Traditions of Men: What Does Mark 7:8 Mean?

Mark 7:8, “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.” (King James Version)

ESVYou leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.
NASBNeglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.
NIVYou have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.
NLTFor you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.

Also see the meaning of Your Gift Will Make Room For You

Traditions of Men: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

7:1-13 One great design of Christ’s coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God’s making.

Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God.

It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.

Also see the meaning of Many Will Come In My Name

Mark 7:8 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Parallel passage:

Mt 15:1-20. Discourse on Ceremonial Pollution. ( = Mr 7:1, 23).

The time of this section was after that Passover which was nigh at hand when our Lord fed the five thousand (Joh 6:4)—the third Passover, as we take it, since His public ministry began, but which He did not keep at Jerusalem for the reason mentioned in Joh 7:1.

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem—or “from Jerusalem.” Mark (Mr 7:1) says they “came from” it: a deputation probably sent from the capital expressly to watch Him. As He had not come to them at the last Passover, which they had reckoned on, they now come to Him.

“And,” says Mark (Mr 7:2, 3), “when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands”—hands not ceremonially cleansed by washing—”they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft”—literally, “in” or “with the fist”; that is, probably washing the one hand by the use of the other—though some understand it, with our version, in the sense of “diligently,” “sedulously”—”eat not, holding the tradition of the elders”; acting religiously according to the custom handed down to them.

“And when they come from the market” (Mr 7:4)—”And after market”: after any common business, or attending a court of justice, where the Jews, as Webster and Wilkinson remark, after their subjection to the Romans, were especially exposed to intercourse and contact with heathens—”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, brazen vessels and tables”—rather, “couches,” such as were used at meals, which probably were merely sprinkled for ceremonial purposes. “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him,”

saying—as follows: Matthew 15:1-9 Christ reproveth the scribes and Pharisees for setting

their own traditions above the commandments of God.

Also see the meaning of Washed by the Word

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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