The secret of the parables (Mk 4:11-4:11)

“Jesus said to them.

‘To you

Has been given

The secret

Of the kingdom of God.

But for those outside,

Everything comes

In parables.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ· ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται,

 

This response of Jesus about the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:11, and Luke, chapter 8:10, almost word for word, as here in MarkMark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that they had been given the secret mysteries about the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of heaven as in Matthew (Ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  However, this was not granted to those outside this disciple group (ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω).  For them, everything was still in parables or riddles (ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται).  Only those on the inside would understand the parables or riddles, while those outside the inner circle of Jesus would not understand these parables.  This was almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite insiders had a true secret knowledge about the mysteries of God.

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Jesus alone with the twelve apostles (Mk 4:10-4:10)

“When he was alone,

Those who were around him,

Along with the twelve,

Asked him

About the parables.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο κατὰ μόνας, ἠρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ περὶ αὐτὸν σὺν τοῖς δώδεκα τὰς παραβολάς

 

This question to Jesus can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:10, and Luke, chapter 8:9, although the others did not make the distinction about the disciples and the 12 apostles as Mark did here.  They also never mentioned that Jesus was alone.  Mark said that when Jesus was alone (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο κατὰ μόνας), those followers of Jesus around him (ἠρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ περὶ αὐτὸν), including the 12 apostles (σὺν τοῖς δώδεκα), asked him about the parables (τὰς παραβολάς).  The disciples were confused about the use of parables.

 

Good ears to hear (Mk 4:9-4:9)

“Jesus said.

‘Let anyone with ears

To hear,

Listen.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν Ὃς ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω.

 

This warning at the end of the sower parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, in Matthew, chapter 13:8, and in Luke, chapter 8:8, and here.  Jesus warned them as he said (καὶ ἔλεγεν) that anyone with ears to hear should listen (Ὃς ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω) to this parable.  Jesus often mentioned the importance of hearing and listening.

The seeds on good ground (Mk 4:8-4:8)

“Other seeds fell

Into good soil.

They brought forth

Grain,

Growing up

And increasing.

They yielded

Thirtyfold,

Sixtyfold,

And a hundredfold.”

 

καὶ ἄλλα ἔπεσεν εἰς τὴν γῆν τὴν καλήν, καὶ ἐδίδου καρπὸν ἀναβαίνοντα καὶ αὐξανόμενα, καὶ ἔφερεν εἰς τριάκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν.

 

This sower parable about the seeds on good ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, in Matthew, chapter 13:8, and in Luke, chapter 8:8, and here.  There is a happy ending to this parable with the seeds that fell on good soil.  These other seeds fell on good soil (καὶ ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν).  They brought forth or gave good fruitful grain (καὶ ἐδίδου καρπόν).  These seeds in the good soil grew up and increased (ἀναβαίνοντα καὶ αὐξανόμενα).  Some yielded thirtyfold (καὶ ἔφερεν εἰς τριάκοντα).  Others yielded sixtyfold (καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα), while still others yielded a hundredfold (καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν).  Luke only listed 100 and never mentioned 60 or 30.

The seeds among the thorns (Mk 4:7-4:7)

“Other seeds fell

Among thorns.

The thorns grew up.

They choked

These seeds.

Thus,

They yielded

No grain.”

 

καὶ ἄλλο ἔπεσεν εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας, καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ συνέπνιξαν αὐτό, καὶ καρπὸν οὐκ ἔδωκεν.

 

This sower parable about the seeds among the thorns can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, in Matthew, chapter 13:7, and in Luke, chapter 8:7, and here, almost word for word.  The final group of unsuccessful seeds fell among the thorns (καὶ ἄλλο ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας).  The thorns grew up (καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι) and choked these seeds (καὶ συνέπνιξαν αὐτό).  Thus, these seeds did not give or yield any fruitful grain (καὶ καρπὸν οὐκ ἔδωκεν).

The seeds on rocky ground (Mk 4:5-4:6)

“Other seeds fell

On rocky ground.

They did not have much soil.

They sprang up quickly,

Since they had no depth

Of soil.

When the sun rose

They were scorched.

Since they had no roots,

They withered away.”

 

καὶ ἄλλο ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸ πετρῶδες ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν, καὶ εὐθὺς ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς·

καὶ ὅτε ἀνέτειλεν ὁ ἥλιος ἐκαυματίσθη, καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη.

 

This sower parable about the seeds on rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:5-6, and Luke, chapter 8:6, with Matthew closer to Mark, almost word for word.  The second group of seeds fell on rocky ground (καὶ ἄλλο ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸ πετρῶδες).  They did not have much soil or good ground (ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν).  They sprang up quickly, even though they did not have much soil depth (καὶ εὐθέως ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς).  However, they were scorched (ἐκαυματίσθη) when the sun rose (καὶ ὅτε ἀνέτειλεν ὁ ἥλιος).  These seeds withered away because they did not have good roots (καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη).

The sower and the lost seeds on the path (Mk 4:3-4:4)

“Listen!

A sower

Went out to sow.

As he sowed,

Some seed fell

On the path.

The birds came.

They ate it up.”

 

Ἀκούετε. ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων σπεῖραι.

καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ σπείρειν ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ ἦλθεν τὰ πετεινὰ καὶ κατέφαγεν αὐτό.

 

This sower parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:3-4, and Luke, chapter 8:5, with Matthew closer to MarkMark wanted everyone to listen (Ἀκούετε).  They should see that this farmer or sower went out to sow his seeds (ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων σπεῖραι).  This first section is about the unsuccessful seeds.  The first group of seeds fell on the walking path or the road (καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ σπείρειν ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν), so that the birds came (καὶ ἦλθεν τὰ πετεινὰ) and ate them up or devoured them (καὶ κατέφαγεν αὐτό).  Thus, these seeds were unsuccessful for this farmer.