Mark 4
People's New Testament
And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
4:1 Teaching the Parables


The Sower, the Seed, the Soil. The Parable Explained. The Candle Under a Bushel. The Seed Growing Secretly. The Grain of Mustard Seed. The Storm on the Sea.

He began again to teach by the sea side. This is the first recorded teaching in parables. For notes on the parable of the Sower, see Mt 13:1-23. Compare Lu 8:4-15. Mark's report is nearly that of Matthew, word for word, as well as of the explanation that follows. Matthew gives much the fullest account of this day's teaching, reporting a number of parables not found elsewhere.

And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
4:12 That seeing they may see. Matthew gives this saying more fully and clearly. See notes on Mt 13:13,14.
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
The sower soweth the word.
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.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
4:21 Is a candle... put under a bushel? The Jews used lamps instead of candles. These were set on, not a candlestick, but a light stand. See PNT Mt 5:15. It is possible that these words, as well as Mr 4:24, were not spoken on this day, but borrowed from the Sermon on the Mount, because they are parables of a certain kind.
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.
4:24 Take heed what ye hear. Lu 8:18 says, 'How' you hear. Both admonitions are very important. Our ears should be deaf to evil counsel. We should hear attentively, earnestly and devoutly the word of the Lord.
For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
4:26 So is the kingdom of God. This parable is given only by Mark, but its general lesson is enforced by parallel passages, e.g. Isa 55:10,11 Jas 5:7,8 1Pe 1:23-25. In the kingdom of grace, as in nature, we are laborers together with God; the results of our work depend on him, and for the perfection of these results he takes his own time (1Co 3:6-9). Hence, (1) it is ours to sow the seed (the truth), his to give it growth; (2) having sown, we are to wait for time and God to perfect it; (3) this he does according to the definite order of development--first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear; (4) not until there has been time for the development, are we to expect to reap. The lesson is one of trust and hope.

Should cast seed. The word of God, the Gospel.

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
4:27 Should sleep, and rise, etc. While giving the seed sown time to germinate and come forth.
For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
4:28 First the blade. There is a law of orderly development in natural growth, so also is it in reference to spiritual growth. Compare 1Jo 2:12-14. Some growths are quicker than others, but in all there is growth. And we have no right to look for the end at the beginning, the ripened Christian experience in the young convert, the full corn in the first appearance of the blade. Observe, too, that we can know that there is growth by its results, though we know not how, and that each stage of the growth is more apparent than the preceding stage.
But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
4:29 Immediately he putteth in the sickle. The time of harvest is when the fruit is ripe; in this instance when the word had produced faith, repentance and obedience. Then those who exhibit the fruit are to be gathered into the church.
And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
4:31 Like a grain of mustard seed. See note on Mt 13:31-35. Compare Lu 13:18-19.
But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
4:34 Without a parable, etc. See notes on Mt 13:36-43.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
4:35 The same day. The days the parables were uttered.

Unto the other side. Of the sea of Galilee.

And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
4:37 There arose a great storm of wind. See notes on Mt 8:23-27. Compare Lu 8:22-25. The Sea of Galilee lies 600 feet below the level of the Mediterranean and has a tropical climate. Only a short distance north are the high mountains of Lebanon. The heated air about the sea invites the rush of cold waves from the mountains.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
4:41 They feared exceedingly. The disciples in the boat. Such an astounding display of power, the control of the storm in which are as helpless as infants, filled them with awe. What manner of being could he be whom storm, wind, and sea obeyed? They had not yet learned that the word which the sea obeyed was the word in obedience to which the world itself was made.
The People's New Testament by B.W. Johnson [1891]

Bible Hub
Mark 3
Top of Page
Top of Page