Mark 7:14-23

Mark 7:14-23
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 18


14 Then he calledA the crowdB again and said to them, “ListenC to me, allD of you, and understand:E 

Notes on verse 14

A “called” = proskaleo. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call to oneself, summon.
B “crowd” = ochlos. Perhaps from echo (to have, hold, possess). This is a crowd, the common people, a rabble. Figuratively, it can refer to a riot.
C “listen” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
D “all” = pas. This is all or every.
E “understand” = suniemi. From sun (with, together with) + hiemi (to send, put). This is to put together – used figuratively to mean understand, consider, gain insight. It is bringing together facts or notions and synthesizing them into a whole. It is making a summary to arrive at a final conclusion that includes how to apply the insight to life. It can also imply acting piously or being wise.

15 there isF nothing outside a personG that by goingH in canI

Notes on verse 15a

F “is” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
G “person” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
H “going” = eisporeuomai. 18x in NT. From eis (to, into, for, among) + poreuomai (to go, travel, journey, die; refers to transporting things from one place to another; focuses on the personal significance of the destination); {from poros (passageway)}. 18x in NT. This is to enter or journey in in a literal or figurative sense.
I “can” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.

defile,J but the things that come outK, L are what defile.”M  

Notes on verse 15b

J “defile” = koinoo. 14x in NT. From koinos (common, shared, unclean, ritually profane); probably from sun (with, together with). This is to make something common i.e. treated as ordinary and so not ceremonially pure/sacred. So, it can also mean to pollute or desecrate.
K “come out” = ekporeuomai. Related to “going” in v15. From ek (from, from out of) + poreuomai (see note H above). This is to go forth, depart from, be spoken, flow out, project. This word emphasizes the result a process or passage – how it impacts the person or thing.
L {untranslated} = anthropos. Same as “person” in v15. See note G above.
M {untranslated} = anthropos. Same as “person” in v15. See note G above.

16 “If you haveN earsO to hear,P then hear”Q

Notes on verse 16

N “have” = echo. Related to “crowd” in v14. See note B above.
O “ears” = ous. This is the physical ear, or the perception of hearing, whether physical or cognitive.
P “hear” = akouo. Same as “listen” in v14. See note C above.
Q Verse 16 only included in some ancient authorities.

17 When he had left the crowd and enteredR the house,S his disciplesT askedU him about the parable.V 

Notes on verse 17

R “entered” = eiserchomai. From eis (to, into, for, among) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go in in a literal or figurative sense.
S “house” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.
T “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
U “asked” = eperotao. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + erotao (asking a question or making an earnest request; used when one anticipates special consideration for their request); {from eromai (to ask) OR from ereo (to say, tell, call, speak of)}. This is to question, interrogate, seek, or demand. The questioner is at an advantage – in a preferred position when they make their question.
V “parable” = parabole. From paraballo (literally to throw beside, compare, arrive, liken); {from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a parable, comparison, adage. Quite often a tale told or a metaphor to establish a point, but it could be a true story.

18 He saidW to them, “So, are you also without understanding?X Do you not seeY

Notes on verse 18a

W “said” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
X “without understanding” = asunetos. Related to “understand” in v14. 5x in NT. From a (not, without) + sunetos (intelligent, wise, discerning, clever; finding understanding within one’s own frame of reference by connecting facts and concepts; focuses on the mental process of putting things together – being prudent or wise); {from suneimi (to put together – used figuratively to mean understand, consider, gain insight; this is bringing together facts or notions and synthesizing them into a whole; making a summary to arrive at a final conclusion that includes how to apply the insight to life; it can also imply acting piously or being wise); {from sun (with, together with) + hiemi (to send, put)}}. This is literally not understanding or undiscerning. It is someone who doesn’t comprehend, is foolish because they do not connect facts or process information meaningfully. It is an illogical person who chooses not to reason well. It can also imply moral fault and wickedness.
Y “see” = noeo. 14x in NT. From nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from noos (mind); probably from the base as ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}. This is to think, understand, conceive, realize, see. It is one who thinks things through sufficiently to reach a conclusion or value judgment. It is also one’s moral reasoning.

that whateverZ goesAA into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it entersBB not the heartCC but the stomachDD

Notes on verses 18b-19a

Z “whatever” = pas. Same as “all” in v14. See note D above.
AA “goes” = eisporeuomai. Same as “going” in v15. See note H above.
BB “enters” = eisporeuomai. Same as “going” in v15. See note H above.
CC “heart” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
DD “stomach” = koilia. From koilos (hollow). This is belly or organs in the abdomen. So, it could be stomach, womb, or heart. Figuratively, this refers to one’s inner self.

and goes outEE into the sewer?”FF (Thus he declared all foodsGG clean.)HH 

Notes on verse 19b

EE “goes out” = ekporeuomai. Same as “come out” in v15. See note K above.
FF “sewer” = aphedron. 2x in NT– both in parallel passages. From apo (from, away from) + hedraios (sitting, well-seated, immovable; figuratively, steadfast, firm, morally fixed); {from hedra (a seat) or from hezomai (to sit)}. This is a privy, drain, or latrine. Literally, it is a place where one wits apart (from others).
GG “foods” = broma. 17x in NT. From bibrosko (to eat); related to bora (food); perhaps from bosko (to feed or pasture a flock; figuratively, to nourish spiritually). This is any kind of food in a literal or figurative sense.
HH “declared…clean” = katharizo. From katharos (clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying). This is to cleanse, make clean, purify, purge, or declare to be clean. Like its roots, it includes cleansing in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense. Being pure or purified is not something that is only available to the rare few or the innocent. Anyone can be purified.

20 And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles.II 21 For it is from within, from the humanJJ heart, that evilKK intentionsLL come:MM

Notes on verses 20-21a

II {untranslated} = anthropos. Same as “person” in v15. See note G above.
JJ “human” = anthropos. Same as “person” in v15. See note G above.
KK “evil” = kakos. This is bad, evil, harm, ill. It is evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm. It refers to deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character. Can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue.
LL “intentions” = dialogismos. Related to “said” in v18. 14x in NT. From dialogizomai (to consider, have a back and forth debate with an uncertain conclusion; multiple confused minds reinforcing a faulty conclusion); {from dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + logizmai (to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense); {from logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (see note W above)}. This is reasoning, plotting, argument, discussion that reinforces faulty reasoning, debate.
MM “come” = ekporeuomai. Same as “come out” in v15. See note K above.

sexual immorality,NN theft,OO murder,PP 22 adultery,QQ

Notes on verses 21b-22a

NN “sexual immorality” = porneia. From porneuo (to fornicate – used figuratively for practicing idolatry or doing immoral things); from porne (prostitute, whore); from pornos (fornicator or immoral person); perhaps from pernemi (to sell off or export); related to piprasko (to sell with travel involved; to sell into slavery; to be devoted to); from perao (to travel); from peran (over, beyond). This is sexual immorality or unchastity. It could include adultery or incest.
OO “theft” = klope. 2x in NT. From klepto (to steal secretively). This is stealing by stealth or fraud. It is not done using force or in the open.
PP “murder” = phonos. 9x in NT. From pheno (to slay). This is killing, murder, or slaughter. It is one of the crimes that Barabbas and Saul are accused of.
QQ “adultery” = moicheia. 3x in NT. From moicheuo (committing adultery or adultery itself; a man with a married woman or a married man with anyone other than his wife); from moichos (adulterer; a man who has been with a married woman; used figuratively of an apostate). This is adultery. It is used for the woman caught in adultery in John 8:3 (“whoever is without sin cast the first stone”).

avarice,RR wickedness,SS deceit,TT

Notes on verse 22b

RR “avarice” = pleonexia. Related to “crowd” in v14 & “have” in v16. 10x in NT. From pleonektes (one who covets more, covetousness, avariciousness, one who defrauds or harms others’ rights; one eager for gain); {from pleion (many, more, great, having a greater value, more excellent); from polus (much, many, abundant) + echo (see note B above)}. This is avarice, greed, advantage, desire for more. It can imply fraudulence or extortion.
SS “wickedness” = poneria. 7x in NT. From poneros (bad, evil, wicked, malicious, grievous, or toilsome; properly, something that bears pain –emphasizes the miseries and pains that come with evil); from poneo (to toil); related to ponos (pain, trouble, labor, distress, suffering; toil, which implies anguish); from the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is iniquity, wickedness, pain-ridden evil. It is the drudgery of evil and sin. By contrast, the Greek kakos refers to evil as part of someone’s core character. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. This word can mean ill, diseased, morally culpable, derelict, vicious, malicious, or guilt. It can also refer to the devil or sinners.
TT “deceit” = dolos. 11x in NT. From dello (probably to decoy). This is literally bait, but used figuratively for treachery, stealth, guile, or deceit.

debauchery,UU envy,VV slander,WW

Notes on verse 22c

UU “debauchery” = aselgeia. 10x in NT. From aselges (brutal) OR from a (not) + selges (temperate). This is wantonness, shocking behavior, wanton violence, acting in an unrestrained and capricious way.
VV “envy” = ophthalmos + poneros. Literally, “evil eye.” Ophthalmos is related to “person” in v15  From optanomai (see note G above). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy. Poneros is related to “wickedness” in v22. See note SS above.
WW “slander” = blasphemia. 18x in NT. From perhaps blapto (to harm or to hinder) + pheme (saying, news, rumor, fame) {from phemi (to say, declare, speak comparatively through contrasts, bring to light); from phao (to shine)}. This is slander, blasphemy, or abusive language. It is calling something wrong that is right or calling something right that is wrong – mis-identifying what is good and bad. This is particularly used for vilifying God. This is where the word “blasphemy” comes from.

pride,XX folly.YY 23 All these evilZZ things comeAAA from within, and they defile a person.”

Notes on verses 22d-23

XX “pride” = huperephania. 1x in NT. From huperephanos (proud, arrogant; thinking one outshines others); {from huper (over, above, beyond) + phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is disdain, pride, lifting self up, vanity.
YY “folly” = aphrosune. 4x in NT– 1x in Mark 7 & 3x in 2 Corinthians 11. From aphron (not having reason – foolish, unperceptive, unwise; short-sightedness and lack of perspective, which leads one to act without prudence; not grasping cause and effect, willful ignorance; being rash or egotistical); {from a (not, without) + phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); {perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb)}}. This is foolishness, impiety, folly. It is one who does not have perspective, is morally reckless, or senseless.
ZZ “evil” = poneros. Same as “envy” in v22. See note VV above.
AAA “come” = ekporeuomai. Same as “come out” in v15. See note K above.

Image credit: “General Images of Jesus Teaching” by LUMO Project.

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