Mark chapter 4

Jesus tells parables about a sower and about mustard seed. We should not hide our light. He calms a violent storm at sea.





VERSE 1. Again he began to teach by the seaside. A great multitude was gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat in the sea, and sat down. All the multitude were on the land by the sea.

A great multitude. Perhaps this is the same crowd as in the previous chapter, but grown to a larger size.


VERSE 2. He taught them many things in parables, and told them in his teaching,


VERSE 3. “Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow,

Listen! The Greek word is Ἀκούετε (“Akouete”). It is the root of the English word “acoustics.” It means to hear.


VERSE 4. and as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it.


VERSE 5. Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil.


VERSE 6. When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.


VERSE 7. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.


VERSE 8. Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some produced thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much.”

one hundred times as much. That would be an astonishing yield, though not entirely unheard of:

Genesis 26:12. Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year one hundred times what he planted. The LORD blessed him.


VERSE 9. He said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”




VERSE 10. When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.

those who were around him. The followers of Jesus are not only the twelve, but also those who are around him.


VERSE 11. He said to them, “To you is given the mystery of God’s Kingdom, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables,


VERSE 12. that ‘seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them.’ ”

not perceive … not understand. Jesus was deliberately obfuscating his message. This may have been to conceal his meaning from the religious leaders. Otherwise, they would become offended and have him murdered. The timing would be too soon.




VERSE 13. He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand all of the parables?

Don’t you understand. The followers of Jesus rarely understood what he was really saying.


VERSE 14. The farmer sows the word.

sows the word. That is, tell people the gospel message of Jesus Christ.


VERSE 15. The ones by the road are the ones where the word is sown; and when they have heard, immediately Satan comes, and takes away the word which has been sown in them.


VERSE 16. These in the same way are those who are sown on the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with joy.


VERSE 17. They have no root in themselves, but are short-lived. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they stumble.

they stumble. That is, they are scandalized to the point of apostasy.


VERSE 18. Others are those who are sown among the thorns. These are those who have heard the word,


VERSE 19. and the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel According to Mark and from the entire Bible.

it becomes unfruitful. There are lots of ways for God’s good work within us to be thwarted. Let’s be good soil for the Word of God.


VERSE 20. Those which were sown on the good ground are those who hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, some thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times.”




VERSE 21. He said to them, “Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it put on a stand?


VERSE 22. For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light.


VERSE 23. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.”


VERSE 24. He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear.


VERSE 25. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away from him.”

whoever has, to him more will be given. Those who have will be given more. Do you “have” faith?

will be taken away. This is very similar to the Parable of the Talents.




VERSE 26. He said, “God’s Kingdom is as if a man should cast seed on the earth,

God’s Kingdom. The kingdom of God is part of the message of Jesus Christ.

Mark 1:15. and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and God’s Kingdom is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News.”


VERSE 27. and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, though he doesn’t know how.


VERSE 28. For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.


VERSE 29. But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

sickle … harvest. These are associated with the Final Judgment:

Joel 3:13. Put in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full, the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.

Mark 4:29. But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

Revelation 14:14. I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.




VERSE 30. He said, “How will we liken God’s Kingdom? Or with what parable will we illustrate it?


VERSE 31. It’s like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth,


VERSE 32. yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow.”




VERSE 33. With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.


VERSE 34. Without a parable he didn’t speak to them; but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.




VERSE 35. On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.”


VERSE 36. Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was, in the boat. Other small boats were also with him.


VERSE 37. A big wind storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled.


VERSE 38. He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are dying?”


VERSE 39. He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.


VERSE 40. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”

How is it that you have no faith? Fear is present when there is a lack of faith.


VERSE 41. They were greatly afraid, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


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