Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. (Luke 11:39-41, NIV)
That last verse grabbed me when I read it. Be generous to the poor and everything will be clean for you.
Then I looked to other translations. They did not contradict the meaning I thought I saw in the NIV translation, but did make it more difficult to sort out the meaning.
NRSV: “So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.”
CEB: “Therefore, give to those in need from the core of who you are and you will be clean all over.”
NASB: “But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you.”
NLT: “So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over.”
All these translations operate in the same general orbit, but some of them certainly seem to spiritualize the meaning more than others. All probably raise the specter of works righteousness for some readers.
I wonder what Jesus was saying here.