Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Mark
Book: Mark
Chapter: 4

The Parable of the Sower. (1-20) Other parables. (21-34)
Christ stills the tempest. (35-41)

1-20 This Parable contained instruction So important, that all
capable of hearing were bound to attend to it. There are many
things we are concerned to know; and if we understand not the
Plain truths of the Gospel, how shall we learn those more
difficult! It will help us to value the privileges we enjoy as
disciples of Christ, if we seriously consider the deplorable
state of all who have not such privileges. In the great Field of
the Church, the Word of God is dispensed to all. Of the many
that hear the Word of the Gospel, but few receive it, So as to
bring forth Fruit. Many are much affected with the Word for the
present, who yet receive No abiding benefit. The Word does not
leave abiding impressions upon the minds of men, because their
hearts are not duly disposed to receive it. The Devil is very
busy about careless hearers, as the fowls of the Air go about
the seed that lies above ground. Many continue in a Barren,
false profession, and go down to Hell. Impressions that are not
Deep, will not last. Many do not mind Heart-work, without which
religion is nothing. Others are hindered from profiting By the
Word of God, By abundance of the world. And those who have but
little of the world, may yet be ruined By indulging the body.
God expects and requires Fruit from those who enjoy the Gospel,
a temper of mind and Christian graces daily exercised, Christian
duties duly performed. Let us look to the Lord, that By his
new-creating Grace our hearts may become good ground, and that
the good seed of the Word may produce in our lives those good
words and Works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise
and Glory of God the Father.

21-34 These declarations were intended to Call the attention of
the disciples to the Word of Christ. By his thus instructing
them, they were made able to instruct others; as candles are
lighted, not to be covered, but to be placed On a Candlestick,
that they may give Light to a room. This Parable of the good
seed, shows the manner in which the Kingdom of God makes
progress in the world. Let but the Word of Christ have the place
it ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself in a good
Conversation. It grows gradually: first the Blade; then the Ear;
after that the full Corn in the Ear. When it is sprung up, it
will go forward. The work of Grace in the soul is, at first, but
the Day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now,
while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it is
perfected in Heaven!

35-41 Christ was asleep in the storm, to try the Faith of his
disciples, and to stir them up to pray. Their Faith appeared
weak, and their prayers strong. When our wicked hearts are like
the troubled Sea which cannot Rest, when our passions are
unruly, let us think we hear the Law of Christ, saying, Be
silent, be Dumb. When without are fightings, and within are
fears, and the spirits are in a tumult, if he say, "Peace, be
still," there is a great calm at once. Why are ye So fearful?
Though there may be cause for some fear, yet not for such fear
as this. Those may suspect their Faith, who can have such a
thought as that Jesus careth not though his people perish. How
imperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take their
turns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will be
overcome, and Faith will be lost in sight.