What does Mark 4:7 mean?While seed that falls on the path doesn't germinate at all, and the seed on the rocky ground barely sprouts, the seed that falls among the thorns grows, but doesn't produce grain. Jesus likens this scenario to people who hear the gospel but are distracted by the "cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches" (Mark 4:19).
There are several examples in the Bible of people who hear the gospel and seem to accept it, but are then distracted and drawn away by what the world has to offer. The worst and most obvious offender is Judas. He follows Jesus for about three years. He receives clarification on Jesus' parables (Mark 4:10, 34) and training to spread Jesus' words (Mark 3:14). But his lust for money (John 12:4–6) pushes him to betray Jesus to the chief priests (Matthew 26:14–16).
Mark 4:19 says that the thorns "choke the word" so that the sprout does not bear fruit. This suggests that the Word has some effect on the person who hears it, but not to the point of a saving faith. James 2:19 points out that even demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God and has all authority, but that doesn't mean they submit to Him.
The major theme of Mark 4 is how to hear and then teach the gospel—evangelism. Hearing is the first step, but it is not the apex of the Christian walk. Having an understanding of Jesus is shown to be useless if that understanding does not result in a changed life (James 2:14, 18). It is impossible to serve both the world and Christ (Matthew 6:24). If there is no fruit (Galatians 5:22–23), there is very likely no faith.