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The Error of the Pharisees

In The Error of the Sadducees and Pharisees, it was noted that the Pharisees’ mistake was adding to the Bible and then esteeming their additions as more important.

Jesus notes that they break God’s commands in order to keep their own, man-made traditions (that is, the religious rules they added to the Bible). He then gives an example and quotes Isaiah, deeming it as worthless worship.

While most God-loving people would shutter at the thought of doing this, their actions often belie their intentions.

Consider being fixated on what a certain scholar says about the Bible and knowing his or her work better than the Bible or jumping on the bandwagon of the latest “hot” author, pouring over his or her writings with great fervor, while relegating the Bible to second-class status.

Studying scholars and writers who point us to God can be a positive and helpful thing, which should not be dismissed. However, giving them undo importance, or diminishing God and what the Bible says about him in the process, is never good.

It is the error of the Pharisees.

[Matthew 15:3-9, Mark 7:5-13, and Isaiah 29:13.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 replies on “The Error of the Pharisees”

Thanks for writing this. I stumbled across it through a Google search while looking for something on this topic. Another way to look at the main error of the Pharisees, in my opinion, is that they believed they could keep God’s law. Rather than recognize that one purpose of the law was to reveal our sinfulness, they used it as a badge to justify themselves. That’s the difference between a humble repentance, as taught by Jesus, and self-righteousness, which He opposed vigorously. All of their added commands and rules may have outwardly appeared to be well-intended, but inwardly caused pride and self-righteousness to grow.

A common belief in churches today is that the Pharisees beat people up with a harsh interpretation of the law. That may have been true in some respects; however I think that making the law seem “easy” to keep as they often did (by adding commands) is actually more sinister because it leads to pride, and that seems to be Jesus main concern as well. Blessings brother!

Mark 2:17

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