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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Mark 4

Verse 1

PARABLE OF THE SOWER, V. 1-12

1) "And He began again to teach by the seaside"- (kai palin erksato didaskein para ten thallasan) "And He began to teach along the seashore,’’ the shore of the sea of Galilee, yet in His Galilean ministry, Mark 1:39. After an extended time of teaching and training His disciples, in homes and synagogues, He enlarged His teaching to include the masses.

2) ’’And there was gathered unto Him a great multitude,’’ (kai sunagetai pros auton ochlos pleistos) "And there was gathered or assembled to Him a very large crowd," to hear Him and perhaps to be fed and have sick ones healed, as He had often done before, Mark 1:1 to Mark 2:28.

3) ’’So that He entered into a ship, and sat in the sea;" (hoste auton eis ploion embanta kathesthai en tethalasse) ’’So that He embarked a boat, to sit in the sea," out a little way from the large crowd; The ship or boat had been placed there, as Jesus had previously instructed His disciples, Mark 3:9.

4) ’’And the whole multitude was by the sea, on the land." (kai pas ho ochlos pros ten thallassan epi tes ges esan) "And all the crowd were on the land as near Him as possible, toward (facing) the sea," where Jesus sat in the boat, as He proceeded to address them.

Verse 2

1) ’’And He taught them many things by parables,’’ (kai edidasken autous en parabalais polla) "And many things He taught (to them) in parables," using stories of comparisons of well known things, to give understanding to His hearers of less known things. In the synagogues, and in homes, and on the mountainsides He had done much healing and teaching, with little seeming results, except the following of a curious, clamoring crowd, and deriding religious leaders.

2) "And said unto them in His doctrine," (kai elegen autois en te dedache autou) "And He said to them (the seashore crowd) in His doctrine," in His teaching that day, of and relating to, His New Covenant company of church fellowship and service, that He had established with His disciples, John 15:16; John 15:27; Acts 10:3.

Verse 3

1) "Hearken; Behold," (akouete idou) "Behold, hear ye, or all give attention," a call to rapt and honest attention, without which one can neither understand nor obey, Matthew 13:9; Luke 14:35; Romans 10:17; Acts 3:22-23; This parable is also recorded, Matthew 13:1-23; Luke 8:4-15.

2) "There went out a sower to sow:" (ekesIthen ho speiron speirai) "There went out, of his own choice or accord, the sower to sow." The seed and sower represented the following and Jesus is that sower, the Son of man, Matthew 13:37. The good seed He sowed was the word of the kingdom, and the "children of the kingdom," the kingdom of heaven, that is the church, as executive of the work, service, and worship of Jesus in this age, Matthew 13:19; Matthew 13:38. These have, hold, or possess a joint heirship of Jesus Christ, in the millennial age, to rule and reign with Jesus, over both Israel and the world, in that Golden era, with the Twelve Apostles of the church, sitting on or presiding over the twelve tribes of restored Israel, Luke 22:28-30.

Verse 4

1) "And it came to pass, as he sowed," (kai egeneto en to speirein) "And it occurred, that as he sowed," over a progressive period of time, while or as He broadcast, scattered the seed by hand, as a matter of course.

2) "Some fell by the way side," (o men epsen para ten hodon) ’’Some fell alongside the way,’’ no more than He could help, fell along the hedgerows, the beaten paths, the roadsides, on hard ground with untilled soil, visible to the birds.

3) "And the fowls of the air came and devoured it up." (kai elthen ta peteina kai katephagen auto) "And the birds on the watch came as they wanted to and devoured it," so that it was not productive, Matthew 13:4. This seed represented the word of the kingdom, which the wicked one took away from the heart in which it was sown, Matthew 13:19; Genesis 15:11.

Verse 5

1) "And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth;" (kai allo epesin epi to petrodes hopou ouk eichen gen pollen) "And other seed fell on the rocky place where it did not have much earth," to sprout and grow, is like the one who receives the word, with little or no real comprehension of its spiritual meaning.

2) "And immediately it sprang up," (kai euthus eksaneteilen) "And it sprang up immediately," quickly, forthwith, in the shortest possible period of time, and is like the person who is emotionally moved, with little com­prehension of why, except it sounds like a good deal, Matthew 13:20-21.

Verse 6

1) "But when the sun was up," (kai hote aneteilen ho helios) "And when the sun was risen up," toward meridian’s height, near the middle of the day, as the heat increased.

2) "It was scorched;" (ekaumatisthe) "it came to be scorched," withered, and near lifeless, like one who has fainted at his post of duty, Galatians 6:9; James 1:22.

3) "And because it had no root," (kai dia to me echein hrizan) "And because it had no root system," no depth of root, in deep soil, to give moisture and plant food.

4) "It withered away." (ekseranthe) "It was or came to be withered," before maturity, burned by the heat of the sun and lack of moisture and plant food. True saints of God must go on, persevere under all trials, that the word may abound in them, 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9.

Verse 7

1) "And some fell among thorns," (kai allo epesen eis tas akanthas) "And other (seed) fell among the thorns,’’ where opposition existed, sharp criticism came, like noxious and rank weeds, Matthew 5:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:12.

2) "And the thorns grew up, and choked it," (kai anebesan hai akanthai kai sunepniksan auto) "And the thorns came up and choked, strangled, suffocated or smothered it,’’ with the cares and pleasures of sin, and deceitfulness of riches, Matthew 13:22; 1 John 2:15-17.

3) "And it yielded no fruit." (kai karpon ouk edoken) "And as a result it gave not (any) fruit,’’ was barren, unproductive, though it grew nearer maturity than the former. One lacking in Christian virtues, not grounded in their doctrine and practice, becomes barren, unfruitful, 2 Peter 1:4-9. It is proper that each believer seek to avoid worldliness and bear fruit, John 15:16, lest he be saved, "as if by fire," 1 Corinthians 3:15.

Verse 8

1) "And other fell on good ground," (kai alla epesen eis ten gen ten kalen) "And others (of the seed) fell into the good earth, or good ground," properly prepared, receptive soil, referring to the receiving heart of the believer in Jesus Christ, who is then born of God, John 1:11-12; John 5:1.

2) "And did yield fruit that sprang up and increased,’’ (kai edidou karpon anabainonta kai auksanomena) -And it came up and while growing it gave increase,’’ bore fruit, compensating for the soil ,and care, the true purpose of God in every believer, John 15:1-5; John 15:16; 2 Peter 1:4-8.

3) "And brought forth," (kai epheren) ’’And it bore,’’ gently brought forth, in harmony with nature, it increased. This is the person who heard, understood, and obeyed the word, John 15:14.

a) ’’Some thirty," (eis triakonta) ’’Some up to thirty,’’ times its increase. Each that fell on good ground gave back a multiplied increase to the sower.

b) ’’And some sixty," (kai en helksekonta) "And some up to or in sixty times its increase;- Each child of God shall be blessed and rewarded according to his own labors and faithfulness in use of his own gifts, 1 Corinthians 3:9.

c) ’’And some an hundred.’’ (kai en hekaton) "Am! some up to or in the area of an hundred times its increase,’’ according to the nature of the seed and the soil. These are quantitative descriptions of fruit bearing in ascending order, while Matthew describes the fruit bearing in the declining or anticlimax order, Matthew 11:23.

Verse 9

1) "And He said unto them,’’ (kai elegen) "And He instructed them," appealed to or advised them, because He was interested in their souls and lives (that of the multitudes), to whom He was speaking, Mark 4:1-2; Luke 19:10; John 3:17.

2) ’’He that hath ears to hear,’’ (hos echei ota akouein) "The one who has ears to hear,’’ the one not deaf, or the one mentally competent, the one, each one who is responsible to hear, to give heed, to obey, Luke 14:3, as Saul did.

3) ’’Let him hear.’’ (akoueto) "Let him hear,’’ give heed, or respond to the teaching, to the doctrine you hear to this call of the word, as the disciples had done, Matthew 11:15; Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 11:28-30. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word,’’ Romans 10:17.

Verse 10

1) ’’And when He was alone," (kai hote egeneto kata monas) "And when He came to be alone,’’ away, apart from the very large crowd, with His people, shortly thereafter.

2) "They that were about Him with the twelve," (hoi peri auton sun tois dodeka) "Those who (were) around Him, disciples in colleague with the twelve," that is His church disciples, His- intimate followers, in contrast with, or different from the masses of curious hearers.

3) ’’Asked of Him the parable." (eroton auton tas parabolas) "They questioned Him about the parable,’’ about the hidden meaning of the parable spoken that day, Tho the plural of parables is used in the Gk. the idea is that the parable had one common drift in meaning, Proverbs 4:7; Matthew 13:10-11; Luke 8:8-10.

Verse 11

1) "And He said unto them,’’ (kai elegen autois) "And He responded to them," to the inquiry of the disciples about the meaning of the Seed Sowing Parable. This parable is to be in harmony with the Matthew 13:11 account, referring more restrictedly to the "kingdom of heaven’’ that is in the Kingdom of God.

2) "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God:" (humin to musterion dedotai tes basileias tou theou) "To you all (my church, my followers, my bride) the mystery of the kingdom of God has been given," given over, or delivered to understand the hidden meaning of the figures of the parable, as expressed Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; 1 Corinthians 2:10.

3) "But unto them that are without,’’ (ekeinos de tois ekso) "But to those who are outside,’’ without your company or fellowship, without the church," which was now committed the work, worship, and earthly service of God, - to the Christ rejecting religious Jews and the masses, John 1:11-12. The term "without’’ is here used in the same sense of "without" the Corinth church, 1 Corinthians 5:12, and "without" the church at Colosse, Colossians 4:5, meaning outside.

4) "All these things are done in parables:" (en parabolais ta panta ginetai) "All things are (exist) in parables," and they who reject the Christ can not understand them, as expressed Daniel 12:10; 1 Corinthians 2:14.

The term ’’kingdom of heaven’’ seems to refer, restrictedly and always, as used by Matthew only, to the church that Jesus built, in its past, present, or future state, never to the sum total of the saved, or all the redeemed.

Verse 12

1) "That seeing they may see, and not perceive;" (hina blepontes bleposin kai me idosin) "In order that seeing (superficially), they may thus see and not at all perceive, or comprehend," not grasp the truth presented in the parabolic language.

2) "And hearing they may hear, and not understand,’’ (kai akouontes akouosin kai me suniosen) "And while audibly hearing, they may so hear and not understand,’’ may not have spiritual insight or understanding, of what they audibly hear.

3) "Lest at anytime they should be converted," (mepote epistrepsoisin) "Lest they should turn, repent, or reverse their course of choice and life," though such is the will of God, Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9.

4) "And their sins should be forgiven them." (kai aphethe autois) "And their sins should be remitted, pardoned, or forgiven.’ This does not teach that Jesus wanted or sought to keep the unbelieving in the dark regarding salvation and Divine service. But because they were already unwilling to perceive, and understand, and had already combined and confederated by collusion to kill Him, these had been given over to their own chosen judicial blindness, lest they should be converted, turned away from their sin Of unbelief, Mark 3:6; 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Verse 13

PARABLE OF THE SOWER EXPLAINED, V. 13-20

1) "And He said unto them," (kai legei autois) "And He said to them," to His followers, His company, to the church, in private and confidence, away from the multitude.

2) ’’Know ye not this parable?" (ouk oidate ten parabolen tauten) "Do you all not perceive, or comprehend this parable?" or all-the parables which I speak, or have spoken, Mt 1318-23; Luke 8:11-15.

3) ’’And how then will ye know all parables?" (kai pos pasas tas parabolas gnosesthe) "How (then) even will you all understand, perceive all the parables?’’ Would you like to know? is the idea. He then explained, 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 2:12.

Verse 14

1) ’’The sower,’’ (ho speiron) The one sowing,’’ or he who sows, who in this parable was the Son of man, who came to seek and to save, Luke 8:11; Luke 19:10.

2) "Soweth the word.’’ (ton logon speirei) "He sows the word,’’ the word of God, the life-giving word, as good seed, with life and hope, as expressed for every minister and follower to emulate, Ecclesiastes 11:1-6. It is to be sown, distributed, or shared in hope, with assurance, Isaiah 55:11-12; 1 Peter 1:23. The one who scatters good seed increases, profits by sharing it, Proverbs 11:24.

Verse 15

1) "And these are they by the wayside,’’ (houtoi de eisin hoi para ten hodon) ’’Then are these the ones along the way," the kind of ones along the wayside or highway of life. These are the kind along the way of life who hear the word, but they criticize both it and the sower, find fault, cavil, deride, etc.

2) "Where the word is sown;- (hopou speiretai ho logos) ’’Where the word (as seed) is sown,’’ where the word is fallen, is broadcast by the sower, the minister, layman, or witness, Acts 1:8; Ecclesiastes 11:1-6.

3) ’’But when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately,’’ (kai hotan alkousosin euthus erchetai ho satanas) "And when they have heard (the word) as the seed is sown, Satan comes of his own ulterior will and. motives, at once,’’ or immediately, by reason of the company the hearer keeps, Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 1:22-23; Proverbs 19:29.

4) "And taketh away the word," (kai airei ton logon) ’’And lifts up and takes away the word,’’ that had been sown like seed. Satan steals the word from the hearer, like an adult stealing candy from a child, Luke 8:12; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8.

5) "That was sown in their hearts.’’ (ton esparmenon eis autous) "That was having been already sown in them,’’ with reference to them, to their need and their hopes. The word had been sown, the Spirit poured out, convicted them, Proverbs 1:21-28. But by the wayside, with the wayside crowd, in spite of understanding and Holy Spirit heart conviction, they let Satan steal the word from them, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Romans 2:4-5.

HEARING WITH PROFIT

There is a story of two men, who, walking together, found a young tree laden with fruit. They both gathered, and satisfied themselves for the present, but one of them took all the remaining fruit and carried it away with him; the other took the tree and planted it in his own ground, where it prospered and brought forth fruit every year; so that though the former had more at present, yet this had some when he had none. They who hear the Word, and have large memories and nothing else, may carry away most of the Word at present; yet he that perhaps can but remember little, who carries away the tree, plants the Word in his heart, and obeys it in his life, shall have fruit when the other has none.

Verse 16

1) "And these are likewise which are sown on stony ground;”- (kai houtoi eism hornoios hoi epi ta petrode speiromenoi) "And these are likewise those who are sown (exist as sown) on rocky places, on rocky ground,’’ the shallow, flippant, easily pleased or offended, cheered or discouraged, who act and react on emotional stimuli or excitement.

2) "Who, when they have heard the word," (hoi hotan akousosin ton logon) "Who when they had heard (listened to the sound of) the word," gave temporary, fleeting attention to the word.

3) ’’Immediately receive it with gladness;" (euthus meta charas lambanousin auton) "They receive it immediately with joy," with emotional, temporary excitement; Impulsively weighing its meaning, purpose, or counting the cost of its call, Matthew 13:5; Matthew 13:20; Mark 6:20; Ezekiel 33:31-32; Luke 14:28.

Verse 17

1) "And have no root in themselves," (kai ouk echousin hrizon en heautois) "And have, hold, or possess not root or (no root) in themselves," no vital connection with Jesus Christ, no new nature in them, have not been born again, believed, or been regenerated, like a tree in a storm, having no root system.

2) "And so endure but for a time:”- (alla proskairoi eisin) "But they are short, or temporary endurers," John 5:25. In form only, in outward profession and veneer, thus turn away, back to the things of their own, old nature, 2 Peter 2:20-22.

3) "Afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth," (eita genomenes thlipseos e diogmou) "Then when persecution or afflictions come or occur," to all who live godly in Christ Jesus, or those who even profess, 2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 5:11-12; John 5:20.

4) "For the word’s sake," (dia ton logon) "On account of the word," one’s witnessing the word, because one bears an open profession of Christ, or is identified with His church, before the world, Mark 8:34-38.

5) "Immediately they are offended." (euthus skandalizontai) "They are immediately scandalized or offended." These stony ground hearers only stumble and fall out, quit, are easily offended, easily puffed up, for their profession is of a superficial, emotional excitement kind, without regeneration of the heart, John 3:3; John 3:6. These are much like those who turned back from following Jesus (John 6:66; 1 John 2:19); They looked back, Luke 9:62.

Verse 18

1) "And these are they which are sown among thorn

(kai alloi estin hoi esi tas akanthas speiromenoi) "And others are the ones that are sown among the thorns," yet another sort of unstable hearer.

2) "Such as hear the word," (houtoi eisin hoi ton logon akousantes) "These are those who hear the word," that the sower bears. Note there is one kind of sower and one word, but four kinds of hearers, as Matthew 13:1-58; Luke 8:1-56.

Verse 19

1) "And the cares of this world," (kai hai merimnai tou aionos) "And the cares of the age," the cares of the world at the time, care for the things of the present world order, of worldliness, pleasures, etc. Luke 8:14; Luke 21:34; Matthew 6:25.

2) "And the deceitfulness of riches," (kai he apate tou ploutou- "And the deceitful subtlety of riches," which many covet after to their own destruction, Matthew 11:21-23; Matthew 19:16-26; Luke 12:15-21; 1 Timothy 6:10-11

3) "And the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word," (kai hoi peri ta loipa epithumiai eisporeumenai sumpnigousin tan logon) "And the lustful yearnings, concerning other things, entering in choke or suppress the word," the seed-word of the sower. Against such God’s children are to stand, Mark 2:13-17; Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17.

4) "And it becometh unfruitful." (kai akarpos ginetai) "And it comes to be unfruitful or unproductive," Titus 3:14; 2 Peter 1:8.

Verse 20

1) "And these are they," (kai ekeinoi eisin) "And these are the seed," or those who are of a special class, Jeremiah 4:3-4. Good, better, best, none inferior, 1 Corinthians 3:8.

2) ’’Which are sown on good ground;”- (hoi epi ten gen ten kalin sparentes) "Those seed that are sown upon good earth,’’ or upon fertile soil, the good or Divine, desirable hearer, Romans 10:17.

3) "Such as hear the word," (oitines akousin ton logon) ’’They are those who hear the word,’’ give heed, attendance, repent of their sins and place their trust in Jesus Christ, Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30-31.

4) "And receive it," (kai paradechontai) "And they welcome it,’’ choose to receive its message of their own volition, they receive it, John 1:11-12; Ephesians 2:8-10.

5) "And bring forth fruit,’’ (kai karpophorousin) ’’And they bear fruit," are productive, in response to the seed-­word message, to the extent of production, Romans 7:4.

a) "Some thirtyfold,’’ (en triakonta) "In the measure­ment of thirty-fold," differing degrees, yet each is to be rewarded for his own fruit-bearing, 1 Corinthians 3:8.

b) "Some sixty,’’ (kai en heksekonta) ’’And in the measurement of sixty fold,’’ as the Thessalonian brethren, 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14.

c) ’’And some an hundred,’’ (kai en hekaton) "And some in the measurement of an hundred fold." Fruit-bearing is an evidence of salvation, not a means by which it is acquired, Matthew 7:15-20; The greater fruit, greater reward, 2 Corinthians 9:6.

Verse 21

PARABLE OF THE CANDLE, V. 21-25

1) "And He said unto them," (kai elegen autois) "And He quizzed them," His disciples, using the question and, answer method of teaching, as also related, Matthew 5:15-16: Luke 8:16; Luke 11:3.

2) "Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel?" (hoti meti erchetai ho luchnos hins hupo ton modion tethe) "That it does not come to be that a light is brought and placed or located under a bushel," does it? The term (Gk. luchnos) means a candle, or a portable light, one that can be moved about, put under a peck-size container.

3) "Or under a bed?’’ (e hupo ten klinen) "Or under a bed, or couch,’’ does it? God’s children must avoid hiding or concealing their light, in slothful, shabby living, Proverbs 19:15; Ephesians 5:14; Romans 12:11; Hebrews 6:12.

4) "And not to be set on a candlestick?" (ouch hina epi ten luchnian tethe) "And not in order that it be put on a lampstand?’’ or instead of being placed on a lampstand. Such is not becoming, is it? The inferred answer is, that the light of the bearer, the influence of God’s children of light, is to be reflected in and through, and from His church, to a sin-darkened world, 1 Timothy 3:15; Acts 1:8; John 8:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6; Matthew 6:23.

Verse 22

1) "For there is nothing hid that shall not be manifested;- (ou gar estin ti krupton can me hina phanerothe) "For there is or exists nothing hidden or concealed, except that (in order that) it may be manifested,’’ Matthew 10:26; Philippians 2:15-16 or come to light, eventually, at the right time, in the right way, to the honest learner. As the purpose of a light is to help, so is the influence of every believer, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; Romans 12:1-2.

2) "Neither was any thing kept secret," (oude enegento apokruphon) ’’Nor has anything become concealed or covered up;- Valuable things may be hidden, but for a temporary time, to be useful later, rather than selfishly hoarded.

3) "But that it should come abroad." (all’ hina elthe eis phaneron) ’’But in order that it may come abroad, be brought out into the open, or manifest," later, even as the purpose of God, concerning the church, as described, Ephesians 3:3-10.

Verse 23

1) "If any man have ears to hear," (ei tis echei ota akouein) "if anyone has ears to hear, capable of hearing," isn’t deaf, or is an accountable person, John 7:17; Luke 14:35.

2) "Let him hear." (akoueto) "Let him hear or give heed, diligent attention," to what God has to say. As a responsible and accountable person each is to obey, Romans 14:11-12; Acts 3:22-23; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

Verse 24

1) "And He said unto them, Take heed what ye hear:” ­(kai elegen autois blepete ti akouete) ’’And He instructed them, take heed or be very cautious what ye hear,’’ Acts 17:21. What one hears, listens to, influences what he does, Psalms 1:1-3. Hearing error leads to corruption by error. Satan enters one’s life by ear-gate. This is why our Lord warned of the leaven of the Scribes, Pharisees, etc., Matthew 5:20; Luke 12:1-3; Mark 8:15.

2) "With what measure ye mete," (en ho metro metreite) "With what measure you all measure out," to others, in speech and influence and deed Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31.

3) "It shall be measured to you:"(metrethesetai humin) "It shall be measured to you all," in return, it will return in harmony with the law of sowing and reaping, James 1:19, The truth, despised or scorned, leads to spiritual dismay, but embraced, it gives liberty, John 8:32; John 8:36.

4) "And unto you that hear shall more be given,’’ (kai prostethesetai humin) "It also will be added or computed to you all," the more trust, greater call, greater responsibility, or greater trusteeship. Simple, honest, earnest hearing, leads to greater knowledge and understanding, John 7:17; This axiom prevails, even in heeding God’s voice in giving, as expressed Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.

Verse 25

1) "For he that hath, to him shall be given’’ (hos gar echei clothesetai auto) "For he who has, it will be given over to him," or entrusted to him. One’s usefulness is increased by what he knows, even with men. The same truth is evident with God, and in usefulness for God, 1 Timothy 2:15.

2) "And he that hath not," (kai hos ouk echei) "And the one who has or holds not," does not really understand what truth of the word he may have embraced. 1 Peter 3:9

3) "From him shall be taken," (arthesetai ap’ autou) "Will be taken from him," from each one. The idea seems to be that the little or poorly understood truth one may embrace, such as salvation without an understanding of security, produces no abiding joy or salvation, the joy of being taken away by doubts and temptations, Psalms 51:11-12.

4) "Even that which he hath." (kai ho echei) "Even what he has, holds, or possesses," so that one is admonished to look to his conduct, what he hears, sees, and does, lest he receive not a full reward, lose not things for which he has wrought, as a good name, influence, and place of much usefulness for God, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 2 John 1:8.

The idea of this passage (in summary) is that one who gives an earnest and honest hearing to the Word of God, with intent and purpose of obeying it, will be given greater understanding, and that one who does not act on the seed of knowledge that he has, will have it taken away as he turns from its call to obedience, Romans 14:11-12; Proverbs 1:20-28; Romans 2:4-8.

Verse 26

THE MYSTERIOUS SEED GROWTH, V. 26-29

1) "And He said, So is the kingdom of God," (kai elpen houtos estin he basileia tou theou) "And He said, just like, in comparison, or similar to this, is the kingdom of God," as you all, the disciples, minister its word, through the church, Mark 4:10-11. This is the only parable that was recorded by Mark only.

2) ’’As if a man should cast seed into the ground;’’ (hos anthropos bale ton sporon epi tes ges) ’’It is as (similar to or like), as if a man should cast the seed upon the earth (the ground), simply broadcast, scatter the seed upon the field, right and left, in the morning and in the evening, doing his part faithfully. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6; John 4:35-38. Such will one day find his rewards, Psalms 126:5-6.

Verse 27

1) "And should sleep, and rise night and day," (kai katheude kai egeiretai nukta kai hemeran) ’’And he might sleep and rise of his own interest and concern night and day,’’ watching it, vigilantly keep watch, expecting results, as pledged Psalms 126:5-6; Daniel 12:3; 1 Corinthians 3:8.

2) "And the seed should spring and grow up," (kai ho sporos blasta kai mekunetai) "And the seed should sprout and the blade lengthen, extend, or grow out, ’’We know as little of growth above ground as below. It is God that causes the growth in plant and in the spiritual growth of men, Zechariah 4:6, John 6:63.

3) ’’He knoweth not how.’’ (hos ouk oiden autos) "As he knows or perceives not," how it occurs, as the mystery or natural seed life is revealed, so is the word of the spirit, by, through, and in connection with the Word of God that is sown, expressed by Solomon, Ecclesiastes 11:5, and by Isaiah, Isaiah 55:10-11; and by Jesus, John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:7-9.

Verse 28

1) ’’For the earth bringeth forth fruit of her-self,’’ (automate he ge karpophorei) ’’The earth bears of its own accord or nature,’’ spontaneously, self-moved, without external help. The term bears (Gk. pherei) conveys the idea of bearing, conveying, gently in an unhurried manner, as 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

2) ’’First the blade,’’ (proton chorton) "First in order a grass-like blade,"

3) "Then the ear,’’ (eiten stachun) "Then, following that in order, an ear,’’ formation of the early fruit, 2 Peter 1:4-8.

4) "After that the full corn in the ear,’’ (eipen pleres sitosentostachui) "Then, after that in order, mature corn in the ear," corn fully mature or ripe, fit for reproduction. Gradually Christian growth, and maturity in men, in the church, is here compared with corn, 1 Corinthians 3:6-8.

Verse 29

1) ’’But when the fruit is brought forth," (hotan de paradoi ho karpos) ’’Then when the fruit permits, or is ripe,’’ when it is mature for reaping, ready to be plucked or cut, John 4:34-35. True mature soul winners and disciples are not made overnight, Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

2) "Immediately he putteth in the sickle,’’ (euthus apostellei to drepanon) "He immediately sends forth the sickle," to reap. And the members of our Lord’s church is the sent sickle, the reaping agency of our Lord, John 15:16; John 15:27; John 20:21; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; John 4:34-38.

3) ’’Because the harvest is come." (hoti paresteken ho therismos) "Because the harvest time has arrived,’’ and the wise sower knows it. He desires that those needing to hear the story of redemption be told it by His chosen people, the New Covenant church that he chose and commissioned, Luke 10:1; Luke 10:21; Matthew 18:18-20.

Verse 30

PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED, V. 30-34

1) "And He said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God?" (kai legen pos homoiosomen ten theou) "And He said (unto them)," His apostles and the church. "How may we liken the kingdom of God?’’ The parable relates to "the kingdom of heaven,’’ (the church), as definitively described by Matthew, which is frequently referred to under the broader term, as used here by Mark, Luke, and John.

2) ’’Or with what comparison shall we compare it?" (he en tini auten parabole thomen) "Or by what kind of parable may we place or identify it?" This New Covenant Church order of worship, and ministry of service, was much simpler than the yoke of law worship and service, so that it is said to be easy and light, in comparison with the Old Covenant and Law, Matthew 11:28-30.

Verse 31

1) "It is like a grain of mustard seed," (hos kokko sinapeos) "It is similartoa mustard seed;-The idea is that the church, or kingdom of heaven, is simple in its organizational structure, small minute in comparison with world order of complex Government organizations.

2) "Which, when it is sown in the earth," (hos hotan spare epi tes ges) "Which, when it has been sown upon the ground," or planted in the earth, the soil. Tho the mustard seed is the most minute in size of all tree-plant life, yet it has a special place, and is self perpetuating in nature. So is the "Kingdom of Heaven," or church, executive of the kingdom of God on earth today, Luke 11:20.

3) "Is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:”(mikroteron on panton ton spermaton ton epi tes ges) "It is smaller (more microscopic-like in size) than all the (other), or any of the other seeds on the earth:- and so is the Kingdom of God, smaller and simpler, in its organizational structure(more specifically)as used by Matthew some 30 times "Kingdom of Heaven," which always refers to the New Covenant church that Jesus established, which He called, and to which He committed the broadcasting of the Word, John 15:16; John 15:27; John 20:31; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8.

Verse 32

1) "But when it is sown, it groweth up," (kai hotan spare anabainei) "And when it (the mustard seed) is sown, it comes up," germinates and comes forth from, and out of, the soil, as recounted also Luke 13:18-19.

2) "And becometh greater than all herbs," (kai ginetai meizon panton ton lachanon) "And it comes to be greater than all the herbs," of the field or garden, greater in comparison with the size of the seed from which it came.

3) "And shooteth out great branches;"- (kai poiei kladous megalous) "And makes great branches," or limbs, as also described Matthew 13:31-32.

4) "So that the fowls of the air,’’ (hoste ta pateina tou ouranou) "So that (to the exten that)the birds of heaven, that fly over the earth, Mark 4:4.

5) "May lodge under the shadow of it."(dunasthai hupo ten skian autou kataskenoun) "Are able to dwell, sit or roost under its shade." The lesson of the mustard tree is that as the church grew, or any local congregation grows, from its mustard seed, simple origin and organizational structure, to a spreading more visible tree plant, fowls like Judas Iscariot, Ananias, and Sapphira, Diotrephes, and Jezebel have sought to rest in and under her branches, wanting to hide under the church’s garments or shade.

Verse 33

1) "And with many such parables," (kai toiautais parabolais pollais) "And in many (numerous) such parables," parables of nature, Matthew 13:34-35.

2) “Spake He the word unto them," (elalei autois ton logon) "He spoke the Word to them", to His disciples or His church, Mark 4:10-11. He used parables of nature to illustrate Divine truths, moral and ethical values, and practical things of life, 1 Corinthians 14:2.

3) "As they were able to hear it." (kathos edunanto akouein) "Just as they (alone) were enabled to hear it," being His spiritual followers, His apostles and the church, Mark 4:10-11; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16.

Verse 34

1) "But without a parable spake He not unto them:” ­(choris de paraboles ouk elalei autois) "Then without or apart from a parable He spoke not to them," to the masses on the land as He had spoken to them from the boat, Mark 4:1-3.

2) "And when they were alone," (kat’ idian de) "Then as they were alone,’’ in privacy, Christ with His apostles and the disciples, the church in private council, Mark 4:10-11.

3) "He expounded all things to His disciples - (tois idiois mathetais epeluen panta) "To His own disciples He explained all things," clarified all matters regarding the seed thought of every parable. These are those whom He chose, who companied with Him, from the beginning in Galilee, called His disciples, His church, His bride, His house, etc. Joh 15 16, 27,31 28, 29; Mark 13:34-35; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:1-6.

Verse 35

JESUS STILLED THE STORM, V. 35-41

1) "And the same day, when the even was come,’’ (kai en ekeine te hemera apsias genomenes) "And on that day when evening had come," meaning on that same day that He had spoken the Sower, Candle, and Mustard Seed parables.

2) "He saith unto them," (legei autois) "He says (said) to them,’’ to His intimate followers, the apostles, and perhaps other disciples who followed Him devoutly, Mark 4:10-11.

3) ’’Let us pass over unto the other side." (dielthomen eis to peran) "Let us go unto the beyond," the other side of the Sea of Galilee from the area of Capernaum to Gadara, Matthew 8:18; Luke 8:22, to escape the seaside multitude, those who thronged Him to hear the discourse of parables, Mark 4:1.

Verse 36

1) "And when they had sent away the multitude," (kai aphentes ton ochlon) "And when they had sent the crowd away," or leaving the crowd behind, along the shoreline, withdrawing to the sea to escape them.

2) ’’They took Him even as He was in the ship,’’ (paralambanousin auton hos hen en to ploio) ’’They, the apostles, took Him (Jesus) as He was in the ship already,’’ Mark 3:14; Mark 3:19-20; Mark 4:11-12.

3) ’’And there were also with Him other little ships."(kai alla ploia hen met’ autou) "And other little boats were with Him, ’’just to be near, to hear Him speak, to draw nigh unto Him, James 4:8. Even in the sea it was not easy to get away from the crowds, and. the little boats anchored along the seashore, near where He had been discoursing.

Verse 37

1) "And there arose a great storm of wind,’’ (kai ginetai lailaps megale anemou) "And there came to be, out of the wind, a great storm,’’ Short journeys are often met with perils, James 4:13-15.

2) "And the waves beat into the ship,’’ (kai’ta kumata epeballen eis to ploion) "And the waves struck or dashed overboard into the boat or ship,’’ where Jesus and His apostles were, so that they were overcome with its evil, Romans 12:21.

3) "So that it was now full," (hoste ede gemizesthai to ploion) "So that now (at this moment) the boat came to be filled," was about to sink. The ship sailed well with its cargo on the waters of the sea, but when the sea got into the ship it began to sink - - - 0 church of God, keep the world out of your church, lest it sink! 1 John 2:15-17.

Verse 38

1) "And He was in the hinder part of the ship," (kai autos hen en te prumne) "And He (Jesus) was in the stern,’’ of the boat, near the steerman.

2) "Asleep on a pillow:"- (epi to proskephalaion katheudon) "Sleeping on the pillow,’’ where the captain would often rest his head, He slept peacefully through the storm, exhausted from the concourse and toils of the day, Ecclesiastes 5:12.

3) "And they awake Him, and say unto Him,’’ (kai egeirousin auton kai legousin auto) "And they aroused Him and chided Him," lest they all should sleep in death themselves. Neither should His children sleep, as eternal death passes by, on every hand, Romans 13:11.

4) "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (didaskale ou melei soi hoti apollumethai) "Teacher, (master) doesn’t it matter to you that we are perishing?" about to drown, to sink at sea in this storm? In fact He was the only one in the sinking boat whose care could save them, even as in Salvation, Acts 4:12.

Verse 39

1) "And He arose, and rebuked the wind," (kai diegertheis epetimesen to anemo) "And being roused (awakened) He rebuked (scolded) the wind," as one might scold a rowdy dog, to quiet it down for He was and is both Creator and Lord of the wind and nature, Nahum 1:3; Psalms 139:7-12; Psalms 139:23-24.

2) "And said unto the sea, Peace be still.’’ (kai eipen te thalasse siopa) ’’And He said to the sea, be quiet,’’ or settle down, be calm, and it obeyed its master’s voice. So should rebellious men obey His voice, and word, and will, Psalms 65:1-2; Psalms 65:7; Psalms 89:9; Psalms 107:29; Revelation 22:17.

3) "And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.’’ (kai ekopasen ho anemos kai egeneto galene megale) ’’And the wind dropped (like a sudden calm) and there became a great calm," like the peace that comes to a turbulent sin stained soul when one is saved, Matthew 11:28; Romans 5:1; Romans 5:5.

CHRIST STILLING THE STORM

I. Here is an illustration of Christ’s compound nature - -the human asleep; the Divine speaking, etc. II. The disciples showed their faith in Christ’s Divinity, they did not pray to God the Father. III. Here is a type of a class of men who always appeal to the supernatural in times of trouble. IV. Faith in the rectitude of God’s moral government will sustain us in every crisis. V. Trials arise in the discharge of duty, Learn - - (1) Let us undertake no enterprise in which Christ does not go along with us, (2) Distinguish between a permissive and an ordinary Providence; (3) Without Christ’s bodily presence there is the greater scope for our faith; (4) Sinner! shall all nature respond to the voice of Christ and wilt thou be silent? - Parker

Verse 40

1) "And He said unto them," (kai eipen autois) "And He said unto them," He inquired of His disciples, only to draw them nearer to obey Him in the future, John 14:15; John 15:14.

2) "Why are ye so fearful?" (ti deiloi este houtos) ’’Why are you all this way, so fearful," so gripped by winds of fear, and waves of doubt, regarding their decision to follow Him at all cost? They needed courage as Joshua did, Joshua 1:6-9; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

3) "How is it that ye have no faith?’’ (pos ou echete pistin) "How can you act this way? Do you all not have faith?" God does not give His children the spirit of fear, or doubt, Romans 8:15, 1 John 4:18, They needed their faith strengthened, that they might help others, Mark 16:14; Matthew 14:31; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

Verse 41

1) ’’And they feared exceedingly,’’ (kai ephobethesan phobin megan) "And they feared Tearfully,’’ with terrible fear, as one in the presence of Omnipotence, similar to the fear of God in the men who threw Jonah overboard in the storm, Jonah 1:16.

2) "And said one to another,’’ (kai elegon pros allelous) "And they commented one to another,’’ among themselves, similar to that conversation of the Emmaus Road disciples later Luke 24:13-29.

3) ’’What manner of man is this,- (tis ara houtos estin) ’’What kind (of a) man is this?’’ that acts as He does, as they had listened to His parable discourses, and observed His miracles, Matthew 13:34-35, John 3:2

4) ’’That even the wind and the sea obey Him?’’ (hoti kai lie amenos kai lie thalassa hupskouei auto) "So that both the wind and the sea obey Him?” They do what He says and do it immediately instantly, and completely, Matthew 14:33. They worshipped Him as the Son of God, Matthew 16:16; Joh 6;69; Acts 5:29.

As the elements of the wind and the waves obey the voice of their Lord, so should all souls, who in Him and His mercy daily live and move, and have their being of existence. La 3:22-23; Acts 17; Acts 26-28.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Mark 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/mark-4.html. 1985.