Mark Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Mark 4:1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

Mark 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

parables. Of the seven parables of the kingdom, Mark only includes in his account the parables of the sower (Mark 4:3-20) and the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32). On these and the other parables, see notes on Matthew 13.

doctrine. “Doctrine” is the same Greek word as “teaching.”

Mark 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

Mark 4:4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

Mark 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

Mark 4:6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

Mark 4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

Mark 4:8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

Mark 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Mark 4:10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Mark 4:12 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 them.

not perceive. See note on Matthew 13:11.

Mark 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

this parable. Jesus implies here that His first parable—that of the Sower, the Seed (which is the Word of God) and the four types of Soil (representing four types of hearers and their respective responses to the Word) is the definitive parable, the correct understanding of which is necessary before any of His other parables can be correctly understood.

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.

Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

Mark 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

Mark 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

Mark 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Mark 4:21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

under a bushel. Mark records two parables (that of the candlestick and also of the silent growth of the seed sown) after that of the Sower, both amplifying the latter. The first stresses the importance of sowing—that is, letting our light shine and keeping it bright. The second reminds us that the actual subterranean growth of the seed, finally springing out of the ground and producing fruit, is not the work of the sower, but of the Creator who designed this amazing mechanism. It symbolizes the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the one who has heard God's Word (compare John 3:8, Ecclesiastes 11:5-6). The human witness conveys the Word, but he does not “win” the soul. As Paul said: “Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

Mark 4:22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

Mark 4:23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Mark 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

Mark 4:25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

to him shall be given. That is, the more we learn and apply God's Word to our lives, the more He will enable us to learn. But the spiritual sluggard will eventually forget even what truth he has learned.

Mark 4:26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

And he said. This parable of the growth of spiritual seed (the Word of God planted in one's life) is found only in Mark.

Mark 4:27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

Mark 4:28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

Mark 4:29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?

Mark 4:31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:

Mark 4:32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Mark 4:33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.

as they were able to hear it. See note on Matthew 13:11. Most of the crowd did not understand because they would not want to apply it if they did understand, so Christ waited until He was alone with His disciples (Mark 4:34) to explain the meaning of His parables.

Mark 4:34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

Mark 4:35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.

the same day. Mark says here that on the same day when Christ had told the various parables recorded here and in Matthew 13 He later stilled the storm on Galilee (compare Matthew 13:1-3 and Mark 4:1-3, apparently both introducing the same event). Then He cast the demons out of the man in Gadara, healed the woman with an issue of blood, and raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:1-43). Yet all of these events are recorded in Matthew 8:23-34 and 9:18-25 as apparently taking place before the occasion on which He taught these seven parables of the kingdom (actually there were nine parables, counting the two in Mark 4 added to the seven in Matthew 13). Since several other events (e.g., the call of Matthew) are interspersed with these, and since Mark also records these latter events as taking place before the giving of the parables, it does seem probable that the events described in Mark 4:35-5:43 all took place before the parables were given. In this case, the phrase “the same day” in Mark 4:35 could be understood as “the same kind of day” or even “the same season.” The Greek word (hemera) is somewhat flexible in meaning, depending on context.

Mark 4:36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

Mark 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

Mark 4:38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Mark 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

Mark 4:41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?