I have surveyed more than 10 commentaries on this, some comment on these verses specifically, and the ones that do disagree somewhat. It is not clear to me if the meaning of these words is clear, or if they are somewhat ambiguous. Also are they connected?

And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.

“For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”

  1. Perhaps Jesus is referring to the Jews and their guardianship of the Law, or their added law, i.e. it is a negative statement. Perhaps Jesus is referring to gifting/knowledge/understanding, i.e. its a positive statement, for those who handle their talents well.

  2. If verse 24 is a reference to Jews, then verse 25 is a bit more problematic, perhaps, those without the law have its requirements taken away? If verse 24 is a reference to handling gifts, then 25 is completely straightforward.

  3. Interestingly, NLT applies some interpretive gloss, showing an interpretation that has not occurred to me before:

 Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

  • it would help if you listed the commentaries (scholastic?) you've read or where you received them.
    – Daisy
    Apr 26, 2016 at 13:20
  • @Jacob The "measure" is not "how closely you listen" but rather "how you evaluate" what you hear. "Light received brings more light; light refused brings more darkness". Please see my answer below.
    – user10231
    Apr 26, 2016 at 15:39
  • If you've received a legit answer, please mark it as an answer. Thanks.
    – user10231
    May 26, 2016 at 21:37
  • @woundedego There are no answers with even a single upvote. Im not sure enough on my own about that answer to singularly decide it is the "correct" answer.
    – Jay
    May 28, 2016 at 0:18
  • The many dominations prove that genuine seekers can differ in interpretation of what truth is. The meaning of the Bible passage in question is therefore that truths in our understanding will give birth to deeper truths, while falsehoods will be removed. Thus, the order of development is falsehoods, truths, deeper truths. God is the gardener that trims away the dead branches so that new can sprout. He also trims good branches so that better branches can sprout. Sep 19, 2019 at 22:48

6 Answers 6


What Jesus was saying is that how a person benefits from his teaching is decided by their value system (measuring rod) and that the right measuring rod is the reign of God:

Mar 4:10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. Mar 4:11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,

The secret of the reign of God is that the arrival of the kingdom is deferred and if one seeks the kingdom of God and to be his righteous everything will be given to you.

Measurement is comparison to a standard. The proper standard is the value to the reign of God. So Jesus is saying that one must choose their measuring device properly because when the measuring device that they choose to measure Jesus' words will become the measuring device by which God and Jesus will measure them:

Mar 4:24 And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure [IE: "measuring device"] you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.

Those who use any other measuring device will not value or benefit from his parables.

Mar 4:13 And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

Mar 4:25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

In fact, the Torah and the prophets become new sources of deep insight and assets to holy living and good success to those who grasp the secret of God's reign:

Mat 13:51 "Have you understood all these things?" They said to him, "Yes." Mat 13:52 And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old." Mat 13:53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there,

But for those who are "outside" the reign of God all is pointless:

Mat 13:13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Mat 13:14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: "'"You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive." Mat 13:15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'

So Jesus is saying to take the secret of God's deferred kingdom and use it as a measuring device against all they hear and they will come to great insights and success while those who fail to do that will lose any insight and success that they already have attained.

  • Very nice answer @WoundedEgo. But what does it mean that "the arrival of the kingdom is deferred"? Why is this the secret? Also, what do you mean by "seek to be his righteous"?
    – C. Kelly
    Apr 26, 2016 at 16:22
  • @C.Kelly The eschatological "day of Yahveh", when the promised land is violently cleansed and the righteous live in bliss with God did not arrive when the Messiah arrived. Instead Jesus compared the kingdom to slow things like sowing, leavening, fishing, people acting as stewards, etc. Even John the Baptist was taken aback by the delay.
    – user10231
    Apr 26, 2016 at 19:47

"Measure"; i.e., "Significance." It logically follows that, the more serously one receives the Word, the more diligently one will pursue further insight; the result is that one will continually grow.


What is the meaning of Mark 4:24–25

Below I have quoted the verses from a various number of Bibles for clearer understanding, the AMPC Bible translation gives explanations within the text.

Mark 4:23-25 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

23" If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”

24 "And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you."

25 "For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Mark 4:23-25 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

23 "If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend."

24 "And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [a][of thought and study] you give [to [b]the truth you hear] will be the measure [c][of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear."

25 "For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [[d]by force],"

Mark 4:23-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The bold text is not mine, it is explanations given by the translators including the footnotes.

23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.” 24 Then He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By your own standard of measurement [that is, to the extent that you study spiritual truth and apply godly wisdom] it will be measured to you [and you will be given even greater ability to respond]—and more will be given to you besides. 25 For [a]whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a yearning for truth], even what he has will be taken away from him.”


Mark 4:25 The person “who has” is one who is receptive to God’s word, while the one “who does not have” is the person who is blind to and has rejected the spiritual truth and godly wisdom already given to him. As a result, even what little he had previously understood about Jesus will no longer be clear to him.

The account of the Parable of the Sower, is to be found in the gospels of Mark 4: 1-25 and Matthew 13:1-51.

Jesus is contrasting the disposition of the crowds with that of his apostle,where as the crowds are just satisfied in hearing the parables, and are not inclined to learn the explanations of the parables. The inquisitive Apostle and his followers are blessed with the explanations and more parables.


That is, to the extent/measure the disciples pay interest and show attention to his teaching and apply the Godly wisdom to themselves, they will benefit accordingly.If they give him their greatest interest and attention they will benefit all the more, and He will respond by giving them more spiritual truth, and enlightenment . However if they show little interest , that little which they have, will be taken away from them.

  • This answer is very helpful. Thank you! Sep 8, 2020 at 17:43

One must know, how a man knows God is not how God Knows him. His word always stirs a hunger in us to pursue and by that we come to a place of understanding to continue our relationship with Him. One Word I finding constantly in Jesus teaching "continue, persistent" and others that holds the same meaning as such. We must also know provision has been made for us in our pursuit, reading 2 Peter 1-3 and continuing from V 5-11 tells what should be added to enrich us in Him. Now considering the discussion above let consider how Apostle Paul praise the People of Berea over Thessalonica. Paul speaks of them as being open-minded, noble for they eagerly received the message, examining carefully scriptures every day and that was the attitude of Jesus disciples at that time and Jesus by that open them up to the reward attached to their time/life for the Word.


“Measuring” is how to be “careful” in “hearing”. Jesus had just explained that the cure for “hearing but not understanding” starts with “turn and be forgiven”. But that’s not all. Even for the disciples (v.23), “ears to hear” are required. But he first reassures them that anything “hidden” from our understanding is intended to be a “lamp” and “disclosed”.

Then he introduces “measuring” as a way to “consider carefully what you hear”. I think he’s saying if you measure in yards, you’ll get understanding in yards and if you measure in inches, you’ll get understanding in inches; a listener could sum up the parable in one measurement-“be the good soil” or, consider every word (i.e., “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” Matt 4:4). It’s recognizing that every increment of what God says has purpose.

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    – agarza
    Oct 18, 2022 at 23:37

The statement 'With the measure you use, it will be measured to you' is found in the Synoptic Gospel describing different subject.

Matthew 7:1-2 NIV

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Mark 4:24-25 NIV

24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to youand even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

Luke 6:38 NIV

38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

This statement is an idiom, base on the principle of reciprocity that all actions have a fair consequence, the concept of 'you get what you sow'.

However, Jesus was making a correction to their usual perception. When they were dedicated to do God's work, 'you get more than you sow'; see 'and even more' (Matt 4:24) and 'running over' (Luke 6:38).

On the contrary, for those who don't do the God's work, who was the character of the unfaithful servant in the parable of the Bags of Gold (Matt 25:14-30) and in the parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27), 'they loss more than they keep'.

Mark 4:25 is best to read in parallel to Matthew 25:29 and Luke 19:26

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (Matthew 25:29 NIV)

Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Mark 4:25 NIV)

“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. (Luke 19:26 NIV)

Jesus is teaching that those who diligently cultivate their faith and beliefs will be rewarded more than their effort invested. On the contrary, those who passively rely on their faith, assuming their position remains secure, may ultimately discover that they lost everything.

  • you get what you sow (original)
  • you get more than you sow (work for Christ)
  • you loss more than you keep (do not work for Christ)

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