Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Mark Chapter 4
Metaphysically Interpreting Mark 4:1-9 (The Parable of the Sower)
4:1And again he began to teach by the sea side. And there is gathered unto him a very great multitude, so that he entered into a boat, and sat in the sea; and all the multitude were by the sea on the land. 4:2And he taught them many things in parables, and said unto them in his teaching, 4:3Hearken: Behold, the sower went forth to sow: 4:4and it came to pass, as he sowed, some seed fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured it. 4:5And other fell on the rocky ground, where it had not much earth; and straightway it sprang up, because it had no deepness of earth: 4:6and when the sun was risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 4:7And other fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 4:8And others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing; and brought forth, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. 4:9And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Metaphysically Interpreting Mark 4:10-20
4:10And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parables. 4:11And he said unto them, Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables:
4:12that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them.
4:13And he saith unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables? 4:14The sower soweth the word. 4:15And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; and when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which hath been sown in them. 4:16And these in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, straightway receive it with joy; 4:17and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway they stumble. 4:18And others are they that are sown among the thorns; these are they that have heard the word, 4:19and the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 4:20And those are they that were sown upon the good ground; such as hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.
November 26, 1916: Mark 4:1-20
What is a parable? A parable is an analogy, a comparison. In religious teaching it assumes a likeness between higher and lower Songs, or spiritual and material, and reveals the analogy.
What does the parable in this lesson illustrate? The relation of the word, or thought, to the various soils, or mentalities, in which it finds lodgment.
Who is the sower? Man. "The sower soweth the word."
Does his word, or thought, find lodgment in his own mentality, or that of others? Both.
Why is thought compared to a seed? Because it has its various stages of growth, or realization in mentality.
What does the sowing by the wayside indicate metaphysically? The external plane of consciousness, where the conditions are most adverse to free ideas.
What is the rocky ground? Enthusiastic, gushing, shouting states of mind, that lack depth and endurance.
What are mental thorns? The cares of the world, acquisitiveness, the strife for material possessions.
What is the very best mental soil? Receptive, reflective, understanding states of mind, When an idea enters the consciousness and produces a multiplication of ideas, it is in rich environments and will surely produce a large crop.
Is it possible for a thought in this last mentioned good ground to bring forth error fruit? No. If the word is good, and the mentality good, and prayer and affirmations of good only go forth, the crop will surely be bountiful.
What seed, or word, does Jesus refer to in this lesson? The Word of Truth. This predicates that the sower understands the Truth of Being, and thinks reality only.
What is the Truth of Being? That there is but One Mind Universal. That this Mind is composed of Absolute, Unconditioned, All-Potential Ideas. That these Ideas of Pure Being are the Foundation upon which is based all manifestations of Life, Love, Substance, Intelligence and Power. That in its Purity this Being goes forth as potential Ideas, or the Logos, or Word of Scripture. Thus the Man of Understanding, the Christ, or the Son of God, thinks Absolute Ideas only, and thus always sows good seed.
October 19, 1924: Mark 4:1-9
What is a parable? A parable is a narrative of a possible event of life, by which a truth is illustrated. In the Scripture a material illustration is often used to prove a spiritual truth.
What truth does the parable in this lesson illustrate? The truth illustrated in this lesson is that as the different soils of the earth bring forth according to their fertility and the kind of seed sown, so man's thoughts and words produce according to their character.
Who is the "sower" here referred to? Man is the "sower," and "the sower soweth the word."
What is the meaning of, "some seed fell op the way side, and the birds came and devoured it"? The "way side" represents a careless dropping of a word here and there without further attention. Careless thoughts and words are carried away on the wings of the indefinite, and are lost.
What kind of thoughts and words falls on rocky ground? The rocky ground represents shallow minds that have no depth of understanding. Thought action in such a mind produces a quick crop, but as it is not rooted in Truth, it soon withers away.
What is represented by the words that fell among thorns? Thorns represent the critical mentality, which sends forth sharp, cutting, unkind thoughts and words. The result is that Truth is choked out, arid no good fruit is produced.
What state of mind is represented by the good ground in which the word is brought forth thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold"? The good soil is the mind that has been true to spiritual standards and has observed to the best of its understanding the laws of God and of man. People who have had Christian training make the best metaphysicians. They have thought deeply about the great fundamental questions of existence, and when the light of Truth does shine into their consciousness, a rich harvest is produced.
What is the meaning of, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear"? All true Scripture is based upon spiritual intelligence. The Scriptures are historically fitted to the needs of the natural man. There is, however, an inner meaning which is discerned by the spiritual consciousness in all of us. The spiritual ear is opened by an attitude of receptivity coupled with faith in the reality of things invisible. Thus faith and receptivity are the very foundation of spiritual growth. Jesus pointed to Simon Peter as the foundation of his church or spiritual consciousness. Simon means "hearing," and Peter means "a rock." Spiritual discernment reveals that the name means receptivity and faith.
February 12, 1933: Mark 4:1-10
When a student begins to apply the principles of Truth in his life, with what is he confronted? Surrounding each soul is a crowd of circumstances , surging around the borders of consciousness, demanding attention and solution. The Truth student feels the responsibility ot mastering his circumstances.
In what one way is man able to bring to bear the powers that give him mastery and control? Only as man withdraws into the isolation of his I AM identity ("into a boat") and anchors his thougnt in the realm of universal mind (in the sea) can he bring his new-found Wisdom to bear upon his environment and thus control it.
In the parable of the sower Jesus compares the different kinds of hearers to four different kinds of soil. Please explain. The seed cannot control where it shall fall, but lies in the soil on which the sower cast it. Each human being is born of a certain parentage, with relationships that he has not consciously chosen, and under conditions to which he must adjust himself or which he must surmount, if he would live the life of the overcomer. He also has his own disposition and tendencies to cope with.
January 23, 1944: Mark 4:1-9
What are the four different kinds of soil in the parable of the sower? The different soils represent four kinds of hearers of the word, or four stages of development of the moral and spiritual nature of mankind.
Who is the sower? Whoever speaks a true word or a good word sows seed in the mind that may increase good in the life of the hearer. "The seed is the word of God."
When we speak true words do we sow seed in the fields of others only? No, we sow in our own field as well as elsewhere, since our thoughts and words determine what we are and what we are to become.
What type of mental nature is represented by the "way side"? The nature that is totally unreceptive to Truth by reason of ingrained adverse habit of thought. In such a nature thought remains on the surface land cannot take root in mind.
What type of person may be symbolized by the "rocky ground"? The unstable type that is ruled by emotion and whose mind is closed to reason is like rocky soil. Those who are quickly converted in a religious revival and who as quickly backslide after it is over belong in this group. The hard inner circumstance of unstable emotions is more difficult to overcome than hard circumstances in environment.
What "thorns" choke the seed of Truth and keep it from bearing fruit? Worldly cares, worries, the pride that drives people to give undue thought to appearances and social standing, and undisciplined desire for happiness through externals (the deceitfulness of riches) all belong in this class.
What does the "good ground" represent? It represents the receptive mind and the fertile bent of mind that is not content merely to hear a word of Truth but that must put the word to work and make it productive. The type of mind that increases the good is both receptive and retentive.
March 6, 1949: Mark 4:1-9
To what does The parable of the sower refer? To the implanting in the mind of right habits of thinking. Such habits flower into right conduct in everyday living and bear fruit in high character.
What is the best time for sowing good seed or forming right habits of thinking? Right habits of thinking may be formed at any time of life, but the best time, the logical time is childhood and the youth when the mind is impressionable, the memory alive and retentive, the imagination active, and the mind free from negative habits.
What is essential to the successful implanting of constructive thought habits? The environment of the child should be made as favorable as possible. For this reason parents, teachers, and guardians themselves should have a constructive mental attitude toward life. Protection from all that would harm the susceptible child is his divine right. Divine love and wisdom should be claimed for him at all times, and should be kept in an atmosphere of Truth.
Is the routine teaching of Truth without active faith and love effectual? It is to some extent, since no effort is completely futile, but such teaching is often soon forgotten. It is like the seeds that fell by the wayside, which lay on top of the hard-beaten path and were eaten by the birds.
What practice makes the thought processes fertile? Meditation on spiritual matters enriches thought enabling it to take root in the mind substance and increase a person's understanding of life and Truth.
To what in the mental realm do the thorns correspond? To negative thought habits and to adverse experiences. Worry, fear, thoughtlessness, selfishness, and excessive introspection are among the negative thought habits. When these "thorns" are found in a child they should be uprooted by surrounding the child with an atmosphere of love, trust, and high idealism; otherwise the seeds of right thinking will be wasted.
Why do not the right teaching, environment, and favorable conditions in general always produce a steady character and steady habits of life in harmony with the Christ mind? Because in the face of new and untried powers youth lacks experience. The child should be protected from the overindulgence of loving but unwise parents by being taught the value of substance before he is intrusted with control of it.
Metaphysically Interpreting Mark 4:21-25
4:21And he said unto them, Is the lamp brought to be put under the bushel, or under the bed, and not to be put on the stand? 4:22For there is nothing hid, save that it should be manifested; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light. 4:23If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear. 4:24And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete it shall be measured unto you; and more shall be given unto you. 4:25For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.
Metaphysically Interpreting Mark 4:26-29
4:26And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth; 4:27and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how. 4:28The earth beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 4:29But when the fruit is ripe, straightway he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come.
Metaphysically Interpreting Mark 4:30-32
4:30And he said, How shall we liken the kingdom of God? or in what parable shall we set it forth? 4:31It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown upon the earth, though it be less than all the seeds that are upon the earth, 4:32yet when it is sown, groweth up, and becometh greater than all the herbs, and putteth out great branches; so that the birds of the heaven can lodge under the shadow thereof.
Sunday December 3, 1916: Mark 4:25-32
What is the Kingdom of Heaven? The Kingdom of Heaven is the orderly adjustment of Divine Ideas in man's mind and body.
Where did Jesus locate this kingdom? Jesus definitely located the kingdom of God (heaven) when he said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
What is necessary on the part of man to find this kingdom? Man must become conscious of Divine Mind and its realm of Divine Ideas, and be willing to adjust his thoughts to the Divine Standard.
How does man adjust his thought world to the Kingdom of Divine Ideas? Through a process of denial man eliminates from consciousness all inharmonious ideas, and through affirmations of Truth establishes himself in harmony with Divine Ideas.
Is heaven confined to man's consciousness? Heaven is everywhere present. When man's mind and body are in harmonious relation to Divine Ideas, his true thoughts flow into the realm of manifestation and brings forth the Kingdom in the earth as it is in heaven.
Why did Jesus liken the Kingdom unto a seed? A seed has unexpressed capacities and needs to be planted in the soil best suited to its growth. The Word of Truth is the seed, and when planted in a receptive mind, it brings forth the fruits of Spirit. The life of the Word is the spiritual idea it contains.
March 3, 1929: Mark 4:26-32
What is the real church of Christ? The real church of Christ is an aggregation of the associated ideas of Truth, in which the manifest and the unmanifest are in perfect accord.
Is there a difference between the "kingdom of God and the church of Christ? Spiritually discerned, the church of Christ and the kingdom of God are identical.
How is the kingdom of God expressed in the earth? The kingdom of God is expressed in the earth by those persons who incorporate ideas of Truth into their minds and lives. The manifest church of Christ represents the invisible church of Christ, or kingdom of the heavens, just to the extent that it demonstrates the principles taught by Jesus Christ.
March 1, 1942: Mark 4:26-32
What important truth is emphasized in the first two parables of this lesson? The truth that the kingdom of heaven, which is within man, is the realm of eternal life and as such is characterized by growth, in common with all life.
January 23, 1944: Mark 4:26-32
Is Truth taught more effectually by parable than by careful exposition? Teaching by parable is more effectual in many cases because it stirs the imagination, and imagination joined with reflection results in heightened understanding. "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." The unreflective person retains the story without discerning the hidden meaning.
Do we become increasingly conscious of the indwelling kingdom without effort on our part? No; it is necessary for us to dwell in thought on the inner kingdom or reality of truth within us if we wish it to grow in us until it permeates all our living. To insure a bountiful crop the soil must be prepared before the seed is sown, and the plants must be cultivated until they attain their growth.
What is mysterious about the increase of the kingdom in our consciousness since we ourselves must work toward its consummation? The miracle of growth is not yet wholly understood. We know some of the conditions under which it takes place, such as the preparing of the soil and the sowing of the seed. The growing is all done by the seed, and this still a miracle to us.
What other work is incumbent on us if we wish to realize more of the divine life within us? We must express consistently the higher truths of which we become conscious. "When the fruit is ripe, straight away he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come." The putting forth of the sickle or the reaping of what one has sown represents the habit of expressing the new aspects of Truth that we have learned to recognize as active in mind and body.
Why is the kingdom of heaven compared to a mustard seed? Because the first conception that [unreadable] has of the kingdom is extremely small as compared with the grandeur of the kingdom. Yet from a beginning small as this may come such a growing in understanding of the inner life [unreadable] such love of the things of God as make one think of the mustard plant in comparison with the seed.
Metaphysically Interpreting Mark 4:33-34
4:33And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it; 4:34and without a parable spake he not unto them: but privately to his own disciples he expounded all things.
February 12, 1928: Mark 4:26-34
Did the Hebrews of Jesus' time teach that heaven is a place in the skies to which people go after death? No. The Jews had no theory of heaven of hell. They simply taught that the dead went down to the pit, the grave. They looked forward to the setting up of a kingdom in the earth in which Jehovah should rule through the Messiah. Their concept was that it would be something after the order of the temporal governments of the world.
Jesus taught much about the kingdom of the heavens. Did He ever tell of a place in the skies to which persons who have lived good lives are transported after death? No. Jesus gave numerous parables to illustrate what He called the kingdom of the heavens. The only thing He ever said about where this kingdom is situated, is to be found in Luke 17:21; "The kingdom of God is within you."
In today's lesson Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a seed cast by a farmer into the soil of the earth. It sprouts and grows day by day until the fruit is ripe and harvested. What do we understand the kingdom and the seed of the kingdom to be? The kingdom of God is a perfectly harmonious state of mind. That state of mind is susceptible of development in the mind of every one. Its growth is from the word or right thought "The seed is the word of God."
Do any of Jesus' parables illustrating the kingdom of God indicate that it is to be anywhere except here in the earth? All of Jesus' illustrations point to a development, here in the earth, of the ideal relations that we have dreamed of and longed for but have not thought possible of realization on this planet because conditions seem so adverse. Jesus likened the kingdom of the heavens to the growth of a plant; that is, the kingdom is progressive in its nature. He says in verse 27, "And should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth now how."
We know that one of the most beautiful of all the flowers, the lily, grows out of the mud and the slime. Would the growth of the kingdom of the heavens in the earth be any more marvelous? All the ideals of heaven are here in our midst ("the kingdom of God is nigh"); all the possibilities of the manifestation of this kingdom are with us. The earth is radiant with life that is waiting for us to put our illumined minds into it. When we settle down to the work of redeeming our bodies, we shall soon develop the capacity to make the earth blossom as the rose, and we shall create here and now that heaven that we have longed for, that is supposed to be somewhere in the skies.
In the concluding Verse of our lesson it is stated, "And wiihoui a parable spake he not unto them." but privately to his own disciples he expounded all things." Explain. The kingdom of the heavens is a spiritual realm of mind of which those who live in outer consciousness have no knowledge. For this reason the teacher describes it in parables and allegories. To a disciple, or one who has developed his spiritual faculties, the principles of the kingdom of God are revealed, and in proportion to his spiritual ability he understands the law of their expression.
Metaphysically Interpreting Mark 4:35-41
4:35And on that day, when even was come, he saith unto them, Let us go over unto the other side. 4:36And leaving the multitude, they take him with them, even as he was, in the boat. And other boats were with him. 4:37And there ariseth a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling. 4:38And he himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion: and they awake him, and say unto him, Teacher, carest thou not that we perish? 4:39And he awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 4:40And he said unto them, Why are ye fearful? have ye not yet faith? 4:41And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
October 25, 1924: Mark 4:35-41
What phase of consciousness does this lesson portray? This lesson portrays experiences that come to the developing consciousness in sleep.
Explain, "Let us go over unto the other side." Going over unto the other side represents the passing of the ego or I AM from the conscious to the subconscious. When we fall asleep our center of attention transferred from the outer to the next inner plane of consciousness, or other side of the mentality.
What is the meaning of "leaving the multitude"? Leaving the multitude means leaving the multitude of thoughts that are active in the waking state.
What does the "storm of wind" that beat the waves into the boat represent? Every idea expressed in the mind sets vibratory energies to work in the body. During the waking state these energies are controlled by the will. When we fall asleep and the will releases its hold, they begin to act and react upon the organism (beat) through the nerve fluid (waves), and unless harmonized by the I AM, they will submerge the body in a negative, watery thought stratum, and cause it to become subject to all kinds of error thoughts.
What is represented by Jesus being asleep on a cushion in the stern of the boat? In sleep the will relaxes its hold on the front brain, through which it functions in its waking state, and rests at the medulla (cushion) in the back brain.
What is the meaning of the disciples waking Jesus and calling upon him for help? When our sleep is turbulent and restless, the subconscious faculties and the centers through which these faculties act, become fearful; the I AM in its place of rest may feel the disturbance in the nerves, and through them get the message of fear. The warning may be a dream of disaster, or a feeling that we are perishing.
When we awaken in such states what do we do? If we understand the truth that man has authority over all his emotions, we speak the words that Jesus spoke. We rebuke the wind, and say to the turbulent sea of thought: "Peace, be still"
When we thus demonstrate in Spirit, what is the result? Peace and harmony reign in mind and in body. "And the wind ceased [the mental emotions were stilled], and there was a great calm."
Why did Jesus reprimand his disciples because they were fearful and lacked faith? The I AM often expects more of its thought forces than they can accomplish. Jesus, in subsequent lessons, took his disciples or faculties aside and instructed them privately. Followers of Jesus find that the faculties are likely to be disconcerted over mental storms. To overcome this tendency the faculties must be given special lessons with the attention directed upon the brain and nerve centers through which they function.
February 26, 1933: Mark 4:35-41
Define Jesus' words "Let us go over unto the other side." Metaphysically speaking, "Let us go over unto the other side" refers to the I AM passing from the positive to the negative pole of consciousness.
Jesus was asleep on the cushion in the stern of the boat. Please explain. Jesus represents the masterful I AM in every one of us; "the cushion" represents the medulla, or center of nervous energy lying at the rear or "stern" of the brain. During sleep, the conscious identity (the I AM) withdraws to this seat of life in the body and rests there, allowing the natural forces to recuperate without its conscious interference.
What are the waves that beat against the boat? Metaphysically interpreted, the waves referred to are turbulent thought waves, which should come under the I AM dominion. After great mental exertion one naturally needs to balance one's forces before going to sleep. Otherwise thought vibrations of various kinds will rush through the nerves and fill them with error conditions, until the boat (the body consciousness) will be nearly swamped.
Explain the verse "They awake him, and say unto him, Teacher, carest thou not that we perish?" The commotion becomes so pronounced that the I AM is awakened out of its sleep, and knows that it must take control of its forces.
What results? The I AM then takes control. All thought of fear is cast out, faith gains the supremacy, and peace and harmony are established.
January 30, 1944: Mark 4:35-41
What meaning is involved in the suggestion of Jesus to "go over unto the other side" "when even was come"? When the conscious mind has been active for a time the mental energies withdraw into the subconsciousness for a period of recuperation. Then the person becomes drowsy and falls asleep.
What then may follow? If trouble, distress, or confusion of any kind has filled the conscious thoughts these conditions may become evident in the subconsciousness. "There ariseth a great storm of wind."
What attitude of mind is represented by the boat? The boat represents a positive thought. It is capable of floating on the water (the unstable mind). However when the subconsciousness is stirred by confusion and turmoil the positive thought is in danger of being engulfed. "The waves beat into the boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling."
Jesus stilled the tempest with a word of rebuke. Can we too express power in this way? We must gain self-control before undertaking to control events or circumstances in the world about us. By realizing the power of the Christ mind within us we can find harmony and peace in the midst of apparent uproar and confusion.
The disciples seemed to show faith by awakening Jesus at the peak of the storm and reproaching Him for doing nothing to save them did they in any way weaken that faith later? They did not believe that Jesus had power to still the storm. When He stilled it "they feared exceedingly and said one to another, Who then is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?" This attitude showed lack of faith in His divine power.
Can we learn a lesson from this evidence of doubt? We can learn that our faith has no power so long as we are afraid to trust it. We must not fear to practice it and depend on it. By so doing we shall develop our faith so that it will protect us at all times.
Transcribed by Tom Schulte on 11-03-2013