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Bible Commentaries
Mark 4

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-20

Title: Sowing the Seed Text: Mar_4:1-20 Proposition: We are to scatter the seed, The soil determines the results. Question: How? Key Word: Factors Scripture Reading: Mar_4:1-9 Introduction: 1. Jesus taught many parables. 2. Parable = a comparison of the known with the unknown. 3. Jesus took common material things to explain spiritual truths. Here Jesus teaches us that when we scatter seed it can fall in 4 types of soil. Notice with each soil what it produces and the application lessons Pathway Produces: Birdseed Application: Hard, closed mind, never grow, Satan takes away seed Stony Produces: Beginning, springs up, wither away Application: No depth, can't take the heat, receive with gladness Thorns Produces: Grew up (mature), no fruit Application: Looks alive, not productive, cares of world choke out Good Produces: Grew, increased, 30, 60, 100 fold Application: Productive, reproductive, hear, accept, and obey Lessons to Learn: 1. Our job is to scatter seed - everywhere, to all 2. Don't judge the soil. This is not your job. 3. The power to grow is in the seed. 4. How and if it develops is in the soil.

Verses 21-25

TITLE: Audio, Visual or Kinetic TEXT: Mar_4:21-25 PROPOSITION: We have three primary ways to learn and receive information. QUESTION: How? KEY WORD: Methods SCRIPTURE READING: Same INTRODUCTION:

1. Have you noticed - people learn in different ways

2. To communicate the gospel - we must teach in three ways.

People are:

1. Audio (hearing) - hear a lecture & understand

2. Visual (seeing) - see a demonstration & understand

3. Kinetic (touching)- hands on, actual doing it & understand

4. Illustration of repairing my car - read manual, see photos, under the hood

How to tell which you are:

1. Terms - “I see” - “I hear you” - “I get it”

2. Questions - Do you hear? Do you see what I am saying? Got a handle on it?

3. We are a mixture - but usually one will be dominant

In my sermons:

1. Talk - lecture, explain

2. Body language, motion, walk, wave arms, facial expressions

3. Action - turn to passage, look up, nod your head

In our text:

1. Audio - (23-24a) - How you hear [ Luk_8:18 - What you hear]

2. Visual - (21-22) - Candle under a basket

3. Kinetic - (24b-25) - physical, material (he that has, has not, taken from him)

In Jesus ministry:

1. Audio - preaching, teaching, sermons

2. Visual - parables - painted pictures of sound and motion

3. Kinetic - miracles touched lives, touched, sat child on lap, baptized

In our homes (training our children):

1. Tell, talk, lecture

2. Show, set example, let them see

3. Do - guide them step by step

In Evangelism:

1. Audio - Talk, study, tape of a sermon

2. Visual - Show them your life, example

3. Kinetic - Take them


1. Audio - We must TELL people about Jesus

2. Visual - We must let them SEE Jesus in us

3. Kinetic - We must allow them to EXPIERENCE Jesus in their life

Verses 26-30

TITLE: How does your garden grow? TEXT: Mar_4:26-30 PROPOSITION: We are involved but can't explain the process of growth. QUESTION: How? KEY WORD: Evidences SCRIPTURE READING: Same INTRODUCTION:

1. Farmers and gardeners - work, till soil, plant seeds and harvest

2. Jesus said the kingdom of God (the church) is similar

3. From nature we see the evidence of how the church grows

We must begin the process (26)

1. The seed is in a bag - doing nothing - dead

2. It will not do anything until we act.

3. The earth will not grow until we plant the seed.

4. We must scatter, sow, and plant the seeds.

We watch (27a)

1. We sleep, get up, look at it

2. We rise early in morning, next day, in afternoon

3. 3-4 days - I see something, new sprout, it is alive

We do not know how (27b)

1. With all our knowledge - much we do not understand

2. How does a bird migrate and return to same tree? Salmon return?

3. How does a goose eat corn and grow feathers, a pig eats corn, grows hair?

4. Why are your fingerprints different than mine?

5. There is more we don't know - than we do know.

6. We observe it. We repeat the process with same results. Can't explain how?

7. God's response to Job - Job_38:1-41

1. Were you present when the earth was formed - 38:4

2. Command the sun to rise - 38:12

3. Have you been under the earth - water, oil, gas - 38:16

4. Can you control the path of a lightning bolt - 38:25

5. Can you make it rain - 38:26

6. Did you group the stars - 38:31

8. Job's response - Job_42:1-3

Plants grow in an orderly fashion (28)

1. First blade - small shoot

2. Then ear begins to develop

3. The corn (grain) in the ear

4. Then ripe, full grain - ready for harvest

We gather the harvest (30)

1. We see it is ready

2. We get the tools - sickle

3. We harvest the grain

4. Then boast - Look what I grew!


1. Evangelism - We start the process - plant the seed

2. Let God take over - don't push, pressure, let the Word germinate

3. Let the process progress in an orderly way

4. We gather the harvest - baptize them.

5. We must plant - watch - and harvest.

6. We cannot make it grow and develop.

Verses 31-32

TITLE: The Mustard Seed TEXT: Mar_4:30-32 PROPOSITION: God intends for the Kingdom to grow. QUESTION: How? KEY WORD: Applications SCRIPTURE READING: Same INTRODUCTION:

1. This short parable is an important one.

2. Today I want to focus on the meaning and application.


1. Small seed - used to measure things that were tiny

2. Grew to 12 - 15 feet - strong branches

3. Not a tree (Maple or Oak) but large enough for birds to rest

4. Mat_17:20 - Used to describe the size of faith

Meaning of the parable

1. Kingdom will have a small beginning

2. It would grow rapidly

3. It will be beneficial to the world

4. How can we, as a church, grow like the mustard?

5. Here are 9 requirements for growth.

Attitude - "Desire"

1. There must be a desire to be a great church

2. Must be willing to pay the price

Vision - "see beyond"

1. We must be able to see beyond next Sunday

2. At Kadesh-Barnea the 10 spies had no vision

3. Vision is more important that location, money, talent

4. Fisherman, keeping only the small fish, threw all the larger ones back, asked why, said, "I only have a 7" frying pan."

5. Many churches have a 7" limitation on vision


1. Mood-setters = song leader, preacher, announcements

2. Most churches are friendly to each other

3. We must decide to either:

DO IT! DELEGATE IT! OR DITCH IT! Bible - centered

1. Sermons, classes

2. Spend time in study of the word

3. Church will never be bigger than its Sunday school

Action - oriented

1. We must put people to work

2. Put deacons in charge and turn loose

3. Involvement is the key to keeping them


1. Act_4:32

2. Tradition is holding us back

3. Do you want the church to function?

Specific goals

1. The survey tells us where we are

2. A goal tell where we are headed - our aim

3. We need to establish:

1. A GOAL for the church

2. Several goals that are specific (countable)

3. Set time tables and limits for them

4. Post, announce, and publicize them

Praise and encouragement

1. Barnabas = his nickname, what others called him

2. What if we were called as perceived?

3. Discouragement is a major problem in church growth


1. Hang in there.

2. Keep on keeping on.

Verses 35-41



1. In the NT the word “care” can have several meanings.

2. Song: Does Jesus Care? Oh, yes he cares

3. Here are some thoughts about caring GOOD / BAD.

In the sense of anxious, worry, worldly care

About earthly things Luk_12:22 - Do not be anxious for your life, eat, put on God's providential goodness should keep us from Mat_6:26 ; Mat_6:28 ; Mat_6:30 - Birds of air are fed, lilies of field, grass on a hill God's promises should keep us from Heb_13:5 - Be content with what you have, I will never leave you 2Co_1:20 - Promises of God and Yes and Amen Trust in God should free us from Jer_17:7-8 - Trust in the Lord, tree by water not worried in drought Should be cast on God 1Pe_5:7 - Cast all your care on the Lord Psa_55:22 - Cast burden on the Lord, He will keep you An obstruction to the Gospel Mat_13:22 - Seed in thorns = care of world, riches, choke our Word Luk_14:18-20 - Excuses were material, hinder fellowship with Lord Be without Php_4:6 - Worry about nothing, pray about everything 1Co_7:32 - Be without anxiety. Exemplified in Martha Luk_10:41 - You are anxious and troubled about many things

In the sense of concern, earnest care

Luk_10:34-35 - Samaritan - Take care of him Deu_11:12 - Land God cares for. Eyes of Jehovah always upon it Php_4:10 - Your care of me has flourished Psa_142:4 - No man cared for my soul Tit_3:8 - Be careful to maintain good works Conclusion:

1. Does Jesus care (worry, anxious about future)? NO!

2. Does Jesus care (show genuine love and concern)? YES!

3. In what way do you care about - God, Jesus, soul, Bible, eternal life, salvation?


TITLE: Are you afraid? TEXT: Mar_4:37-41 PROPOSITION: Fear takes several forms. We must have the right kind of fear. QUESTION: Which? KEY WORD: Forms SCRIPTURE READING: Same INTRODUCTION:

1. We all have fears - storms, bugs, mice, etc.

2. The Bible talks about fear.

3. Several different forms.


Fear = Phobia

1. Fear of storms, bugs, mice, snakes, high places, death, spiders

2. Unfounded - paranoid (out to get me)

3. Study Psa_91:1-3 ; Psa_5:1-12 ; Psa_6:1-10 ; Psa_7:1-17 (Describes the terrorists of today.)

Fear = Lack of courage (coward)

1. Kids challenge each other to jump. Are you afraid? Scardy cat!

2. Ride roller coaster; go in haunted house, etc.

3. Rev_21:8 - Fearful in lake of fire

Fear = Fright (loss of life, harm, danger)

1. Mat_10:28 - Can kill your body

2. Mar_4:40

3. This fear is the opposite of faith.


Fear = Reverence, respect

1. Mar_4:41 - Saw Jesus with a new respect for his power

2. Eph_5:21 - Submit to one another out of fear of God

3. Ecc_12:13 - Whole duty of man - fear God

Fear = Concern

1. Gal_4:11 - Fear lest I labored in vain

2. Not worry - Moved to act, do something to help


1. Are you afraid?

2. Doe you have trust and confidence in God?

3. Psa_27:1 - Lord is my salvation: whom shall I fear?

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Mark 4". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/mark-4.html. 2021.
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