Mark 4: Bible Study

Written by Iain Greensheilds   

Over the next few weeks we will be engaging in a major study of Mark’s Gospel, but we will be doing it a wee bit differently. Each Sunday the Minister will highlight part of a chapter in the Sermon but there will be an opportunity for people at home to follow up with the following notes. I hope you find this enriching.



Day 1 Read the whole of Mark chapter 4


This is a very important chapter because it is composed of parables of the Kingdom culminating in the amazing miracle of Jesus walking on the water. Read through the parables and try and see the essential links and then ask why the story of Jesus walking on the water is placed immediately after these parables? Read through this chapter, if you can, three or four times until the message of Jesus is clear to you.





Day 2 Read Mark 4:1-20


The ground is every human heart and the seed is the message of the Kingdom of God – the Good News Jesus brings to human hearts and our response to follow him. Jesus describes 4 types of ground – write them down and try and understand how true this is of the different ways in which people respond to Jesus. Notice that ultimately every response is down to personal responsibility – we can only ever sow the seed and pray for people. Where do you see yourself at this point in time in this story – is there anything you need to change to make yourself more fruitful?





Day 3 Read Mark 4:21-25


Do you see how the verses you have just read build on what Jesus has said in the first 20 verses?

Jesus has just finished telling us about the outcome of people who lead fruitful lives. Fruit needs light to grow and the inner light that we have comes from God. We can only ever be fruitful if we open our lives up to God. But what does Jesus mean by fruitful? Go to Galatians 5:22-23 to see Paul’s definition of a fruitful life. Now, think of fruit growing in your garden – it needs food, water and light. The food of God’s Word, the water of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. In turn we become a light to the world.





Day 4 Read Mark 4:26-34


Jesus returns to the illustration of seeds. In the first illustration he shows us that the growth of faith in the life of a believer takes time – a life-time! We have to be as patient with ourselves as God is with us. When he plants the seed of faith in us, he looks on the packet, and sees the finished article. Be patient. God is always at work in your life. The second parable is there to reassure us that although we feel insignificant sometimes, the seed God has placed in our hearts is extraordinary and when it comes to fruit it will be incredible – partially in this world and ultimately in the next.





Day 5 Read Mark 4:35 to end of chapter



This passage was the subject of the sermon last Sunday, but it links into what we have already read. The parables of the Kingdom describe the powerful seed that God places in our hearts. This seed is only significant because of the power of the Sower and it is this power that is described here.

The seas were feared by the Jews as the place of ultimate destruction and we are very much at its mercy when we are in the waters. The command of Jesus in this situation is designed to prove to us that there is nothing for us to fear in life when Jesus is with is – Paul’s argument in Romans 8:31-39. With God the Son we can step fearlessly into every day.