Biblical Social and Ethnic Groups
The Bible contains details and information about many different people from many different places and groups. Four of the more general groups of people are the Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, and Samaritans. Who exactly were these people?
The Jews were descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were the chosen people of God in that God chose the Jews to be the people through whom He carried out His plan of salvation for all of mankind. Jesus, born and reared a Jew, was also crucified by this group of people.
The word “Gentiles” referred to anyone who was not Jewish. In Bible times, most Gentiles believed in different gods instead of the one true God of the Bible. Also, many Gentile nations were very wicked. The Jews disliked the Gentiles for these and other reasons.
The Greeks were the people of Greece. In the time of the Bible, the Greek people were very wealthy and important in the world. Their language, for example, was the most common language spoken in the ancient world. (The New Testament was written in Greek.) Sadly, the Greeks also promoted the worship of many false gods.
The Samaritans were the people of Samaria, which was originally a part of the nation of Israel. The Jews despised the Samaritans so much that they would avoid talking to, and even traveling near, Samaritans.
Let’s now look at some of the other groups that are mentioned in the Bible.