The Parables in Mark's Gospel

Set texts for OCR A2 New Testament.

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The Sower (MK4:3-8)

A sower planted seeds. Some fell on rocky ground and didn't grow, some fell between thorns and did not grow. Others, however, fell on good soil and prospered.


  • Just as the bumper crop is produced in spite of erratic work of the sower, the KoG will arrive and be more bountiful than expected.
  • The KoG will arrive and when it does, it will be bountiful.
  • Is allegorised by explanation (MK4:13-20)
  • Looking at what it takes to be a good disciple.
  • Also reveals Jesus' christology to the reader.
  • Links to the persecution of the early Xtians- Mark sitz im leben.
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The growing seed (MK4:26-29)

The KoG is like when a man throws a seed on the ground, and as the days pass it gets bigger and bigger. Even though he doesn't know how, when it is grown he immediately gets the sickle because the harvest has come.


  • Another assurance that the KoG will arrive and when it does, it will be bountiful.
  • the fact that Mark has placed 2 seed parables together suggests that he thought they conveyed the same message.
  • Hope in the face of persecution.
  • Notion of harvest- eschaton and judgement.
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The mustard seed (MK4:31-32)

The KoG is like a tiny grain of mustard seed, which grows into a huge plant that birds can rest beneath.


  • Contrast between beginning and end process of the KoG's arrival.
  • Realised and futuristic.
  • KoG linked to trees in Daniel 4 + Ezekial 17
  • Birds represent gentiles in 1Enoch 90:30 + Jeremias points out that nesting or "kataskhoun" (greek) was a Jewish eschatological term referring to "incorporation of the gentiles into the people of God".
  • Universal message of MK's gospel.
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The Wicked Tenants (MK12:1-12)

A man planted a vineyard and put a hedge around it and built a tower, then went abroad. He let it out, and occasionally sent a servant to collect fruit for him, but the tenant beat him and sent him back 3 times, then killed the man's son who came to do so. The landlord came back and was angry.


  • Autobiographical and prophetic for Jesus.
  • Allegorical- about God, followers and Jesus.
  • God has a divine plan- Jesus predicts his own death.
  • Mark is portraying Jesus as having a unique, intimate relationship with God.
  • Associates Jesus' identity as Son of God with a special destiny (Mark Goodacre).
  • Placed just before the passion.
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