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Commandments and Traditions

The Pharisees and some of the experts in the law came from Jerusalem and gathered around Jesus. They saw some of his disciples eating bread with unclean (that is, unwashed) hands. In fact, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they scrub their hands with a fist,[a] holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash.[b] And there are many other traditions they adhere to, such as the washing[c] of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.[d] The Pharisees and the experts in the law asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders? Instead they eat bread with unclean hands.”

He answered them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied 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 human rules as if they
    were doctrines.[e]

“You abandon God’s commandment but hold to human tradition like the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things.”[f]

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  1. Mark 7:3 Or up to the wrist. This refers to a method of ceremonial washing.
  2. Mark 7:4 Greek baptizo (translated baptize in other contexts)
  3. Mark 7:4 Greek baptismos (translated baptism in other contexts)
  4. Mark 7:4 A few witnesses to the text omit and dining couches.
  5. Mark 7:7 Isaiah 29:13
  6. Mark 7:8 A few witnesses to the text omit the last part of verse 8 (like the washing. . .).

14 He called the crowd to him again and said, “Everyone, listen to me and understand.

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15 There is nothing outside of a man that can make him unclean by going into him. But the things that come out of a man are what make a man unclean.

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21 In fact, from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual sins, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained immorality, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and make a person unclean.”

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