What does Mark 4:7 mean?
ESV: Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
NIV: Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
NASB: Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
CSB: Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn't produce fruit.
NLT: Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain.
KJV: And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
NKJV: And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
Verse Commentary:
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.
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 5/29/2024 2:44:56 PM
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