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Mark 7Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

God’s Law and Human Traditions

Some Pharisees and some teachers of the law came from Jerusalem and gathered around Jesus. They saw that some of his followers ate food with hands that were not clean, meaning that they did not wash their hands in a special way. The Pharisees and all the other Jews never eat before washing their hands in this special way. They do this to follow the traditions they have from their great leaders who lived long ago. And when these Jews buy something in the market, they never eat it until they wash it in a special way. They also follow other rules from their people who lived before them. They follow rules like the washing of cups, pitchers, and pots.[a]

The Pharisees and teachers of the law said to Jesus, “Your followers don’t follow the traditions we have from our great leaders who lived long ago. They eat their food with hands that are not clean. Why do they do this?”

Jesus answered, “You are all hypocrites. Isaiah was right when he wrote these words from God about you:

‘These people honor me with their words,
    but I am not really important to them.
Their worship of me is worthless.
    The things they teach are only human rules.’

You have stopped following God’s commands, preferring instead the man-made rules you got from others.”

Then he said, “You show great skill in avoiding the commands of God so that you can follow your own teachings! 10 Moses said, ‘You must respect your father and mother.’[b] He also said, ‘Whoever says anything bad to their father or mother must be killed.’[c] 11 But you teach that people can say to their father or mother, ‘I have something I could use to help you, but I will not use it for you. I will give it to God.’ 12 You are telling people that they do not have to do anything for their father or mother. 13 So you are teaching that it is not important to do what God said. You think it is more important to follow those traditions you have, which you pass on to others. And you do many things like that.”

14 Jesus called the people to him again. He said, “Everyone should listen to me and understand what I am saying. 15 There is nothing people can put in their mouth that will make them wrong.[d] People are made wrong by what comes from inside them.” 16 [e]

17 Then Jesus left the people and went into the house. The followers asked Jesus about what he had told the people. 18 He said, “Do you still have trouble understanding? Surely you know that nothing that enters the mouth from the outside can make people unacceptable to God. 19 Food does not go into a person’s mind. It goes into the stomach. Then it goes out of the body.” (When Jesus said this, he meant there is no food that is wrong for people to eat.)

20 And Jesus said, “The things that make people wrong are the things that come from the inside. 21 All these bad things begin inside a person, in the mind: bad thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, 22 adultery, greed, doing bad things to people, lying, doing things that are morally wrong, jealousy, insulting people, proud talking, and foolish living. 23 These evil things come from inside a person. And these are the things that make people unacceptable to God.”

Jesus Helps a Non-Jewish Woman

24 Jesus went from there to the area around Tyre. He did not want the people in that area to know he was there, so he went into a house. But he could not stay hidden. 25 A woman heard that he was there. Her little daughter had an evil spirit inside her. So the woman came to Jesus and bowed down near his feet. 26 She was not a Jew. She was born in Phoenicia, an area in Syria. She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter.

27 Jesus told the woman, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs. First let the children eat all they want.”

28 She answered, “That is true, Lord. But the dogs under the table can eat the pieces of food that the children don’t eat.”

29 Then he told her, “That is a very good answer. You may go. The demon has left your daughter.”

30 The woman went home and found her daughter lying on the bed. The demon was gone.

Jesus Heals a Deaf Man

31 Then Jesus left the area around Tyre and went through Sidon. On his way to Lake Galilee he went through the area of the Ten Towns. 32 While he was there, some people brought a man to him who was deaf and could not talk clearly. The people begged Jesus to put his hand on the man to heal him.

33 Jesus led the man away from the people to be alone with him. He put his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit on a finger and put it on the man’s tongue. 34 Jesus looked up to the sky and with a loud sigh he said, “Ephphatha!” (This means “Open!”) 35 As soon as Jesus did this, the man was able to hear. He was able to use his tongue, and he began to speak clearly.

36 Jesus told the people not to tell anyone about this. But the more he told them not to say anything, the more people they told. 37 They were all completely amazed. They said, “Look at what he has done. It’s all good. He makes deaf people able to hear and gives a new voice to people who could not talk.”


  1. Mark 7:4 pots Some Greek copies add “and couches.”
  2. Mark 7:10 Quote from Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16.
  3. Mark 7:10 Quote from Ex. 21:17.
  4. Mark 7:15 wrong Literally, “unclean” or “not pure,” meaning unacceptable to God. Also in verse 20.
  5. Mark 7:16 Some Greek copies add verse 16: “You people who hear me, listen!”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International


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