What does Mark 4:3 mean?
ESV: "Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
NIV: "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
NASB: Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow;
CSB: "Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow.
NLT: Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed.
KJV: Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
NKJV: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
Verse Commentary:
The word translated "listen" is from the Greek root word akouo. It means "to pay close attention and strive to understand what is being said." Listening and teaching are the themes for the entire chapter. Through several different parables, Jesus talks about how to listen, what we should listen to, how we should pass on what we've heard, and what we should expect in response. The direct instructions are repeated at the end of this parable (Mark 4:9), and after Jesus explains what the people should do with what they've heard (Mark 4:24).

In the Old Testament, the idea of "sowing" is related to the blessings God will give Israel in the future. He will "sow" in Israel, and their population and blessings will be renewed (Jeremiah 31:27–28; Ezekiel 36:9–11; Hosea 2:21–23). In this parable, the sower is anyone who teaches the gospel. At first, the sower is Jesus, but He is training the twelve to join Him in that work (Mark 3:13–14; 6:7–13), and He does the same for believers today.

Just as a farmer can't sow seeds he doesn't have, we can't teach what we don't understand. We need to understand God's Word well in order to teach others. In the parable of the sower, Jesus uses the metaphor of good soil accepting the seed of the gospel to represent those who willingly accept His words. We need to be the good soil before we can be the sower.
Verse Context:
Mark 4:1–9 is this Gospel's first major account of Jesus' teaching. In the previous chapter, Jesus encountered varied reactions to His ministry. This passage opens with a parable describing why people react in these ways. Ironically, the very act of using parables reveals what kind of a student someone is. Those intrigued by the story and trusting of the teacher want to know more. Those who are hardened, shallow, or distracted don't allow Jesus' message to change their hearts. These events are also found in Matthew 13:1–9 and Luke 8:4–8.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus speaks in parables to the assembled crowd, giving them an opportunity to decide how much spiritual truth they want to absorb. The disciples, wanting to learn more, ask Jesus to explain the meaning of the parables He has taught. As Jesus explains these ideas, He demonstrates that a person's spiritual knowledge is based on their willingness to pursue truth. After describing Jesus' teaching in some detail, the Gospel of Mark describes how Jesus calms a storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Chapter Context:
Mark 3 explores the different ways people react to Jesus' teaching and miracles. They either follow Him, use Him, hide Him, or destroy Him. In Mark 4, Jesus explains why people react the way they do. He uses parables to explain who is serious about learning from Him. The softer a person's heart is, the more truth God will reveal. Soon, the twelve will also spread Jesus' message, although they will not be responsible for the spiritual growth of those who believe. The following chapter returns to depicting Jesus' miracles, including two of His most famous.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 7/23/2024 7:41:36 AM
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