Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

A long condemnation of the religious leaders of the time, their focusing on outward things not the inward.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

In this way, also, you yourselves outwardly certainly shine virtue to those people. Righteous! Inwardly, however, you are satisfied of playacting and lawlessness.

My Takeaway: 

Those who consider themselves above the law want to appear as paragons to others.

KJV : 

Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

NIV : 

Matthew 23:28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus's language is in the KJV is toned down from the Greek. For example, the word translated as "appear" and "look" actually means "shine."  Interestingly, it offers a new word meaning "full" here, different than the word in the previous verse, which was different from the word Jesus uses to mean "full" more often. The theme of "inward" and "outward" continues, as does Jesus use of uncommon words. One of those words used in translation is just a form of the Greek word, not really a translation.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

οὕτως [137 verses](adv) "Even" is houtos, which as an adverb means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv)  "So" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ὑμεῖς [92 verses] (pron 2nd pl nom) "Ye" is from hymeis (humeis), which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

ἔξωθεν [8 verses] (adv) "Outwardly"is from exothen, which "from without" and "outward."

μὲν [31 verses](particle) Untranslated is men, which is generally used to express certainty and means "indeed", "certainly", "surely," and "truly."

φαίνεσθε [10 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind mp) "Appear" is phaino, which means "to shine", "to give light," and "to appear." In its transitive form, not used here, it means "bring to light."

τοῖς [692 verses](article sg masc dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἀνθρώποις (noun pl masc dat) "Unto men" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

δίκαιοι, [21 verses](adj pl masc nom) "Righteous" is dikaios which means "observant of rules", "observant of customs", "well-ordered", "civilized," and "observant of duty." Later it means "well-balanced", "impartial," and "just."

ἔσωθεν [6 verses](adv)"Within" is esothen, which means "from within" and "inward."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἐστε [614 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye are" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

μεστοὶ [1 verse](adj pl masc nom) "Full" is mestos, which means "full of", "laden with," and "sated with."

ὑποκρίσεως [2 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Hypocrisy" is hypokrisis, which means "reply", "answer", "playing a part" and "outward show." As an adverb, "after the manner of."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv)  "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἀνομίας. [4 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Inequity" is anomia, which means "lawless", "lawless conduct," and "the negation of law."

KJV Analysis: 

Even so  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "even so" as an adverb means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

ye - The pronoun "ye" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you." It is plural. It was used here to indicate Christ's critics as separate from the larger group he addressed.

missing "by/for yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourself," "for yourself" or "by yourself."

also  - The Greek word translated as "also" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also" "even" "just").

outwardly  - The word used for "outwardly" is the adverb meaning "outward."

missing "truly"  -- (MW) The untranslated word here is the word for "truly," "indeed" or "certainly.

appear  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "appear" means "to shine." It is a common word for Christ to use, often to describe how actors what to shine before the public.

righteous  - The term translated as "righteous" means "those who observe the laws", "well-balanced," and "meet and fitting."

unto  -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

men,  - The Greek word for "unto men" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural. It is a plural indirect object introduced with an article, so "to the people."

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

within  - "Within" is from the adverb meaning "inwardly."

ye  - -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

are  - The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

full  - (CW) The word translated as "full" means "full of," and "ladened with," as did the different word used in Matthew 23:27, but this word also means "sated with." Since Jesus changes words here, we assume this is the feeling he was going for. Neither of the words translated as "full" here or in the previous verse are the ones Jesus usually uses to mean "full."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

hypocrisy  - (UW) The word translated as "hypocrisy" is hypokrisis, which is the Greek source of the English word. Our sense of its meaning comes from Christ's used of it. It is from the same root as the word for "actor," hypocrites, which also isn't translated. This word means "to play a part."

and- The Greek word translated as "ad" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also" "even" "just").

iniquity.  - (CW) "Inequity" is translated from a Greek word meaning "lawlessness." It means violating customs and common standards of civility, so "immorality" and "criminality." This is usually translated as "inequity" in the KJV, but that word has more the sense of "unfairness" that this word's concept of "lawlessness."

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "even so" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "truly" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "appear" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "full" is not the common word usually translated as "full."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrisy" means "playacting." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "inequity" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

In the same way  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "even so" as an adverb means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

on the outside - The word used for "outwardly" is the adverb meaning "outward." - The word translated as "on the outside" is normally an adverb meaning "outside" and "from without." It is the opposite of the Greek word translated later in verse as "inwardly."  It is translated as "outside" in Matthew 23:25. And as "on the outside" in Matthew 23:27. It is not a phrase, but an adverb.

you - The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you." It is plural. It was used here to indicate Christ's critics as separate from the larger group he addressed.

missing "by/for yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourself," "for yourself" or "by yourself."

missing "truly"  -- (MW) The untranslated word here is the word for "truly," "indeed" or "certainly.

appear  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "appear" means "to shine." It is a common word for Christ to use, often to describe how actors what to shine before the public. The NIV  translated this as "look" in the previous verse.

to  -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

people ,  - The Greek word for "unto men" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural. It is a plural indirect object introduced with an article, so "to the people."

as   -- The Greek word translated "also" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also" "even" "just"). After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you).

righteous  - The term translated as "righteous" means "those who observe the laws", "well-balanced," and "meet and fitting."

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

on the inside - "Within" is from the adverb meaning "inwardly." It is the opposite of the word above. It is not a phrase, but an adverb. This is the way it was translated in the previous verse.

you - -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

are  - The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

full  - (CW) The word translated as "full" means "full of," and "ladened with," as did the different word used in Matthew 23:27, but this word also means "sated with." Since Jesus changes words here, we assume this is the feeling he was going for. Neither of the words translated as "full" here or in the previous verse are the ones Jesus usually uses to mean "full."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

hypocrisy  - (UW) The word translated as "hypocrisy" is hypokrisis, which is the Greek source of the English word. Our sense of its meaning comes from Christ's used of it. It is from the same root as the word for "actor," hypocrites, which also isn't translated. This word means "to play a part."

and- The Greek word translated as "ad" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also" "even" "just").

wickedness.  - (CW) "Wickedness" is translated from a Greek word meaning "lawlessness." It means violating customs and common standards of civility, so "immorality" and "criminality." This gets translated as both "wickedness" and "lawlessness" in the NIV.

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "truly" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "appear" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "full" is not the common word usually translated as "full."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrisy" means "playacting." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "wickedness" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 19 2021