1. Ethnic and Cultural Distinction: The primary difference between Jews and Gentiles in the Bible stems from their ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Jews are descendants of the ancient Israelites and are primarily associated with the nation of Israel, while Gentiles encompass all other nations and ethnicities.
2. Covenantal Relationship: The Jews hold a unique covenantal relationship with
The terms “Jew” and “gentile” are not used in the Hebrew Bible (known to Christianity as the ”Old Testament”), but they come from terms used to describe two distinct groups in the text.
The term “Jew” in Hebrew is יהודי (Yehudi). It originally was used to refer to people of either the Kingdom of Judea or the tribe of Judah, one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Other terms used to describe the Jewish people in the Hebrew Bible include Hebrews (Hebrew: עברים, ‘Ivrim) and the Children of Israel or Israelites (Hebrew: ישראל; Yisrael). While ”Children of Israel” is sometimes acceptable today, the term ”Hebrews” has become associated with the racialized label placed upon the Jewish people during the Holocaust.
The term “gentile” is best translated in Hebrew as גוי (goy). The plural is גויים (goyim). The term translates back into English as ”nation” or ”nations.” In many contexts throughout the Hebrew Bible, it is used to mean people who are not Jewish in a very general sense.
Jews vs Gentiles
Jews and gentiles are different in their religious, cultural and other traditional aspects. A Jew is one who is descendent of the patriarch Israel. Gentiles are those who worshipped Jehovah according to the patriarchal system and Jews are those who worshipped God as per the Law of Moses. It has been said that the Jews were only given the right to worship God. Meanwhile, the Gentiles believed in Jesus. Jews are believed to have come from God and Gentiles are not considered so.
The word Gentile has Latin roots and the word Jew is related to Hebrew. In Latin, gentiles means belonging to a tribe or clan. The word gentiles refer to non-Israelite tribes in the King James Version of the Bible. But today Gentile stands for “non-Jew”. The word Jews has been derived from Hebrew yehudim.
Gentiles are considered to be non-Hebrew people who were descendants of Abraham of Israel. On the other hand, the Jewish ancestry is traced to the patriarchs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Jews do not consider Jesus as God and believe that a Messiah will descend on the earth who will unite everyone under the Kingdom of God. They believe that this messiah through the unification of mankind will bring justice and peace to every one. On the other hand, the gentiles believe in every other thing that the Jews believe in. In modern times, Christians are called gentiles and as such they believe in the Son of God.
While Jews follow Judaism, the Gentiles follow Christianity. Judaism is decentralized and there is no one like Pope or other decision-making authorities as in Christianity. Each Jewish congregation is separate and is headed by a Rabbi, who is the spiritual leader.
1. A Jew is one who is descendent of the patriarch Israel. Gentiles on the other hand are those persons who are not Jews.
2. Gentiles are those who worshipped Jehovah according to the patriarchal system. and Jews are those who worshipped God as per the Law of Moses.
3. Jews were only given the right to worship God. They are believed to have come from God and Gentiles are not considered so.
4. Jews are the descendants of Israel and all other persons were considered to be gentiles.
What’s the difference between Pharisees and Gentiles?
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were both religious sects within Judaism during the time of Christ. Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
The differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees are known to us through a couple of passages of Scripture and through the extant writings of the Pharisees. Religiously, the Sadducees were more conservative in one doctrinal area: they insisted on a literal interpretation of the text of Scripture; the Pharisees, on the other hand, gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God. If the Sadducees couldn’t find a command in the Tanakh, they dismissed it as manmade.
Given the Pharisees’ and the Sadducees’ differing view of Scripture, it’s no surprise that they argued over certain doctrines. The Sadducees rejected a belief in the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18–27; Acts 23:8), but the Pharisees did believe in the resurrection. The Sadducees denied the afterlife, holding that the soul perished at death, but the Pharisees believed in an afterlife and in an appropriate reward and punishment for individuals. The Sadducees rejected the idea of an unseen, spiritual world, but the Pharisees taught the existence of angels and demons in a spiritual realm.
The apostle Paul shrewdly used the theological differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees to escape their clutches. Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem and was making his defense before the Sanhedrin. Knowing that some of the court were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, Paul called out, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 23:6). Paul’s mention of the resurrection precipitated a dispute between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, dividing the assembly, and causing “a great uproar” (verse 9). The Roman commander who watched the proceedings sent troops into the melee to rescue Paul from their violence (verse 10).
Socially, the Sadducees were more elitist and aristocratic than the Pharisees. Sadducees tended to be wealthy and to hold more powerful positions. The chief priests and high priest were Sadducees, and they held the majority of seats in the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were more representative of the common working people and had the respect of the masses. The Sadducees’ locus of power was the temple in Jerusalem; the Pharisees controlled the synagogues. The Sadducees were friendlier with Rome and more accommodating to the Roman laws than the Pharisees were. The Pharisees often resisted Hellenization, but the Sadducees welcomed it.
Jesus had more run-ins with the Pharisees than with the Sadducees, probably because of the former’s giving preeminence to oral tradition. “You ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition,” Jesus told them (Mark 7:8, NLT; see also Matthew 9:14; 15:1–9; 23:5, 16, 23, Mark 7:1–23; and Luke 11:42). Because the Sadducees were often more concerned with politics than religion, they ignored Jesus until they began to fear He might bring unwanted Roman attention and upset the status quo. It was at that point that the Sadducees and Pharisees set aside their differences, united, and conspired to put Christ to death (John 11:48–50; Mark 14:53; 15:1).
The Sadducees as a group ceased to exist after the destruction of Jerusalem, but the Pharisees’ legacy lived on. In fact, the Pharisees were responsible for the compilation of the Mishnah, an important document with reference to the continuation of Judaism beyond the destruction of the temple. In this way the Pharisees laid the groundwork for modern-day Rabbinic Judaism.
As mentioned above, both the Pharisees and Sadducees were religious leaders of the Jewish people during Jesus’ day. That’s important because most of the Jewish people during that time believed their religious practices held sway over every part of their lives. Therefore, the Pharisees and Sadducees each held a lot of power and influence over not just the religious lives of the Jewish people, but their finances, their work habits, their family lives, and more.
Neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees were priests. They did not take part in the actual running of the temple, the offering of sacrifices, or the administration of other religious duties. Instead, both the Pharisees and Sadducees were “experts in the law” — meaning, they were experts on the Jewish Scriptures (also known as the Old Testament today).
Actually, the expertise of the Pharisees and Sadducees went beyond the Scriptures themselves. They were also experts on what it meant to interpret the laws of the Old Testament. As an example, while the Ten Commandments made it clear that God’s people should not work on the Sabbath, people began to question what it actually meant to “work.” Was it disobeying God’s law to buy something on the Sabbath — was that a business transaction, and thus work? Similarly, was it against God’s law to plant a garden on the Sabbath, which could be interpreted as farming?
Given these questions, the Pharisees and Sadducees both made it their business to create hundreds of extra instructions and stipulations based on their interpretations of God’s laws.
Of course, both groups didn’t always agree on how the Scriptures should be interpreted.
The main difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was their differing opinions on the supernatural aspects of religion. To put things simply, the Pharisees believed in the supernatural — angels, demons, heaven, hell, and so on — while the Sadducees did not.
In this way, the Sadducees were largely secular in their practice of religion. They denied the idea of being resurrected from the grave after death (see Matthew 22:23). In fact, they denied any notion of an afterlife, which means they rejected the concepts of eternal blessing or eternal punishment; they believed this life is all there is. The Sadducees also scoffed at the idea of spiritual beings such as angels and demons (see Acts 23:8).
The Pharisees, on the other hand, were much more invested in the religious aspects of their religion. They took the Old Testament Scriptures literally, which meant they very much believed in angels and other spiritual beings, and they were completely invested in the promise of an afterlife for God’s chosen people.
The other large difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was one of status or standing. Most of the Sadducees were aristocratic. They came from families of noble birth who were very well connected in the political landscape of their day. We might call them “old money” in modern terminology. Because of this, the Sadducees were typically well connected with the ruling authorities among the Roman Government. They held a great deal of political power.
The Pharisees, on the other hand, were more closely connected with the common people of the Jewish culture. They were typically merchants or business owners who had become wealthy enough to turn their attention to studying and interpreting the Scriptures — “new money,” in other words. Whereas the Sadducees had a lot of political power because of their connections with Rome, the Pharisees had a lot of power because of their influence over the masses of people in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.
Despite these differences, both the Pharisees and Sadducees were able to join forces against someone they both perceived to be a threat: Jesus Christ. And both were instrumental in working the Romans and the people to push for Jesus’ death on the cross.