Mark 7 Lesson

The Sin Of Hypocrisy


There is a fundamental difference between the traditions of man and the commandments of God, and we need to be able to decipher the difference. 

Too many times in history we see “religious leaders” mistreating the word of God for personal gain! 

That is why it is so important for us to be grounded in God’s word. 

As Christians, we need to know what the Bible says so we can decipher between God’s commandments and the traditions of man. 

Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy:

  • “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

If we do not put our time in to learn what God’s commandments are, we will not be able to rightly divide the Word of God, and we will be vulnerable to Satan’s attacks of deception! 


In Mark Chapter 7, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is defined as, "The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.” (Source: Google dictionary)

Hypocrites and Christians are opposites and have opposing values.

On the one hand, Hypocrites say one thing and do another. 

On the other hand, Christians speak the truth in love and can be counted on to say what they mean and to mean what they say.

As Christians, our “no means no” and our “yes means yes.” (Mathew 5:37).


There are many verses about hypocrisy in the Bible. For today’s lesson, we have highlighted the following five:

  1. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” -Mathew 7:5,
  2. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” -James 1:26,
  3. “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” - Luke 6:46,
  4. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” - Mathew 23:27-28,
  5. “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” - Mathew 15:7-9.


Hypocrisy is a sin and therefore it is offensive to God. 

In Mark Chapter 7, Jesus calls out the scribes and Pharisees for being hypocritical. 

The scribes and Pharisees had just noticed that some of Jesus’ disciples were eating their bread with unwashed hands.  This was against the traditions of elders. 

They asked Jesus:

  • “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” –Mark 7:5.

Jesus had a strong response to their hypocrisy and called them out in the following verse:

  • “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” – Mark 7:6-8.

The scribes and Pharisees were going after Jesus in a legalistic way.

Jesus, who was able to see into their hearts, realized that their actions were motivated by their own sinful desires, not by their love for God

In calling out the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus made an important distinction between the traditions of men and the commandments of God.  

We need to be able to decipher the difference and to recognize that the traditions of man may or may not be aligned with God’s inspired Word.

In comparing the commandments of God to the traditions of man, it is important to remember these two points:

  1. The commandments of God are to be followed always,
  2. The traditions of man are optional and may or may not align with the teachings in the Bible.


In the seventh chapter of Mark, Jesus quoted the prophet, Isaiah, as follows:

  • “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me,” – Mark 7:6.

Jesus was saying that what we do is more important than what we say.

We can say that we love Jesus all we want, but our actions will speak louder than our words.

If we love Him, we willkeep His commandments(John 14:15).


Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees:

  • “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” Mark 7:9.

That is a strong rebuke that none of us ever want to receive from the Savior of the world!

In His rebuke, Jesus pointed out that some people deliberately disobey God for their own personal gain.  This creates confusion and is a danger to the spiritual well-being of others. 

As disciples of Jesus, we are to serve others, not ourselves. 

Jesus was always selfless in His actions. 

Whether it was obeying His Father, or looking out for others, Jesus is our perfect example of how to live a selfless life. 

As you read the following words spoken by Jesus, think about how we can follow His perfect example:

  • “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” – Mathew 20:28.

Hypocrites will do things they know are wrong if they believe it will help them hold onto their status or possessions.  

And as we have just seen, this is not the way to please God who would rather that we practice humility and obey His commandments.


Hypocrisy is a sin that goes against everything that Christians are supposed to be!

As followers of Jesus, people need to know that they can count on what we are saying to be truthful and driven by pure motives.

Jesus said:

  • “I say to you, make no oath at all, either by Heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” - Mathew 5:34-37.

If we say one thing but do another, we create confusion and put souls at risk.

The scribes and the Pharisees did this.

Their motives were selfish and impure, and they were strongly rebuked by Jesus. 

We will end today’s lesson with three Bible verses that remind us of the importance of speaking the truth in love:

  1. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” - Proverbs 12:22,
  2. “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” -Ephesians 4:25,
  3. “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” - Ephesians 4:14-15.


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1) What did today’s Bible study make you think or feel?
2) What questions do you have?
3) How can you apply what you have learned to something specific in your life?


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Virtual Bible Study™

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think or feel?
2) What questions do you have?
3) How can you apply what you have learned to something specific in your life?



People have been trying to manipulate the gospel since the days of Jesus' stay on earth. There is nothing new under the sun.


So very true.