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What the Bible Says About Hypocrisy and Deception

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Hypocrisy: Definition

Hypocrisy is defined in most dictionaries as the act of presenting a false view of something. It is the act of claiming to have beliefs, standards, characteristics, behavior, and virtues that one does not have at all. Hypocrisy may be presented in the form of lies, pretense, or shams. Many times, hypocrisy involves deception of some kind.

Deception is something that is done to mislead, hide a real truth, or promote something that is not true. However, the deceptive person might do a good job of making people believe certain things are actually true. Deception is often done for personal gain or self-promotion.


Hypocrite: Definition

A person who practices hypocrisy is called a hypocrite. A hypocrite claims to have moral standards and beliefs, but his behavior shows just the opposite. A hypocrite pretends to have beliefs that are not consistent with his behavior.

A hypocrite might be described as one who lives by a double standard and is sometimes called "two-faced."

Examples of Hypocrisy and Deception

An example of hypocrisy is claiming to care about the environment, but that person constantly litters.

Another example of hypocrisy is the practice of doing the same thing for which one criticizes another person. It is like the idiom of "the pot calling the kettle black."

Deception is an example of hypocrisy. An example is in the story about a woman who baked a delicious chocolate cake for her husband. The two of them ate some of it after dinner. Her husband took a slice to work to eat for lunch. When the husband was leaving for work, he reminded his wife not to eat the rest of the cake during the day, but she did!

The wife worried about what her husband would say if he saw not a crumb of the cake was left. A couple of hours before her husband was scheduled to arrive home, the wife had a brilliant idea. She ran to the store and bought ingredients to bake another cake. Then she realized that she needed to get the cake down to the size it was when her husband left that morning. Therefore, she ate half of it so her husband wouldn't know the difference. The wife had performed a hypocritical act.

A very public example of hypocrisy is the college admissions scandal. The case involved at least 53 parents who paid thousands of dollars to colleges for their children to attend under false pretenses. They doctored photos to show that their sons and daughters were on soccer teams, rowing teams, or involved in other sports. In some cases, the parents paid for scores on entrance examinations to be changed.

Biblical Examples of Hypocrisy

Jacob deceived his twin brother Esau by pretending to be him when his father Isaac was losing his sight. His deception caused his father to give him Esau's birthright that technically belonged to Esau who was born first (Genesis 27:34-40).

Later, Jacob received a dose of his own medicine. He worked seven years to marry Rachel. Leah covered herself and pretended to be her sister whom Jacob loved (Genesis 29:16-30). This case showed the deceiver was deceived.

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Jesus taught about people who have a large plank in their own eye, but they can barely see the little speck in someone else's eye. What the hypocrite has pointed out is much less than what he himself is guilty of.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3)

The same idea is pointed out in the story about the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees and teachers of the law brought the woman to Jesus because they accused her of committing adultery while the men themselves pretended to be innocent. Someone in the group must have been guilty because the woman could not have committed adultery alone. Jesus said:

"Let him without sin cast the first stone." All the men walked away because they were all hypocrites. (John 8:3-11)

Any person who has studied the Gospels knows the Pharisees were the ultimate hypocrites because they pointed out everybody's faults except their own. Jesus said six times:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites." (Matthew 23:13-33)


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on October 01, 2019:

Thanks, Elijah, for reading and sharing your thoughts about my article.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on October 01, 2019:

Those are biblically presented concepts of hypocrisy, Margaret, but what are some we do almost daily is the question to be answered.

I was illegally walking the interstate highway in Pennsylvania in 1998 when a Highway Patrolman pulled up on me and asked where was I going. I answered "to Arizona" so he asked why wasn't I hitching and I answered "after my New Birth I gave up my right to own a car so wouldn't I be a hypocrite to ask someone to allow me to use theirs." He told me to get in and took me to the nearest town in the direction I was going with a shelter for the night.

If most Christians were to look at Acts 11 and see why the disciples were called Christians I believe they would say they are Hypocrites. I also believe most who say they're Born Again had read John 3:8 where Jesus said everyone who is Born Again is "like the wind, they are heard but, unless asked, the people will not know whence they came nor whether they went" would know they are hypocrites. That is only my opinion and who am I to know?

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on October 01, 2019:

That’s a great definition. You use so much detail. I enjoy learning from you.

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