Mark 7

Listen to Mark 7

Traditions and Commandments

1 1Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes 2who had come from Jerusalem,
2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were 3defiled, that is, unwashed.
3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash[a] their hands, holding to 4the tradition of 5the elders,
4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash.[b] And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as 6the washing of 7cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.[c])
5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not walk according to 8the tradition of 9the elders, 10but eat with 11defiled hands?"
6 And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you 12hypocrites, as it is written, 13"'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as 14doctrines the commandments of men.'
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."
9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of 15rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
10 For Moses said, 16'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 17'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'
11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban"' (that is, given to God)[d]--
12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
13 thus 18making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."

What Defiles a Person

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, 19"Hear me, all of you, and understand:
15 20There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him."[e]
17 And when he had entered 21the house and left the people, 22his disciples asked him about the parable.
18 And he said to them, "Then 23are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,
19 since it enters not his heart 24but his stomach, and is expelled?"[f] (25Thus he declared all foods clean.)
20 And he said, 26"What comes out of a person is what defiles him.
21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, 27murder, adultery,
22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, 28sensuality, 29envy, 30slander, 31pride, 32foolishness.
23 33All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

The Syrophoenician Woman's Faith

24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon.[g] And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden.
25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet.
26 34Now the woman was a 35Gentile, 36a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
27 And he said to her, "Let the children be 37fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and 38throw it to the dogs."
28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's 39crumbs."
29 And he said to her, "For this statement you may 40go your way; the demon has left your daughter."
30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

Jesus Heals a Deaf Man

31 41Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to 42the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the 43Decapolis.
32 And they brought to him 44a man who was deaf and 45had a speech impediment, and they begged him to 46lay his hand on him.
33 And 47taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and 48after spitting touched his tongue.
34 And 49looking up to heaven, 50he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened."
35 51And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
36 And 52Jesus[h] charged them to tell no one. But 53the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
37 And they were 54astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Mark 7 Commentary

Chapter 7

The traditions of the elders. (1-13) What defiles the man. (14-23) The woman of Canaan's daughter cured. (24-30) Christ restores a man to hearing and speech. (31-37)

Verses 1-13 One great design of Christ's coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God's making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.

Verses 14-23 Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us, and these only. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within.

Verses 24-30 Christ never put any from him that fell at his feet, which a poor trembling soul may do. As she was a good woman, so a good mother. This sent her to Christ. His saying, Let the children first be filled, shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the blessed Saviour, he manifests his compassion to poor humbled sinners, who look to him for children's bread. He still goes about to seek and save the lost.

Verses 31-37 Here is a cure of one that was deaf and dumb. Those who brought this poor man to Christ, besought him to observe the case, and put forth his power. Our Lord used more outward actions in the doing of this cure than usual. These were only signs of Christ's power to cure the man, to encourage his faith, and theirs that brought him. Though we find great variety in the cases and manner of relief of those who applied to Christ, yet all obtained the relief they sought. Thus it still is in the great concerns of our souls.

Cross References 54

  • 1. For ver. 1-30, see Matthew 15:1-28
  • 2. Mark 3:22
  • 3. [Acts 10:14; Romans 14:14(Gk.)]
  • 4. Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8
  • 5. Hebrews 11:2
  • 6. Hebrews 9:10; [John 2:6]
  • 7. Matthew 23:25; Luke 11:39
  • 8. [See ver. 3 above]
  • 9. [See ver. 3 above]
  • 10. Luke 11:38
  • 11. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 12. Matthew 23:13
  • 13. Cited from Isaiah 29:13; [Ezekiel 33:31]
  • 14. Colossians 2:22; Titus 1:14
  • 15. Luke 7:30; Galatians 2:21(Gk.); Hebrews 10:28(Gk.)
  • 16. Cited from Exodus 20:12
  • 17. Cited from Exodus 21:17
  • 18. Galatians 3:17(Gk.); [Romans 2:23]
  • 19. Matthew 13:51
  • 20. See Acts 10:14, 15
  • 21. Mark 9:28
  • 22. [Matthew 13:36; Matthew 15:15]
  • 23. Mark 8:17, 18
  • 24. [1 Corinthians 6:13]
  • 25. [Luke 11:41; Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9]
  • 26. Matthew 12:34; James 3:6
  • 27. Matthew 5:22, 28; See Ex. 20:13, 14, 17
  • 28. 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; 2 Peter 2:7; Jude 4
  • 29. See Matthew 6:23(Gk.)
  • 30. Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:4
  • 31. See Luke 1:51
  • 32. [Ephesians 5:17]
  • 33. 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10
  • 34. [John 12:20, 21]
  • 35. [1 Corinthians 12:13]
  • 36. [Acts 21:2, 3]
  • 37. [Acts 3:26; Romans 1:16]
  • 38. Matthew 7:6
  • 39. [Luke 16:21]
  • 40. John 4:50
  • 41. For ver. 31-37, [Matthew 15:29-31]
  • 42. Matthew 4:18; John 6:1
  • 43. Mark 5:20; Matthew 4:25
  • 44. Isaiah 35:5, 6
  • 45. Isaiah 35:5, 6
  • 46. See Mark 5:23
  • 47. Mark 8:23
  • 48. Mark 8:23
  • 49. See Mark 6:41
  • 50. Mark 8:12; [John 11:33]
  • 51. [See ver. 32 above]
  • 52. Mark 9:9; See Matthew 8:4
  • 53. Mark 1:45; Matthew 9:31
  • 54. Mark 10:26

Footnotes 8

  • [a]. Greek unless they wash with a fist, probably indicating a kind of ceremonial washing
  • [b]. Greek unless they baptize; some manuscripts unless they purify themselves
  • [c]. Some manuscripts omit and dining couches
  • [d]. Or an offering
  • [e]. Some manuscripts add verse 16: If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear
  • [f]. Greek goes out into the latrine
  • [g]. Some manuscripts omit and Sidon
  • [h]. Greek he

Mark 7 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.