Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mark 4:21-25, A Light under a Bushel (The Study of Mark)

     21 And he was saying to them, “A lamp1 is not2 brought in so that it may be put under a basket3 or under a bed4, is it? Is it not5 brought in so that it may be put on a lamp-stand? 22 For there is nothing hidden except that it may be revealed; Nothing has become secret except that it may come into view6.7 23 If anyone has ears to hear, listen!”
     24 And he was saying to them, “Look at how you listen!In the measure in which you use to measure9, more will be measured out to you and more10 will be given to you. 25 For the one who has, more will be given to him, and the one who doesn’t have, even what he has will be taken away from him.11
Mark 4:21-25


There is much theology in this passage.  I will attempt to lay the meaning out as best I can.

1 ὁ λύχνος (lamp) 

A clay lamp filled with oil.

2 μήτι (not)

In Greek, different words for “not” were used in other to indicated a “yes” or “no” answer by the person whom the question was asked. In this case, the person asking the question expects a “no” answer.

3 τὸν μόδιον (a basket) 

A measuring basket that held almost two gallons.

4 τὴν κλίνην (a bed) 

Or a “couch”.

5 οὐχ (not) 

See note 2, In this case, the person asking the question expects a “yes”answer.

6 εἰς φανερόν (into view) 

Or “into known”. Mark is saying that whatever is hidden will eventually be made known or revealed.

7 Mark is applying this to the parables in which Jesus has been speaking. This indicates that eventually, those parables will be made known to all, but as we will see in verse 25, there are some who will not be able to grasp the word.

8 βλέπετε τί ἀκούετε (Look at how you listen!)

Greek: “Look at what you hear!” In other words, pay attention to what you listen to and how you hear it. Make sure you understand it the way in which it is intended for you to understand it. Jesus reinforces this in the very next line.

9 ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε (in the measure in which you use to measure)

Greek: “in that measure you measure out” or “in the measure in which you measure out”. In other words, the same “standard of measure” in which you use will be used in what you receive. This line goes hand in hand with “Look at how you listen!” and with verse 25. Within that context, one must make sure that he understands what he hears and that he understands it in the way in which it is suppose to be understood. How a person believes will either work for the person or against the person.

10 More of the measure in which you use.

11 The more you understand the Kingdom of God, the more of it God will trust you with. The more you don’t understand the Kingdom of God, or the more you pollute it in your thinking, what little bit of the Kingdom you have will be taken away from you.

The Greek

Μάρκον 4·21 Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· μήτι ἔρχεται ὁ λύχνος ἵνα ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον τεθῇ ἢ ὑπὸ τὴν κλίνην; οὐχ ἵνα ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν τεθῇ; 22 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν κρυπτὸν ἐὰν μὴ ἵνα φανερωθῇ, οὐδὲ ἐγένετο ἀπόκρυφον ἀλλ ̓ ἵνα ἔλθῃ εἰς φανερόν. 23 εἴ τις ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω. 24 Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· βλέπετε τί ἀκούετε. ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν καὶ προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν. 25 ὃς γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ· καὶ ὃς οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ ̓ αὐτοῦ.


  1. The lamp provides the light for us to look, or pay attention, to what we hear. Our way will be lit as we keep oil in that lamp. His Word is the lamp unto our feet.
    Good message.