Q: #410. What is a Scythian in the Bible (Col 3:11)?
A: The word “Scythian” is found only once in the Bible in (Col 3:11). This verse says, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
The word “Scythian” in Greek is “Skuthes,” and is translated in Strong’s as “a savage.” Other translations say “barbarian.” It is believed that it is listed right after “barbarian” to give an example of what was considered extreme barbarism.
History shows us that Scythians first appeared around the 8th century B.C. They originated in an area north of the Caspian Sea and Black Sea, in what is now known as the Soviet Union (Russia). However, they were highly nomadic, and constantly on the move. They were well known as warriors and raiders, and were very skilled in using weapons (particularly archery). As warriors, they had a reputation for extreme brutality and cruelty. They were often compared to wild animals. Several sources mention barbaric practices such as drinking the blood of their conquered foes, and drinking from their skulls.
In modern times, archaeology has uncovered many artifacts from the Scythian people. They appear to have died out in app. the 3rd century A.D.