Bible: Mark 4:1-34

The Parable of the Sower

4:1 Again he began to teach by the lake. Such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there while 1  the whole crowd was on the shore by the lake. 4:2 He taught them many things in parables, 2  and in his teaching said to them: 4:3 Listen! A sower went out to sow. 3  4:4 And as he sowed, some seed 4  fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 4:5 Other seed fell on rocky ground 5  where it did not have much soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. 6  4:6 When the sun came up it was scorched, and because it did not have sufficient root, 7  it withered. 4:7 Other seed fell among the thorns, 8  and they grew up and choked it, 9  and it did not produce grain. 4:8 But 10  other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, sprouting and growing; some yielded thirty times as much, some sixty, and some a hundred times.” 4:9 And he said, “Whoever has ears to hear had better listen! 11 

The Purpose of Parables

4:10 When he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 4:11 He said to them, “The secret 12  of the kingdom of God has been given 13  to you. But to those outside, everything is in parables,

4:12 so that although they look they may look but not see,

and although they hear they may hear but not understand,

so they may not repent and be forgiven.” 14 

4:13 He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? Then 15  how will you understand any parable? 4:14 The sower sows the word. 4:15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: Whenever they hear, immediately Satan 16  comes and snatches the word 17  that was sown in them. 4:16 These are the ones sown on rocky ground: As soon as they hear the word, they receive it with joy. 4:17 But 18  they have no root in themselves and do not endure. 19  Then, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 4:18 Others are the ones sown among thorns: They are those who hear the word, 4:19 but 20  worldly cares, the seductiveness of wealth, 21  and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, 22  and it produces nothing. 4:20 But 23  these are the ones sown on good soil: They hear the word and receive it and bear fruit, one thirty times as much, one sixty, and one a hundred.”

The Parable of the Lamp

4:21 He also said to them, “A lamp 24  isn’t brought to be put under a basket 25  or under a bed, is it? Isn’t it to be placed on a lampstand? 4:22 For nothing is hidden except to be revealed, 26  and nothing concealed except to be brought to light. 4:23 If anyone has ears to hear, he had better listen! 27  4:24 And he said to them, “Take care about what you hear. The measure you use will be the measure you receive, 28  and more will be added to you. 4:25 For whoever has will be given more, but 29  whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” 30 

The Parable of the Growing Seed

4:26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who spreads seed on the ground. 4:27 He goes to sleep and gets up, night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 4:28 By itself the soil produces a crop, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 4:29 And when the grain is ripe, he sends in the sickle 31  because the harvest has come.” 32 

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

4:30 He also asked, “To what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to present it? 4:31 It is like a mustard seed 33  that when sown in the ground, even though it is the smallest of all the seeds in the ground 4:32 when it is sown, it grows up, 34  becomes the greatest of all garden plants, and grows large branches so that the wild birds 35  can nest in its shade.” 36 

The Use of Parables

4:33 So 37  with many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear. 4:34 He did not speak to them without a parable. But privately he explained everything to his own disciples.

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