Mark 7:14-23 | Session 27 | Mark Rightly Divided

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by Randy White Ministries Thursday, Feb 8, 2024

The Gospel of Mark, rightly Divided
Mark 7:14-23 | Session 27 | Mark Rightly Divided

Download this outline here: https://humble-sidecar-837.notion.site/Mark-7-14-23-Session-27-Mark-Rightly-Divided-9a52d34d9aa64ebaaa3f61c21e849b77?pvs=4

Mark 7:1-23 | Challenging Tradition

Verses 1-13 - see session 26

Mark 7:14-16 | Public Explanation

Verse 14 -

A large crowd, as noted in Mark 6:54-56, was interrupted by the Pharisees of Judea. After directly rebuking them, Jesus addressed the entire crowd, presumably in a much louder voice. He commanded the people to "Hearken" and to "understand," undoubtedly capturing their attention and signifying that an important message was about to be delivered.

Verse 15 -

The statement of the source of defilement (in a Jewish Torah sense) is at first glance seemingly obvious, but at second glance causes one to say, “wait a minute!”

The verb κοινῶσαι [koinosai] is related to Levitical, ceremonial cleanliness. Given the explicitness of the book of Leviticus, how can it be argued that items like pork do not cause impurity? For instance, Numbers 19:11 notes, "He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days." Leviticus 11:7-8 states, "And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you." While the passage from Leviticus doesn't explicitly state that consuming it makes one unclean, the implication is clear.

So, how can it be that "nothing from without a man...can defile him?" I think this is a case in which we must take the words only for what they actually say, and that is that it is the inner man that is the source of defilement. The inner man would lead a man to eat pork, touch the dead, etc. This interpretation, then, aligns with Jesus' teaching that the Pharisees were like “whited sepulchres” (Matt. 23:37).

In essence, Jesus stated that the heart, rather than the action, is the source of sin. An example of this is his teaching that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has "already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). This may be the core of what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:20 when he said, "except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." While the scribes and Pharisees were known for their outward acts of righteousness, the Lord saw the uncleanness in their hearts.

Thus, in a few words, Jesus condemned the Pharisees' hypocrisy in front of a large crowd, with the Pharisees present.

Verse 16 -

Many modern translations completely omit this verse. This omission is based on the assumption that "earlier" manuscripts do not contain it. However, the reliability of these assumptions regarding these manuscripts is highly questionable.

In addition to its presence in the majority of manuscripts, a compelling argument for its necessity is presented by Bullinger in The Companion Bible. Bullinger points to the structure of the passage. Biblical linguistic structure is meticulous and consistently applied throughout the Scripture. Therefore, any passage lacking a clear and obvious structure should be carefully examined for something added or missing. In this case, the call to hearken (v. 14) needs to be balanced with the entry in verse 16. Without this balance, the passage remains open-ended and lacks linguistic structure. Such an anomaly would be highly unusual in the Biblical text.

The editors of the NET Bible, a posse of textual criticism experts, say, "It appears to be a scribal gloss (see 4:9 and 4:23), perhaps introduced as a reiteration of the thought in 7:14, and is almost certainly not an original part of the Greek text of Mark.” [FN1]

[FN1] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005).

I am personally perplexed about how supposedly conservative experts of the Biblical text can take such a casual view of Biblical preservation.

Mark 7:17-23 | Private Explanation

Verses 17-19 —

The disciples, presumably the twelve, followed Jesus into "the house". It's not clear which house is referred to (v. 17). When they asked about the "parable" from verse 15, they were mildly rebuked for their lack of understanding. Jesus reiterated His statement, even resorting to frank language, reminding them that consumed food ultimately ends up in the sewer (v. 19).

Jesus uttered the phrase “purging all meats” (v. 19). The straightforward interpretation of these words suggests that the biological process purifies all unclean food from the body, thereby rendering the body "clean." A "theological" interpretation could argue that Jesus was implying "the cleansing of all meats," thus negating Jewish kosher laws. However, if this was Jesus's intent, it was not clearly communicated. Even Peter remained steadfast regarding the distinction between clean and unclean in Acts 10, approximately ten years after Pentecost. From this encounter in Mark 7 through Peter’s experience in Acts 10, there is no evidence to suggest that anyone interpreted this as a liberation from dietary laws.

Verse 20

The thrice-repeated claim of Jesus (vv. 15, 18, 20) underscores the crux of his message: the heart is of paramount concern. The following verses will illustrate that while this does not absolve the disciples from external holiness, it suggests that external holiness might not be as it seems.

Verses 21-23 -

Jesus gives a short litany of sins that clearly are internally born but externally committed.

Verse 22 references "an evil eye," a term that requires some explanation. While it carries mystical connotations in contemporary Eastern cultures, this shouldn't influence our understanding of the phrase in this context. As per the Bible's own interpretation, "an evil eye" is expounded upon in Matthew 6:23, where Jesus states, "If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." In this context, an "evil eye" refers to one that seeks out sin, envying sinful activity.

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