Bible Study Assign5

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Mike Spindler (

BINT 500 SU08 DE

Assignment 5 (Mark 4:1-34)


Part A.2

Observation 1 (Cat 1):

There is a progression of discipleship underway from previous segments. Jesus started with choosing the twelve (3:16-19). Now He is defining a paradigm where action on the part of the follower is key (4:12.) The focus on hearing the Word (4:9) is being required, and to accept and nurture it in order to understand “the mystery of the kingdom of God” (4:11.) ). Good.

Observation 2 (Cat 3 - Para. 1 & 3):

Jesus uses hyperbole to emphasis a theme of listening in vss. 4:9 and 4:23 when He suggests that anyone who “has ears to hear, let him hear.” His audience would have had ears. Good, but hyperbole is a figure of speech rather than a literary relation.

Observation 3 (Cat 3 - Para. 1 & 2):

The Parable of the Sower is a metaphor using what happens to seeds scattered in the first paragraph (4:3-8) to be like the result of the Word (seed) in people after it has been planted [in them] in the second paragraph (4:13-20.) ). The metaphor actually occurs in the second paragraph, not between the first and second paragraphs. Metaphor is a figure of speech that triggers a comparison; therefore, comparison is your relation, not metaphor. Also, paragraphs 1 to 2, the relation would be explanation. He presents the parable in the first paragraph, and then explains it in the second.

Observation 4 (Cat 2 - Para. 2):

Inside the Parable of the Sower is an explanation of what occurs when the Word has been planted. Once sown it: 1) can be stolen by Satan (4:15); 2) can have no roots and affliction or persecution kills it (4:17); 3) can become impotent (4:19); 4) can take hold and flourish (4:20.) ). Good.

Observation 5 (Cat 4 - Para. 1, 2, 3, & 6):

This segment has one overarching topic of continuity - God is saying “Listen!”

Para. 1: The segment starts with “Listen to this!” (4:3) Jesus shares the parable of the Sower and afterwards makes the first exaggeration “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (4:9)

Para. 2: Inside the explanation of the parable, “and while hearing, they may hear and not understand” (4:12); “and when they hear” (4:15); “when they hear” (4:16); “have heard the word” (4:18); and “they hear the word and accept it.” (4:20)

Para. 3: In explaining the metaphor of the lamp - Jesus again emphasizes “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (4:23); and “Take care what you listen to.” (4:24)

Para. 6: And in summarizing the parables He was speaking “so far as they were able to hear it.”

Interesting insight! I think I like it! << smile >>

Observation 6 (Cat 3 - Para. 2 & 3):

There is a particularization as Jesus is sharing the explanation of the Parable of the Sower (3 4:15-20) and what happens to the Word as people hear it. In the second parable He refines “hearing” that not only should you hear, but “Take care what you listen to.” (4:24) Good!

Observation 7 (Cat 3 - Para. 2 & 3):

There is a continuity between the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Lamp. In both there is a clear benefit to the person who chooses to exercise the correct path. In the Parable of the Sower - to accept and allow the Word to grow is to see fruit 30 to 100 fold. (4:20) And in the Parable of the Lamp - to take care what you listen to, that person will be given more. (4:24-25) Good!

Part A.3

- Broad structure of vss. 10-20.

1. Jesus alone with those asking about the parables (4:10-12)

a. Followers present

b. Twelve present

c. To these are given the mysteries of the kingdom of God

d. Those outside get everything in parables

i. May see and not perceive

ii. May hear and not understand

iii. Otherwise return and be forgiven

2. Understand this parable or will not get the others (4:13)

3. The sown seed is the Word (4:14-20)

a. Stolen by Satan

b. Word does not take root


c. World chokes it

Bears no fruit

d. Good soil, hear and accept

Flourishes with fruit 30-100 fold

Nice job on broad structure! You could also note a contrast between 3a-c and 3d, or between the unproductive plantings and the productive one.

Mike, great job overall on part A! Please see my comments and let me know if you have questions. You've got a complete for part A.

Part B.2

- Observations of vss. 10-20.

Observation 1 (Cat 2 - Para. 2):

Inside the Parable of the Sower are explanations of what occurs when the Word has been planted. Once sown it: 1) can be stolen by Satan (4:15); 2) can have no roots and affliction or persecution kills it (4:17); 3) can become impotent (4:19); 4) can take hold and flourish (4:20.) ). Good.

Question (B):

Why is this parable first? (Note - I am assuming that the chronology is Jesus' and not the authors? Is that correct, or should I assume the author placed it there first and then research to prove if it is truly chronological?) Mike, regardless of whether or not the parable is first, the question you should be asking should focus on your relation of explanation. Your question misses the point of this relation. Focus on your relation. Ask what Mark's purpose is in recording this explanation. Ask what the explanation means. Ask why Jesus used this particular parable. Questions like these focus on your explanation. Once you've asked and answered a few questions like this, then you could ask a question of implication - the E question. “What are the implications of this explanation?” Or you could ask, “What are the implications of the answer to one of the above questions?”


Before Jesus could explain how the Word matures in a man and is harvested, He needed to establish that this is a different paradigm - you do not grow in understanding the mysteries of God's kingdom by keeping the law nor by one's birth or any other method. It is solely by hearing, accepting, retaining, nurturing the Word.

Observation 2 (Cat 2 - Para. 2):

There is a particularization in participants at the beginning of this paragraph as Mark journals that “His followers, along with the twelve” is pointed out. Good.

Question (C):

Why did Mark point out both were in attendance for the questioning - if the twelve were also followers? End your question after “questioning.” The rest of your question (what I've highlighted) is interpretive. State your question focused on your relation, then get off of it. Interpretation should be done in you answer.


There is a distinction between the disciples, previously chosen, and other followers. This distinction here seems to point to three groups. The first and closest to Jesus was the twelve disciples; second were the “followers”; and third were the rest of everyone else that only received the parables but not their meanings (4:11.) And there is actually a fourth group being that Scribes and Pharisees - that are excluded from this segment for the first time.

Question (E):

Assuming that there are people in the category of “disciple” that are in active relationship and experiencing God's love and correction. What is the implication today No! Not for today; for the time period in which the parable is being spoken. for dealing with people in the other two groups - followers and the multitude - without one-on-one discipleship are we leading lambs to slaughter by not taking active responsibility for them on conversion? Mike, you've got a combination of a question of application (not an interpretive question) along with a yes-no question. Don't ask what the implications are for today. We are not to application yet in asking and answering interpretive questions. Also, the last part of your question asks for a “yes” or “no” answer. No yes-no questions! The course schedule makes this clear as does the Holman Study Guide, and I've also mentioned it during Wimba. No yes-no questions!


I don't see an answer to this question directly. I do see that regardless - God gives accountability to each - become a follower, and seek out discipleship with others, but always of Christ.

Observation 3 (Cat 2 - Para. 2):

There are a series Call it continuity. of cause-effect relationships in the explanation of the Parable of the Sower.

- Because some are beside the road where the Word is sown - therefore Satan comes and takes [it]. (4:15)

- Because, in some, the Word does not take firm root - therefore immediately they fall away. (4:16)

- Because some had the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire of other things - therefore the Word was choked and became unfruitful. (4:18-19)

- Because some hear the Word and accepted it - therefore they “bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” (4:20)

Good, but call it continuity of cause-effect.

Question (A):

What does the effect of having Satan steal the Word have to do with being “beside the road?” For an A question, ask what the cause-effect means. Remember that A questions ask about meaning or definition.


It would appear that an area beside the road isn't a great place to plant a seed. The ground could be hard, contain holes and gravel, and would be subject to being trampled. The seed would probably just sit there until acted upon. Matthew explained this very similarly: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.” (Matt 13:19)

Question (C):

What does Mark mean by “accepted it”? Again, for questions of meaning, you have an A question, not a C.


The result of the first three reactions to the Word is death of the Word in the hearer. So “accepting it” must be incredibly important. It appears that acceptance may be equated to obedience. The acceptance or obeying what they hear.

Observation 4 (Cat 2 - Para. 2):

In considering two sentences Jesus made in 4:13 together, He is issuing a statement of preparation before He explains the Parable of the Sower when He states “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?” Good! You could also use continuity of rhetorical questions.

Question (D):

Why does Jesus make the statement “understand all the parables” here? This is a B question, not a D. This observation is not appropriate for a D question, which asks why something is true or necessary.


In loosely considering for the moment the converse of Jesus' statements: if you understand this parable, then you will understand all the parables then it becomes a statement that Jesus is making that understanding of this parable as key to understanding the mystery of the kingdom of God.

Question (E):

What is the implication of Jesus' emphasis on this parable? Good.


The parable itself points to this answer - it is how the Word is sown into a person's life. There are three negative paths and one positive - give the Word fertile ground, and accept it. Otherwise, you can listen to parables all day and not experience: 1) the truth in the parable; 2) the new covenant life (exposed mysteries) promised.

Observation 5 (Cat 2 - Para. 2):

There is a contrast in this paragraph inside 4:11 when Jesus declares to His followers and the twelve that they have been given the mystery of the kingdom of God -and- those outside get everything in parables. Good!

Question (D):

Why does Jesus make this distinction? Good, but it's a B question, not a D.


There appears to be an implied pursuit of God occurring. Other than the twelve, there are “followers.” These are people not called out but still pursuing/following Jesus. And these people are partaking of the mysteries. But their casual counterparts who are not following or pursuing aren't getting the mysteries behind the stories. “They see and not perceive, and they may hear and not understand.” (4:12)

Essential Markan thrust: Jesus came to give the mystery of the kingdom of God to those that will hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit. (4:11 & 4:20 paraphrased) This is not really an interpretive thrust statement. It is more of a summary statement of the paragraph. The thrust statement takes the main point of the paragraph and states it in timeless terms. Say something like, “Jesus' disciples can expect many who hear His message to reject it, but some will accept the message and bear fruit in their lives to varying degrees.”

Part B.3 - Main point to the parable in 4:26-29.

So, let's do this right… broad structure:

1. The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon soil

i. Goes to bed at night

ii. Gets up by day

iii. Seed sprouts and grows

iv. How - he doesn't know

2. Soil produces crops

i. First the blade

ii. Then the head

iii. Then the mature grain in the head

3. When ready he puts in the sickle - harvest has come

The Parable of the Seed is a metaphor of how the sown word will grow, the sower has no idea how, and then needs to be harvested. (Extrapolating on this, it is the action required to harvest, after the previous two parables explain when (on good soil) and how (taking care what you listen to) the sowing is successful.

In relationship to the rest of the segment this paragraph is the climax that once the “seed” (person) has the Word sown on good soil (furtile heart), accepts that Word, it must then be immediately harvested.

SO… Main point to the parable in 4:26-29: The kingdom of God is like a man who plants, the seed faithfully grows to maturity, and is harvested. Some good insights here, but the main point is that God causes the growth of that which is planted. Notice that the focus of this paragraph is that the man sows the seed and then goes to bed. When he wakes up, he sees growth, but he doesn't know how it grew. He just see the result - “first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.”

Part B.4 - Major lessons gained.

I've looked at discipleship as so key to growth that at times I've excluded the “mass conversion and growth” that even I experienced in the 70's. Yes, Jesus came to make disciples, not coverts converts. But there is nothing that says events like crusades and mass exposure to the gospel doesn't don't provide lasting growth. It is God who saves and delivers. Discipleship is not diminished, but neither is God's ability to be God and create the harvest and collect the harvest as He chooses.

I am probably one of the very few in the class who are not currently pastoring or leading in some capacity. (I was the only one in my summer modular.) And while I came as a “student of the Word” this study in particular is making me jealous of those with an avenue to share what they are learning! Not sure that this was a major lesson directly from the text - but it hit me as I was writing out Observation 3 - the cause/effect. There is a “doing” what we hear that can't be ignored. So while I entered this program because of my love for God and His Word - there will be accountability for it, and a drive to use what I've learned - coming. Super! Great application to your own life and ministry!

Observations (5 @ 7 points each) - 35 points 35

Interpretive Questions (5 @ 6 points each) - 30 points 22

Interpretive Thrust Statement of Mark 4:10-20


Main Point of Mark 4:26-29 - 10 points 9

Major Lesson of Segment - 15 points 15

Grammar, Sentence Structure, Spelling - 10 points 10

Grade: 91 / Mike, good job overall! Focus on your interpretive questions. They really need work. Please see my comments and let me know if you have questions. Also, I didn't ask for interpretive answers. It was good initiative on your part to answer them, but I really don't have time to grade them right now. You're on the right track with inductive study! Keep fine-tuning your work.

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