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Mark 4:1-20Amplified Bible (AMP)

Parable of the Sower and Soils

Again Jesus began to teach beside the sea [of Galilee]. And a very large crowd gathered around Him, so He got into a boat [anchoring it a short distance out] on the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore. And He taught them many things in parables, and in His teaching He said to them, “Listen! A sower went out to sow seed; and as he was sowing, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocks where there was not much soil; and immediately a plant sprang up [a]because the soil had no depth. And when the sun came up, the plant was scorched; and because it had no root, it dried up and withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seed fell into good soil, and as the plants grew and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred times [as much as had been sown].” And He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.”

10 As soon as He was alone, those who were around Him, together with the twelve [disciples], began asking Him about [the interpretation of] the parables. 11 He said to them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you [who have teachable hearts], but those who are outside [the unbelievers, the spiritually blind] get everything in parables, 12 so that they will continually look but not see, and they will continually hear but not understand, otherwise they might turn [from their rejection of the truth] and be forgiven.”

Explanation

13 Then He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand and grasp the meaning of all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation]. 15 These [in the first group] are the ones along the road where the word is sown; but when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these [in the second group] are the ones on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy [but accept it only superficially]; 17 and they have no real root in themselves, so they endure only for a little while; then, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they [are offended and displeased at being associated with Me and] stumble and fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries and cares of the world [the distractions of this age with its worldly pleasures], and the deceitfulness [and the false security or glamour] of wealth [or fame], and the passionate desires for all the other things creep in and choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those [in the last group] are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation] and accept it and bear fruit—thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much [as was sown].”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 4:5 In many parts of Israel a layer of limestone lies an inch or so beneath the surface of the ground. This layer traps the moisture, and for a brief period of time a plant growing there may appear to flourish. But as soon as a dry spell comes, the moisture quickly dissipates. Due to the layer of limestone, the plant cannot sink roots and soon withers and dies (v 6).
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Mark 4:1-20King James Version (KJV)

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Mark 4:1-20Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Parable of the Sower

Again He began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around Him. So He got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was on the shore facing the sea. He taught them many things in parables, and in His teaching He said to them: “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, this occurred: Some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it sprang up right away, since it didn’t have deep soil. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it didn’t have a root, it withered. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce a crop. Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop that increased 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown.” Then He said, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”

Why Jesus Used Parables

10 When He was alone with the Twelve, those who were around Him asked Him about the parables. 11 He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables 12 so that

they may look and look,
yet not perceive;
they may listen and listen,
yet not understand;
otherwise, they might turn back—
and be forgiven.[a][b]

The Parable of the Sower Explained

13 Then He said to them: “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any of the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These[c] are the ones along the path where the word is sown: when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.[d] 16 And these are[e] the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root in themselves; they are short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately stumble. 18 Others are sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, 19 but the worries of this age, the seduction[f] of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But the ones sown on good ground are those who hear the word, welcome it, and produce a crop: 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown.”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 4:12 Other mss read and their sins be forgiven them
  2. Mark 4:12 Is 6:9-10
  3. Mark 4:15 Some people
  4. Mark 4:15 Other mss read in their hearts
  5. Mark 4:16 Other mss read are like
  6. Mark 4:19 Or pleasure, or deceitfulness

Mark 4:1-20New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Sower

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. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 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. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 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 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 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. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 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. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 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. 20 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.”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 4:12 Isaiah 6:9,10
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Mark 4:1-20The Message (MSG)

The Story of the Scattered Seed

1-2 He went back to teaching by the sea. A crowd built up to such a great size that he had to get into an offshore boat, using the boat as a pulpit as the people pushed to the water’s edge. He taught by using stories, many stories.

3-8 “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

10-12 When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. He told them, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. These are people—

Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word,
Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven.”

13 He continued, “Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way.

14-15 “The farmer plants the Word. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them.

16-17 “And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

18-19 “The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.

20 “But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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