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A Pharisee is described in Matthew 23. So we can discern and recognise these people based on what Jesus says about them.

(Matthew 23:2-12 [KJV])
 [2] Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
 [3] All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
 [4] For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
 [5] But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
 [6] And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
 [7] And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
 [8] But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
 [9] And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
 [10] Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
 [11] But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
 [12] And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

How do we recognize a pharisee?

So how do we recognize them?

  • They bind heavy burdens grievous to be born on mens shoulders but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers [4].
  • They do all their works to be seen. So they dont help anyone secretly and they only pray in public [5].
  • They like to sit at the chief seats in meetings [6].
  • They want to be greeted in the market place. They like to be called Rabbi [7].

How should we deal with pharisees ?

We should do as they tell us to do but we shouldn't do as they do [3].