"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Parables about sowing and growing seeds
Mark 4:1-34 Commentary
by Micah D. Kiel
In Mark chapter 4, the evangelist spins a series of parables and narratives about seeds, planting, harvesting, and seafaring.
These are indicative of an agrarian, rural background, the intimate details of which increasingly few people in modern societies have any intimate familiarity. A close look at these stories will quickly reveal that they are not just quaint quotidian creations. Mark here begins to expose the troubling confrontation between humanity and the Kingdom of God.
Mark's Gospel is about the Kingdom of God, and in chapter 4 Mark specifically begins to expose what exactly this kingdom is like. The string of parables in chapter 4 ask, and then begin to answer, one specific question: in whom does the kingdom best take root. Mark brilliantly weaves his narrative in such a way that this question is not fully answered until one reaches the end of chapter five.
The parable of the sower (4:1-9) is often interpreted in a way not tenable in the ancient world. Our modern world of combines, fertilizers, massive irrigation, and land-leveling equipment can make almost any soil farmable. In the ancient ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 020: Parable about sowing and growing seeds
January 15, 2012
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is Parables about sowing and growing seeds: Mark 4:1-34.