Who is a scribe?


  1. Among the Jews, he who read and interpreted the laws (judaicas).
  2. Professional who copied manuscripts or wrote dictated texts.

What does the Bible say about Scribes?

The "Scribes" were the experts in interpreting the Mosaic Law - the set of commandments that God gave to Moses, recorded in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. For this reason, in some passages in the Gospels - for example Luke chapter 7, verse 30 - the Scribes were also called "doctors of the law". It was also up to the Scribes to copy the rolls containing the texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), since at that time there was no press (and no New Testament).

The group of Scribes, with these functions, appeared during the time of Israel's exile in Babylon, in the 6th century BC. Before the Scribes took on this role, their tasks were done by priests. But during exile, as the priestly class declined, a void arose, as it was necessary to have people to teach and interpret the commandments, as well as to copy the books of the Bible. Then the Scribes appeared.

When part of the people of Israel returned to Palestine, according to the account of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Scribes were already in evidence. So much so, that Ezra, one of the leaders of the return movement, was a scribe (chapter 7, verses 6, 11 and 21). In the book of Nehemiah (chapter 8, verses 1 to 8), Ezra appears to teach the Law to the people of Israel.

Over time, the Scribes began to be corrupted by greed and/or vanity (since they occupied a very important position in Jewish society).

Over time, the Scribes began to place more importance on their own interpretations of God's commandments than the text of Scripture. And some of these interpretations were on the verge of ridicule - for example, when it comes to keeping the Sabbath, it was even forbidden to comb hair or cure the sick.

And that explains why the Scribes clashed with Jesus. Our Savior spoke with authority and did not admit this type of legalistic stance, which imposed undue weight on the Jewish people.

Several parts of the Bible were probably written by Scribes. Two important Scribes mentioned in the Bible are Baruch and Ezra. Baruch worked for the prophet Jeremiah, who dictated his words of prophecy to him (Jeremiah 36:32). Ezra was a priest, scribe and doctor of the Law of God who returned from exile in Babylon and led a Jewish religious revival (Ezra 7: 6).

In addition to these Scribes, others may have contributed to the Bible. Several of the historical books and/or the original sources that were used to write them were probably written by Scribes. Prophets other than Jeremiah may have engaged the service of Scribes to record his words.

In the New Testament, Jewish Scribes were also doctors, or teachers, of the Law. In addition to copying the sacred texts, they were dedicated to the interpretation and application of the Law of Moses. They were like theology professors. The Scribes taught the Law and its interpretation to other Jews and were highly respected for their knowledge.

On several occasions, Jesus rebuked the Scribes (teachers of the law) for their wrong teachings (Matthew 23:13-15). Many Scribes valued the rules of tradition more than the laws of God! Because of this, several Scribes became enemies of Jesus and participated in the conspiracy to kill him.

So, I think it was clear who the Scribes were and their roles.