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Bible Commentaries
Mark 4

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

Again. He had taught there before. See Mark 3:7-9.

In the sea. Mark only.

There was gathered [συναγεται] . The A. V. misses Mark's graphic use of the present, "There is gathered." So Rev.

Verse 7

Choked [συνεπνιξαν] . The preposition, sun = com (together), carries the idea of com - pression. It yielded no fruit. Added by Mark.

Verse 8

That sprang up and increased [αναβαινοντα και αυξανομενον] . The Rev. literally renders the participles, growing up and increasing, thus describing the process more vividly. These two participles, moreover, explain the use of the imperfect tense ejdidou [ψιελδεδ] , denoting continuance. It began to yield and kept yielding as it increased.

Thirty [εις τριακοντα] . Lit., up to thirty.

Verse 10

When he was alone. Mark only.

They that were about him with the twelve. Mark only. Matthew and Luke, the disciples.

Verse 11

Unto them that are without [εκεινοις τοις εξω] . The two latter words are peculiar to Mark. The phrase means those outside of our circle. Its sense is always determined by the contrast to it. Thus, 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 5:13, it is non - Christians in contrast with me. Colossians 4:5, Christians, contrasted with people of the world. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 3:7. Matthew (xiii. 11), with less precision, uses simply ejkeinoiv (to them), the pronoun of remote reference. Luke 8:10, toiv loipoiv (to the rest).

Verse 13

Peculiar to Mark. Parables [τας παραβολας] . The parables, which I have spoken or may hereafter speak.

Verse 14

The sower soweth the word. More precise than either Matthew or Luke. Compare Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:11.

Verse 19

The lusts of other things entering in [αι περι τα λοιπα επιθυμιαι] . Lusts not in the limited sense of mere sexual desire, but in the general sense of longing. The word is also used of desire for good and lawful things (Luke 22:15; Philippians 1:23).

Verse 20

Such as. A good rendering of the pronoun oitinev, which indicates the class of hearers.

Verse 21

A candle [ο λυχνος] . Properly, the lamp, as Rev.

Brought [ερχεται] . Lit., cometh. Doth the lamp come? This impersonation or investing the lamp with motion is according to Mark's lively mode of narrative, as is the throwing of the passage into the interrogative form. Compare Luke 8:16. The lamp : the article indicating a familiar household implement. So also "the bed" and "the stand."

Bushel [μοδιον] . The Latin modius. One of Mark's Latin words. See on Matthew 5:15. The modius was nearer a peck than a bushel.

Bed [κλινην] . A couch for reclining at table.

Candlestick [λυχνιαν] . Rev., correctly, stand; i e., lamp stand. See on Matthew 5:15.

Verse 22

Which shall not be manifested [εαν μη ινα φανερωθη] . The A. V. makes Christ say that every hidden thing shall be revealed. This is wrong. He says that things are hidden in order that they may be manifested. Concealment is a means to revelation.


Verse 26

Should cast [βαλη] . Lit., should have cast, the aorist tense, followed by the presents sleep and rise [καθευδη ανδ εγειρηται] . The whole, literally, "As if a man should have cast seed into the ground, and should be sleeping and rising night and day." The aorist tense indicates the single act of casting; the presents the repeated, continued sleeping and rising while the seed is growing.

Seed [τον σπορον] . The seed; that particular seed which he had to sow. Such is the force of the article.

Verse 27

Grow [μηκυνηται] . Lit., lengthen; be extended by the seed lengthening out into blade and stalk.

He knoweth not how (wJv oujk oiden aujtov). The Greek order is very lively : how knoweth not he.

Verse 28

Of herself [αυτοματη] . Lit., self - acting. It occurs in only one other passage of the New Testament, Acts 12:10; of the city gate which opened to Peter of its own accord.

Verse 29

Is brought forth [παραδοι] . This rendering cannot be correct, for the verb is active, not passive, meaning to deliver up. Hence it is usually explained, shall have delivered itself up to harvest; which is stilted and artificial. Rev. is ripe, is a free rendering from the margin of A. V. It is, perhaps, better to explain, as Meyer does, whose rendering is adopted by Rev. in margin : When the fruit shall have allowed, i e., shall have admitted of being harvested. Xenophon and Herodotus use the word in the sense of permit or allow; and an exact parallel to this occurs in the historian Polybius (xxii., 24, 9) : "When the season permitted" [παραδιδουσης] .

Putteth in [αποστελλει] . Lit., sendeth forth. So Rev. in margin. The rendering, putteth in, misses the figure. The verb is the same as that used of sending forth the apostles to reap the harvest of souls. See especially John 4:38 : "I sent [απεστειλα] you to reap."

Verse 30

Peculiar to Mark.

With what comparison shall we compare it? [εν τινι αυτην παραβολη θωμεν] . Lit., In what parable might we put it? Rev., In what parable shall we set it forth? Note the we, taking the hearers, with a fine tact, into consultation.

Verse 31

When it is sown [οταν σπαρη] . This phrase is repeated in verse 32. Here the emphasis is on otan, when. It is small at the time when it is sown. In verse 32 the emphasis is on sparh, it is sown. It begins to grow great from the time when it is sown.

That are upon the earth. A little detail peculiar to Mark.

Verse 32

Groweth up. Mark only.

Herbs [των λαχανων] . Rev., rightly, the herbs; those which people are wont to plant in their gardens. The word denotes garden - or pot - herbs, as distinguished from wild herbs.

Shooteth out great branches [ποιει κλαδους μεγαλους] . Lit., maketh, etc. Rev., putteth out. Peculiar to Mark. Matthew has becometh a tree. On branches, see note on Matthew 24:32. One of the Talmudists describes the mustard - plant as a tree, of which the wood was sufficient to cover a potter 's shed. Another says that he was wont to climb into it as men climb into a fig - tree. Professor Hackett says that on the plain of Akka, toward Carmel, he found a collection of mustard - plants from six to nine feet high, with branches from each side of a trunk an inch or more in thickness. Dr. Thomson relates that near the bank of the Jordan he found a mustard - tree more than twelve feet high.

Lodge [κατασκηνουν] , See on Matthew 8:20. Lit., pitch their tents.

Verse 33

Such. Implying that Mark knew yet more parables that were spoken at that time.

As they were able to hear it. Peculiar to Mark.

Verse 36

Even as he was in the ship. Rev., boat. Just as he was, in the boat in which he was then sitting. Mark adds the detail about the accompanying boats.

Verse 37

Storm [λαιλαψ] . So Luke. Distinctively furious storm or hurricane. Compare Septuagint, Job 38:1, of the whirlwind out of which God answered Job. See, also, Job 21:18. Matthew uses seismov, a shaking. See on Matthew 8:24. Mr. Macgregor (" Rob Roy on the Jordan ") says that "on the sea of Galilee the wind has a singular force and suddenness; and this is no doubt because that sea is so deep in the world that the sun rarefies the air in it enormously, and the wind, speeding swiftly above a long and level plateau, gathers much force as it sweeps through flat deserts, until suddenly it meets this huge gap in the way, and it tumbles down here irresistible."

Verse 38

A pillow [το προσκεφαλαιον] . The definite article indicates a well - known part of the boat 's equipment - the coarse leathern cushion at the stern for the steersman. The Anglo - Saxon version has bolster.

Verse 39

Peace, be still [σιωπα, πεφιμωσο] . Lit., be silent ! be muzzled ! Wyc., rather tamely, wax dumb ! How much more vivid than the narratives of either Matthew or Luke is this personification and rebuke of the sea as a raging monster.

Ceased [εκοπασεν] . From kopov, meaning, 1, beating; 2, toil; 3, weariness. A beautiful and picturesque word. The sea sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating.

There was [εγενετο] . More strictly, there arose or ensued. The aorist tense indicates something immediate. Tynd. has followed.

Calm. Wyc., peaceableness.

Verse 41

They feared exceedingly [εφοβηθησαν φοβον μεγαν] . Lit., they feared a great fear.

What manner of man is this? [τις αρα ουτος εστιν] . The A. V. is rather a rendering of Matthew's potapov, what manner of (viii. 27), than of Mark's tiv, who. The Rev. gives it rightly : Who then is this? The then [αρα] is argumentative. Since these things are so, who then is this?

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/mark-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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