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Mark 7 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Teaching of the Ancestors

Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands.[a]

The Pharisees and many other Jewish people obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way[b] before eating. None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.[c]

The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?”

Jesus replied:

You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,

“All of you praise me
    with your words,
but you never really
    think about me.
It is useless for you
    to worship me,
when you teach rules
    made up by humans.”

You disobey God’s commands in order to obey what humans have taught. You are good at rejecting God’s commands so that you can follow your own teachings! 10 Didn’t Moses command you to respect your father and mother? Didn’t he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents? 11 But you let people get by without helping their parents when they should. You let them say that what they own has been offered to God.[d] 12 You won’t let those people help their parents. 13 And you ignore God’s commands in order to follow your own teaching. You do a lot of other things that are just as bad.

What Really Makes People Unclean

14 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”[e]

17 After Jesus and his disciples had left the crowd and had gone into the house, they asked him what these sayings meant. 18 He answered, “Don’t you know what I am talking about by now? You surely know that the food you put into your mouth cannot make you unclean. 19 It doesn’t go into your heart, but into your stomach, and then out of your body.” By saying this, Jesus meant that all foods were fit to eat.

20 Then Jesus said:

What comes from your heart is what makes you unclean. 21 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22 unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.

A Woman’s Faith

24 Jesus left and went to the region near the city of Tyre, where he stayed in someone’s home. He did not want people to know he was there, but they found out anyway. 25 A woman whose daughter had an evil spirit in her heard where Jesus was. And right away she came and knelt down at his feet. 26 The woman was Greek and had been born in the part of Syria known as Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said, “The children must first be fed! It isn’t right to take away their food and feed it to dogs.”[f]

28 The woman replied, “Lord, even dogs eat the crumbs that children drop from the table.”

29 Jesus answered, “That’s true! You may go now. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When the woman got back home, she found her child lying on the bed. The demon had gone.

Jesus Heals a Man Who Was Deaf and Could Hardly Talk

31 Jesus left the region around Tyre and went by way of Sidon toward Lake Galilee. He went through the land near the ten cities known as Decapolis.[g] 32 Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk. They begged Jesus just to touch him.

33 After Jesus had taken him aside from the crowd, he stuck his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit and put it on the man’s tongue. 34 Jesus looked up toward heaven, and with a groan he said, “Effatha!”[h] which means “Open up!” 35 At once the man could hear, and he had no more trouble talking clearly.

36 Jesus told the people not to say anything about what he had done. But the more he told them, the more they talked about it. 37 They were completely amazed and said, “Everything he does is good! He even heals people who cannot hear or talk.”

Footnotes:

  1. 7.2 without first washing their hands: The Jewish people had strict laws about washing their hands before eating, especially if they had been out in public.
  2. 7.3 in the proper way: The Greek text has “with the fist,” but the exact meaning is not clear. It could mean “to the wrist” or “to the elbow.”
  3. 7.4 bowls: Some manuscripts add “and sleeping mats.”
  4. 7.11 has been offered to God: According to Jewish custom, when anything was offered to God, it could not be used for anyone else, not even for a person’s parents.
  5. 7.15,16 unclean: Some manuscripts add, “If you have ears, pay attention.”
  6. 7.27 feed it to dogs: The Jewish people often referred to Gentiles as dogs.
  7. 7.31 the ten cities known as Decapolis: See the note at 5.20.
  8. 7.34 Effatha: This word is in Aramaic, a language spoken in Palestine during the time of Jesus.

Mark 7 New International Version (NIV)

That Which Defiles

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 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])

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?”

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.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

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.” [16] [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.”

Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[g] 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.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man

31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.[h] 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 7:4 Some early manuscripts pitchers, kettles and dining couches
  2. Mark 7:7 Isaiah 29:13
  3. Mark 7:9 Some manuscripts set up
  4. Mark 7:10 Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16
  5. Mark 7:10 Exodus 21:17; Lev. 20:9
  6. Mark 7:16 Some manuscripts include here the words of 4:23.
  7. Mark 7:24 Many early manuscripts Tyre and Sidon
  8. Mark 7:31 That is, the Ten Cities
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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