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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