SPECIAL TOPIC: SCRIBES
The title comes from the Hebrew noun (BDB 706) which means "a spoken message," "a written document/decree." The Greek translation grammateus usually refers to a written message. It can denote
1. educator (Nehemiah 8)
2. governmental official (2 Kgs. 22:3-13)
3. recorder/secretary (1 Chr. 24:6; 2 Chr. 34:13; Jer. 36:22)
4. military officer (cf. Jdgs. 5:14)
5. religious leader (Ezra 7:6; Neh. 12:12-13)
In the NT they are often associated with the Pharisees. In a sense they were people who were educated in the OT and the Oral Traditions (i.e., Talmud). They helped interpret and apply the Jewish traditions to everyday life (cf. Sirah 39:6). However, their righteousness (i.e., Jewish legalism and ritual) could not bring peace with God (cf. Matt. 5:20; Rom. 3:19-20; 9:1-5,30-32; 10:1-6; Col. 2:20-22).
They were often depicted in the Synoptic gospels (John never mentions them, 8:3 not original), as opposed to Jesus, although some did respond to Him (cf. Matt. 8:19).
1. conflict over eating with sinners and tax-collectors, Mark 2:16; Matt. 9:9-13
2. conflict over the source of Jesus' authority in exorcisms, Mark 3:22
3. conflict over Jesus forgiving sin, Matt. 9:3; Luke 5:21
4. demand for a spectacular sign, Matt. 12:38
5. conflict over hand washing (i.e., ceremonial washings), Matt. 15:1-2; Mark 7:1-5
6. conflict over the crowds' affirmation at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Matt. 21:15
7. Jesus' accusation of their motives (i.e., seeking honor and preeminence), Mark 12:38-40
8. Jesus' accusing them of being hypocrites and blind guides in Moses' seat, Matt. 23:1-36
Because of their knowledge of Scripture, they should have been the first to recognize and embrace Jesus, but their traditions (cf. Isa. 29:13; 6:9-10) had blinded them! When light becomes darkness, how great is the darkness!
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