King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Mark > New Testament > Home

Mark 4

The parable of the sower. (1-20) Other parables. (21-34) Christ stills the tempest. (35-41)

Mark 4 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The parable of the sower

1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

14 The sower soweth the word.

15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Other parables

21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?

31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:

32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.

34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

Christ stills the tempest

35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.

36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. If we examine S. Matthew on this point, we shall discover that this discourse was made on the same day as the preceding discourse; for S. Matthew informs us, that having finished this exhortation, he the same day went and taught by the sea. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 10. When he was alone: in Greek Ote egeneto Katamonas; i.e. when he was retired and alone, either in the house, out of the city, or at a distance from the multitude. T.

Ver. 11. Such as are out of the Church, though they both hear and read, they cannot understand. Ven. Bede, in C. iv, Mark.

Ver. 12. That seeing they may see, &c. In punishment of their wilfully shutting their eyes, (Matt. xiii. 15.) God justly withdrew those lights and graces which otherwise he would have given them, for their effectual conversion. Ch. — These speeches here and elsewhere, we are not to understand as if he spoke in parables to this end that the hearers might not understand, lest they should be converted; but we must learn the true sense from the corresponding texts in Matt. xiii, and Acts xxviii, where our Saviour and S. Paul render it thus: with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have shut. lest, perhaps, they may see, and understand, and be converted, and I heal them. Whereby it is evident, that the speaking in parables was not the cause, (for many besides the apostles heard and understood) but themselves, who would not hear and understand, and be converted: and thus they were the real cause of their own wilful and obstinate infidelity. And therefore also he spoke in parables, because they were not worthy to understand, as the others were to whom he expounded them. B.

Ver. 22. All my parables, doctrines, and actions, which appear now to you so full of mystery, shall not always be so: in due time they shall all be publicly expounded by you, my apostles, and by your successors. Tirinus.

Ver. 23. And let him learn that he is not to bury in unjust silence the instructions or the examples I give him; but must exercise them for the light and direction of others. V.

Ver. 24. Pay attention then to what you hear this day, that you may retain it, and communicate it to others, your brethren; for as you measure to others, so shall it be meted unto you; yes, more shall be given to you, who receive the word of God, if you be attentive to preserve it yourselves, and to communicate it to your brethren. V.

Ver. 25. They who do not profit by the knowledge of the word of God, shall in punishment of their neglect, lose the advantage which they may seem to have, since it will turn in the end to their greater condemnation: and moreover, by trusting to their own judgment, they interpret the word in a perverse sense, and thus also lose what they seem to have. Nic. de Lyra. — Let those who talk so much about Scripture, and interpret it according to their own private spirit or fancy, see lest this also attach to them. A.

Ver. 26. So it is with him who announces the gospel of the kingdom of God, as with the sower. For whether he sleep or rise, the seed will grow up while he knoweth not; and the well prepared soil will, by the blessing of God, be productive: so the word of God shed abroad in the heart of man, will increase and fructify independently of all the preacher’s solicitude, till he who has received it, being arrived at the measure of the age and fulness of Christ, shall be withdrawn by God from this world, and be called to himself. V.

Ver. 29. When the fruit is brought forth: lit. when the fruit[1] hath produced. By the fruit is here meant the seed; i.e. when the seed by degrees hath produced the blade, then the ear, and lastly the corn, which is become ripe. Wi. — This is a secondary sense of the text, when the fruit hath come to maturity, and by no means a forced interpretation.

Ver. 33. This seems to contradict what was said v. 12, that seeing they may not see, &c.; but we must observe, that parables have more explanations than one, some more easy, whilst others are more difficult to be understood. In parables, the multitude understood the more literal interpretation, whilst Christ explains the more abstruse and hidden sense to his apostles. Hence there is no contradiction in these texts. Nic. de Lyra.

___________________

[1] V. 29. Cum produxerit fructus. In the Greek, fructus is in the nominative case; otan de parado o karpos, &c.