Mark 4:21

A Lamp Under a Basket

21 1And he said to them, 2"Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?

Mark 4:21 Meaning and Commentary

Mark 4:21

And he said unto them
At the same time, after he had explained the parable of the sower; for though the following parabolical and proverbial expressions were delivered by Christ at other, and different times, and some of them twice, as related by other evangelists; yet they might be all of them expressed or repeated at this time, by our Lord, showing why he explained the above parable to his disciples; and that though he delivered the mysteries of the Gospel in parables to them that were without, yet it was not his design that these things should be always kept a secret, and that from all men: for as the Gospel might be compared to seed, so likewise to a candle, the design and use of which is to give light to men: wherefore he asks,

is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and
not to be set on a candlestick?
when a candle is brought into a room, in the night, where company are together, to converse, or read, or work; is it proper that it should be covered with a bushel, or any other hollow vessel? or when brought into a bedchamber, is it right to put it under the bed? is it not most fitting and convenient, that it should be set in a candlestick, and then it will be of use to all in the room? so the Gospel, which is the candle of the Lord, he had lighted up in the evening of the Jewish world, in the land of Judea; it was not his will that it should be always, and altogether, and from all men, covered with parables, and dark sayings, without any explanation of them; but that the light of it should be communicated, especially to them his; disciples, who were to be the lights of the world, and which were to shine openly before men, for their good, and the glory of his heavenly Father; see ( Matthew 5:14-16 ) .

Mark 4:21 In-Context

19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
21 And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?
22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.
23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

Cross References 2

  • 1. For ver. 21-25, see Luke 8:16-18
  • 2. Matthew 5:15; Luke 11:33
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.