Mark 7
Contemporary English Version

The Teaching of the Ancestors

(Matthew 15.1-9)

1Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. 2They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands.+

3The Pharisees and many others obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way+ before eating. 4None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.+

5The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don't your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?”

6 Jesus replied:

You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,

“All of you praise me

with your words,

but you never really

think about me.

7It is useless for you

to worship me,

when you teach rules

made up by humans.”

8You disobey God's commands in order to obey what humans have taught. 9You are good at rejecting God's commands so that you can follow your own teachings! 10 Didn't Moses command you to respect your father and mother? Didn't he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents? 11But you let people get by without helping their parents when they should. You let them say that what they own has been offered to God.+ 12You won't let those people help their parents. 13And you ignore God's commands in order to follow your own teaching. You do a lot of other things just as bad.

What Really Makes People Unclean

(Matthew 15.10-20)

14Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16The food that you put into your mouth doesn't make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”+

17After Jesus and his disciples had left the crowd and gone into the house, they asked him what these sayings meant. 18He answered, “Don't you know what I am talking about by now? You surely know that the food you put into your mouth cannot make you unclean. 19It doesn't go into your heart, but into your stomach, and then out of your body.” By saying this, Jesus meant that all foods were fit to eat.

20Then Jesus said:

What comes from your heart is what makes you unclean. 21Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.

A Woman's Faith

(Matthew 15.21-28)

24Jesus left and went to the region near the town of Tyre, where he stayed in someone's home. He did not want people to know he was there, but they found out anyway. 25A woman whose daughter had an evil spirit in her heard where Jesus was. And at once she came and knelt down at his feet. 26The woman was Greek and had been born in the part of Syria known as Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter. 27But Jesus said, “The children must first be fed! It isn't right to take away their food and feed it to dogs.”+

28The woman replied, “Lord, even puppies eat the crumbs that children drop from the table.”

29Jesus answered, “That's true! You may go now. The demon has left your daughter.” 30When the woman got back home, she found her child lying on the bed. The demon had gone.

Jesus Heals a Man Who Was Deaf and Could Hardly Talk

31Jesus left the region around Tyre and went by way of Sidon toward Lake Galilee. He went through the land near the ten cities known as Decapolis.+ 32Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk. They begged Jesus just to touch him.

33After Jesus had taken him aside from the crowd, he stuck his fingers in the man's ears. Then he spit and put it on the man's tongue. 34Jesus looked up toward heaven, and with a groan he said, “Effatha!”+ which means “Open up!” 35At once the man could hear, and he had no more trouble talking clearly.

36Jesus told the people not to say anything about what he had done. But the more he told them, the more they talked about it. 37They were completely amazed and said, “Everything he does is good! He even heals people who cannot hear or talk.”


7.2 without first washing their hands: The Jewish people had strict laws about washing their hands before eating, especially if they had been out in public.
7.3 in the proper way: The Greek text has “with the fist,” but the exact meaning is not clear. It could mean “to the wrist” or “to the elbow.”
7.4 bowls: Some manuscripts add “and sleeping mats.”
7.11 has been offered to God: According to Jewish custom, when anything was offered to God, it could not be used for anyone else, not even for a person's parents.
7.15,16 unclean: Some manuscripts add, “If you have ears, pay attention.”
7.27 feed it to dogs: Some Jewish people referred to Gentiles as dogs.
7.31 the ten cities known as Decapolis: See the note at 5.20.
7.34 Effatha: This word is in Aramaic, a language spoken in Palestine during the time of Jesus.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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