Mark 4:33
And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
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(33-34) And with many such parables.—See Notes on Matthew 13:34-35. St. Mark’s omission of the reference to Psalm 78:2, and his addition of “as they were able to hear it,” are, each of them, characteristic. It may be noted that the “many such parables” of St. Mark imply something like the series which we find in St. Matthew.

4:21-34 These declarations were intended to call the attention of the disciples to the word of Christ. By his thus instructing them, they were made able to instruct others; as candles are lighted, not to be covered, but to be placed on a candlestick, that they may give light to a room. This parable of the good seed, shows the manner in which the kingdom of God makes progress in the world. Let but the word of Christ have the place it ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself in a good conversation. It grows gradually: first the blade; then the ear; after that the full corn in the ear. When it is sprung up, it will go forward. The work of grace in the soul is, at first, but the day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now, while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it is perfected in heaven!Spake he the word - The word of God. The doctrines of his gospel.

As they were able to hear it - As they could comprehend it. They were like children; and he was obliged to lead them along cautiously and by degrees to a full understanding of the plan of salvation.

33. And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it—Had this been said in the corresponding passage of Matthew, we should have concluded that what that Evangelist recorded was but a specimen of other parables spoken on the same occasion. But Matthew (Mt 13:34) says, "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables"; and as Mark records only some of the parables which Matthew gives, we are warranted to infer that the "many such parables" alluded to here mean no more than the full complement of them which we find in Matthew.Ver. 33,34. From hence we may gather that all the parables by which our Saviour instructed his hearers are not recorded by the evangelists, though many be, and some mentioned by one, some by two of them, which are not recorded by the other.

As they were able to hear it. Christ disdained not to accommodate his style and method of preaching to his hearers’ capacity, neither will any faithful minister of Christ do it: he preacheth in the best style, language, and method, that preacheth best to the capacity, understanding, and profit of his hearers. Other preachers do indeed but trifle with the greatest work under heaven, and please themselves with their own noises. That he did not speak without a parable unto them, was:

1. That he might speak with the best advantage for their understandings and their memories, and have the greater influence upon their affections; for similitudes have these three advantages.

2. That he might discern who came to hear him with a desire to learn, and be instructed by him, by their coming to him to inquire of his parables.

For although some of his parables were plain, and easy to be understood, yet others of them were dark sayings, because the doctrine taught by them was more mysterious; conscientious hearers would therefore come to have the parables expounded to them; these, were those disciples mentioned Mark 4:34, to whom be was wont to expound the parables in or by which he taught the multitude. For other common hearers, their contenting themselves with a mere hearing a sound of words, which they did not understand, was a sufficient indication that they made no conscience of their duty, but were such to whom it was not given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but such upon whom the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah was to be fulfilled, Mark 6:9,10.

And with many such parables,.... As those of the tares, of the leaven in three measures of meal, of the treasure hid in the field, the pearl of great price, the net cast into the sea, and of the Scribe instructed unto the kingdom of God; which though not related at length here, are by the Evangelist Matthew, in Matthew 13:24 together with others elsewhere:

spake he the word unto them; preached the Gospel to the multitude,

as they were able to hear it: meaning either that he condescended to their weakness, accommodated himself to their capacities, and made use of the plainest similes; and took his comparison from things in nature, the most known and obvious, that what he intended might more easily be understood; or rather, he spoke the word to them in parables, as they were able to hear, without understanding them; and in such a manner, on purpose that they might not understand; for had he more clearly expressed the things relating to himself, as the Messiah, and to the Gospel dispensation, so as that they could have took in his meaning, such were their pride, their wickedness, and the rancour of their minds, that they would have at once rose up, and attempted to have destroyed him.

And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, {k} as they were able to hear it.

(k) According to the ability of the hearers.

Mark 4:33 f. Comp. Matthew 13:34.

From τοιαύταις it follows that Mark knew yet more parables that were spoken at that time.

καθὼς ἠδύναντο ἀκούειν] As they were able (in virtue of their capacity) to take in the teaching. Not as though they could have apprehended the inner doctrinal contents of the parables (Mark 4:11), but they were capable of apprehending the narrative form, the parabolic narrative in itself, in which the teaching was veiled, so that they were thus qualified only in this form (καθώς) to hear the doctrine. Accordingly, ἀκούειν here is neither: to understand, nor equivalent to βαστάζειν, John 16:12 (Bengel, Kuinoel, and others), but the simple to hear, to perceive.

οὐκ ἐλάλει] at that time. See on Matthew 13:34. Baur indeed (see Markusevang. p. 24 f.) will not allow a limitation to the teaching at that time, but would draw the conclusion that Mark has perhaps not even regarded the Sermon on the Mount, such as Matthew has it, as being historical, and has given the foregoing parables as a substitute for it. But Mark himself certainly has doctrinal utterances of Jesus enough, which are not parabolical.

Mark 4:33-34. Conclusion of the parable collection (Matthew 13:34-35).

Mark 4:33. Καθὼς ἠδύναντο ἀκούειν, according as they were able to hear) They did not admit in their then state to have the truth more openly spoken to them.

Verses 33, 34. - With many such parables; such, that is, as he had just been delivering - plain and simple illustrations which all might understand; not abstruse and difficult similitudes, but sufficiently plain for them to perceive that there was heavenly and Divine truth lying hidden beneath them, so that they might be drawn onwards through that which they did understand, to search into something hidden beneath it, which at present they did not know. But privately to his own disciples he expounded (ἐπέλυε) all things. This word (ἐπιλύω) occurs nowhere else in the Gospels. But it does occur in St. Peter's second Epistle (2 Peter 1:20), "No Scripture is of any private (ἐπιλύσεως) exposition, or interpretation." This suggests a connection between St. Mark's Gospel and that Epistle, and may be accepted as an auxiliary evidence, however small, as to the genuineness of the Epistle. Mark 4:33Such

Implying that Mark knew yet more parables that were spoken at that time.

As they were able to hear it

Peculiar to Mark.

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