansing from sin. See 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 John 1:7, 1 John 1:9. Of cleansing the conscience, Hebrews 9:14. Of cleansing meats and vessels, Matthew 23:25, Matthew 23:26, Mark 7:19, Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9. Of cleansing the heart, Acts 15:9. The meaning here is cleansing of sins. In the phrase “to cleanse from sin,” always with ἀπὸ fromIn carrying on all things toward their destined end of conformity to the divine archetype, the Son must confront and deal with the fact of sin, which had thrown the world into disorder, and drawn it out of God's order. In the thought of making purification of sins is already foreshadowed the work of Christ as high priest, which plays so prominent a part in the epistle. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 23:25 mean?

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees hypocrites For you cleanse the outside of the cup of the dish inside however they are full of greed self-indulgence
Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου τῆς παροψίδος ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς ἀκρασίας

Οὐαὶ  Woe 
Parse: Interjection
Root: οὐαί  
Sense: alas, woe.
ὑμῖν  to  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
γραμματεῖς  scribes 
Parse: Noun, Vocative Masculine Plural
Root: γραμματεύς  
Sense: a clerk, scribe, esp.
Φαρισαῖοι  Pharisees 
Parse: Noun, Vocative Masculine Plural
Root: Φαρισαῖος  
Sense: A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile.
ὑποκριταί  hypocrites 
Parse: Noun, Vocative Masculine Plural
Root: ὑποκριτής  
Sense: one who answers, an interpreter.
καθαρίζετε  you  cleanse 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: καθαρίζω 
Sense: to make clean, cleanse.
ἔξωθεν  outside 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἔξωθεν  
Sense: from without, outward.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ποτηρίου  cup 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: ποτήριον  
Sense: a cup, a drinking vessel.
τῆς  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
παροψίδος  dish 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: παροψίς  
Sense: a side dish, a dish of dainties or choice food suited not so much to satisfy as to gratify the appetite.
ἔσωθεν  inside 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἔσωθεν  
Sense: from within.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
γέμουσιν  they  are  full 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: γέμω  
Sense: to be full, filled, full.
ἁρπαγῆς  greed 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ἁρπαγή  
Sense: the act of plundering, robbery.
ἀκρασίας  self-indulgence 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ἀκρασία  
Sense: want of self-control, incontinence, intemperance.

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