Matthew 23:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don't follow their example. For they don't practice what they teach.

English Standard Version
so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

New American Standard Bible
therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.

King James Bible
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don't do what they do, because they don't practice what they teach.

International Standard Version
So do whatever they tell you and follow it, but stop doing what they do, because they don't do what they say.

NET Bible
Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Everything therefore that they will tell you to observe, observe and do, but you should not do according to their works, for they are saying, and they are not doing.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So be careful to do everything they tell you. But don't follow their example, because they don't practice what they preach.

Jubilee Bible 2000
therefore, whatever they bid you to observe, observe it and do it, but do not act according to their works, for they say and do not do it.

King James 2000 Bible
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not according to their works: for they say, and do not.

American King James Version
All therefore whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and do not.

American Standard Version
all things therefore whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.

Douay-Rheims Bible
All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not.

Darby Bible Translation
all things therefore, whatever they may tell you, do and keep. But do not after their works, for they say and do not,

English Revised Version
all things therefore whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.

Webster's Bible Translation
All therefore, whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do: but do not ye according to their works: for they say, and do not.

Weymouth New Testament
Therefore do and observe everything that they command you; but do not imitate their lives, for though they tell others what to do, they do not do it themselves.

World English Bible
All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don't do their works; for they say, and don't do.

Young's Literal Translation
all, then, as much as they may say to you to observe, observe and do, but according to their works do not, for they say, and do not;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

23:1-12 The scribes and Pharisees explained the law of Moses, and enforced obedience to it. They are charged with hypocrisy in religion. We can only judge according to outward appearance; but God searches the heart. They made phylacteries. These were scrolls of paper or parchment, wherein were written four paragraphs of the law, to be worn on their foreheads and left arms, Ex 13:2-10; 13:11-16; De 6:4-9; 11:13-21. They made these phylacteries broad, that they might be thought more zealous for the law than others. God appointed the Jews to make fringes upon their garments, Nu 15:38, to remind them of their being a peculiar people; but the Pharisees made them larger than common, as if they were thereby more religious than others. Pride was the darling, reigning sin of the Pharisees, the sin that most easily beset them, and which our Lord Jesus takes all occasions to speak against. For him that is taught in the word to give respect to him that teaches, is commendable; but for him that teaches, to demand it, to be puffed up with it, is sinful. How much is all this against the spirit of Christianity! The consistent disciple of Christ is pained by being put into chief places. But who that looks around on the visible church, would think this was the spirit required? It is plain that some measure of this antichristian spirit prevails in every religious society, and in every one of our hearts.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - All therefore. It is because of their official authority as appointed teachers and expositors of the Law that Christ gives the following injunction. That observe and do. Many manuscripts and versions invert the order of the verbs, reading, do and observe. The received text seems most logical. Observe; τηρεῖτε, present imperative, continue to observe as a rule of conduct. Do; ποιήσατε, aorist, do immediately, whenever the occasion arises. All that they taught or commanded out of the Law, or in due accordance therewith, was to be observed and obeyed. The statement is made in general terms, but was conditional and restricted by other considerations. It was only their official injunctions, derived immediately from Scripture, not their glosses, evasions, and interpretations, that were to be regarded with respect. The Lord had already taken occasion to warn against these errors (see Matthew 16:6, 11, 12, etc.). As inheritors of the authority of Moses, and speaking ex cathedra, they were so far worthy of respect. This principle laid down, Christ proceeds to denounce their evil practices. After their works. You must distinguish between their preaching and their practice; the latter is to be shunned with all care. The scribes are never accused of corrupting the sacred text, which, indeed, was scrupulously guarded, and kept pure and unaltered. It was their treatment of the doctrines thereof that was censured. Our Lord shows their evil example in two particulars - their principle was "words, not deeds" (ver. 4), and ostentation in religion (vers. 5-7). They say, and do not. They enunciated the Law, they enjoined obedience to it in the minutest particulars, and yet they themselves continually, in the most important points (ver. 23), infringed, neglected, evaded it. St. Paul, himself a strict Pharisee, denounces in stern language such inconsistent professors (Romans 2:21-23).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe,.... This must be restrained to things that were agreeable to the chair of Moses, in which they sat, to the law of Moses, which they read and explained, to other parts of Scripture and truth in general; for otherwise many of their glosses and traditions were repugnant to the law, and ought not to be observed, as appears from Matthew 5:1. The word "observe", in this clause, is omitted by the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and Beza says, it is wanting in one ancient copy, but is in others; and is retained in the Syriac and Persic versions

that observe and do; hearken to what they say, give diligent heed unto it, take notice of it, and act according to it:

but do not ye after their works; let their doctrine be the rule of your lives, so far as it agrees with the law of Moses; but let not their actions be drawn into an example by you; conform to their instructions, but do not imitate their practices:

for they say, and do not; they talk of good works, but do none; they bid others do them, but do not practise them themselves; they very strictly and severely enjoin them on others, but are very careless themselves to observe them; and of this the Jews are so conscious, that they suggest the same doctrine (n).

"The daughter of Ahar (a wicked man) came before Rabbi; she said to him, Rabbi, supply me with the necessaries of life: he replied to her, daughter, who art thou? she answered him, the daughter of Ahar: he said to her, is there any of his seed in the world? for lo! it is written, Job 18:19. "He shall neither have son, nor nephew, among his people, nor any remaining, in his dwellings": she replied to him, , "remember his law, or doctrine, but do not remember his works."--Says R. Jochanan, what is that which is written, Malachi 2:7. "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts." If the doctor is like to an angel, or messenger of the Lord of hosts, they should seek the law at his mouth; and if not, they should not seek the law at his mouth. Says Resh Lekish, R. Meir found and explained that Scripture, Proverbs 22:17. "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart to my knowledge": to their knowledge it is not said, but to my knowledge. R. Chanina says, hence, Psalm 45:10. "Hearken, O daughter! and consider, incline thine ear, forget thine own people, and thy father's house": on which the gloss is, forget their works, and do not learn them: he that knows how to take care not to learn their works, may learn the law from their mouths.''

--And a little after,

"the disciples of the wise men are like to a nut; as a nut, though it is defiled with mire and filth, yet that which is within it is not to be rejected; so a scholar, or a disciple of a wise man, though he act wickedly, his law, or doctrine, is not to be despised.''

Good doctrine is not the worse for being taught by bad men; nor are good works to be slighted and neglected, because they are not done by all that teach them; but it must be owned that examples are very useful and forcible, and practice greatly recommends doctrine; and it is to be wished, that they both always went together.

(n) T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 15. 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. All therefore—that is, all which, as sitting in that seat and teaching out of that law.

they bid you observe, that observe and do—The word "therefore" is thus, it will be seen, of great importance, as limiting those injunctions which He would have them obey to what they fetched from the law itself. In requiring implicit obedience to such injunctions, He would have them to recognize the authority with which they taught over and above the obligations of the law itself—an important principle truly; but He who denounced the traditions of such teachers (Mt 15:3) cannot have meant here to throw His shield over these. It is remarked by Webster and Wilkinson that the warning to beware of the scribes is given by Mark and Luke (Mr 12:38; Lu 20:46) without any qualification: the charge to respect and obey them being reported by Matthew alone, indicating for whom this Gospel was especially written, and the writer's desire to conciliate the Jews.

Matthew 23:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Woes to Scribes and Pharisees
2saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4"They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.…
Cross References
Matthew 23:2
"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.

Matthew 23:4
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.

Romans 2:21
you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?
Treasury of Scripture

All therefore whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and do not.

whatsoever.

Matthew 15:2-9 Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for …

Exodus 18:19,20,23 Listen now to my voice, I will give you counsel, and God shall be …

Deuteronomy 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD …

Deuteronomy 5:27 Go you near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak …

Deuteronomy 17:9-12 And you shall come to the priests the Levites, and to the judge that …

2 Chronicles 30:12 Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the …

Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to …

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power …

for.

Matthew 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and …

Psalm 50:16-20 But to the wicked God said, What have you to do to declare my statutes, …

Romans 2:19-24 And are confident that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light …

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being …

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