From Mark 7:13:

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Although this sentence may be incomplete, I am wondering what component the part "of none effect" acts as in this sentence. Is it object complement?

  • This does not make sense in modern English, and I am surprised to find that it apparently was grammatical at the the time of the KjV.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 11:51
  • 1
    The New International Version makes the sense clearer in modern English: "Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that." I'm not sure that helps with the OP's question though.
    – ClickRick
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 12:34

3 Answers 3


The phrase of none effect is an archaic version of:

of no effect

Nowadays we see an alternation between the so-called determiner no and the pronoun none, such that when there is a following noun we use no, and when there isn't a following noun we use none. In response to Can I have one of your apples, therefore, we might observe either of the following:

  • I have no apples.
  • I have none.

However, the modern determiner no is derived from older determiner (not pronoun) none. In later English, when used as a determiner, none was used before vowels and h, and no was used before consonants.

This of course mirrors present-day usage of the determiners a and an, where a occurs before consonant sounds and an before vowels:

  • a pineapple
  • an apple

At around the time of the King James bible, 1611, the use of none as a pre-vowel determiner (as opposed to as a pronoun) had nearly entirely died out. One exception to this was the phrase of none effect, which we see in the Original Poster's example.

This usage has now also disappeared although it survived well into the nineteenth century. We do have one last vestige of it in modern English, though. It still survives in the phrase:

none other than ...

To be entirely in keeping with modern usage this should really be:

no other than ...

In their question the Original Poster asks what role the phrase of none effect plays. The verb phrase in question is equivalent to:

... making the word of God of no effect.

The main verb here is making. It has two complements: the noun phrase the word of God, which is a direct object; and the prepositional phrase of none effect, which functions as a predicative complement ( - object complement). It is so-called because it describes an attribute of the direct object. This is as the Original Poster suspected. Syntactically, the phrase mirrors the structure of:

made the headmistress out of sorts.

**Readers who are able to log-in to the Oxford English Dictionary may be interested in the following: Determiner None OED

  • @F.E. Thanks F.E., am missing your interesting posts ... (As I'm sure are others) :( Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 0:02
  • Excellent answer, with just one relevant detail not included: the reason that this distinction between no and none mirrors that of a and an is that they both come from the same word: one (OE ān). A/an is simply the word ‘one’ in an unstressed position, while no/none is the whittled-down descendant of OE nān, from ne ān ‘not one’. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 10:21
  • @JanusBahsJacquet If you'd like to edit the point into my answer to improve it for ther readers, please feel free. Am not too confident on the OE myself! Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 13:38

Verse 13 does not contain the entire sentence, which begins in verse 12. Thus the whole sentence is:

12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

The phrase of none effect is an object complement in the sentence. The word translated of none effect means to nullify, disallow, or invalidate.



The full context of this passage begins with Mark 7:1. Without this context it is not possible to properly render what is being said (using RSV):

1 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.)

5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?"

6 And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' 8 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."

9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die'; 11 but you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God)-- 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do."

As is stated in the Navarre Bible Commentary Jesus "explains the scope of the 4th Commandment and points out the mistakes made by Jewish casuistry.

Corban (offerings for the alter) the Navarre Bible Commentary explains, "People educated in this kind of thinking felt they were keeping the 4th commandment (to honor father and mother)... but in fact it meant that under the cloak of piety, they were leaving elderly parents to fend for themselves" thus nullifying the teaching of God.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.