Traditions of men? Mark 7:8

How do we interpret this verse? What is the meaning of this verse?

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

  • Mark 7:8

Especially when we are evangelizing to Protestants and they make the claim that Catholics follow human traditions. What is the correct response? I’m looking for the interpretation of this verse not arguments for Apostolic tradition. Also in general what does the Lord mean by the things He tells the Pharisees in this chapter?

The New Testament speaks of tradition negatively (e.g. Mk 7:8, Mt 15:6) and positively (e.g. 1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Thes 2:12). So the Protestant first has to establish why a Catholic tradition would be false since the Bible indeed supports tradition.

If I recall correctly, that comes from a discussion Jesus had with the Sanhedrin where he spoke about them creating traditions that were contrary to God’s law, such as when they could take their wealth and call it “Corban” (dedicated to God) and thus escape their duty to support their parents in their old age- even though they were commanded to by God to honor their parents.

The way I interpret that is that we’re not told to not have traditions, but that our traditions should not counter the commandments of God. I don’t believe that Catholic traditions run counter to God’s commandments but rather support them.

Not if you’re reading the New International Version (NIV). The NIV “translates” παράδοσιν as “teachings” when it is used in a positive context, and it “translates” the exact same word as “traditions” when used in a negative context.

Teachings good. Traditions bad.

A clear example of translator bias in the most widely used “modern” translation of Scripture.

Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary may be helpful to you: for Mark 7:8 and verses 9 and 11.

That’s a good question. Let me pose this question:

We are instructed that we must attend mass every Sunday (unless there are certain circumstances that keep us away). So if I wake up and just don’t feel like going to mass on a Sunday, I have committed a mortal sin. In doing that, I will go to hell unless I go to confession.

There is nowhere in the NT that states Christians HAVE to attend mass every Sunday. Nor does it state anywhere that you will go to hell unless you go to confession about not going to mass. And the NT is God’s word. So to me, having to attend mass every week is a tradition that man has established. So do I believe I’m going to hell as ‘man’ has said or do I believe that I won’t because the Word of God makes no such claim. :shrug:

The sin is not in missing Mass. It’s in failing to keep your promises.

When you were confirmed, you promised to accept the authority of the Church. The Church says you have to go to Mass each Sunday. You promised to accept the authority of the Church, so that makes Mass attendance compulsory for you upon your honor.

If I promise to wash your car but fail to do so (because of my choice) then I sin. My promise creates an obligation on my part. It has nothing to do with washing your car; it’s about keeping my promises.

Along with DavidFilmer’s good explanation :tiphat: we are to keep the Ten Commandments as part of the moral law. The third Commandment is to “keep holy the Sabbath day.” It was mandatory for the Jews to keep the day separate from all other days for worship. That has not changed. Only the day on which we keep the Sabbath has changed:

Also, Christ gave his Church, in the persons of the Apostles, the authority to decide matters of faith and morals. So yes, we are to obey men–those appointed and anointed by God to lead us.

We are not “people of the book”–the book being the Bible. The Bible is part of Sacred Tradition, but it is not the end-all and be-all of our faith. St. John tells us that Jesus did many things that are not written down. Jesus never commissioned anyone to write anything. Instead he appointed men to teach, preach, and baptize in his name. The Bible is a guide, a help, and a witness to Christ and his Church, but it is not all there is nor was it ever intended to be. :slight_smile:

As to going to hell for missing Mass on Sunday (and holy days of obligation) in order for us to be guilty of mortal sin by not attending we must know that it is a mortal sin, we must do in anyway, and we must do it of our own free will. The Church knows perfectly well that some people can’t make it to Sunday Mass, such as those who are too far from a Catholic Mass, those who are too ill/homebound, etc. and those who are caring for others who are ill. Any reasonable person can understand these things. It’s simply an act of rebellion to say that I have no obligation merely because I don’t want anyone telling me what I can do. If that were the case we wouldn’t need any church of any kind. The fact is, though that Jesus established his Church, so if we are baptized members of it, we are obligated to do what his bishops tell us to do.

The Church’s laws guide us to fulfill God’s law. In this case, we are to keep holy the Lord’s Day and the Church shows us how to do that. How could blowing off adoring God in the supreme way He has commanded to be adored keeping holy his day?

The bad “traditions of men” impede us from fulfilling God’s law.

Helpful info. I guess the NIV footnote admits to “or traditions,” but your point is valid. :o

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