New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:2 parables. Of the seven parables of the kingdom, Mark only includes in his account the parables of the sower (Mark 4:3-20) and the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32). On these and the other parables, see notes on Matthew 13.
4:2 doctrine. “Doctrine” is the same Greek word as “teaching.”
4:12 not perceive. See note on Matthew 13:11.
4:13 this parable. Jesus implies here that His first parable—that of the Sower, the Seed (which is the Word of God) and the four types of Soil (representing four types of hearers and their respective responses to the Word) is the definitive parable, the correct understanding of which is necessary before any of His other parables can be correctly understood.
4:21 under a bushel. Mark records two parables (that of the candlestick and also of the silent growth of the seed sown) after that of the Sower, both amplifying the latter. The first stresses the importance of sowing—that is, letting our light shine and keeping it bright. The second reminds us that the actual subterranean growth of the seed, finally springing out of the ground and producing fruit, is not the work of the sower, but of the Creator who designed this amazing mechanism. It symbolizes the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the one who has heard God’s Word (compare John 3:8, Ecclesiastes 11:5-6). The human witness conveys the Word, but he does not “win” the soul. As Paul said: “Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (I Corinthians 3:7).
4:25 to him shall be given. That is, the more we learn and apply God’s Word to our lives, the more He will enable us to learn. But the spiritual sluggard will eventually forget even what truth he has learned.
4:26 And he said. This parable of the growth of spiritual seed (the Word of God planted in one’s life) is found only in Mark.
4:33 as they were able to hear it. See note on Matthew 13:11. Most of the crowd did not understand because they would not want to apply it if they did understand, so Christ waited until He was alone with His disciples (Mark 4:34) to explain the meaning of His parables.
4:35 the same day. Mark says here that on the same day when Christ had told the various parables recorded here and in Matthew 13 He later stilled the storm on Galilee (compare Matthew 13:1-3 and Mark 4:1-3, apparently both introducing the same event). Then He cast the demons out of the man in Gadara, healed the woman with an issue of blood, and raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:1-43). Yet all of these events are recorded in Matthew 8:23-34 and 9:18-25 as apparently taking place before the occasion on which He taught these seven parables of the kingdom (actually there were nine parables, counting the two in Mark 4 added to the seven in Matthew 13). Since several other events (e.g., the call of Matthew) are interspersed with these, and since Mark also records these latter events as taking place before the giving of the parables, it does seem probable that the events described in Mark 4:35–5:43 all took place before the parables were given. In this case, the phrase “the same day” in Mark 4:35 could be understood as “the same kind of day” or even “the same season.” The Greek word (hemera) is somewhat flexible in meaning, depending on context.