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Mark 4:1-34 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 He went back to teaching by the sea. A crowd built up to such a great size that he had to get into an offshore boat, using the boat as a pulpit as the people pushed to the water's edge. 1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge.
2 He taught by using stories, many stories. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
3 "Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. 3 "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
4 As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5 Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
6 so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
7 Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
8 Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."
9 "Are you listening to this? Really listening?" 9 Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
10 When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. 10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
11 He told them, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom - you know how it works. But to those who can't see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. 11 He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables
12 These are people - Whose eyes are open but don't see a thing, Whose ears are open but don't understand a word, Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven." 12 so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' "
13 He continued, "Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way. 13 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
14 "The farmer plants the Word. 14 The farmer sows the word.
15 Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
16 "And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
17 But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18 "The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;
19 but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it. 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
20 "But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams." 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
21 Jesus went on: "Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don't you put it up on a table or on the mantel? 21 He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?
22 We're not keeping secrets, we're telling them; we're not hiding things, we're bringing them out into the open. 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.
23 "Are you listening to this? Really listening? 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."
24 "Listen carefully to what I am saying - and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. 24 "Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more.
25 Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes." 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
26 Then Jesus said, "God's kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man 26 He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.
27 who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows - he has no idea how it happens. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.
28 The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.
29 When the grain is fully formed, he reaps - harvest time! 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
30 "How can we picture God's kingdom? What kind of story can we use? 30 Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?
31 It's like a pine nut. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.
32 yet once it is planted it grows into a huge pine tree with thick branches. Eagles nest in it." 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."
33 With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. 33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
34 He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.