They leap to unnecessary and often absurd conclusions in order to see those they oppose in the worst light (Matthew 9:34, 12:24).

They watch in order to nitpick (Matthew 12:2).

They like conspiracy theories (Matthew 12:14, Mark 3:6).

They’re always looking to take offense (Matthew 15:12, Luke 14:1).

They seek to “win” with malicious tests (Matthew 16:1, 19:3, 22:15).

They seek to “win” by parsing words (Matthew 22:15, Mark 12:13, Luke 6:7, 11:53).

They grumble (Luke 5:30, 15:2).

Print Friendly
View Comments


9 thoughts on “What Do Pharisees Do?”

  1. Pam says:

    And sometimes rebuke is needed – even Paul rebuked Peter. If people raise concerns, we do need to listen and look and see if they are legitimate concerns. We need to examine ourselves as much as we examine others. Even ‘pharisees’ might be right some of the time!

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Pam, true enough.

  2. Becka Jarvis says:

    Which of us is not guilty of this? Seriously.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Which of us is not guilty of this?

      Becka, none of us is not guilty of this.

  3. Laura Blalock says:

    I want to mention, so that no one is surprised by this:

    Orthodox Jews view the term “pharisee” quite differently than Christians do. To them, a pharisee is a person who is serious about following the law, period. If you use the term pharisee, or pharisaical, in a negative way in conversation with orthodox Jews, you will not win friends.

    1. Peter says:

      Laura, I agree with you completely. Christians have misread what it means to be a Pharisee for too long. They should realize that Pharisees in general were fine, upstanding followers who were called to follow the Law as it was given. The mischaracterization develops when the Pharisees in the New Testament are overtly zealous in their keeping the Law and do not see the forest for the trees. There needs to be some nuance to how we perceive this group and allow that Jesus was in many ways like this group, except for the obvious zealousness, of course.

Comments are closed.

Jared C. Wilson photo

Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

Jared C. Wilson's Books