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Summary: An introduction to the Parable of the Sower

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The Parable of the Sower

The Book of Mark

Mark 4:1-20

I. Introduction:

A. Most of us like a good story don’t we?

1. If it is told or written well.

2. It keeps our attention and often entertains us.

3. A good story will also teach us truth if we are paying attention.

B. Mark chapter 4 records a series of 4 parables

C. A parable is a story, which could be true, that is used to illustrate or teach a particular truth.

1. The Greek word means; something placed by the side of something else with the intention of explaining the one by the other.

a) Parables are sometimes called extended proverbs.

b) They differ from fables in that a fable is fictitious giving human attributes to animals and plant life Jud.9:8.

c) A parable on the other hand is a true to life story.

2. The Bible makes extensive use of this form of teaching.

a) 58 recorded in the OT.

b) Jesus used 38 parables in His teaching ministry all taken from the everyday experiences of the people to whom he was talking.

(1) Sower

(2) Herdsman

(3) Lost sheep

D. There was a purpose in using parables Mk.4:11-12.

1. This was apparently a change in the manor of our Lord’s teaching 4:10 – cf.1:14-15

2. It may have been precipitated by the actions of the Pharisees 3:29.

3. He is talking about two different groups of people.

a) The disciples vs.11.

(1) They were given the capacity to know the teachings of the kingdom.

(2) This was because of their association with Him – they were true followers chosen by Christ.

b) Those without – outside the circle.

4. Those without – outside our circle.

a) This refers to those who have willfully rejected Him already Mk.3:22.

b) It also refers to those who simply would not comprehend

(1) Mk.4:12 is from Is.6:9-10.

(2) 1Cor.2:14. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

(3) This is judicial blindness

(a) Pharaoh – confronted with God’s truth hardened his heart to it so God hardened it all the more.

(b) The result of judicial blindness is that not only would they not understand but what they were depending on would be taken from them also. Matt.13:12For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

(4) This does not mean that God desires for these people to be destroyed - Ezek.33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die O house of Israel?’

E. How does one interpret parables?

1. Parables only illustrate or amplify truth they are not doctrinal statements.

a) They don’t always make perfect sense theologically (the unjust steward Luke 16).

b) If we try to make them say more than what they were intended to say we will be misinterpreting scripture.

c) A parable usually illustrates one main truth but there are also other ancillary truths that can be gleaned from some.


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