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Who Should You Believe, God or Man?
by Wayne Blank
From Experts In God's Law to Experts in "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men"
The earliest scribes served as official secretaries, with the responsibility of writing and issuing royal decrees (e.g. 2 Samuel 8:17, 20:25; 1 Chronicles 18:16, 24:6; 1 Kings 4:3; 2 Kings 12:9-11; 18:18-37). Eventually, the scribes performed other authoritative duties of the nation. There was also a secondary level of scribes, most of whom were Levites, who served as writers e.g. Baruch, who was a scribe for Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 36:4,32).
After the return from the Babylonian Captivity (see Why Babylon?), when the people of Judah had lost their independence and had no king of their own to serve, the scribes concentrated their activities on the law, becoming "experts of the law," or "lawyers." (Ezra 7:6,10-12; Nehemiah 8:1,4,9,13).
By the time of the New Testament, the scribes became closely associated with the Pharisees, who added greatly to the writings of the original God-given Law with their own opinions and traditions. It was their view of the Law that brought them into dispute with Jesus Christ:
"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the Commandment of God [see The Decalogue], ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the Commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:6-9 KJV)
After their participation in the killing of The Lord (see The Fateful Night), they were also generally hostile to the early church (Acts 4:5-7, 6:12), including the martyrdom of Stephen, although some, such as Gamaliel, seemed to view Christians in a better light (Acts 5:33-39).
Fact Finder: What should you do if what you read in the Holy Bible is different than what some religious "experts" are saying? Who should you believe, God or man?