Matthew 15:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 15:6, NIV: "they are not to 'honor their father or mother' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition."

Matthew 15:6, ESV: "he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God."

Matthew 15:6, KJV: "And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."

Matthew 15:6, NASB: "he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition."

Matthew 15:6, NLT: "In this way, you say they don't need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition."

Matthew 15:6, CSB: "he does not have to honor his father.' In this way, you have nullified the word of God because of your tradition."

What does Matthew 15:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Some Pharisees from Jerusalem have accused Jesus of allowing His disciples to break one of their favorite traditions. These man-made rules were so closely followed as to have nearly the weight of divine law. Their point was to attack the validity of Jesus' role as a rabbi, as well as to continue to dismiss His claims to be the Messiah. If Jesus is not adhering to the "correct" interpretation of their laws, then they will not accept His teaching.

Jesus ignored this shallow accusation and immediately shot back with a far more serious allegation. These same critics effectively break an actual command of God thanks to obedience to their human tradition. The fifth commandment clearly implies that children ought to honor and care for their parents (Exodus 20:12). Thanks to a combination of tradition and legalism, the Pharisees allowed the people to claim they were obeying that command by declaring that valuable possessions were "devoted to God." This gave the people a loophole to avoid using those resources to take care of their parents.

Christ makes this point with force: they have exempted their people from honoring their fathers. For the sake of tradition, Jesus says, they have made void the actual revealed word of God to Israel. They attack Jesus for ignoring traditions which have nothing to do with God's commands, while enforcing traditions which overturn the actual commands themselves! What follows is an even more heated condemnation from Jesus (Matthew 15:7).