Mark 4
International Standard Version

The Parable about a Farmer

(Matthew 13:1-9; Luke 8:4-18)

1Then Jesusa began to teach again beside the sea. Such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it,b while the entire crowd remained beside the sea on the shore. 2He began teaching them many things in parables. While he was teaching them he said, 3“Listen! A farmer went out to sow. 4As he was sowing, some seeds fell along the path, and birds came and ate them up. 5Others fell on stony ground, where they didn’t have a lot of soil. They sprouted at once, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6But when the sun came up, they were scorched. Since they didn’t have any roots, they dried up. 7Others fell among thorn bushes, and the thorn bushes came up and choked them out, and they didn’t produce anything. 8But others fell on good soil and produced a crop. They grew up, increased in size, and produced 30, 60, or 100 times what was sown.”c 9He added, “Let the person who has ears to hear, listen!”

The Purpose of the Parables

(Matthew 13:10-17; Luke 8:9-10)

10When he was alone with the Twelve and those around him, they began to ask him about the parables. 11He told them, “The secret about the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything comes in parables 12so that

‘they may see clearly but not perceive,

and they may hear clearly but not understand,

otherwise they might turn around and be forgiven.’”d

Jesus Explains the Parable about the Farmer

(Matthew 13:18-23; Luke 8:11-15)

13Then he told them, “You don’t understand this parable, so how can you understand any of the parables? 14The farmer sows the word. 15Some people are like the seedse along the path, where the word is sown. When they hear it, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16Others are like the seedsf sown on the stony ground. When they hear the word, at once they joyfully accept it, 17but since they don’t have any roots, they last for only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes along because of the word, they immediately fall away. 18Still others are like the seedsg sown among the thorn bushes. These are the people who hear the word, 19but the worries of life, the deceitful pleasures of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word so that it can’t produce a crop. 20Others are like the seedsh sown on good soil. They hear the word, accept it, and produce crops—30, 60, or 100 times what was sown.”i

A Light under a Basket

(Luke 8:16-18)

21Then Jesusj told them, “A lamp isn’t brought indoors to be put under a basket or under a bed, is it? It’s to be put on a lamp stand, isn’t it? 22Nothing is hidden except for the purpose of having it revealed, and nothing is secret except for the purpose of having it come to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!

24He went on to say to them, “Pay attention to what you’re hearing! You will be evaluated by the same standard with which you do your evaluating, and still more will be given to you, 25because whoever has something, will have more given to him. But whoever has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.”

The Parable about a Growing Seed

26He was also saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seeds on the ground. 27He sleeps and gets up night and day while the seeds sprout and grow, although he doesn’t know how 28the ground produces grain by itself—first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, he immediately starts cutting with his sickle because the harvest time has come.”

The Parable about a Mustard Seed

(Matthew 13:31-32; Luke 13:18-19)

30He was also saying, “How can we show what the kingdom of God is like, or what parable can we use to describe it? 31It’s like a mustard seed planted in the ground. Although it’s the smallest ofk all the seeds on earth, 32when it’s planted it comes up and becomes larger than all the garden plants. It grows such large branches that the birds in the sky can nest in its shade.”

Why Jesus Used Parables

(Matthew 13:34-35)

33With many other parables like these, Jesusl kept speaking his message to them according to their ability to understand. 34He did not tell them anything without usingm a parable, though he explained everything to his disciples in private.

Jesus Calms the Sea

(Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25)

35That day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross to the other side.” 36So they left the crowd and took him away in a boat without making any special preparations.n Other boats were with him. 37A violent windstorm came up, and the waves began breaking into the boat, so that the boat was rapidlyo becoming swamped.

38But Jesusp was in the back of the boat, asleep on a cushion. So they woke him up and asked him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to die?”

39Then he got up, rebuked the wind, and told the sea, “Calm down! Be still!” Then the wind stopped blowing, and there was a great calm. 40He asked them, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith yet?”

41Overcome with fear, they kept saying to one another, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”


Footnotes:
a 4:1 Lit. he
b 4:1 Lit. on the sea
c 4:8 The Gk. lacks what was sown
d 4:12 Cf. Isa 6:9-10
e 4:15 Lit. These are the ones
f 4:16 Lit. These are the ones
g 4:18 Lit. are those
h 4:20 Lit. are those
i 4:20 The Gk. lacks what was sown
j 4:21 Lit. he
k 4:31 Or smaller than
l 4:33 Lit. he
m 4:34 The Gk. lacks using
n 4:36 Lit. boat just as he was
o 4:37 Lit. already
p 4:38 Lit. he



The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY.

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