I used these questions recently in a small-group Bible study.
1. Read Mark 4:1-34 while asking: Does anything about this passage stand out which you might not have noticed before? What is striking to you?
2. The word “hear” keeps being repeated. Where do you see it in the passage, and what seems to be the purpose of this word appearing so much?
3. Verses 11-12 have puzzled and alarmed many readers of the Bible. How might reading those verses together with verses 10 and 13, 21-25, and 33-34 be helpful? How do disclosure and understanding take place?
4. Perhaps we all want to see ourselves in verse 20. But where do you see yourself the most in verses 15-19?
5. Based on the evidence of Mark 4, what kind of follower does Jesus seem to be looking for?
6. What might it mean for you to be “good soil” at this time in your life?