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Matthew 15:1-20 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

Human Traditions and God’s Commandments

15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.”[a] So he answered and[b] said to them, “Why do you also break the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your[c] father and your[d] mother,’[e] and ‘The one who speaks evil of father or mother must certainly die[f].’[g] But you say, ‘Whoever says to his[h] father or his[i] mother, “Whatever benefit you would have received[j] from me is a gift to God,” need not honor his father,’[k] and you make void the word of God for the sake of your tradition. Hypocrites! Isaiah correctly prophesied about you saying,

‘This people honors me with their[l] lips,
    but their heart is far, far away from me,
and they worship me in vain,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”[m]

Defilement from Within

10 And summoning the crowd, he said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth—this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and[n] said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they[o] heard this saying?” 13 And he answered and[p] said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. 14 Let[q] them! They are blind guides of the blind. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter answered and[r] said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 But he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not understand that everything that enters into the mouth goes into the stomach and is evacuated into the latrine? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these defile the person. 19 For from the heart come evil plans, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, abusive speech. 20 These are the things that defile a person. But eating with unwashed hands does not defile a person!”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 15:2 Literally “bread”
  2. Matthew 15:3 Here “and” is supplied because the previous participle (“answered”) has been translated as a finite verb
  3. Matthew 15:4 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  4. Matthew 15:4 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  5. Matthew 15:4 A quotation from Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16
  6. Matthew 15:4 Literally “let him die the death”
  7. Matthew 15:4 A quotation from Exod 21:17; Lev 20:9
  8. Matthew 15:5 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  9. Matthew 15:5 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  10. Matthew 15:5 Literally “you would have been benefited”
  11. Matthew 15:6 Most later manuscripts add “or his mother”
  12. Matthew 15:8 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  13. Matthew 15:9 A quotation from Isa 29:13
  14. Matthew 15:12 Here “and” is supplied because the previous participle (“came”) has been translated as a finite verb
  15. Matthew 15:12 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“heard”) which is understood as temporal
  16. Matthew 15:13 Here “and” is supplied because the previous participle (“answered”) has been translated as a finite verb
  17. Matthew 15:14 Or “Depart from”
  18. Matthew 15:15 Here “and” is supplied because the previous participle (“answered”) has been translated as a finite verb
Lexham English Bible (LEB)

2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software

Matthew 15:1-20 New International Version (NIV)

That Which Defiles

15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.[c]

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides.[d] If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 15:4 Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16
  2. Matthew 15:4 Exodus 21:17; Lev. 20:9
  3. Matthew 15:9 Isaiah 29:13
  4. Matthew 15:14 Some manuscripts blind guides of the blind
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Matthew 15:1-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Teaches about Inner Purity

15 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”

Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’[b] But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents.[c] And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce,
    for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’[d]

10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”

13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”

16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. 17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

Footnotes:

  1. 15:4a Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16.
  2. 15:4b Exod 21:17 (Greek version); Lev 20:9 (Greek version).
  3. 15:6 Greek their father; other manuscripts read their father or their mother.
  4. 15:8-9 Isa 29:13 (Greek version).
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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