Mark 4:2
And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
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(2) In his doctrine.—Better, in His teaching.

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 parable of the sower explained in the notes at Matthew 13:1-9.

See the parable of the sower explained in the notes at Matthew 13:1-9.

2. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine—or "teaching."

Parable of the Sower (Mr 4:3-9, 13-20).

See Poole on "Mark 4:1"

And he taught them many things by parables,.... As he sat in the ship, and they stood on shore;

and said unto them in his doctrine; as he was teaching them, and delivering unto them the doctrine he had received from his Father: though the Jews say (c), that

"the Israelites will have no need , "of the doctrine of the king Messiah, in the time to come"; because it is said, "unto him shall the Gentiles seek", and not the Israelites.''

But it appears from hence, and many other places, that the Israelites both stood in need of his doctrine, and sought after it; and very excellent it was; the doctrine of God, and of the grace of God; and was spoken with authority, and in such a manner as never man spake, and which he delivered to his apostles; and which, if ministers bring not with them, should not be bid God speed.

(c) Bereshit Rabba, sect 98. fol. 85. 3.

And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
Mark 4:2. πολλά: a vague expression, but implying that the staple of that day’s teaching consisted of parables, probably all more or less of the same drift as the parable of the Sower, indicating that in spite of the ever-growing crowds Jesus was dissatisfied with the results of His popular ministry in street and synagogue = much seed-sowing, little fruit. The formation of the disciple-circle had revealed that dissatisfaction in another way. Probably some of the parables spoken in the boat have not been preserved, the Sower serving as a sample.—ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ α. In the teaching of that day He said inter alia what follows.

2. by parables] (i) The Greek word thus rendered denotes (a) a placing beside, (b) a comparing, a comparison. In Hellenistic Greek it became coextensive with the Hebrew mâshâl = similitude. (ii) In this sense it is applied

(1)  In the Old Testament, to—

(a)  The shortest proverbs: as 1 Samuel 10:12, “Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Samuel 24:13, “As saith the proverb of the ancients;” 2 Chronicles 7:20, “I will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.”

(b)  Dark prophetic utterances: as Numbers 23:7, “And he took up his parable and said;” Ezekiel 20:49, “Ah Lord God! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?

(c)  Enigmatic maxims: as Psalm 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable;Proverbs 1:6, “the words of the wise and their dark sayings.”

(2)  In the Gospels, to—

(a)  Short sayings: as Luke 4:23, “Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself.”

(b)  A comparison without a narrative: as Mark 13:28, “Now learn its parable of the fig tree” (see note in loc.).

(c)  Comparisons with narratives of earthly things with heavenly, as the Parables of our Lord.

Verse 2. - He taught them many things in parables. This was a new system of teaching. For some months he had taught directly. But as he found that this direct teaching was met in some quarters with unbelief and scorn, he abandoned it for the less direct method of the parable. The parable (παραβολή) is etymologically the setting forth of one thing by the side of another, so that the one may be compared with the other. The parable is the truth presented by a similitude. It differs from the proverb inasmuch as it is necessarily figurative. The proverb may be figurative, but it need not of necessity be figurative. The parable is often an expanded proverb, and the proverb a condensed parable. There is but one Hebrew word for the two English words "parable" and "proverb," which may account for their being frequently interchanged. The proverb (Latin) is a common sentiment generally accepted. The parable (Greek) is something put by the side of something else. Theologically, it is something in the world of nature which finds its counterpart in the world of spirit. The parable attracts attention, and so becomes valuable as a test of character. It reveals the seekers after truth, those who love the light. It withdraws the light from those who love darkness. And said unto them in his doctrine (ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ); literally, in his teaching, namely, that particular mode of teaching which he bad just introduced; "he taught them" (ἐδίδασκεν). He said, "in his teaching" (ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ). Mark 4:2
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