Mark 7:14-23 14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. 


1. Study through Mark 7:14-23 together. What stands out to you and why? 

Jesus essentially says, “The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. It’s not what’s outside and will come in that’s your problem. Rather, it’s what’s inside and will come out!” 

2. Is this different than what people in our culture tend to believe? If so, how? 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

3. What does Jeremiah 17:9 say to ideals such as “follow your heart” or “do what makes you happy”? 

“Evil thoughts” are evil reasonings within oneself. “Sexual immorality” is a refusal to receive and enjoy God’s gift of sex how it should be enjoyed, but thinking, doing, or living as if you will choose. “Theft” is where we get our word kleptomania. “Murder” is an unjust killing of a human being—someone made in the image of God! “Coveting” is an appetite for what belongs to others. “Wickedness” is a heart that is completely equipped to inflict evil on another person. “Deceit” means to bait or trick people. “Sensuality” involves plunging into moral indecency in open defiance of public opinion. “Envy” refers to an evil eye that watches another’s possessions. “Slander” can take the form of blasphemy against God or slandering other people. “Pride” is the sin of self-praising (humble-bragging or outright contempt for others). “Foolishness” describes a person who is desensitized morally and spiritually.

4. Jesus condemns these as vices and sins. Yet which of these are typically acceptable and promoted in our world? Which most stands out to you and why?

5. What is the redeem for this list of sinful heart conditions? Why is “trying harder” inadequate and even counter productive? How can Ezekiel 36:25-27 help us see the answer to our sinful heart condition? 

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. – Ezekiel 36:25-27


Only the gospel is strong enough to change your heart. Only Jesus living, dying, and arising in your place can deal with your true problems. Look to Him with trusting faith, crying out to God to change your heart! “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).



Mark Artwork