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Typical Characteristics of a Hypocrite


[Some of these passages are statements about hypocrites; some give examples that we can learn from. You may have to read the context, to gain a better understanding of what these passages are saying.]


Double Standards

  1. They condemn others for sin; yet ignore their own sins. Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42
    1. What do they do? What do they fail to do?

    2. What should they do? (Two things, but in a specific order.)


Distorted Values (2 examples)

  1. They consider religious practices (and animals!) to be more important than people. Luke 13:14-16

    Note: This event occurred on the Sabbath, a day that was supposed to be set apart for God. Though the day was important, Scripture teaches us that certain things are more important.

    1. What did they do? What did they condemn?

    2. According to Jesus, which was more important - the thing they did, or the thing they condemned?

  2. They carefully obey the tiniest matters of the Law (Old Testament regulations), and neglect the important things. Matthew 23:23-24
    1. What did they do? What did they ignore?

    2. What should they be doing?



  1. They are willing to ignore the truth, in order to impress people. Galatians 2:11-14
    1. What did Peter do?

    2. How did Paul respond to it?


    Important observation: This verse shows us that it is possible for a saved person to become hypocritical. However, if he is really saved, the hypocrisy won't last. The Holy Spirit influences the conduct of saved people. Such a person will pay attention to the rebuke of Scripture and of other people who point out his sin; and he will repent of his sin. Unlike the unsaved people mentioned in the other verses, hypocrisy will not become the lifestyle of a saved person.



  1. They focus on what people can see, and ignore the true condition of their own hearts. Matthew 23:25-28
    1. What are they like on the "outside"? (2 illustrations)

    2. What are they like on the "inside"? (2 illustrations)

    3. What should they do? (implied)


Dennis Hinks © 2007

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