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Mark 4 Reading Guide


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Chapter Summary

  • v1-2 - A crowd is following Jesus hoping to witness or experience a miracle. Instead, Jesus turns a boat into a pulpit and began doing something much more important: He taught them.

  • v3-9 - Three out of the four parables in this chapter, including this first one, are about seeds, so it's right up our alley here in Minnesota.

  • The seeds are equally scattered, but not all fall into optimal growing conditions.

  • Only the seed that lands in good soil will produce a crop, but when it does, the crop is massive.

  • v10-20 - Like most people, the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus a question as He was teaching, but as soon as He's alone, they told Him they didn't have a clue what He was saying.

  • Jesus told them He spoke in parables because His teaching was only for His disciples, not the crowd. Jesus didn't want the crowd to understand.

  • In a sense, Jesus is scattering seed here in parabolic form (the word parable literally means 'words along side of,' similar to how the word hyperbolic means 'words over the top.'). Parables are often referred to as earthly stories with heavenly meanings, and they are in a sense, but more literally Jesus' parables are designed to be riddles, whose meanings are only meant to be understood by those in the 'good soil.' In fact, Jesus doesn't "say anything to them without using a parable (v34)."

  • You might find Jesus' words here a bit hard to digest. It doesn't seem right that Jesus is purposely veiling His words.

  • Yet this difficult teaching is a broad theme in the Bible. Jesus doesn't try to explain that theme here, He's simply acknowledging it.

  • Jesus goes on to explain the parable of the seeds for His disciples in v14-20.

  • v21-25 -