“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23/KJV).
The Jews in Jesus’ day were used to ritual observances. They were careful not to defile themselves by things they ate and by things they touched.
Here Jesus is pointing them beyond outward aspects of purity and holiness. He maintains that what really matters is the defilement that comes from within the human heart. There is a tendency to evil in man.
He presents a list of sins men may be prone to. Interestingly the first item he mentions refers to the realm of our thoughts.
‘Dialogismos’, the Greek word for ‘thoughts’ used here, refers to internal consideration, debate, dispute, imagination and reasoning. (Cf. DICTIONARY OF THE WORDS IN THE GREEK TESTAMENT by James Strong).
It is our evil intentions that matter. An inner striving and reasoning for evil do defile men, says Jesus.
The word ‘evil’ also could be translated by harmful, wicked, perverted, objectionable and offensive. Only after speaking of evil thoughts Jesus is listing various sins and transgressions of the Ten Commandments.
Many problems and evil deeds begin within the human heart. Jesus says that already our intentions and imaginations towards evil are sinful.
In 1 Corinthians 13:5 we learn that love “thinketh no evil.” (KJV). Love that is acceptable in God’s eyes would be free of sinful and perverted sidelines.