Mark 4–6

“Mark 4–6,” New Testament Teacher Resource Manual (2002), 60–62


Events in these chapters likely occurred within this period

First year of the Lord’s ministry

Second year

Third year

The Life of Jesus Christ

Christ’s birth

First Passover

Second Passover

Third Passover

Final Passover and last week


During His Galilean ministry Jesus performed many of His greatest miracles. These demonstrated His power over earthly elements, the forces of evil, sickness of body and spirit, and even death. As you study Mark 4–6, look for what the Savior taught about the power of faith and compassion. Look also for what these chapters teach about handling sorrow and rejection.

Consider the following principles and prayerfully study Mark 4–6 before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 75–76, 89.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Mark 4–6.

video iconNew Testament Video presentation 5, “Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole” (16:42), can be used in teaching Mark 5if you didn’t use it with Matthew 9 (see New Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Mark 4:1–25 (see also Matthew 13:1–23; Luke 8:4–18). Those who live according to the gospel knowledge they receive will be given more.

(20–25 minutes)

Invite a student to do a few push-ups. Ask:

  • What does that type of workout do for your muscles?

  • How could the way knowledge of the gospel grows be compared to the way our muscles grow?

Read with your students the parable of the sower (Mark 4:2–9). Ask: What does the seed represent in this parable? (“The word”; see v. 15.) Have students read Mark 4:15–20and look for the answers to the following:

  • Who or what do the birds represent? (Satan; see vv. 4, 15.)

  • The stony ground? (see vv. 16–17).

  • The thorns? (see vv. 18–19).

  • The good ground? (see v. 20).

  • The fruit? (This could represent our knowledge of the gospel and the blessings and good works that come from applying that knowledge; see v. 20.)

Ask: What happens to people’s gospel knowledge and understanding after baptism if their soil is good and they remain active in the Church? Read Mark 4:24–25with your students and ask them what these verses teach about those who allow the soil of their hearts to become hard or stony or thorny. Read Alma 12:9–11and ask:

  • What do these verses teach about gaining light and knowledge?

  • What do they teach about losing light and knowledge?

  • What happens to people’s understanding of the gospel when they become less active? Why?

  • How is this loss of understanding like the different kinds of soil in the parable?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:5–10with your students and ask:

  • What do these verses tell us about what we can learn if we are obedient?

  • What do these verses teach about how we can learn these great things?

  • Can you give examples of this principle from your own life or the lives of others?

Invite students who would like to share their experiences to do so. (Caution them not to give specific names.)

Read the following insight from Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“Gospel light does not burst upon men in full noonday splendor, but … it arises in their hearts gradually, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little [see D&C 50:24]. Eventually the faithful, having continued to grow in light and truth, shall have all things revealed to them and shall know all things. (D. & C. 76:5–10; 93:26–28; 101:32–34; 121:26–29.) …

“‘No parable, no teaching, no mystery, no hidden thing, is to be kept from the knowledge of the faithful; eventually all things shall be revealed, and the righteous shall know them.’” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:291).

Conclude by challenging students to seek gospel knowledge their entire lives.

Mark 4:35–41 (see also Matthew 8:18–27; Luke 8:22–25). Jesus can calm the storms in our life just as He calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

(10–15 minutes)

Christ calming the storm

Show students the picture Stilling the Storm (Matthew 8:23–27) (see appendix, p. 304). Ask students to examine the expression on the face of each person in the picture. Read Mark 4:35–41 with the class and ask:

  • Which verse did the artist specifically depict?

  • If you could have the artist repaint the picture, what would you have him change? Why?

Ask students to think of “stormy” times when they have experienced trials. Explain that it may seem like Jesus is sleeping when things are at their worst. Yet, just as in the story, He will not leave us alone. Have a student read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“Manifestly [this miracle] teaches that the Lord Jesus is ever near his friends and will preserve them in perilous circumstances, even if their safety calls for control of the elements.

“Also, the sea—a raging, restless sea—is a symbol of a sinful and wicked world. … When Christ calms the seas of life, peace enters the hearts of men.

“Further, there are those also who have likened the Church itself to a ship, steered and sailed by apostles and prophets through the waves of the world, which rage and toss, violently and with force, against the tempested bark, and yet never prevail. The divine ship never sinks; its faithful passengers never drown in the angry deep, because Christ sails his own ship. He may seem to be asleep on a bench with a pillow under his head, but he is there. And when in times of great peril he is aroused by the pleas of his servants, once again he rebukes the winds and the waters; he delivers those who have faith in his name; he speaks peace to troubled souls; his voice is heard again, ‘Peace, be still.’” (Mortal Messiah, 2:278).

Invite students to write or tell about a time when they felt the calming influence of the Savior. You may also wish to share a personal experience when you were “rescued” by the Savior during a “stormy” time in your life.

Sing or read the words to “Master the Tempest Is Raging” (Hymns, no. 105). Invite the students to reread the last verse and tell how it makes them feel.

Mark 5:21–43; 6:1–6(see also Matthew 9:18–26; 13:54–58; Luke 8:41–56). Faith precedes the miracle.

(25–35 minutes)

Ask students to name miracles performed today that are similar to those that occurred during the time of Christ. Read Moroni 7:37 with students and have them find what makes miracles possible. Tell them that today they are going to study two examples of miracles that came by faith and one example in which a lack of faith limited miracles.

Have your students take turns reading aloud verses in Mark 5:22–43. Discuss the following questions as you read:

  • What did Jairus seek from Jesus?

  • What did Jairus say that reveals how much faith he had in Jesus? (see v. 23).

  • What did the woman say and do that tells us how much faith she had in Jesus? (see vv. 27–28).

  • Why do you think Jesus felt something different from the touch of this woman than from all the other people who were crowded around Him?

  • Why was the woman healed when other people had been unable to help her?

  • What did Jesus say had helped heal the woman? (see v. 34).

  • In the case of Jairus’s daughter, whose faith contributed to bringing her back to life?

Have students read Mark 6:1–6 looking for how these verses relate to the two stories in verses 22–43. Ask:

  • What is the relationship between Jesus Christ’s power to heal and a person’s faith in Him? (see also Mormon 9:19–20).

  • Why do you think there are so many people today who do not believe in miracles?

Invite students to consider how strong their faith is and what they can do to develop greater faith. Give them a copy of the following statement by Elder Merrill J. Bateman, a member of the Seventy, as a handout or write it on the board:

“Faith is both a principle and a process. It defines the path by which we build a relationship of trust with the Savior. In order for faith to develop, we must begin with a humble heart and contrite spirit, have a strong desire to know the Lord, and then be obedient to gospel principles. In return, the Savior rewards the obedient with spiritual confirmations of their actions (see Alma 32:16, 27–32). As faith grows, our vision of eternity expands, which increases our capacity to meet life’s challenges” (“Faith That Preserves and Strengthens,” in Brigham Young University 1996–97 Speeches [1997], 141).

Discuss the following questions with your students as they study this statement.

  • How can we acquire faith?

  • How does obedience affect faith?

  • How does faith affect our ability to obey?

  • What, then, can we do to increase our faith?

Consider concluding with your testimony that we can develop greater faith and that God still performs miracles today in response to our obedience and faith.

Mark 6:14–29(see also Matthew 14:6–12; Luke 9:7–9). Keeping the commandments often takes great courage and sacrifice.

(20–30 minutes)

Read the following true story to your class:

“Joseph F. Smith was 19 when he returned from his mission in Hawaii. As he traveled from California to his home in Utah, he was confronted one morning by a ‘wagonload of profane drunks … , shooting their guns, yelling wildly, and cursing the Mormons.’ One of the drunks, ‘waving a pistol,’ came toward him. Although Joseph ‘was terrified he felt it would be unwise and useless to run … , and so he advanced toward the gunman as if he found nothing out of the ordinary in his conduct. “Are you a Mormon?” the stranger demanded. Mustering all the composure he could, Joseph answered evenly while looking the man straight in the eye, “Yes, siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.” Almost stunned by this wholly unexpected response, the gunman stopped, dropped his hands to his sides, and, after looking at Joseph for a moment, said in a subdued tone, “Well, you are the pleasantest man I ever met! Shake. I am glad to see a fellow stand for his convictions.” So saying he turned and walked away’ [Francis M. Gibbons, Joseph F. Smith: Patriarch and Preacher, Prophet of God (1984), 43–44]” (M. Russell Ballard, in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 51; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 37).

Ask: What qualities would be necessary to make the kind of decision young Joseph F. Smith made? Ask students if they have any family or friends who have kept the commandments under difficult circumstances, and invite them to share their stories.

Tell students that today they will learn about someone who kept the commandments when it required great courage and sacrifice. Read Mark 6:14–16and ask:

Read Mark 6:17–29with your students, stopping as needed to allow students to discuss the following questions. Explain that Mark 6:14–16 describes what happened after the death of John the Baptist and that in verses 17–29 Mark reviews how and why John died.

  • Why did Herod put John in prison?

  • Why did it take courage for John to call Herod to repentance?

  • What price did John pay?

  • What characteristics mentioned in Mark 6:20do you think helped John have the courage to keep the commandments? (see also JST, Mark 6:20).

  • Why was it worth the sacrifice for John to keep the commandments?

  • What are some ways young people today show courage and sacrifice in keeping the commandments? (Getting baptized, going on missions, keeping moral standards, keeping the Word of Wisdom, standing up for others who are being mistreated.)

  • Why do you believe that keeping the commandments is vital?

Conclude by asking students to read the Bible Dictionary entry for John the Baptist (pp. 714–15). As they do, invite them to look for the one attribute or experience of John the Baptist that most impresses them. Encourage them to use John as a role model for their decisions.

Mark 6:34 (see also Matthew 14:14). The Savior has great love and compassion for everyone.

(10–15 minutes)

Begin class by singing “I Feel My Savior’s Love” (Children’s Songbook, 74) or “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193). Ask students to express how the song makes them feel toward the Savior.

Write the following references on the board: Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:40–41; 5:19; 6:34; Luke 7:12–13. Have the class read them and look for the word that describes the Savior’s motivation to bless in each passage. Ask: How does this apply to us? Read 3 Nephi 17:5–7 and help students understand that the Savior has compassion and love for everyone. Everything He does is motivated by His love. Ask:

  • Why does the Father sometimes seemingly withhold blessings, even though He loves us?

  • How can withholding blessings be an act of love?

Read the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who was then a member of the Seventy:

“The compassion of the divine Jesus for us is not the abstract compassion of a sinless individual who would never so suffer; rather, it is the compassion and empathy of One who has suffered exquisitely, though innocent, for all our sins” (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [1979], 35).

  • How can the knowledge of the Savior’s compassion and love toward us encourage and bless our lives?

  • How does that knowledge affect how we feel about Him and about what He asks us to do?

Have someone tell about a time she or he felt the compassion or love of the Savior. Invite students to look for opportunities during the coming week where, like the Savior, they can show compassion toward someone else.