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Matthew 23 New Life Version (NLV)

The Teachers of the Law and the Proud Religious Law-Keepers

23 Then Jesus talked to the many people and to His followers. He said, “The teachers of the Law and the proud religious law-keepers have put themselves in Moses’ place as teachers. Do what they tell you to do and keep on doing it. But do not follow what they do. They preach but do not obey their own preaching. They make heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men. But they will not help lift them with a finger. Everything they do, they do to be seen of men. They have words from the Holy Writings written in large letters on their left arm and forehead and they make wide trimming for their clothes. They like to have the important places at big suppers and the best seats in the Jewish places of worship. They like to have people show respect to them as they stand in the center of town where people gather. They like to be called teacher.

“But you are not to be called teacher. There is only one Teacher, and all of you are brothers. Do not call any man here on earth your father. There is only one Father and He is in heaven. 10 You are not to be called leader. There is only one Leader and He is Christ.

11 “He who is greatest among you will be the one to care for you. 12 The person who thinks he is important will find out how little he is worth. The person who is not trying to honor himself will be made important.

Jesus Speaks Sharp Words to the Proud Religious Law-Keepers

13 “It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You keep men from going into the holy nation of heaven. You are not going in yourselves, and you do not allow those to go in who are about to go in. 14 It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! (*You take houses from poor women whose husbands have died. Then you try to cover it up by making long prayers. You will be punished all the more because of this.) 15 It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You go over land and sea to win one follower. When you have him, you make him twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “It is bad for you, blind leaders! You say, ‘Whoever makes a promise by the house of God, his promise is worth nothing. But whoever makes a promise by the gold of the house of God, then his promise has to be kept.’ 17 You fools and blind men! Which is greater, the gold or the house of God that makes the gold holy? 18 You say, ‘Whoever will promise by the altar, his promise does not have to be kept. But whoever makes a promise by the gift on the altar, then his promise has to be kept.’ 19 You fools and blind men! Which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift holy? 20 Whoever makes a promise by the altar, promises by it and by everything on it. 21 Whoever makes a promise by the house of God, promises by it and by Him Who is in it. 22 Whoever makes a promise by heaven, promises by the throne of God and by Him Who sits there.

23 “It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You give one-tenth part of your spices, and have not done the most important things of the Law, such as thinking what is right and wrong, and having pity and faith. These you should have done and still have done the other things also. 24 You blind leaders, you take a small bug out of your cup but you swallow a camel!

25 “It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You clean the outside of the cup and plate, but leave the inside full of strong bad desires and are not able to keep from doing sinful things. 26 You blind proud religious law-keepers! Clean the inside of the cup and plate, then the outside will be clean also.

27 “It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You are like graves that have been made white and look beautiful on the outside. But inside you are full of the bones of dead men and of every sinful thing. 28 As men look at you, you seem to be good and right but inside you are full of sin. You pretend to be someone you are not.

29 “It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You make buildings for the graves of the early preachers, and you make the graves beautiful of those who are right with God. 30 You say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our early fathers, we would not have helped kill the early preachers.’ 31 In this way, you are showing that you are the sons of those who killed the early preachers. 32 You might as well finish what your early fathers did. 33 You snakes! You family of snakes! How can you be kept from hell?

34 “Because of this, I am going to keep on sending to you men who speak for God and wise men and teachers of the Law. Some of them you will kill and nail to a cross. Some of them you will beat in your places of worship. You will make it very hard for them as they go from city to city. 35 Because of this, you will be guilty of the blood of all those right with God on the earth. It will be from the blood of Abel who was right with God to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachias. He was the one you killed between the house of God and the altar. 36 For sure, I tell you, all these things will come on the people of this day.

Jesus Sorrows Over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the men who speak for God and throw stones at those who were sent to you. How many times I wanted to gather your children around Me, as a chicken gathers her young ones under her wings. But you would not let Me. 38 See! Your house is empty. 39 I say to you, you will not see Me again until you will say, ‘Great is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

New Life Version (NLV)

Copyright © 1969, 2003 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Matthew 23 New International Version (NIV)

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “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. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 23:5 That is, boxes containing Scripture verses, worn on forehead and arm
  2. Matthew 23:14 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.
  3. Matthew 23:39 Psalm 118:26
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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