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Mark 7:1-23 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Jesus Challenges the Pharisees’ Traditions

The Pharisees and some experts in Moses’ Teachings who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus. They saw that some of his disciples were unclean [a] because they ate without washing their hands.

(The Pharisees, like all other Jewish people, don’t eat unless they have properly washed their hands. They follow the traditions of their ancestors. When they come from the marketplace, they don’t eat unless they have washed first. They have been taught to follow many other rules. For example, they must also wash their cups, jars, brass pots, and dinner tables.[b])

The Pharisees and the experts in Moses’ Teachings asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples follow the traditions taught by our ancestors? They are unclean because they don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus told them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites in Scripture:

‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is pointless,
because their teachings are rules made by humans.’

“You abandon the commandments of God to follow human traditions.” He added, “You have no trouble rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep your own traditions! 10 For example, Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a person tells his father or mother that whatever he might have used to help them is corban (that is, an offering to God), 12 he no longer has to do anything for his father or mother.’ 13 Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word. And you do many other things like that.”

14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and try to understand! 15 Nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean. It’s what comes out of a person that makes him unclean. 16 Let the person who has ears listen!” [c]

17 When he had left the people and gone home, his disciples asked him about this illustration.

18 Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand? Don’t you know that whatever goes into a person from the outside can’t make him unclean? 19 It doesn’t go into his thoughts but into his stomach and then into a toilet.” (By saying this, Jesus declared all foods acceptable.) 20 He continued, “It’s what comes out of a person that makes him unclean. 21 Evil thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, cheating, shameless lust, envy, cursing, arrogance, and foolishness come from within a person. 23 All these evils come from within and make a person unclean.”


  1. 7:2 Unclean   ” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.
  2. 7:4 Some manuscripts and translations omit “and dinner tables.”
  3. 7:16 Some manuscripts and translations omit this verse.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society. All rights reserved.

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