Mark 4 Expanded Bible (EXB)
A Story About Planting Seed
4 Again Jesus began teaching by the lake [C the Sea of Galilee]. A great crowd gathered around him, so he sat down in a boat near the shore. All the people stayed on the shore close to the water. 2 Jesus taught them many things, using ·stories [parables; see 3:23]. He said, 3 “Listen! A ·farmer [sower] went out to ·plant [sow] his seed. 4 While he was ·planting [sowing], some seed fell ·by the road [along the path], and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some seed fell on rocky ground where there wasn’t much dirt. That seed ·grew [sprang up] very fast, because the ground was not deep. 6 But when the sun rose, the plants ·dried up [were scorched and withered] because they did not have deep roots. 7 Some other seed fell among thorny weeds, which grew and choked the good plants. So those plants did not produce ·a crop [grain]. 8 Some other seed fell on good ground and began to grow. It got taller and produced ·a crop [grain]. Some plants made thirty times more, some made sixty times more, and some made a hundred times more.”
9 Then Jesus said, ·“Let those with ears use them and listen!” [L “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
Jesus Tells Why He Used Stories
10 Later, when Jesus was alone, the twelve apostles and others around him asked him about the ·stories [parables; see 3:23].
11 Jesus said, “·You can know [To you has been given] the secret about the kingdom of God. But to ·other people [outsiders] I tell everything by using ·stories [parables] 12 so that:
‘They will look and look, but they will not ·learn [perceive].
Jesus Explains the Seed Story
13 Then Jesus said to ·his followers [L them], “Don’t you understand this ·story [parable]? If you don’t, how will you understand any ·story [parable; see 3:23]? 14 ·The farmer plants God’s message in people [L The sower sows the word]. 15 Sometimes the ·teaching [word; message] falls ·on the road [along the path]. This is like the people who hear the ·teaching of God [word; message], but Satan quickly comes and takes away the ·teaching [word; message] that was ·planted [sown] in them. 16 Others are like the seed ·planted [sown] on rocky ground. They hear the ·teaching [word; message] and quickly accept it with joy. 17 ·But since they don’t allow the teaching to go deep into their lives [L But since they have no root in themselves], they keep it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the ·teaching they accepted [word; message], they quickly ·give up [fall away; stumble]. 18 Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the ·teaching [word; message], 19 but the worries of this ·life [world; age], the ·temptation [deceitfulness; seduction] of wealth, and ·many other evil desires [desires for other things] ·keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives [L come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful]. 20 Others are like the seed ·planted [sown] in the good ground. They hear the ·teaching [word; message] and accept it. Then they grow and produce ·fruit [a crop]—sometimes thirty times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes a hundred times more.”
Use What You Have
21 Then Jesus said to them, “Do you hide a lamp under a ·bowl [basket] or under a bed? No! You put the lamp on a lampstand. 22 [For] Everything that is hidden will be ·made clear [revealed; disclosed] and every ·secret [concealed] thing will be ·made known [brought to light/into the open]. 23 ·Let those with ears use them and listen! [L “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
24 [And he said to them,] “·Think carefully about [Pay attention to] what you hear. ·The way you give to others is the way God will give to you [or The standard you use to judge others will be the standard used for you; L With the measure you measure, it will be measured to you], ·but God will give you even more [and even more will be added to you]. 25 Those who ·have understanding [L have] will be given more. But those who do not ·have understanding [L have], even what they have will be taken away from them. [C The Greek does not say what they have; but the context suggests spiritual understanding to comprehend the mysteries of the kingdom (v. 11).]
Jesus Tells a Story About Seed
26 Then Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who ·plants seed in [scatters seed on] the ground. 27 Night and day, whether the person is asleep or awake, the seed still [sprouts and] grows, but the person does not know how it grows. 28 By itself the earth produces grain. First the ·plant [blade; stalk] grows, then the head, and then ·all the [the ripe] grain in the head. 29 When the grain is ready, the farmer cuts it [with a sickle], because this is the harvest time.”
A Story About Mustard Seed
30 Then Jesus said, “How can I show you what the kingdom of God is like? What ·story [parable; see 3:23] can I use to explain it? 31 The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest seed you plant in the ground. [C The mustard seed was the smallest seed known to Jesus’ hearers.] 32 But when planted, this seed grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants. It produces large branches, and the wild birds can make nests in its shade.”
33 Jesus used many ·stories [parables] like these to teach the crowd God’s ·message [word]—as much as they could ·understand [hear]. 34 He always used ·stories [parables] to teach them. But when he and his ·followers [disciples] were alone, Jesus explained everything to them.
Jesus Calms a Storm
35 That evening, Jesus said to ·his followers [L them], “Let’s go across the lake.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him in the boat just as he was [C meaning he was already in the boat; 4:1]. There were also other boats with them. 37 A very strong wind came up on the lake. The waves came over the sides and into the boat so that it was ·already full of water [nearly swamped]. 38 Jesus was at the ·back of the boat [stern], sleeping on a cushion. ·His followers [L They] woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are ·drowning [perishing]?”
39 Jesus stood up and ·commanded [reprimanded; rebuked] the wind and said to the ·waves [sea], “·Quiet! [T Peace!] Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm. [C This parallels God’s subduing of the waters representing chaos in the OT; Ps. 65:7; 89:9; 107:29.]
40 Jesus said to ·his followers [L them], “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were ·very afraid [terrified; filled with awe] and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the ·waves [sea] obey him!”