Many times in the New Testament, Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles interact with Jewish men called the Pharisees. At other times, the Sadducees are prominent.
Several Pharisees are named in the New Testament; Gamaliel, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea being three. The most famous Pharisee is the Apostle Paul. He says that he is a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees (Acts 23:6) and was taught by Gamaliel himself (Acts 22:3). In Acts 23, Paul stands before the council and causes a fight between the Pharisees and Sadducees based on their differences in doctrine.
23:1 Paul looked directly at the council and said, "Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God to this day." 23:2 At that the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 23:3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit there judging me according to the law, and in violation of the law you order me to be struck?" 23:4 Those standing near him said, "Do you dare insult God’s high priest?" 23:5 Paul replied, "I did not realize, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, 'You must not speak evil about a ruler of your people.'"
23:6 Then when Paul noticed that part of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, he shouted out in the council, "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead!" 23:7 When he said this, an argument began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 23:8 (For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)
Who are the Pharisees and where did they come from? What did they believe and how do those beliefs impact our understanding of the New Testament passages where they appear? What are the doctrinal differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees?