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THE BIBLE AND ATTORNEYS

Does the Bible say anything about lawyers?  Does the Bible mention any Christian attorneys?

1. Jesus and Lawyers

"Woe unto also, ye lawyers!" (Luke 11:46)

Jesus made scathing reference to the evil, oppressive “lawyers” (See Luke 11:46-11:52).  Were these “lawyers” litigators in the courts?  No, they were not.  Rather, such lawyers were scribes. The scribes were a class of Jewish teachers specially learned in Mosaic Law.  These lawyers interpreted that Law, called the Torah, and they taught it to the lay people.  Hence, they were clergy. 

2.  Zenas the Lawyer

“Bring Zenas the lawyer…” (Titus 3:13)

In the quote above, the apostle Paul speaks favorably of a “lawyer” named Zenus.  Was Zenus a Mosaic law expert?  Was he a Roman litigator, that is, an attorney at law? 

The name, "Zenas," is the contracted form of "Zenodorus" (meaning “gift of Zeus”).  Some conjecture that, because Zenas had a Roman name, he must have been a Roman litigator.  Others are not so sure because many people who were Jews had Roman and Greek names.  Others doubt he was either.  Many believe that Zenas was a Jewish scribe “who, when converted, still retained the title from his former occupation.”

In the original New Testament Bible language of “Greek”, the term Paul used for "lawyer" in Titus 3:13 is “nomikos” (Strong’s Number 3544).  This term is used seven times in the gospels and, each time, referred to Jewish Mosaic law experts (Matthew 22:35, Luke 7:30, 10:25, 11:45, 11:46, 11:52, and 14:3).  In Titus 3:9, which is just four verses before Titus 3:13,  the term, “nomikos,” is translated “law” which referred to the Old Testament, Mosaic law.

Zenas is the only “Christian” lawyer mentioned in the Bible.   Additionally, Zenas is the only lawyer spoken well of in the Scriptures. While Zenas might possibly have been the only "attorney at law" mentioned in the Bible, most likely, he was a former scribe.   

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, the Scriptures do not appear to specifically comment on the professional, secular attorney at law.  Rather, Jesus denounced certain members of the Mosaic Law clergy who, at that time in history, were leading the lay people astray spiritually. The apostle Paul spoke favorably of Zenas the lawyer.  But Zenas was, most likely, a former Mosaic law clergyman who converted to Christianity.

  2006, 2009 All rights reserved.
Author: Matthew B. Tozer


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