Mark 4:15
And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
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(15) In their hearts.—The better MSS. give simply, “in them.”

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.See the notes at Matthew 13:18-23. 15. And these are they by the wayside, where the word is sown; but, when they have heard, &c.—or, more fully (Mt 13:19), "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart." The great truth here taught is, that hearts all unbroken and hard are no fit soil for saving truth. They apprehend it not (Mt 13:19) as God's means of restoring them to Himself; it penetrates not, makes no impression, but lies loosely on the surface of the heart, till the wicked one—afraid of losing a victim by his "believing to salvation" (Lu 8:12)—finds some frivolous subject by whose greater attractions to draw off the attention, and straightway it is gone. Of how many hearers of the word is this the graphic but painful history! See Poole on "Mark 4:3"

And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown,.... Such hearers are represented by the way side, in which the seed fell; who, coming where the Gospel is preached, stop awhile and hear it, and so are only casual and accidental hearers of it:

but when they have heard; and indeed whilst they are hearing, and before they are well got out of the place of hearing,

Satan cometh immediately and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. The devil, signified by the fowl, or fowls of the air, immediately takes notice of such hearers, and is very busy with them; filling their minds with other things suitable to their dispositions, and setting before them other objects, whereby their minds are, at once, taken off from what they have been hearing; so that all that they have observed, and laid up in their memories, is lost at once, and never thought of any more.

And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Mark 4:15. οἱ παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν: elliptical for, those in whose case the seed falls along the way = the “way-side” men, and so in the other cases.—ὅπου for εἰς οὓς, Euthy. Zig.

15. Satan] See note above, Mark 3:23.

Mark 4:15. Ὅπου σπείρεται ὁ λόγος, where the word is sown) This clause is rather to be connected with what follows.—εὐθέως, immediately) Satan’s most favourite time for lying in wait.—ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις, in their hearts) This means more than into their hearts.

Verse 15. - Straightway cometh Satan. St. Matthew (Matthew 13:19) says, "then cometh (ὁ πονηρὸς) the evil one;" the same expression which our Lord uses in the Lord's Prayer, and which helps to justify the English rendering in the Revised Version there. As the seed failing by the wayside is refused by the hard and well-trodden ground, and so is readily picked up by the birds; in like manner, the seed of God's Word, falling upon a heart rendered callous by the custom of sinning, is straightway snatched away by "the evil one," urging the heart again to its accustomed sins. Well may we pray to be delivered from this "evil one." Mark 4:15
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