B i b l e   S t u d y




Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to page two: More Bible Study Outlines.



June 17, 2018


SCRIPTURE: Matthew 15:1-9


KEY VERSE: This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8)


BACKGROUND: The following is a short summary of Matthew 15. Notice how Jesus responded to people. His disciples never knew what would happen next. We can check our own responses to life’s trials as we consider how He handled three different situations.


·        Jesus’ First Situation: Offended people (Matthew 15:1-20).


The Lord rejected the man-made traditions of the Pharisees and scribes because they focused on the outside and ignored the inner person. These men were plants that the Lord did not plant (Matthew 13:24-30) and blind guides who were leading people astray. “Let them alone!” was Jesus’ counsel.


·        Jesus’ Second Situation: Persistent people (Matthew 15:21-31).


Again, the Lord’s disciples were wrong. Jesus seemed to ignore the Syrophenician woman (whose daughter needed healing), but Jesus wanted only to increase her faith. Jesus’ delays are not His denials. He was ministering in Gentile territory, but the people “glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:31).


·        Jesus’ Third Situation: Hungry people (Matthew 15:32-39).


The Lord’s disciples had already forgotten the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. When we are faced with a crisis, we must take time to review God’s past mercies; reminding ourselves that He does not change.


INSIGHT: We should try to respond to people in 2018 the way Jesus responded. Ask God for discernment.


INTRODUCTION: Matthew chapter 15 continues the movement of Jesus the Messiah, and He is beginning now to move toward the cross. We have already seen His rejection and conflict with the religious rulers. This chapter advances the ministry of Jesus Christ to the very breaking point with the scribes and Pharisees. There is a lot of action here.




A. The religious rulers’ question. (Matthew 15:1-2)


(Matthew 15:1-2) Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.


1. The confrontation.


On the surface it may seem like a wonderful thing that the religious rulers had come all the way out to listen to Jesus. But, frankly, they hadn’t come all the way out to applaud Jesus or to accept Jesus’ teaching; they had come to criticize Him.


The scribes and the Pharisees had come all the way from Jerusalem. In Matthew 14 we find that Jesus and His disciples were way out in a desert place where the crowds couldn’t even get to a “hot dog stand;” so Jesus had to feed them.


2. The conflict.


Immediately we recognize that this was NOT a friendly visit. They did not accuse Him of breaking the Scriptures but of violating the traditions which they considered to be equal to the Scriptures. They wanted to know why His disciples did not wash their hands.


3. The ceremonial cleansing.


The scribes and the Pharisees were referring to religious ritual rather than to what we would consider a physical or sanitary washing. There are many people who feel that if you go through some sort of an outward ceremony and clean up on the outside, this is all that is necessary.


B. The Lord’s question. (Matthew 15:3)


(Matthew 15:3) But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?


Jesus accuses them of breaking the commandment of God with their traditions. Their traditions, you see, permitted a man to disobey God’s Law (an amazing thing) -- and they had a very clever way of doing it.




INSIGHT: Matthew 15:4-6 gives a part of Christ’s doctrine on “giving.”


(Matthew 15:4-6) For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother. It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.


A. Jesus wants us to honor our father and mother by supporting them.


The way the Pharisees and scribes got around that responsibility was to dedicate their money as a gift to God, and that would relieve them of supporting their parents. This gave a pious way out for a man to break the Mosaic Law.


INSIGHT: It’s been said that “the best way to test a Christian is by his pocketbook.” Follow the money! The barometer of the Christian today is how he handles his own money and how he handles God’s money. The religious rulers of Jesus’ day were helping men escape their responsibility.


B. Jesus wants us to know that it is God’s will that His people pay their honest debts.


Yes, I believe that God wants us to pay our honest debts. God wants us to take care of our PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES – this includes our FAMILY responsibilities. He wants us to meet the needs of our FAMILY.


INSIGHT: (True story.) There once was a man with a wild idea. This man came to his pastor on payday and wanted to give him half his income while his family went hungry. When the pastor found out, the two had quite a long talk, and at first the man was offended. Finally, the man saw that he was neglecting his own family, which is a tragic thing to do. It’s amazing how people try to escape a responsibility in a pious way.


III. GIVING LIP SERVICE. (Matthew 15:7-9)


A. Lip service is “vain worship.” (Matthew 15:7-9)


(Matthew 15:7-9) Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.


1. Jesus said the scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites.


“Hypocrite” is a horrible word in Scripture. Nothing quite corresponds to the word, “hypocrite,” but it did not have quite the meaning in that day that it does today. To us it is a scorching word, but in Jesus’ day it simply meant to “answer back.”


INSIGHT: The word hypocrite was used by an actor in a play. It means that an actor would receive a cue and then answer back. Jesus accused the scribes and Pharisees of playing at religion.


2. Jesus said that the scribes and Pharisees broke God’s Law by their traditions.


The religious leaders were eager to have people go through the ceremony of washing their hands, but they ignored the condition of the heart, which was the important thing to God. In a very pious way the religious leaders were breaking the Mosaic Law.


INSIGHT: We too are pretty good at rationalizing. Parents say to their children, “You wash your hands before you come to the table,” but they pay no attention to what their children see on television which is the thing that is damaging the heart. Of course, children should wash their hands, but what is on the INSIDE is far more important!


B. The contrast: “External Religion” and “Internal Redemption.” (Matthew 15:7-9)


(Matthew 15:7-9) Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.


INSIGHT: Jesus then goes on to explain His statement. Here are a few contrasts between external religion and internal redemption:


1. External Religion says "be clean physically and morally". Internal Redemption says, "Be born again and made into a new creature!"


2. External Religion says "A clean exterior makes a clean interior." Internal Redemption says "when the inside gets clean, it will clean up the outside."


3. External Religion says "You must develop some rules to govern your behavior." Internal Redemption says "I love God, therefore I will live right!"


4. External Religion says "Be faithful to your church, its practices and its teaching and you will be clean." Internal Redemption says "Be cleansed by Jesus Christ and you will be faithful to your church, its practices and its teachings."


5. External Religion is a manmade system of ritual, ceremony, laws and works. Internal Redemption is a work of God in the heart that produces a new creature!


INSIGHT: If there is a problem in our heart today, Jesus Christ can take it like it is and He can make it like it ought to be! According to the prophet Ezekiel, God can take away our faulty "hearts of stone" (Ezekiel 36:26) and replace them with new ones that will beat in turn with God's own heart. The Lord can save us from the deceptive work of our own heart! – Author Unknown


Agreeing With God
By Dave Branon


This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me (Matthew 15:8).


·        The caller to the radio program mentioned religion, so the radio talk show host began to rant about hypocrites.


“I can’t stand religious hypocrites,” he said. “They talk about religion, but they’re no better than I am. That’s why I don’t like all this religious stuff.”


·        This man didn’t realize it, but he was agreeing with God.


God has made it clear that He can’t stand hypocrisy either. It’s ironic, though, that something God opposes is used by some people as an excuse not to seek Him.


·        In Matthew 15:8-9 Jesus said this about hypocrisy:


This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.


·        Notice that this is what Jesus said to perhaps the biggest hypocrites of His day, the Pharisees.


In Matthew 23, He called them hypocrites -- not once, not twice, but seven times! They were religious people who were putting on a big show, but God knew their hearts. He knew they were far from Him.


·        Non-Christians who point out hypocrisy in us when they see it ARE RIGHT in doing so.


They are agreeing with God, who also despises hypocrisy. Our task is to make sure our lives honor the One who deserves our total dedication.


Hypocrisy is a common sin
That grieves the Lord above;
He longs for those who’ll worship Him
In faith and truth and love.
-- Bosch


 -- Adapted from Dave Branon, Our Daily Bread, April 23, 2009


CONCLUSION: What did our Bible study teach us today? It taught us that some people honor Jesus Christ with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. Their worship is a farce, because they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. What should WE do?


·        James 4:8 tells us to Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.


(1) As we study the Word of God,…


(2) As we confess our sins,…


(3) As we pray,…


(4) As we surrender our lives to Christ,…


(5) We DO draw nearer to God!


·        We are doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6).


The Bible way is the best way! We must do the right things in the right way. And we must practice what we preach!


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “The devil is content to let us profess Christianity as long as we do not practice it.”


* * *


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.



E-Mail: Ronald Purkey


·        Return to BIBLE STUDY OUTLINES


·        Return to HOME PAGE