[Hypocrisy is] a term and idea that are primarily limited in the Bible to the NT writings. The Greek word transliterated into English as ‘hypocrite’ was used to denote an actor, one who performed behind a mask. The popular understanding came to be that of persons who pretended to be something that they were not. It is interesting to note, however, that hypocrisy does not appear to be so limited in meaning in the NT. The term can sometimes denote general wickedness or evil, self-righteousness, pretense, or breach of ‘contract.’
The best-known passage in the NT describing hypocrisy is Matthew /Matt.* 23:1*/23, where self-righteousness and pretense are both in evidence (cf. also Matt. 6:2, 5, 16; 7:5; 15:7; 22:18; 24:51; Mark 7:6; Luke 6:42; 12:56; 13:15).
Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 414. Print.