What does Mark 7:23 mean?
ESV: All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
NIV: All these evils come from inside and defile a person.'
NASB: All these evil things come from within and defile the person.'
CSB: All these evil things come from within and defile a person."
NLT: All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.'
KJV: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
NKJV: All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is bringing in a more complete way of thinking. The law proves insufficient for salvation because although it somewhat controls people's actions, it doesn't change their hearts. In fact, Jewish leadership finds it easier to add unnecessary traditions than to honor the laws God gave them. Following the law doesn't make you holy; your heart determines if you are truly clean in your nature or not.

Jesus' latest argument with the scribes and Pharisees is over whether eating something unclean can make a person unclean. The religious leaders fear that accidentally eating food that has touched something unclean will make them spiritually removed from God. Jesus explains that a heart hardened from within is the only thing that can make someone spiritually unclean, and He spends the next three sections living out this truth.

First, He will seek refuge in a Gentile town and heal the daughter of a woman whose people have a long history of persecuting and abusing Jews (Mark 7:24–30). Next, He will return to the Gentile region where He'd healed the man with a legion of demons and heal a great many people (Matthew 15:29–31), including a deaf man (Mark 7:31–37). Finally, He will decisively show the foolishness of worrying about unclean food by providing a meal for four thousand people in a Gentile nation.
Verse Context:
Mark 7:14–23 contains Jesus' rebuttal to the Pharisees' beliefs about cleanness (Mark 7:1–5), by condemning their habit of rejecting God's law for their own tradition (Mark 7:6–13). Here, He goes into more detail about what actually makes someone unclean. After, He will live out His teaching of love over tradition by healing a Gentile girl then remaining in a Gentile area to heal and feed four thousand (Mark 7:31–8:10). A parallel description can be found in Matthew 15:10–20.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus counters another traditional error from the scribes and Pharisees, explaining that food in and of itself does not make a person unclean. Rather, it is the intent of the heart that matters to God. He specifically condemns traditions which effectively undo the original intent of God's commands. Jesus heals the daughter of a persistent Gentile woman, and a man suffering from deafness and a speech impediment.
Chapter Context:
After showing His authority over demons, death, and physics, Jesus asserts His superiority over manmade traditions. For generations, Jewish religious leaders have added to the Law in an attempt to keep the nation holy. Such traditions, however, serve to make the leaders look good but unnecessarily burden the people. Jesus argues in word and action that any law that dismisses love is either misinterpreted or manmade.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/30/2024 5:34:17 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.