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Mark 7:1-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Traditions of the Elders

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Him. They observed that some of His disciples were eating their bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands. (For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, jugs, copper utensils, and dining couches.[a]) Then the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why don’t Your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ritually unclean[b] hands?”

He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

These people honor Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me.
They worship Me in vain,
teaching as doctrines the commands of men.[c]

Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.”[d] He also said to them, “You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain[e] your tradition! 10 For Moses said:

Honor your father and your mother;[f] and
Whoever speaks evil of father or mother
must be put to death.[g]

11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban’” (that is, a gift committed to the temple), 12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.” 14 Summoning the crowd again, He told them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. [16 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!]”[h]

17 When He went into the house away from the crowd, the disciples asked Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated.”[i] (As a result, He made all foods clean.[j]) 20 Then He said, “What comes out of a person—that defiles him. 21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess,[k] blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”


  1. Mark 7:4 Other mss omit and dining couches
  2. Mark 7:5 Other mss read with unwashed
  3. Mark 7:7 Is 29:13
  4. Mark 7:8 Other mss add The washing of jugs, and cups, and many other similar things you practice.
  5. Mark 7:9 Other mss read to establish
  6. Mark 7:10 Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16
  7. Mark 7:10 Ex 21:17; Lv 20:9
  8. Mark 7:16 Other mss omit bracketed text
  9. Mark 7:19 Lit goes out into the toilet
  10. Mark 7:19 Other mss read is eliminated, making all foods clean.”
  11. Mark 7:22 Lit evil eye

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