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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Mark's Gospel

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Frameworks: Mark's Gospel chapter 4


(The 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)




PART 1: Teaching Approaches & Content: v.1-34


v.1-2 Jesus teaches by the Lake


v.1  (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.  

v. 2  (again he uses parables) He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:  


v.3-9 The Parable of the Sower told


v. 3  (this one is about a farmer) “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.  

v. 4  (ground type 1) As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  

v. 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.  

v. 7  (ground type 3) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.  

v. 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.”

v. 9  (call to consider & pay attention) Then Jesus said,  “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”


v.10-12 Principles of the Kingdom


v. 10  (in the group of the twelve) When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  

v. 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  

v. 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 6:9,10]”


v.13-20 The Parable of the Sower explained


v. 13  (Jesus challenges the disciples) Then Jesus said to them, “Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?  

v. 14  (The seed is the word of God) The farmer sows the word.  

v. 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.  

v. 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.  

v. 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.  

v. 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.”


v.21-25 Illustration of a Lamp on a Stand


v. 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?  

v. 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.  

v. 23   (further call to consider & pay attention) If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

v. 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.  

v. 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.”


v.26-29 The Parable of the Growing Seed


v. 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.  

v. 27  (growth is automatic) Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  

v. 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.  

v. 29  (maturity = ready for harvest) As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”


v.30-32 The Parable of the Mustard Seed


v. 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?  

v. 31  (about a tiny mustard seed) It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.  

v. 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.”


v.33,34 Jesus' Teaching Method


v. 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.  

v. 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.


PART 2: End of the Day Miracle on the Lake: v.35-41


v.35-41 Jesus Calms the Storm


v. 35   (Jesus' decision to leave) That day when evening came, he said to his disciples,  “Let us go over to the other side.”  

v. 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.  

v. 37  (a storm occurs & threatens them) A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  

v. 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?”

v. 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.

v. 40  (he challenges the disciples lack of faith) He said to his disciples,  “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

v. 41  (they were awestruck by him) They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”