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Go to Bible: Mark 4
“facing the lake.” The crowd was on the land, and Jesus was in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, so the crowd was “facing the lake.” (cp. Lenski).(top)
|Mar 4:2||- (top)|
“The Parable of the Sower.” Perhaps it should be more accurately referred to as, “The Parable of the Soil.” It is also in Matthew 13:3-9 and Luke 8:5-8. See commentary on Matthew 13:3.
“Listen!” The Greek is akouō (#191 ἀκούω), which means to hear, to listen, or to understand, and it is in the imperative mood. Coupled with idou (“Pay attention!) it is an extremely powerful way to say that we better pay attention to what Jesus is saying in the parable.
“Pay attention!” The Greek word is idou (#2400 ἰδού), and it is used to get our attention. See commentary on Matthew 1:20 (“Look!).(top)
|Mar 4:4||- (top)|
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|Mar 4:6||- (top)|
|Mar 4:7||- (top)|
|Mar 4:8||- (top)|
“Anyone who has ears to hear had better listen!” This is almost the same Greek phrase as occurs in Matthew 11:15. For an explanation of the exclamation, see the commentary on Matt 11:15. This verse is longer, reading, “Anyone who has ears to hear had better listen,” while the occurrences in Matthew read, “Anyone who has ears had better listen!”(top)
|Mar 4:10||- (top)|
“sacred secret.” We translate the Greek word mustērion (#3466 μυστήριον) as “sacred secret” because that is what mustērion actually refers to: a secret in the religious or sacred realm. [For more information on the “Sacred Secret” and the Administration of Grace, see Ephesians 3:9.](top)
Quoted from Isaiah 6:9, 10. Some texts such as the Byzantine Text from which the KJV was translated, read “of sins” at the end of the verse, but scholars are now aware that this is an explanatory gloss that worked its way into the text.
“so that…” For this quotation from Isaiah and the purpose of parables, see commentary on Matthew 13:13. The “so that” is the Greek word hina plus the verb in the subjunctive mood, which shows this to be a purpose-result clause: see commentary on Matthew 2:15, “resulting in…what was spoken being fulfilled.” To fully understand this passage, we must see how Matthew’s record portrays the human side of the events, John’s the spiritual side, and Mark and Luke’s records combine the two into one.
The subjunctive mood in the verse makes it somewhat difficult to understand and translate. The subjunctive is forced by the use of “so that” (Greek, hina, #2443), so the verb does not have to be translated like a subjunctive, which would be “they may see and may not perceive,” but the use of “lest” in the last phrase makes a subjunctive translation awkward. Wicked people look and look without seeing, and hear and hear without understanding.(top)
“grasp...understand.” In the REV, the word “grasp” is translated from the Greek word oida (#1492 οἴδα), and the word “understand” from the word ginōskō (#1097 γινώσκω) (cp. Word Biblical Commentary). Many times in the New Testament the two words are synonyms, which explains why so many English versions translated them both as “understand” here in Mark 4:13. But it seems that if they meant the same thing in Mark 4:13, then one of the words would have been used twice instead of them being juxtaposed to each other. Oida sometimes has the sense of knowing intuitively, while ginōskō often has the meaning of knowing through a process, such as learning by experience. It seems here that Jesus thought his parable was so clear that his disciples would just “grasp” what he was saying, and when they didn’t, he wondered how they would come to understand all his parables.(top)
|Mar 4:14||- (top)|
“the Adversary.” The Greek word for Adversary is Satanas (#4567 Σατανᾶς), which has been transliterated into “Satan” in most versions. This causes the meaning of the word, which is important, to be lost. For more information on it, see commentary on Mark 1:13. For information on the names of the Devil, see Appendix 14: “Names of the Devil”.(top)
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“hidden.” “Hidden” has the same root word as “hidden away” later in the verse.
“except to be revealed.” The wording in Mark is difficult, and the subject of much discussion among scholars. Whereas the similar saying in Luke 8:17 makes perfect sense in light of the fact that God will reveal every hidden thing, the Gospel of Mark uses a Greek purpose word, hina, as if to say the purpose of something being hidden is to come to light. While that meaning seems awkward, it seems that Mark is emphasizing the fact that God, who is light and truth, wove it into the fabric of creation that hidden things would be revealed, and that people may try to hide things but they try in vain because the purpose of God will prevail and the hidden things will be revealed.(top)
“Anyone who has ears to hear had better listen!” This is the same Greek phrase as occurs in Mark 4:9 (see commentary on Mark 4:9), and almost the same Greek phrase as occurs in Matthew 11:15. For an explanation of the exclamation, see the commentary on Matthew 11:15. Jesus emphasized his teaching that everything we do will be disclosed on Judgment day with this solemn command and warning.(top)
|Mar 4:24||- (top)|
“For whoever has.” Jesus taught this principle of having and not having five different times. See commentary on Matthew 25:29.(top)
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“mustard seed.” For more information on this parable, see commentary on Matthew 13:32.(top)
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|Mar 4:35||- (top)|
“just as he was.” This is a very important verse that shows us how hard Jesus pushed himself to serve and bless people. He was exhausted from serving. That is why he went right to sleep in the boat. The Devil knew he was exhausted, and tried to kill him off, thinking he might be too weak to really defend himself and calm the storm.(top)
|Mar 4:37||- (top)|
|Mar 4:38||- (top)|
“having fully awakened,” In v. 38 he was awakened, the verb in v. 39 is stronger. He was not “sleepy” or “just coming to his senses” as so many do when they are awakened. He became fully awake.
“subdued.” In this context, epitimaō (#2008 ἐπιτιμάω) has a technical meaning: it is used in Greek religion of gaining control over a spirit, a demon. Jesus subdued the storm, which was no doubt caused by a demon, by the power of God he wielded, which he expressed in words. The power came from God and was used by Jesus. Jesus did not gain control over the storm by some “magic words” or formula that he used. “It is not a magical incantation...it is powerful Word of the Son” (Gerhard Kittle, Theological Dictionary, ἐπιτιμάω Vol. 2, p. 626). For a more complete explanation, see commentary on Mark 1:25.
“Hush!” The Greek siopao (#4623). “To refrain from speaking or making a sound, keep silent, say nothing, make no sound” (BDAG). Although this word gets translated “Peace” in many versions, it is not the standard word for peace.
“Be bound!” As with the word “subdued” (above), the Greek word phimoō (#5392 φιμόω) has a technical meaning in this context. Ordinarily phimoō means to close the mouth with a muzzle or to silence. However, it was used in Greek magic to denote the binding of a person with a spell. Moulton and Milligan write that it can refer to “the binding of a person by means of a spell, so as to make him powerless to harm” (The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament. Cp. A. Nyland, The Source NT; footnote on Matt. 22:12 and her translation: “Be bound!”). The Greek conveys a spiritual power behind the command that the English, “Be still,” simply does not convey. Jesus did not just command the storm—and the demon causing it—to be still—he bound it with the power of his word. See commentary on Mark 1:25.(top)
|Mar 4:40||- (top)|
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