Mark 4:13
And he said to them, Know you not this parable? and how then will you know all parables?
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(13) How then will ye know all parables?—The question is peculiar to St. Mark, and suggests the thought of our Lord as contemplating for His disciples an ever-growing insight, not only into His own spoken parables, but into those of nature and of life. But if they were such slow scholars in this early stage, how was that insight to be imparted? The question is followed up by the answer. The first lesson in interpreting is given in that which is a pattern and exemplar of the method of interpretation.

Mark 4:13-20. Know ye not this parable — Which is, as it were, the foundation of all those that I shall speak hereafter; and is so easy to be understood? See notes on Matthew 13:19-23. The desires of other things choke the word — A deep and important truth! The desire of any thing, otherwise than as it leads to happiness in God, directly tends to barrenness of soul. Entering in — Where they were not before. Let him therefore who has received and retained the word, see that no other desire then enter in, such as perhaps till then he never knew. It becometh unfruitful — After the fruit had grown almost to perfection.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.Know ye not this parable? - This which is so plain and obvious.

How then will ye know all parables? - Those which are more difficult and obscure. As they were themselves to be "teachers," it was important that they should be acquainted with the whole system of religion - of much more importance for them at that time than for the mass of the people.

13. Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?—Probably this was said not so much in the spirit of rebuke, as to call their attention to the exposition of it which He was about to give, and so train them to the right apprehension of His future parables. As in the parables which we have endeavored to explain in [1425]Mt 13., we shall take this parable and the Lord's own exposition of the different parts of it together. See Poole on "Mark 4:3" And he saith unto them, know ye not this parable?.... So easy to be understood, taken from things common, and which fall under every one's observation:

and how then will you know all parables? if not this single one, and which is so plain, how will ye be able to understand the numerous parables hereafter to be related, and which will be much more difficult?

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
Mark 4:13-20. Explanation of the Sower (Matthew 13:18-23, Luke 8:11-15), prefaced by a gentle reproach that explanation should be needed.13. Know ye not this parable?] For it afforded the simplest type or pattern of a Parable.

all parables = all My Parables.Mark 4:13. Οὐκ οἴδατε, do ye not know) Jesus marks with reproof the question of the disciples.—καὶ πῶς, and how then) The parable concerning the seed is the primary and foudamental one [the foundation of all the others].—πάσας, all) constituting and comprising the perfect doctrine of Christ.Verse 13. - Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables? that is, "How, then, can you expect to understand all parables, as they ought to do who are instructed unto the kingdom of heaven?" It is St. Mark alone who recalls and records these words. They are striking and vivid, as illustrating the condition of mind of the disciples at this time - slow of apprehension, and yet desirous to learn. Peculiar to Mark.

Parables (τὰς παραβολὰς)

The parables, which I have spoken or may hereafter speak.

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