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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(νομικός , relating to the law, as in Titus 3:9), "in its general sense, denotes one skilled in the law, as in Titus 3:13. When, therefore, one is called a lawyer, this is understood with reference to the laws of the land in which he lived, or to which he belonged. Hence among the Jews a lawyer was one versed in the laws of Moses, which he taught in the schools and synagogues (Matthew 28:35; Luke 10:25). The same person who is called 'a lawyer' in these texts is in the parallel passage (Mark 12:28) called 'a scribe' (γραμματεύς ), whence it has been inferred that the functions of the lawyers and the scribes were identical. The individual may have been both a lawyer* and a scribe, but it does not thence follow that all lawyers were scribes. Some suppose, however, that the 'scribes' were the public expounders of the law, while the 'lawyers' were the private expounders and teachers of it. But this is a mere conjecture, and nothing more is really known than that the 'lawyers' were expounders of the law, whether publicly or privately, or both" (Kitto). Hence the term is equivalent to "teacher of the law" (νομοδιδάσκαλος, Acts 5:34). "By the use of the word νομικός (in Titus 3:9) as a simple adjective, it seems more probable that the title 'scribe' was a legal and official designation, but that the name νομικός was properly a mere epithet signifying one 'learned in the law' (somewhat like the οἱ ἐκ νόμου in Romans 4:14), and only used as a title in common parslance (comp. the use of it in Titus 3:13, 'Zenas the lawyer'). This would account for the comparative unfrequency of the word, and the fact that it is always used in connection with 'Pharisees,' never, as the word 'scribe' so often is, in connection with 'chief priests' and 'elders' " (Smith). See Lilienthal, De νομικοῖς 'juris utriusque apud Ifebrceos (Hal. 1740). Comp. (See SCRIBE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Lawyer'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Lawson, George, d.d.
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