What Was A Pharisee In The Bible

Origins of the Pharisees

The Pharisees were a Jewish sect in the time of Jesus. They were one of the most powerful and influential religious groups of their time and played an important role in the religion of the Israelites. The origin of the Pharisees is uncertain and the accounts of their history vary. Some scholars believe they were originally a political movement, while others suggest they were founded by the biblical prophet Ezra. Regardless of their origin, the teachings of the Pharisees, especially their focus on the importance of oral tradition in understanding the law, had a profound impact on the development of Judaism.

The Pharisees were a group of strict and conservative religious leaders, who were concerned with the ritual purity and moral behavior of their followers. This included a strict adherence to Jewish law, which was known as the “Torah”. The Pharisees were generally considered to be pious and devout, and were respected for their knowledge of the scriptures and their rigorous practice of the laws of their religion. As a result, they were the primary religious teachers and community leaders throughout much of the Second Temple period and were the main opponents of Jesus during his ministry.

Relationship With Jesus

Jesus was critical of the Pharisees’ interpretation and application of the law and was open in his criticism of their hypocrisy. Despite this, it seems that some individual Pharisees were attracted to Jesus’ teachings, and several incidents in the gospels portray them as supportive of Jesus. However, the majority of the Pharisees, including the religious and political leaders, rejected Jesus and sought to discredit him and his teachings.

The Pharisees were powerful political and religious authorities in their time, and saw Jesus’ teachings as a threat to their authority. As a result, they sought to discredit Jesus and sought his death. The gospels portray the Pharisees as enemies of Jesus and enemies of the spiritual freedom and healing that he brought to the people of Israel.

Significance in Judaism

The teachings of the Pharisees are still highly influential in modern Judaism. Their influence is particularly evident in the strict adherence to traditional law and the importance of study in developing a deeper understanding of the religion. The rabbis of the Mishna, who were the founders of Rabbinic Judaism, were all either members of, or closely associated with, the Pharisees. As a result, many of their teachings, such as the importance of oral tradition and the sanctity of ritual purity, are closely linked to the teachings of the Pharisees.

The Orthodox branch of Judaism still follows many of the doctrines of the Pharisees, including kosher laws and male circumcision. In addition, the principles of justice, charity and mercy, which the Pharisees strongly advocated, are still an important part of Jewish religious and ethical thought.

Relationship to the Sadducees

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two major religious sects in the time of Jesus. The Sadducees were wealthy aristocrats and high-priests, while the Pharisees were mostly peasant farmers, small businessmen, and craftsmen. The two sects had different interpretations of the law, and often disagreed over religious matters. While the Sadducees were more conservative and believed that only the written Torah was binding, the Pharisees believed in the importance of the oral tradition. As a result, the Pharisees were often seen as being more sympathetic to the people, while the Sadducees were seen as being more sympathetic to the ruling classes.

Legacy of the Pharisees

Despite their controversies with Jesus, the teachings of the Pharisees have had a lasting impact on Judaism. Their emphasis on the importance of traditions, oral and written laws, and the sanctity of ritual purity is still a major part of Jewish religious practice. The principles of justice, charity, and mercy, which the Pharisees championed, are also still central to Jewish thought and morals. The legacy of the Pharisees is one of a highly influential sect, whose teachings have heavily influenced Judaism and continue to shape the lives of millions of people.

Modern Interpretations

In modern times, the Pharisees are often seen as a symbol of religious rigidity and moral hypocrisy. While this is an unfortunate caricature, it is important to remember that the Pharisees were also concerned with justice and charity, and were committed to upholding the law. Despite their disagreements with Jesus, the teachings of the Pharisees had a major influence on the development of Judaism, and this legacy still resonates today.

Political Implications

The Pharisees were a populous and influential Jewish sect in their time and were the main opponents of Jesus during his ministry. As a result, their teachings and activities had a significant impact on the political and social climate of Palestine during the time of Jesus. The Pharisees were a powerful political and religious authority in their time, and their rejection of Jesus and his teachings had significant implications for the Roman rulers and the Jewish people.


The Pharisees were an influential Jewish sect during the time of Jesus and their teachings had a major impact on the development of Judaism. Despite their conflicts with Jesus, their teachings on the importance of traditions, laws and rituals, as well as their commitment to justice, charity and mercy, are still highly influential today. The legacy of the Pharisees is one of both controversy and influence, and their teachings continue to shape the lives of millions of people.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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