Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1


Jesus called the narcissistic scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” seven times in Matthew 23.  There was a reason He emphasized it – He was making clear to them that even though they may have fooled people with their outward appearance of faux-righteousness, He clearly saw through to their proud, greedy hearts.  Hypocrisy is a prime trait of a scoffer/narcissist.

“The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks.”[1]

The Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not. This sense was taken into medieval French and then into English, where it showed up with its earlier spelling, ypocrite, in 13th-century religious texts to refer to someone who pretends to be morally good or pious in order to deceive others. (Hypocrite gained its initial h- by the 16th century.)

Starting in the mid-1500’s “pharisaical” was used in the English language as shorthand for hypocritical, censorious, self-righteousness.

The Greek word used to communicate Jesus’ original statement would have had this original meaning.  Therefore, Jesus was calling them “actors” – showing an outward face different than what was underneath.

Breaking down of hypokrite[2] into its components of hypo[3] “under” and krino[4] “judge” takes us even further.  The Greek word “judge” includes 1.  “to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong”, and 2. “to pronounce judgment; to subject to censure; of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in the matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others”.

It gives the picture of one who is hiding under a mask (of righteousness), while judging and condemning others.   This is the essence of a scoffer, discussed in “Sitting in the Seat of Scoffers / Narcissists as Judge”.

Not only were the hypocritical Pharisees pretending to be righteous while pursuing evil – bad enough by itself – they did so while sitting as arrogant judges in their hearts over others.

While the Bible does not say explicitly say that everyone who is a hypocrite is a narcissist (a narcissist is someone with insolent pride, or a “scoffer” – see here), it does make clear that narcissists are hypocrites (see here).   Jesus points out in Matthew 7 one characteristic of hypocrites – they will ignore or discount their own flaws, while at the same time focusing intently on your flaws which “really need to be fixed”.  This is consistent with narcissistic traits – superiority in their heart (see here and here) resulting in feeling the need to fix you, while thinking their own issues are “no big deal”, or too minor to even notice.

To Be Continued…….

[1] Webster’s dictionary

[2] https://biblehub.com/greek/5273.htm

[3] https://biblehub.com/greek/5259.htm

[4] https://biblehub.com/greek/2919.htm


Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective” for an overview of what this blog is about.