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Jehovah’s Witnesses


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The Bible in Living English

Matthew 23:1-39

23  Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and his disciples, saying 2  “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’s seat; 3  so do and observe everything that they tell you; but do not imitate their deeds, for they say things and do not do them. 4*  And they pack heavy loads and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will not move them with a finger themselves. 5  And all their moral acts they do with an eye to being viewed by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their tassels long. 6  And they are fond of the first place at dinners and the first seats in synagogues, 7  and greetings in the marketplaces, and being called ‘Rabbi’ by men. 8  But do not you be called ‘Rabbi,’ for one is your teacher and you are all of you brothers; 9  and do not call one your father on earth, for one, the heavenly, is your Father. 10  And do not be called spiritual directors either; for one, the Messiah, is your spiritual director. 11  But the greatest one of you shall be serving-man to you. 12  And whoever shall lift himself up will be put down, and whoever shall put himself down will be lifted up. 13  “But woe to you, hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, because you lock the Reign of Heaven in men’s faces; for you do not go in yourselves and neither do you let those go in who are going in. 14  —— 15  Woe to you, hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, because you go the rounds of the sea and the land to make one proselyte, and when you get him you make him more of a candidate for hell twice over than you are yourselves. 16  Woe to you, blind guides that say ‘If anyone swears by the temple it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple he is bound’— 17  foolish and blind men! for which is greater, the gold or the temple that made the gold sacred? 18  and ‘If anyone swears by the altar it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift upon it he is bound’— 19  blind! for which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20  He who swears by the altar, then, is swearing by it and by everything upon it; 21  and he who swears by the temple is swearing by it and by him who lives in it; 22  and he who swears by heaven is swearing by God’s throne and by him who sits upon it. 23  Woe to you, hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, because you tithe mint and dill and cumin and have let slip the weightier things in the law, judgment and mercy and faith; but you ought to have done these and not let those slip— 24  blind guides! strainers-out of a gnat and swallowers of a camel! 25  Woe to you, hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, because you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full with rapacity and sensuality. 26  Blind Pharisee, clean the inside of the cup first, that the outside of it too may come to be clean. 27  Woe to you, hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, because you are the like of whitewashed graves that appear beautiful on the outside but are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness inside; 28  in the same way you appear to men saintly on the outside but are full of hypocrisy and wickedness inside. 29  Woe to you, hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, because you build memorials over the graves of the prophets, and decorate the sepulchers of the saints, 30  and say ‘If we had been there in our fathers’ days we should not have been sharers with them in the blood of the prophets’— 31  so that you testify for yourselves that you are sons of the murderers of the prophets; 32  fill up your fathers’ measure yourselves! 33  Snakes, spawn of vipers, how are you to escape sentence to hell? 34  Accordingly I am sending to you prophets and sages and divines: some of them you shall kill and crucify, and some of them you shall flog in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35  that there may come upon you all saintly blood that has been shed on earth from the blood of the sainted Abel to the blood of Zachariah the son of Barachiah whom you murdered between the temple and the altar— 36  I tell you verily, all this will come upon this generation. 37*  Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killer of the prophets and stoner of those that are sent to her—how many times I have wished to gather her children as a bird gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not! 38  Lo, your house is left to you. 39  For I tell you, you shall not see me henceforth until you say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”


23:4 Var. loads heavy and hard to carry
23:37 Lit. your children But there are two kinds of “your” in Greek, so that “your” here means the city’s, while “you” and “your” in the following words mean not the city but the persons