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Mark 4:33

ESV With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.
NIV With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
NASB And with many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to understand it;
CSB He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand.
NLT Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand.
KJV And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.

What does Mark 4:33 mean?

The "they" in this verse is the crowds of people (Mark 4:1–2). A parable is a metaphorical story which takes an everyday event or situation and applies it to reveal a spiritual truth. Jesus uses parables to draw people in. Many are willing to listen to His short stories and perhaps contemplate how they relate to their lives. But only a few (Mark 4:10, 34) stay behind and ask for further explanation.

"Word" is from the Greek root word logos. The definition encompasses speech, language, reason, and logic. The apostle John identifies Jesus as the Logos (John 1:1). The Word is living and active. It isn't just information; its sharp truth can detect the slightest variations (Hebrews 4:12). In order for the Word to reach someone, the person must be prepared. By speaking in enigmatic parables, Jesus gives the people space to consider what He's saying and time for their perspectives to come around to His point of view. Even the disciples need time.

The purpose of Jesus' words isn't to increase knowledge, or even inspire legalistic obedience—the point is to create a changed heart. That result requires time and the work of the Holy Spirit. To present all the truth of the kingdom of God without preparing people would have been dangerous because, like the Pharisees, many would have wholly rejected what they half understood.

So Jesus is strategic in His speaking ministry. He understands that some people cannot take in too much new information (Mark 4:24–25).
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