who are pharisees today

Who Are the Pharisees Today? Understanding their Role in Christianity

Have you ever wondered who the Pharisees were and if they still exist today? As a youth pastor, I am often asked questions like this by curious members of my community. In this article, we will dive into the historical context of Pharisees, their role in the New Testament, and most importantly, how to recognize and address Pharisee-like behavior in ourselves and others in modern times. We will also explore the importance of humility and self-awareness in our spiritual journey. So, if you are a curious person who wants to learn more about Christianity, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading.

Understanding the historical context of the Pharisees

who are pharisees today

Understanding the historical context of Pharisees is essential for anyone seeking to deepen their knowledge of Christianity. The Pharisees were a Jewish sect that emerged in the Second Temple period, around 150 BCE. Their name means “separated ones,” as they believed themselves to be set apart from other Jews due to their strict adherence to religious laws and traditions.

The Pharisees played a significant role in shaping Judaism during this time, but they also clashed with Jesus throughout his ministry. It’s important to note that not all Pharisees were opposed to Jesus’ teachings; some even became his followers.

However, it was the more conservative members of this group who actively sought out ways to discredit and undermine Jesus’ message. This ultimately led them into conflict with him and contributed significantly towards his eventual crucifixion.

Today, there are no longer any identifiable groups that call themselves “Pharisees.” However, understanding their historical context can provide valuable insight into many aspects of modern-day Christian theology and practice. By learning about the beliefs and practices of these ancient Jewish leaders, we can gain a deeper appreciation for how Christianity has evolved over time while also recognizing its roots in Judaism’s rich history.

As Christians today seek greater clarity on what it means truly follow Christ amidst all manner of spiritual distractions , studying scripture as well as relevant periods like Second Temple period will help illuminate crucial insights on living our lives according His word .

The role of the Pharisees in the New Testament

The Pharisees were a prominent religious sect during the time of Jesus in the New Testament. They were known for their strict adherence to Jewish law and customs, but also for their hypocrisy and love of power.

Despite being portrayed negatively in many parts of the Bible, it’s important to understand that not all Pharisees were alike. Some genuinely wanted to follow God’s commands and make a positive impact on society.

However, Jesus often criticized the Pharisees for their legalism and lack of compassion towards others. He called them out on their prideful attitudes and reminded them that true righteousness comes from a heart transformed by love.

Today, there are still those who follow the principles of pharisaical behavior – focusing more on following rules than showing grace or understanding towards others. It is important as Christians to recognize this tendency within ourselves and strive towards living out our faith with humility instead.

Overall, while studying about Pharisees can offer insight into biblical history & culture; it is essential not only focus solely upon what they did wrong but also learn from how we can avoid falling into similar patterns ourselves today as believers.

Characteristics of Modern-Day Pharisees

In modern times, the term “Pharisee” has taken on a new meaning. While historically referring to a Jewish religious group from the time of Jesus, today it is used to describe individuals who exhibit certain characteristics that align with those of the Pharisees.

One key characteristic of modern-day Pharisees is their tendency towards legalism. They focus heavily on rules and regulations rather than genuine faith and love for others. This often results in them becoming judgmental and self-righteous, looking down upon those who they perceive as not living up to their strict standards.

Another trait shared by modern-day Pharisees is hypocrisy. They may preach one thing but do another behind closed doors or when no one else is watching. Their actions do not align with their words, leading others to question their sincerity and authenticity.

Despite these negative traits associated with modern-day Pharisees, it’s important to remember that Christianity teaches forgiveness and redemption for all individuals who seek it genuinely in faith. It’s essential for us as Christians not only to recognize these harmful tendencies but also work towards overcoming them through grace-filled relationships with God and others around us.

Ultimately, we should strive always towards embodying Christ-like qualities such as humility, compassion, forgiveness while shunning legalism or hypocritical behavior that can alienate people from experiencing true Christian life-giving message altogether .

How to recognize and address Pharisee-like behavior in ourselves and in others

As a youth pastor, it is important to discuss the topic of Pharisee-like behavior in ourselves and others. In today’s society, we often encounter individuals who exhibit this type of behavior without even realizing it.

Pharisees were known for their strict adherence to religious laws and traditions while disregarding the underlying principles of compassion and love. Today, we can see similar behavior in those who judge others based on their adherence to religious practices rather than their character or actions.

One way to recognize this behavior is through self-reflection. Are we more concerned with following rules than showing kindness? Do we judge others for not meeting our expectations rather than trying to understand them?


To address Pharisee-like behavior in ourselves, it is important to focus on developing empathy and understanding towards those around us. We must strive towards seeing people as individuals with unique experiences rather than just another member of a group.

When addressing this issue in others, approach the conversation with humility and care. Seek understanding before offering advice or criticism. Encourage reflection on one’s own actions instead of simply pointing out flaws.

Overall, recognizing and addressing Pharisee-like behaviors requires introspection and a willingness to learn from mistakes. By prioritizing compassion over legalism, we can create a more inclusive community that values every individual regardless of external factors such as religion or tradition.

The importance of humility and self-awareness in our spiritual journeys.

Humility and self-awareness are essential qualities in our spiritual journey as Christians. The story of the Pharisees serves as a cautionary tale for us today.

The Pharisees were religious leaders who prided themselves on their strict adherence to the law. They believed that they were holier than everyone else, but this pride blinded them to their own shortcomings and prevented them from truly understanding God’s will.

In contrast, Jesus modeled humility and self-awareness throughout his ministry. He recognized his own limitations and relied on God’s strength rather than his own. He also showed compassion towards those who were marginalized or deemed unworthy by society.

As we navigate our own spiritual journeys, it is important to remember these lessons from the past. We must strive for humility rather than pride, recognizing that we all fall short of God’s perfect standards. We should also seek self-awareness so that we can identify areas where we need growth and improvement.

By cultivating these qualities in ourselves, we can become more like Jesus – compassionate towards others while relying on God’s strength rather than our own abilities. May each of us embrace humility and self-awareness as essential aspects of our Christian faith journey!


In today’s world, the Pharisees of the past still exist in a variety of forms. By understanding their impact on Christianity and learning to recognize modern-day Pharisee behavior, we can foster humility and self-awareness when it comes to our spiritual journeys. As you continue your exploration into who were the Pharisees and what their story teaches us about how to live out Christian values today, join us at our church for further discussion!