Mark 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Introductory Thoughts

Sometimes a deep chasm exists between the doctrines, traditions, and commandments of men and those that are God-ordained. Perhaps no passage better identifies this contrast than Mark chapter 7. The religious leaders of Christ’s day held “the tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:3, 5), “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8), and their own “tradition” (Mark 7:9, 13). In doing so, they rejected “the commandment of God” (Mark 7:9). This clearly displays the critical importance of identifying whose traditions one willingly receives and accepts. If traditions are truly of the Lord, they are to be accepted and implemented into the believer’s life (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Yet, those man-made, unscriptural traditions are to be rejected altogether.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): There are no works involved in salvation. We are saved by believing (Ephesians 2:8-9). Any other plan is based upon the tradition of men (1 Peter 1:18-19; Colossians 2:20-22). Consider Paul’s testimony (Galatians 1:13-16).
  • (For everyone): How can one determine whose traditions he accepts or rejects? Where can one find traditions that be of God? What should he do once he finds those traditions?
  • Upon whose traditions do you stand? Have you fallen prey to the exaltation of the traditions of men? What can you do in order to turn and follow only the traditions of the Lord?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask God for wisdom.
  • Ask the Lord to show you whose traditions you hold dear.