Mark's Gospel chapter 4
objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read
layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses
for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each
verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)
1: Teaching Approaches & Content: v.1-34
Jesus teaches by the Lake
(similar to 3:9,10) Again
Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered
around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it
out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at
the water's edge.
2 (again he uses parables)
He taught them many things by parables, and
in his teaching said:
The Parable of the Sower told
3 (this one is about a farmer)
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow
4 (ground type 1) As
he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and
the birds came and ate it up.
5,6 (ground type 2) Some
fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.
It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and
they withered because they had no root.
7 (ground type 3) Other
seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants,
so that they did not bear grain.
8 (ground type 4) Still
other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced
a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
9 (call to consider &
pay attention) Then Jesus said,
“Whoever has ears to hear,
let them hear.”
Principles of the Kingdom
10 (in the group of the twelve)
When he was alone, the Twelve and
the others around him asked him about the parables.
11 (the privilege of being
close to Jesus – 1st mention of the kingdom) He
told them, “The secret
of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those
on the outside everything is said in parables
12 (just as it was prophesied
forgiveness follows understanding)
so that, “‘they
may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and
ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn
and be forgiven!' [Isa
The Parable of the Sower explained
13 (Jesus challenges the disciples)
Then Jesus said to them, “Don't
you understand this parable? How then will you understand any
14 (The seed is the word of
God) The farmer sows the word.
15 (person response &
reason 1) Some people are like
seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear
it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was
sown in them.
16,17 (person response &
reason 2) Others, like seed
sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with
joy. But since they have
no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution
comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18,19 (person response &
reason 3) Still others, like
seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but
the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and
the desires for other things come in and choke the word,
making it unfruitful.
20 (person response 4)
Others, like seed sown on good soil,
hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some
sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
Illustration of a Lamp on a Stand
21 (he asks about using a
lamp) He said to them, “Do
you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead,
don't you put it on its stand?
22 (its purpose & application)
For whatever is hidden is meant to
be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought
out into the open.
23 (further call to consider
& pay attention) If anyone
has ears to hear, let them hear.”
24 (challenge: use what you
hear) “Consider carefully what
you hear,” he continued.
“With the measure you use,
it will be measured to you—and even more.
25 (whoever uses it gets more)
Whoever has will be given more; whoever
does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
The Parable of the Growing Seed
26 (2nd mention of the kingdom
– another parable) He also said,
“This is what the kingdom
of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.
27 (growth is automatic)
Night and day, whether he sleeps
or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know
28 (growth is in stages)
All by itself the soil produces grain—first
the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.
29 (maturity = ready for harvest)
As soon as the grain is ripe, he
puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 (another kingdom parable)
Again he said, “What
shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable
shall we use to describe it?
31 (about a tiny mustard seed)
It is like a mustard seed, which
is the smallest of all seeds on earth.
32 (yet it grows to be the
biggest) Yet when planted, it
grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such
big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
Jesus' Teaching Method
33 (he used lots of parables in his teaching)
With many similar parables Jesus
spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
34 (yet with his disciples he explained them)
He did not say anything to them without
using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples,
he explained everything.
2: End of the Day Miracle on the Lake: v.35-41
Jesus Calms the Storm
35 (Jesus' decision to leave)
That day when evening came,
he said to his disciples, “Let
us go over to the other side.”
36 (they go to cross the lake)
Leaving the crowd behind, they took
him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other
boats with him.
37 (a storm occurs & threatens
them) A furious squall came
up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
38 (Jesus sleeps, the disciples
wake him) Jesus was in the stern,
sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, don't you care if we drown?”
39 (Jesus calms the storm) He
got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet!
Be still!” Then the
wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 (he challenges the disciples
lack of faith) He said to his
disciples, “Why are
you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 (they were awestruck by
him) They were terrified and
asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey