Reply To: Who were the Pharisees in the Bible

Forums Religion Who were the Pharisees in the Bible Reply To: Who were the Pharisees in the Bible


Pharisees was a group of Jewish Religious Leaders.
They were recorded to be one of Jesus’ strong opposition. This is not surprising because they held a high position among the people before the coming of Jesus which Jesus’ increasing popularity caused their influence to decline.

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” MATTHEW 5:20

Pharisees are a notorious and sometimes misunderstood group in the New Testament. While they provided one of the chief sources of opposition to Jesus, they actually had more in common with Him than some other Jewish religious groups of the day.
Some may be surprised to learn that Jesus shared two of the Pharisees’ most important theological commitments. Unlike their rival Sadducees, Pharisees firmly believed in the bodily resurrection — a fact the apostle Paul later used to his advantage when he appeared before the Sanhedrin, a ruling body comprised of both Pharisees and Sadducees. On the basis of their shared belief in the resurrection, the Pharisees sided with Paul.
Jesus and the Pharisees also shared a deep devotion to the Torah, the Jewish law contained in the first five books of the Old Testament. The Pharisees were mainly preoccupied with how to interpret and apply the law, while Jesus insisted that He came not to abolish but to fulfill (that is, to give the ultimate interpretation or meaning to) the law (see Matthew 5:17).
Nevertheless, the New Testament records a profound rift between Jesus and the Pharisees. Out of their zeal for correct interpretation of the law, they had turned it into a burden. Often, their efforts to keep the letter of the law caused them to miss the spirit of the law, such as when they carefully tithed the smallest spices while neglecting matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness (see Matthew 23:23–24). As lay leaders, the Pharisees were held in high esteem among the people — something they relished (see Luke 11:43). Because of this, it is no surprise that they vigorously opposed anyone who represented a threat to their power and influence. As the ultimate fulfillment of the law, Jesus represented precisely such a threat.
The Pharisees were not necessarily united in their opposition to Jesus. The Gospel of John mentions one Pharisee, Nicodemus, who sought a personal meeting with Jesus and even defended Him (briefly) to his fellow Pharisees.