Books of the Book: Mark

Parables - Mark 4

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Kevin Hart, Tom Shepherd


Series Code: MBOTB

Program Code: MBOTB00004A

00:20 Welcome to Books of the Book.
00:22 We have been studying the book of Mark, and very anxious to
00:25 share with you some of the things we are learning.
00:26 We have with us today Tom Shepherd who is a professor
00:29 at Andrews University theological seminary.
00:32 Thank you for coming professor.
00:33 Thank you good to be with you.
00:34 Now what do you teach at Andrews?
00:36 Well, I'm in the theological seminary in the New Testament
00:39 Department, so I have been teaching in the Gospel of Mark
00:42 as one of the things. Not surprising!
00:45 I also taught the theology of 1 and 2 Peter.
00:48 I will be teaching the book of Revelation
00:50 for the seminary.
00:51 And I also teach Greek, to students who maybe
00:56 did not have a Greek before they came to the seminary
00:57 and I've taught intermediate Greek for them.
00:59 I've heard that is one of the toughest courses to take.
01:01 Oh it is a lot of fun, I tell my students they are 4
01:04 things that they should do to have success in the class
01:07 and we repeat them everyday.
01:08 It is to attend consistently, participate
01:11 enthusiastically, studying assiduously,
01:14 and pray fervently.
01:16 Good rules, good rules.
01:17 Okay so I have a riddle for you,
01:19 do you like riddles Kevin?
01:21 Actually do like riddles, when I can figure them out.
01:23 But I'll give it a shot.
01:24 Here's the riddle.
01:25 Okay, What can run but never walks, has a mouth
01:30 but never talks, has a head but never weeps,
01:36 has a bed but never sleeps.
01:39 Hmm! You're probably thinking the same thing I do,
01:43 I have no idea.
01:44 It's a river! - A river okay, that makes sense.
01:47 Okay - pretty good one I like that.
01:49 Did you know that Jesus sometimes spoke in riddles?
01:52 So are we going to be learning about riddles today?
01:54 Well actually what we are going to
01:55 learn about is parables.
01:56 The definition of a parable is rather interesting.
02:00 You find Jesus telling these stories and things,
02:03 but we have this definition, a graphic to show a
02:05 definition of a parable.
02:06 The definition of a parable is an extended metaphor
02:11 in story form that teaches one or more truths,
02:15 at times has a twist in the plot,
02:18 and challenges us to make a decision.
02:21 The term "parable" can also mean "riddle. "
02:24 So it's also interesting the term parable
02:28 in Greek is parabol?.
02:30 We get our English word from that but our English word
02:32 has a more narrow meaning than the Greek word does.
02:36 The Greek word means both parable and riddle.
02:40 So that is interesting, now the Christians had
02:43 to face up the question of how do we interpret
02:46 these stories, and eventually they came up with
02:48 some rather elaborate ways.
02:51 A fellow by the name of Origen came up
02:53 with the allegorical method.
02:56 For instance if you take the story of the parable
02:59 of the good Samaritan, he said that the man who was
03:02 beaten up was Adam, stood for Adam.
03:06 And that Jerusalem meant Paradise.
03:09 And he was going to Jericho, well that was the world.
03:13 And the priest who walked by, that was the law.
03:16 And the Levite, he was the prophets.
03:18 And the good Samaritan, of course he was Jesus.
03:21 And the beast on which he was carried,
03:24 that was the body of Christ.
03:26 And the Inn where he stayed, that was the church.
03:28 So you can probably imagine the problem,
03:30 this approach to interpreting parables because
03:33 you can obviously do anything you want with it.
03:35 You can be as elaborate or not as
03:36 elaborate as you want.
03:37 Control could be difficult - right!
03:39 So that was problematic, so later interpreters
03:42 thought that well actually parables made one basic point,
03:46 and that was what they were about.
03:47 Today however scholars have come to see a bit more
03:50 varied kind of approach to understanding parables.
03:54 Some of them have one point, some of them may have
03:57 several and there might be some Allegorical
03:59 features that are there.
04:00 And the Gospel writers often give us the
04:03 interpretation we know from reading the
04:05 Gospels and take a look at them.
04:07 Now let's read one of these parables.
04:09 It's the first one in Mark chapter 4, Mark
04:11 chapter 4 is all about parables, it all has be these
04:15 parables of Jesus, not the only ones that appear
04:16 in Mark but most of them here.
04:17 The first one we are going to read is Mark 4:1-8,
04:21 could you read it for us Kevin?
04:22 "And he began again to teach by the seaside and there was
04:26 gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he
04:28 entered into a ship, and sat in the city; and the
04:30 whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he
04:33 taught them many things by parables, and said unto
04:35 them in his doctrine, Harken; behold, there went out
04:39 a sower to so: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some
04:42 fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and
04:46 devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where
04:49 it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up,
04:51 because it had no depth of Earth: but when the sun was
04:54 up, it was scorched; and because they had no root,
04:56 it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the
05:00 thorns grew up, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell
05:03 on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprung up and
05:08 increased; and brought forth some 30, some 60,
05:10 and some a 100."
05:11 Why did Jesus speak in parables, and I have to ask
05:13 that question because you know my wife often asks
05:16 me the same question as we study the Bible together.
05:18 Sometimes she doesn't understand, and not all of us
05:21 do all the time but she has often asked me the
05:23 question why did Jesus speak in parables?.
05:25 You know why doesn't He just speak plainly?
05:28 It's a good question and if you think of a parable as
05:33 something that is supposed to illustrate a point then
05:35 you would say it should be easy to catch the point.
05:39 Right! - but if it is not,
05:41 again why speak that way at all?
05:43 Well actually, right here in Mark chapter 4,
05:47 we have an explanation of why Jesus spoke in
05:51 parables that - okay I'm interested in this.
05:54 alright we'll just continue reading here,
05:55 reading verses 9 through 12 and it says, "and he was
05:59 saying he that has ears to hear let him hear. As soon
06:03 as he was alone," now notice he's not with the crowd
06:07 anymore, "as soon as he was alone, his followers along
06:10 with the 12 began asking him about the parables. "
06:14 So this is not just the twelve disciples, this is a
06:16 little bit bigger group.
06:18 "And he was saying to them," they wanted to
06:21 know why do you talk in parables.
06:22 Verse 11, "and he was saying to them, to you has
06:26 been given the mystery of the Kingdom of God: but
06:29 those who are outside get to everything in parables.
06:33 So that while seeing they may see and not perceive;
06:38 and while hearing they may hear and not understand
06:41 otherwise they may turn and be forgiven. "
06:43 It almost sounds like, at first reading of this
06:46 passage, it almost seems like the purpose of the
06:48 parable is to keep people out.
06:50 That would seem like a rather troubling
06:52 idea wouldn't it?
06:54 It sure would be right it poses a lot of problems
06:55 in understanding the Scriptures.
06:56 Jesus tell in parables because He doesn't want
07:00 outsiders to understand, He doesn't want them to
07:01 come in, He doesn't want to keep them because what
07:04 would happen if they were to come in?
07:06 They may be forgiven of their sins and saved - right!
07:09 And that just seems so odd, so unusual okay?
07:13 So we have to carefully look at this,
07:16 a text that we might call a problem text.
07:21 Now I have talked my students before and I say,
07:24 how many problem texts are there in the Bible?
07:26 Do you know how many problem texts
07:27 there are in the Bible?
07:28 I honestly couldn't say, probably a lot,
07:30 I guess several ones that I know.
07:33 Lots of problem texts, here's the answer
07:35 to the quiz question.
07:36 How many problem texts are there in the Bible?
07:38 None! - none? That's surprising - yeah!
07:42 But that is good news - it is good news.
07:45 Now why do we say there are no problem
07:47 texts in the Bible?
07:48 Well when you think about that for a moment
07:51 and you say a problem text, you are talking
07:54 about the text, the text from where?
07:57 From the Bible right?
08:01 And so you are saying that the text of the Bible
08:03 is a problem, the text of the Bible is a problem.
08:09 Do we really want to say that the text of the
08:12 Bible is a problem?
08:13 No we certainly don't because the Bible really should
08:15 be able to be understood by children as
08:17 well as adults alike.
08:19 The Bible is the revelation of God, is the
08:20 of light that comes into our hearts and into our lives.
08:22 So the text is not the problem, our understanding of the
08:26 text may be the problem.
08:27 So if you are ever in a Dr. Shepherd class and see
08:31 the question on the test, how many text are
08:34 problem text in the Bible?
08:35 No problem text in the Bible - no problem text
08:38 in the Bible and that is the right answer.
08:40 Okay so this is not a problem text is just our
08:42 understanding of the text.
08:44 Now we do have a graphic that talks about how a
08:47 difficult text, maybe one we are having a
08:49 struggle with and we just talk about five steps
08:52 that you can go through to understand.
08:54 And here are the five steps on how to understand
08:59 a difficult verse in the Bible.
09:01 The first thing is to do is to pray for
09:03 the Holy Spirit to guide you.
09:06 The Holy Spirit is the One who inspired the
09:10 Scriptures, inspired the Gospel, inspired the
09:12 ideas and the same Spirit that guided
09:16 the Bible writers will guide you
09:17 and me so we must pray for understanding.
09:20 Second, read the passage in several versions of the
09:24 Bible, and read the surrounding context as well.
09:29 See how the author uses the same words elsewhere.
09:33 Check parallel passages in other Bible books
09:38 and then read commentaries.
09:40 This is a useful way to approach some verse
09:45 that you are struggling with, that maybe
09:48 you don't quite understand.
09:49 Sometimes another translation puts the words in a little
09:52 bit different way that can make it easily understood.
09:54 Commentaries are helpful.
09:56 What I like to teach students to do is actually make a
09:59 contextual definition of the term.
10:03 That is you get a Bible concordance and you
10:06 look for all the places where the author uses these words,
10:10 and you read all those passages.
10:12 You start to get a feel for how he uses that particular
10:15 word, I call it a contextual definition of the term.
10:18 So it helps to understand.
10:20 I liked that part, I just have to interject this
10:23 real quick, I like the fact that you point pray for
10:27 pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you because the Bible
10:29 is a revelation of God's character.
10:31 Revelation has a plan for lives, and the
10:33 fact that it is a revelation means that
10:35 He is the one who reveals it.
10:36 So often we approach the Bible from a scientific
10:40 standpoint, like we are going to dissect it and
10:41 find God in here or not and it is not really something
10:45 we approach to dissect and to find out our own purposes.
10:51 It is a revelation and so we do need
10:53 the Spirit to guide us.
10:54 That is the only way to really know God is if He reveals
10:57 Himself to us - exactly!
10:59 He has done so in the Scriptures, however there
11:01 are places, where there are certain challenges that
11:04 must be open to the Spirit's leading and to be
11:07 guided by the Holy Spirit.
11:09 Now let's take a look a little more closely at these
11:12 verses to try to understand them, because they have a
11:15 little challenge to them.
11:16 We will read them again verses 11 and 12, "and he
11:19 was saying to them, to you has been given the
11:21 mystery of the Kingdom of God, but those who are outside
11:25 get everything in parables. "
11:27 Or we can remember the word parable
11:29 can also mean riddle.
11:31 First we want to look at this idea of mystery.
11:35 What in the world is a mystery?
11:38 That sounds mysterious now doesn't it?
11:41 We have a graphic that describes or gives a definition
11:43 of the term mystery and what it means.
11:47 A mystery is an idea hidden in the mind of God from
11:52 eternity but revealed to human beings at the right time.
11:57 A perfect example of this is found over in the book of
12:01 Romans 16, just turn over there.
12:04 Romans 16:25-27, it is the very end of the book of
12:09 Romans, Romans 16:25-27
12:16 and perhaps you can read that for us Kevin, okay!
12:18 "Now to him that is of power to establish you
12:21 according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus
12:23 Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery,
12:25 which was kept secret since the world began, but now
12:29 is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the
12:32 prophets, according to the commandment of the
12:34 everlasting God, made known to all nations
12:36 for the obedience of faith: to God only wise,
12:42 be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. "
12:44 Now we notice the word mystery appears there and
12:47 the apostle says the revelation.
12:49 So mystery is something that God shows which
12:52 has been kept secret from long ages past, where
12:54 in the mind of God.
12:56 Okay now verse 26, but is now manifested, right?
12:59 And by the Scriptures of the prophets according
13:01 to the commitment of the eternal God.
13:03 So a mystery is something that God shows and reveals.
13:07 So Jesus said in Mark 4:11, "to you has been given
13:12 the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to those on
13:16 the outside it's in parables or riddles. "
13:21 So we do seem to see a difference,
13:24 a distinction between the two.
13:25 There are the insiders who get the revelation
13:29 of the mystery, and the outsiders who don't,
13:31 but still there's that question why?
13:35 Why then speak in parables?
13:37 You know let's stop there for one second because
13:39 we do need to take a break and we want to come
13:42 into this for a real fresh approach.
13:44 Stay with us we will be back shortly.
13:46 Remember this is Books of the Books and
13:48 grab your pen and pencil's.


Revised 2014-12-17