Mark 4

4 Again Jesus began to teach beside the lake. And a very great crowd gathered about Him, so that He got into a ship in order to sit in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was at the lakeside on the shore.

2 And He taught them many things in parables (illustrations or comparisons put beside truths to explain them), and in His teaching He said to them:

3 Give attention to this! Behold, a sower went out to sow.

4 And as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

5 Other seed [of the same kind] fell on ground full of rocks, where it had not much soil; and at once it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil;

6 And when the sun came up, it was scorched, and because it had not taken root, it withered away.

7 Other seed [of the same kind] fell among thorn plants, and the thistles grew and pressed together and utterly choked and suffocated it, and it yielded no grain.

8 And other seed [of the same kind] fell into good (well-adapted) soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing, and yielded up to thirty times as much, and sixty times as much, and even a hundred times as much as had been sown.

9 And He said, He who has ears to hear, let him be hearing [and let him [a]consider, and comprehend].

10 And as soon as He was alone, those who were around Him, with the Twelve [apostles], began to ask Him about the parables.

11 And He said to them, To you has been entrusted the mystery of the kingdom of God [that is, [b]the secret counsels of God which are hidden from the ungodly]; but for those outside [[c]of our circle] everything becomes a parable,

12 In order that they may [indeed] look and look but not see and perceive, and may hear and hear but not grasp and comprehend, [d]lest haply they should turn again, and it [[e]their willful rejection of the truth] should be forgiven them.(A)

13 And He said to them, Do you not discern and understand this parable? How then is it possible for you to discern and understand all the parables?

14 The sower sows the Word.

15 The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown [in their hearts], but when they hear, Satan comes at once and [by force] takes away the message which is sown in them.

16 And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy;

17 And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.

18 And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word;

19 Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.

20 And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit—some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.

21 And He said to them, Is the lamp brought in to be put under a [f]peck measure or under a bed, and not [to be put] on the lampstand?

22 [[g]Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation.] For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known.

23 If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend.

24 And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [h][of thought and study] you give [to [i]the truth you hear] will be the measure [j][of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.

25 For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [[k]by force],

26 And He said, The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground,

27 And then continues sleeping and rising night and day while the seed sprouts and grows and [l]increases—he knows not how.

28 The earth produces [acting] by itself—first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

29 But when the grain is ripe and permits, immediately he [m]sends forth [the reapers] and puts in the sickle, because the harvest stands ready.

30 And He said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use to illustrate and explain it?

31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all seeds upon the earth;

32 Yet after it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all garden herbs and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air are able to make nests and dwell in its shade.

33 With many such parables [Jesus] spoke the Word to them, as they were able to hear and [n]to comprehend and understand.

34 He did not tell them anything without a parable; but privately to His disciples ([o]those who were peculiarly His own) He explained everything [fully].

35 On that same day [when] evening had come, He said to them, Let us go over to the other side [of the lake].

36 And leaving the throng, they took Him with them, [just] as He was, in the boat [in which He was sitting]. And other boats were with Him.

37 And a furious storm of wind [[p]of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.

38 But He [Himself] was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we are perishing?

39 And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased ([q]sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm ([r]a perfect peacefulness).

40 He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no [s]firmly relying trust)?

41 And they were filled with great awe and [t]feared exceedingly and said one to another, Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?


  1. Mark 4:9 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  2. Mark 4:11 Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies.
  3. Mark 4:11 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
  4. Mark 4:12 A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures.
  5. Mark 4:12 Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies.
  6. Mark 4:21 James Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary.
  7. Mark 4:22 Henry Swete, The Gospel According to Saint Mark; A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures; Marvin Vincent, Word Studies; and others.
  8. Mark 4:24 W. Robertson Nicoll, ed., The Expositor’s Greek New Testament.
  9. Mark 4:24 James C. Gray and George M. Adams, Bible Commentary; Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies; Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament; and others.
  10. Mark 4:24 W. Robertson Nicoll, ed., The Expositor’s Greek New Testament.
  11. Mark 4:25 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  12. Mark 4:27 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  13. Mark 4:29 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
  14. Mark 4:33 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  15. Mark 4:34 Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies.
  16. Mark 4:37 Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies.
  17. Mark 4:39 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
  18. Mark 4:39 John Wycliffe, The Wycliffe Bible.
  19. Mark 4:40 Hermann Cremer, Biblico-Theological Lexicon.
  20. Mark 4:41 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.

Cross references

  1. Mark 4:12 : Isa. 6:9, 10; Matt. 13:13-15.

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