Mark 7:1-23

That Which Defiles

1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus
2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed.
3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.
4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.[a] )
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions!
10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e]
11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)—
12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.
13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.
15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.[f]
17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.
18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?
19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.
21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,
22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Mark 7:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
ESV
1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem,
NLT
1 One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus.
MSG
1 The Pharisees, along with some religion scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around him.
CSB
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Him.

Mark 7:1-23 In-Context

1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus
2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed.
3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.
4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. )
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observeyour own traditions!
10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’
11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)—
12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.
13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.
15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.
18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?
19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.
21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,
22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.
25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet.
26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

Cross References 16

  • 1. Acts 10:14,28; Acts 11:8; Romans 14:14
  • 2. ver 5,8,9,13; Luke 11:38
  • 3. Matthew 23:25; Luke 11:39
  • 4. S ver 3; Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8
  • 5. Isaiah 29:13
  • 6. S ver 3
  • 7. S ver 3
  • 8. Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16
  • 9. Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9
  • 10. Matthew 23:16,18
  • 11. S Hebrews 4:12
  • 12. S ver 3
  • 13. Mark 9:28
  • 14. Romans 14:1-12; Colossians 2:16; 1 Timothy 4:3-5
  • 15. S Acts 10:15
  • 16. Matthew 20:15

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Some early manuscripts "pitchers, kettles and dining couches"
  • [b]. Isaiah 29:13
  • [c]. Some manuscripts "set up"
  • [d]. Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16
  • [e]. Exodus 21:17; Lev. 20:9
  • [f]. Some manuscripts include here the words of 4:23.
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