Mark 7:1-23

  1. No-one would dispute the earnestness of the Pharisees in observing genuine historical traditions, aimed at the honouring of God. Why then should Christ use such strong language in condemning them (verse 6), and how does he show up their inconsistency?
  2. Notice in verses 21-23 that Christ makes no distinction between sins of thought and sins of deeds; they all alike defile a man. Cf. Matt. 5:28. Are we seeking deliverance from the uncleanness of an evil heart? Or, like the  Pharisees, are we content with a fair appearance outwardly?
  3. Verse 17, 18a. Why do you think the disciples were so slow to understand some of Christ’s simplest teaching? Are we perhaps also at fault here? If so, what ought we to do about it? (Cf. John 14: 26.)


  1. (V 3) ‘The tradition of the elder’s: i.e., rules and regulations drawn up by past generations of scribes to guide people how to act. The Pharisees were those who made it their aim to walk strictly according to this ‘tradition’. They regarded themselves, and were regarded by others, as ‘the righteous’.
  2. (V 6) ‘Jesus here not only quotes Scripture but also adds to it in verse 8, thereby interpreting it’ and establishing his own authority (see Mark (TNTC).