Mark 4

1 And again he began to teach by the sea side. And there is gathered unto him a very great multitude, so that he entered into a boat, and sat in the sea; and all the multitude were by the sea on the land.
2 And he taught them many things in parables, and said unto them in his teaching,
3 Hearken: Behold, the sower went forth to sow:
4 and it came to pass, as he sowed, some [seed] fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured it.
5 And other fell on the rocky [ground], where it had not much earth; and straightway it sprang up, because it had no deepness of earth:
6 and when the sun was risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And other fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
8 And others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing; and brought forth, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.
9 And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parables.
11 And he said unto them, Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables:
12 that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them.
13 And he saith unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables?
14 The sower soweth the word.
15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; and when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which hath been sown in them.
16 And these in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky [places], who, when they have heard the word, straightway receive it with joy;
17 and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway they stumble.
18 And others are they that are sown among the thorns; these are they that have heard the word,
19 and the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20 And those are they that were sown upon the good ground; such as hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.
21 And he said unto them, Is the lamp brought to be put under the bushel, or under the bed, [and] not to be put on the stand?
22 For there is nothing hid, save that it should be manifested; neither was [anything] made secret, but that it should come to light.
23 If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear.
24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete it shall be measured unto you; and more shall be given unto you.
25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.
26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth;
27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how.
28 The earth beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is ripe, straightway he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come.
30 And he said, How shall we liken the kingdom of God? or in what parable shall we set it forth?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown upon the earth, though it be less than all the seeds that are upon the earth,
32 yet when it is sown, groweth up, and becometh greater than all the herbs, and putteth out great branches; so that the birds of the heaven can lodge under the shadow thereof.
33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it;
34 and without a parable spake he not unto them: but privately to his own disciples he expounded all things.
35 And on that day, when even was come, he saith unto them, Let us go over unto the other side.
36 And leaving the multitude, they take him with them, even as he was, in the boat. And other boats were with him.
37 And there ariseth a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling.
38 And he himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion: and they awake him, and say unto him, Teacher, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye fearful? have ye not yet faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Mark 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

The parable of the sower. (1-20) Other parables. (21-34) Christ stills the tempest. (35-41)

Verses 1-20 This parable contained instruction so important, that all capable of hearing were bound to attend to it. There are many things we are concerned to know; and if we understand not the plain truths of the gospel, how shall we learn those more difficult! It will help us to value the privileges we enjoy as disciples of Christ, if we seriously consider the deplorable state of all who have not such privileges. In the great field of the church, the word of God is dispensed to all. Of the many that hear the word of the gospel, but few receive it, so as to bring forth fruit. Many are much affected with the word for the present, who yet receive no abiding benefit. The word does not leave abiding impressions upon the minds of men, because their hearts are not duly disposed to receive it. The devil is very busy about careless hearers, as the fowls of the air go about the seed that lies above ground. Many continue in a barren, false profession, and go down to hell. Impressions that are not deep, will not last. Many do not mind heart-work, without which religion is nothing. Others are hindered from profiting by the word of God, by abundance of the world. And those who have but little of the world, may yet be ruined by indulging the body. God expects and requires fruit from those who enjoy the gospel, a temper of mind and Christian graces daily exercised, Christian duties duly performed. Let us look to the Lord, that by his new-creating grace our hearts may become good ground, and that the good seed of the word may produce in our lives those good words and works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.

Verses 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!

Verses 35-41 Christ was asleep in the storm, to try the faith of his disciples, and to stir them up to pray. Their faith appeared weak, and their prayers strong. When our wicked hearts are like the troubled sea which cannot rest, when our passions are unruly, let us think we hear the law of Christ, saying, Be silent, be dumb. When without are fightings, and within are fears, and the spirits are in a tumult, if he say, "Peace, be still," there is a great calm at once. Why are ye so fearful? Though there may be cause for some fear, yet not for such fear as this. Those may suspect their faith, who can have such a thought as that Jesus careth not though his people perish. How imperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take their turns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will be overcome, and faith will be lost in sight.

Mark 4 Commentaries