The Gospel According to Mark

Chapter 4

The parable of the sower, 1-13, and the meaning thereof, 14-20. We must communicate the light of our knowledge to others, 21-25. The parable of the seed growing secretly, 26-29; and of the mustard seed, 30-34. Christ stills the tempest on the sea, 35-41.

1 And he began again to teach by the sea-side. And there was gathered to him a great multitude so that he entered into a boat and sat on the sea, while the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. 2 And he taught them many things by parables and said to them in his doctrine, 3 "Listen. Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it came to pass as he sowed, some fell by the wayside and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 And some fell on stony ground where it did not have much earth. And immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun had risen, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And others fell on good ground and yielded fruit that sprang up, increased, and brought forth, some thirty-, some sixty-, and some one hundred-fold." 9 And he said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

10 And when he was alone, those who were around him, with the twelve, asked of him the parable. 11 And he said to them, "To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all these things are done in parables, 12 So 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.

13 And he said to them, "Do you not know this parable? And how then will you know all parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are those by the wayside where the word is sown, but when they have heard, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And likewise, these are those who are sown on stony ground, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness, 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time. Afterward, when affliction or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they relapse. 18 And these are those who are sown among thorns: those who hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And these are those who are sown on good ground: those who hear the word, receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty-, some sixty-, and some one hundred-fold."

21 And he said to them, "Is a candle brought to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not to be set on a candlestick? 22 For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested, neither has anything been kept secret, but that it should come abroad. 23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." 24 And he said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the measure which you give, it shall be measured to you. And to you who hear, more shall be given. 25 For he who has, to him shall be given, and he who does not have, even that which he has shall be taken from him."

26 And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed into the ground. 27 And he sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed springs and grows up, though he does not know how. 28 For the earth brings forth fruit of itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he puts in the sickle because the harvest has come."

30 And he said, "To what shall we compare the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard-seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that are in the earth. 32 But when it is sown, it grows up, becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out great branches so that the 'birds of the air may lodge under its shade.'"

33 And with many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable he did not speak to them. And when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

35 And the same day, when the evening had come, he says to them, "Let us pass over to the other side." 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the boat. And there were also with him other small boats. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the back part of the boat asleep on a pillow. And they wake him, and say to him, "Master, do you not care that we perish?" 39 And he arose, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still," and the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 And he said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"


Matthew Henry Commentary - Mark, Chapter 4[➚]


[v.1-12] - Gospel Link: Matthew 13:1-15; Luke 8:4-10.

[v.10-12] - Reference, Matthew 13:10-13; Luke 8:10.

[v.11] - Reference, Deuteronomy 29:29.

[v.12a] - Quoting Isaiah 6:10 (LXX).

[v.12b] - Gospel Link: John 12:40.

[v.13-20] - Gospel Link: Matthew 13:18-23; Luke 8:11-15.

[v.13] - "how then will you know all parables?" - When Jesus says this, He is trying to get His disciples—and also anyone who hears or reads His words—to understand that His parables are to be seen from an eternal, or Heaven-ward, perspective. Christ's parables are for His followers to hear and understand, and therefore, bring them to understand the Gospel of Christ. Jesus makes this clear in the passage of Matthew 13:10-13. In that passage, Jesus' disciples asked Him why He spoke in parables. His response was this: "Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." By, "you," Christ is speaking of His followers, or Christians; by, "them," He is referring to non-believers.

[v.21] - Gospel Link: Matthew 5:15; Luke 8:16, 11:33.

[v.22] - Gospel Link: Matthew 10:26; Luke 8:17.

[v.24-25] - Gospel Link: Luke 8:18.

[v.24] - Gospel Link: Matthew 7:2; Luke 6:38.

[v.30-32] - Gospel Link: Matthew 13:31-32; Luke 13:18-19.

[v.32] - Quoting Ezekiel 17:23. Also possibly quoting, Ezekiel 31:6; Daniel 4:12. See also the comment for Matthew 13:32.

[v.33-34] - Gospel Link: Matthew 13:34.

[v.35-41] - Gospel Link: Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25.