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Expounders of The Law

The English word doctor originated from the Latin word doctum, meaning to teach (i.e. doctor originated from a verb, not a pronoun). Doctrine, meaning a teaching, originated from the very same word as doctor. While most people think of a medical doctor when they hear the word "doctor," there are many academic doctoral degrees, ranging from music to law, among many others. From the perspective of Bible History, the "doctors of the law" were one of the pillars of the Jewish religious establishment during the time of the New Testament. The Greek word of the Scriptures translated as doctor is (pronounced) nom-od-id-as-cal-os and means expounder of the law i.e. a Rabbi. Both John The Baptist and Jesus Christ were called "Rabbi" by their disciples, or students (see Rabbi).

"And the child grew, and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom"

Jesus' first documented encounter with the doctors of the law was favorable; they were amazed with the Holy-Spirit-provided wisdom of the twelve year old son of a carpenter:


"And the child grew, and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him."

"Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the Feast [see Unleavened Bread].

"And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother [Mary] knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him."

"And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the Temple [see Temples], sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers."

"And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."

"And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? [see "My Father's House"] And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them."

"And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:40-52 KJV)

About twenty years later, when Jesus' ministry began, the reaction of the doctors to Him, and His miracles, was very different. Although they came from far and wide to listen to Him, they feared and hated the wisdom with which He spoke because Jesus Christ expounded the Law of God, while they all too often merely expounded their own self-serving philosophy and traditions that they used to replace the Law of God (see the Fact Finder question below):

"And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a Palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee."

"And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

"But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, he said unto the sick of the palsy, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day." (Luke 5:17-26 KJV)

Fact Finder: Jesus Christ and His true servants expounded the Law of God. What did Jesus Christ have to say to those who expound their own religious philosophy and traditions in place of the Law of God?
Matthew 15:8-9 and Matthew 7:21-23
See also I Did It My Way...

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