Mark 4
Vincent's Word Studies
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.

He had taught there before. See Mark 3:7-9.

In the sea

Mark only.

There was gathered (συνάγεται)

The A. V. misses Mark's graphic use of the present, "There is gathered." So Rev.

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.
Choked (συνέπνιξαν)

The preposition, συν equals con (together), carries the idea of compression.

It yielded no fruit

Added by Mark.

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.
That sprang up and increased (ἀναβαίνοντα καὶ αὐξανόμενον)

The Rev. literally renders the participles, growing up and increasing, thus describing the process more vividly. These two participles, moreover, explain the use of the imperfect tense ἐδίδου (yielded), denoting continuance. It began to yield and kept yielding as it increased.

Thirty (εἰς τριάκοντα)

Lit., up to thirty.

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.
When he was alone

Mark only.

They that were about him with the twelve

Mark only. Matthew and Luke, the disciples.

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:
Unto them that are without (ἐκείνοις τοῖς ἔξω)

The two latter words are peculiar to Mark. The phrase means those outside of our circle. Its sense is always determined by the contrast to it. Thus, 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 5:13, it is non-Christians in contrast with me. Colossians 4:5, Christians contrasted with people of the world. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 3:7. Matthew (Matthew 13:11), with less precision, uses simply ἐκείνοις (to them), the pronoun of remote reference. Luke 8:10, τοῖς λοιποῖς (to the rest).

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.
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
Peculiar to Mark.

Parables (τὰς παραβολὰς)

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

The sower soweth the word.
The sower soweth the word

More precise than either Matthew or Luke. Compare Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:11.

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.
The lusts of other things entering in (αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι)

Lusts, not in the limited sense of mere sexual desire, but in the general sense of longing. The word is also used of desire for good and lawful things (Luke 22:15; Philippians 1:23).

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.
Such as

A good rendering of the pronoun οἵτινες, which indicates the class of hearers.

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?
A candle (ὁ λύχνος)

Properly, the lamp, as Rev.

Brought (ἔρχεται)

Lit., cometh. Doth the lamp come ? This impersonation or investing the lamp with motion is according to Mark's lively mode of narrative, as is the throwing of the passage into the interrogative form. Compare Luke 8:16. The lamp: the article indicating a familiar household implement. So also "the bed" and "the stand."

Bushel (μόδιον)

The Latin modius. One of Mark's Latin words. See on Matthew 5:15. The modius was nearer a peck than a bushel.

Bed (κλίνην)

A couch for reclining at table.

Candlestick (λυχνίαν)

Rev., correctly, stand; i.e., lampstand. See on Matthew 5:15.

For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
Which shall not be manifested (ἐὰν μὴ ἵνα φανερωθῇ)

The A. V. makes Christ say that every hidden thing shall be revealed. This is wrong. He says that things are hidden in order that they may be manifested. Concealment is a means to revelation.

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.
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;
Should cast (βάλῃ)

Lit., should have cast, the aorist tense, followed by the presents sleep and rise (καθεύδῃ and ἐγείρηται). The whole, literally, "As if a man should have cast seed into the ground, and should be sleeping and rising night and day." The aorist tense indicates the single act of casting; the presents the repeated, continued sleeping and rising while the seed is growing.

Seed (τὸν σπόρον)

The seed; that particular seed which he had to sow. Such is the force of the article.

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
Grow (μηκύνηται)

Lit., lengthen; be extended by the seed lengthening out into blade and stalk.

He knoweth not how (ὡς οὐκ οἶδεν αὐτός)

The Greek order is very lively: how knoweth not he.

For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
Of herself (αὐτομάτη)

Lit., self-acting. It occurs in only one other passage of the New Testament, Acts 12:10; of the city gate which opened to Peter of its own accord.

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
Is brought forth (παραδοῖ)

This rendering cannot be correct, for the verb is active, not passive, meaning to deliver up. Hence it is usually explained, shall have delivered itself up to harvest; which is stilted and artificial. Rev. is ripe, is a free rendering from the margin of A.V. It is, perhaps, better to explain, as Meyer does, whose rendering is adopted by Rev. in margin: When the fruit shall have allowed, i.e., shall have admitted of being harvested. Xenophon and Herodotus use the word in the sense of permit or allow; and an exact parallel to this occurs in the historian Polybius (xxii., 24, 9): "When the season permitted (παραδιδούσης)."

Putteth in (ἀποστέλλει)

Lit., sendeth forth. So Rev. in margin. The rendering, putteth in, misses the figure. The verb is the same as that used of sending forth the apostles to reap the harvest of souls. See especially John 4:38 : "I sent (ἀπέστειλα) you to reap."

And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
Peculiar to Mark.

With what comparison shall we compare it? (ἐν τίνι αὐτὴν παραβολῇ θῶμεν;)

Lit., In what parable might we put it? Rev., In what parable shall we set it forth ? Note the we, taking the hearers, with a fine tact, into consultation.

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:
When it is sown (ὅταν σπαρῇ)

This phrase is repeated in Mark 4:32. Here the emphasis is on ὅταν, when. It is small at the time when it is sown. In Mark 4:32 the emphasis is on σπαρῇ, it is sown. It begins to grow great from the time when it is sown.

That are upon the earth

A little detail peculiar to Mark.

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.
Groweth up

Mark only.

Herbs (τῶν λαχάνων)

Rev., rightly, the herbs; those which people are wont to plant in their gardens. The word denotes garden - or pot-herbs, as distinguished from wild herbs.

Shooteth out great branches (ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους)

Lit., maketh, etc. Rev., putteth out. Peculiar to Mark. Matthew has becometh a tree. On branches, see note on Matthew 24:32. One of the Talmudists describes the mustard-plant as a tree, of which the wood was sufficient to cover a potter's shed. Another says that he was wont to climb into it as men climb into a fig-tree. Professor Hackett says that on the plain of Akka, toward Carmel, he found a collection of mustard-plants from six to nine feet high, with branches from each side of a trunk an inch or more in thickness. Dr. Thomson relates that near the bank of the Jordan he found a mustard-tree more than twelve feet high.

Lodge (κατασκηνοῦν)

See on Matthew 8:20. Lit., pitch their tents.

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

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

As they were able to hear it

Peculiar to Mark.

But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
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.
Even as he was in the ship

Rev., boat. Just as he was, in the boat in which he was then sitting. Mark adds the detail about the accompanying boats.

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
Storm (λαῖλαψ)

So Luke. Distinctively a furious storm or hurricane. Compare Septuagint, Job 38:1, of the whirlwind out of which God answered Job. See, also, Job 21:18. Matthew uses σεισμὸς a shaking. See on Matthew 8:24. Mr. Macgregor ("Rob Roy on the Jordan") says that "on the sea of Galilee the wind has a singular force and suddenness; and this is no doubt because that sea is so deep in the world that the sun rarefies the air in it enormously, and the wind, speeding swiftly above a long and level plateau, gathers much force as it sweeps through flat deserts, until suddenly it meets this huge gap in the way, and it tumbles down here irresistible."

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?
A pillow (τὸ προσκεφάλαιον)

The definite article indicates a well-known part of the boat's equipment - the coarse leathern cushion at the stern for the steersman. The Anglo-Saxon version has bolster.

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.
Peace, be still (σιώπα, πεφίμωσο)

Lit., be silent! be muzzled! Wyc., rather tamely, wax dumb! How much more vivid than the narratives of either Matthew or Luke is this personification and rebuke of the sea as a raging monster.

Ceased (ἐκόπασεν)

From κόπος meaning, 1, beating; 2, toil; 3, weariness. A beautiful and picturesque word. The sea sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating.

There was (ἐγένετο)

More strictly, there arose or ensued. The aorist tense indicates something immediate. Tynd. has followed.


Wyc., peaceableness.

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?
They feared exceedingly (ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν)

Lit., they feared a great fear.

What manner of man is this? (τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν)

The A. V. is rather a rendering of Matthew's ποταπός, what manner of (Matthew 8:27), than of Mark's τίς, who. The Rev. gives it rightly: Who then is this ? The then (ἄρα) is argumentative. Since these things are so, who then is this

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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