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Mark 4:1-20

The Story of the Farmer

1 Again Jesus began to teach by the Sea of Galilee. The crowd that gathered around him was very large. So he got into a boat. He sat down in it out on the lake. All the people were along the shore at the water's edge.
2 He taught them many things by using stories. In his teaching he said,
3 "Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed.
4 He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up.
5 Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn't much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn't deep.
6 When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots.
7 Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. So the plants did not bear grain.
8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It grew up and produced a crop 30, 60, or even 100 times more than the farmer planted."
9 Then Jesus said, "Those who have ears should listen."
10 Later Jesus was alone. The Twelve asked him about the stories. So did the others around him.
11 He told them, "The secret of God's kingdom has been given to you. But to outsiders everything is told by using stories.
12 In that way, " 'They will see but never know what they are seeing. They will hear but never understand. Otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' " (Isaiah 6:9,10)
13 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this story? Then how will you understand any stories of this kind?
14 The seed the farmer plants is God's message.
15 What is seed scattered on a path like? The message is planted. The people hear the message. Then Satan comes. He takes away the message that was planted in them.
16 And what is seed scattered on rocky places like? The people hear the message. At once they receive it with joy.
17 But they have no roots. So they last only a short time. They quickly fall away from the faith when trouble or suffering comes because of the message.
18 And what is seed scattered among thorns like? The people hear the message.
19 But then the worries of this life come to them. Wealth comes with its false promises. The people also long for other things. All of those are the kinds of things that crowd out the message. They keep it from producing fruit.
20 And what is seed scattered on good soil like? The people hear the message. They accept it. They produce a good crop 30, 60, or even 100 times more than the farmer planted."
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