|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-20 This parable contained instruction so important, that all capable of hearing were bound to attend to it. There are many things we are concerned to know; and if we understand not the plain truths of the gospel, how shall we learn those more difficult! It will help us to value the privileges we enjoy as disciples of Christ, if we seriously consider the deplorable state of all who have not such privileges. In the great field of the church, the word of God is dispensed to all. Of the many that hear the word of the gospel, but few receive it, so as to bring forth fruit. Many are much affected with the word for the present, who yet receive no abiding benefit. The word does not leave abiding impressions upon the minds of men, because their hearts are not duly disposed to receive it. The devil is very busy about careless hearers, as the fowls of the air go about the seed that lies above ground. Many continue in a barren, false profession, and go down to hell. Impressions that are not deep, will not last. Many do not mind heart-work, without which religion is nothing. Others are hindered from profiting by the word of God, by abundance of the world. And those who have but little of the world, may yet be ruined by indulging the body. God expects and requires fruit from those who enjoy the gospel, a temper of mind and Christian graces daily exercised, Christian duties duly performed. Let us look to the Lord, that by his new-creating grace our hearts may become good ground, and that the good seed of the word may produce in our lives those good words and works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.
Verse 10. - When he was alone. These words do not appear in St. Matthew's account. He simply says that " the disciples came and said unto him." This must have been upon some other occasion. It could not have been when be was preaching from the boat; for St. Mark says, they that were about him with the twelve. He is the only evangelist who notices this. We must not forget that, besides the twelve, there were seventy other disciples. They asked of him the parables (τὰς παραβολάς), according to the best reading. The inquiry was a general one, although St. Mark here gives the explanation of one only.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when he was alone,.... After the multitude was dismissed, and he either remained in the ship, or left it, and retired to some private place, it may be to Simon's house in Capernaum. The Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, "when they were alone"; meaning as follows,
they that were about him with the twelve; that is, such disciples of his, who, besides the twelve, constantly attended him; perhaps those who now were, or hereafter were the seventy disciples. The Vulgate Latin reads, "the twelve that were with him". In Beza's most ancient copy it is read, "his disciples"; and to this agrees the Persic version; and so the other evangelists, Matthew and Luke, relate, that his disciples came and
asked of him the parable; the meaning of it, and why he chose this way of speaking to the people, Matthew 13:10, though that word may include others besides the twelve.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve—probably those who followed Him most closely and were firmest in discipleship, next to the Twelve.
asked of him the parable—The reply would seem to intimate that this parable of the sower was of that fundamental, comprehensive, and introductory character which we have assigned to it (see on Mt 13:1).
Reason for Teaching in Parables (Mr 4:11, 12, 21-25).
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