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MARK 7:1–7:37 ©

The Gospel of Mark 7

7One day some Pharisees and some men who teach the Jewish laws and who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus. 2The Pharisees saw that his apprentices often ate without first washing their hands in the way of their special tradition. 3The Pharisees and all of the other Jews strictly observe their traditions that their ancestors taught. For example, they refuse to eat until they first wash their hands with a special ritual,

4especially after they return from buying things in the marketplace. They think that God will be angry with them if they do not do that, because some person or thing unacceptable to God might have touched them or the things they bought. 5That day, those Pharisees and men who studied the Jewish laws saw that some of his apprentices were eating food with hands that they had not washed using the special ritual. So they questioned Jesus and said, “Your apprentices disobey the traditions of our elders! Why do they eat food if they have not washed their hands using our ritual!” 6Jesus said to them, “Isaiah rebuked your ancestors, and his words describe very well you people who only pretend to be good! He wrote these words that God said:

‘These people speak as if they honor me,

but they really do not think about honoring me at all.

7It is useless for them to worship me,

because they teach only what people say

as if I myself had commanded them.’

8You, like your ancestors, refuse to do what God has commanded. Instead, you follow only the traditions that others have taught.” 9Jesus also said to them, “You think that you are clever in refusing to do what God commanded just so that you can obey your own traditions! 10For example, our ancestor Moses wrote God’s command, ‘Honor your fathers and your mothers.’ He also wrote, ‘The authorities must execute a person who speaks evil about his father or mother.’ 11But you teach people that it is alright if people give their things to God instead of giving them to their parents. You allow them to say to their parents, ‘What I was going to give to you to provide for you, I have now promised to give to God. So I cannot help you any longer!’ 12As a result, you are actually telling people that they no longer have to help their parents. 13In this way you disregard what God commanded! You teach your own things to others and tell them that they should obey them. And you do many other things like that.”

14Then Jesus again invited the crowd to come closer. Then he said to them, “All of you people, listen to me! Try to understand what I am about to tell you. 15Nothing that people eat causes God to consider them to be defiled. On the contrary, it is that which comes from people’s inner beings that causes God to consider them to be defiled.” 16[fn] [Every one of you should think carefully about what you heard me say.]

17After Jesus had left the crowd and entered a house with his apprentices. They questioned him about the parable that he had just spoken. 18He replied to them, “Did you not understand what it means? You ought to understand that nothing that enters us from outside can cause God to consider us unacceptable to him. 19Instead of entering and ruining our minds, it goes into our stomachs, and afterwards the refuse passes out of our bodies.” By saying this, Jesus was declaring that people can eat any food without causing God to consider them unacceptable to him. 20He also said, “It is the thoughts and actions that come from within people that cause God to consider them unacceptable to him. 21Specifically, it is a person’s innermost being that causes them to think things that are evil; they act immorally, they steal things, they commit murder. 22They commit adultery, they are greedy, they act maliciously, they deceive people. They act indecently, they envy people, they speak evil about others, they are proud, and they act foolishly. 23People think these thoughts, and then they do these evil actions, and that is what causes God to consider them unacceptable to him.”

24After Jesus and his apprentices left Galilee, they went to the region around the cities of Tyre and Sidon. While he stayed at a certain house, he did not want anyone to know it, but people soon found out that he was there. 25A certain woman, whose daughter had an evil spirit within her, heard about Jesus. At once she came to him and knelt at his feet. 26Now this woman was not a Jew. Her ancestors were not Jews. She herself had been born in the region of Phoenicia, in the district of Syria. She pleaded with Jesus that he force the evil spirit out from her daughter. 27He said to the woman, “First let the children eat all they want, because it is not good for someone to take the food the mother has prepared for the children and then throw it to the little dogs.” 28She replied to him, “Sir, what you say is correct, but even the house dogs, who lie under the table, eat the crumbs that the children drop.” 29Jesus said to her, “Because of what you have said, go home. I have caused the evil spirit to leave your daughter.” 30The woman returned to her house and saw that her child was lying quietly on the bed and that the evil spirit had left.

31Jesus and his apprentices left the region around Tyre and went north through Sidon, then toward the east through the area of the Ten Towns, and then south to the towns near the Sea of Galilee. 32There, people brought to him a man who was deaf and could not talk. They begged Jesus to lay his hands on him in order to heal him. 33So Jesus took him away from the crowd in order that the two of them could be alone. Then he put one of his fingers into each of the man’s ears. After he spat on his fingers, he touched the man’s tongue with his fingers. 34Then he looked up toward heaven, he sighed and then in his own language he said to the man’s ears, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” 35At once the man could hear plainly. He also began to speak clearly, because what was causing him to be unable to speak was healed. 36Jesus told the people not to tell anyone what he had done. But, although he repeatedly ordered them and others not to tell anyone about it, they kept talking about it all the more. 37People who heard about it were utterly amazed and were saying, “Everything he has done is wonderful! Besides doing other amazing things, he enables deaf people to hear! And he enables those who cannot speak to speak!”

Some ancient manuscripts include verse 16.

MARK 7:1–7:37 ©