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Mark 7:1-13 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

The Tradition of the Elders

Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands,[a] observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify[b] themselves;[c] and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.[d]) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live[e] according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God)[f] 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”


  1. Mark 7:3 One Greek word is of uncertain meaning and is not translated
  2. Mark 7:4 Other ancient authorities read baptize
  3. Mark 7:4 Other ancient authorities read and they do not eat anything from the market unless they purify it
  4. Mark 7:4 Other ancient authorities add and beds
  5. Mark 7:5 Greek walk
  6. Mark 7:11 Or an offering
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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