Mar 4:15 And these are they by the way side,

KJV Verse: 

Mar 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan comes immediately, and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

These, however, are the ones by the way are where the idea sows itself; and when they might have understood, he straightaway he shows up, the adversary, and he lifts up the idea the one having been sown into them. 

Hidden Meaning: 

 

The Greek word translated as "and" joins phrases in an adversarial way and it usually translated as "but". Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

"These" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer." 

 The verb "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

The word translated as "they" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). Here the form is plural so "those". See this article for more. 

"The way side" is from a word meaning "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." In Acts, followers of Jesus are described as those "belonging to the Way"

"The word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. More about this word in this article.

The Greek word translated as "is sown" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. It is not passive, but a form where the subject acts on itself, "the word sows itself". 

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, is best translated as "not only...but also."

The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

"They have heard" is translated from a Greek word that has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding. It is in a form indicating something that might happen. 

The Greek word translated as "Satan" is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary", "opponents," or "one who opposes another in purpose or act." It is a noun, not a name, introduced by an article, "the adversary".  

The word translated as "comes" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway."

"Immediately" is  an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

"Takes away" is one of Christ's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up", "elevate", "to bear", "to carry off", "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease."Christ uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross.

"The word" is the same word as above, meaning "idea" or "concept". 

"That was sown" is the same as above only in the form of past tense adjective, "having been sown" used as a noun, "the one having been sown". 

The word translated as "in" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same," and when used as a pronoun can mean "the true self" as opposed to appearances. It form is "them" not "their."

There is no Greek word for "hearts" in this verse. It did appear in the faulty source used by the KJV translators. 

It is easy for the personalization of adversity, an artifact of incomplete translation, to get in the way of understanding Christ's thinking. The birds take the seeds on the wayside away because they get their first, but everyone listening knows that the seeds never had a chance on the walkway anyway. It gets too much traffic. The ground on the wayside is literally a path for adversity. Their traffic prevents any plants from growing up there because they "instantly" get trampled down.

Here, the birds are less a symbol for this adversity than they are for speed. In this parable, Christ explains different types of ground in terms of how long his ideas last on them. Christ doesn't use birds anywhere as a symbol for adversity (or evil or the devil, if you prefer to personalize adversity). Here, they are simply a rhetorical device for adversity to get to the seeds quickly. Even without this speed, these seed were doomed to adversity anyway because they were on the pathway where something was going to come along sooner or later to destroy them.

In terms of Christ's use of symbols, this is one of several where Christ connects the ground with the heart, which is his symbol for feeling and through feeling, understanding. Again, Christ teaches that we must not only see, hear, and feel, but that we must observe, listen, and understand. The term for "hear" used in this verse, is the same as the one used in Mar 4:12 to indicate physical hearing without mental listening.

Vocabulary: 

οὗτοι  (adj pl masc nom) "These" is houtos, which as an adjective means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why." 

δέ (conj/adv) Untranslated is de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). --

(verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Are" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.") 

οἱ (article pl masc nom) "They" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is separated from its noun by a conjunction.

παρὰ (prep) "By" is from para, which means "beside", "from the side of", "from beside,", "from", "issuing from", "near", "by", "with", "along", "past", "beyond", "parallel (geometry)", "like (metaphor)", "a parody of (metaphor)", "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

τὴν ὁδὸν (noun sg fem acc) "The way side" is from hodos, which means literally "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." It is interesting that a term joining a path with philosophy exists in many languages from the west to the east.

ὅπου (adv/conj) "Where" is hopou, which means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

σπείρεται (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Is sown" is speiro, which means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

 λόγος, (noun sg masc nom) "Word" is logos, which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value." 

καὶ (conj) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ὅταν (adv/conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)."

ἀκούσωσιν (verb 3rd pl aor subj act)  "They that have heard" and "hearing" are from akouô (akouo), which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

εὐθὺς (adverb) "Immediately" is from eutheoswhich as an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

ἔρχεται (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Cometh" is erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place. 

 Σατανᾶς (noun sg masc nom) "Satan" is satanas, (satanas) which is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary", "opponents," or "one who opposes another in purpose or act. "

καὶ  (conj) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

αἴρει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Take away" is from airo, which primarily means "to lift," and also means "to raise up", "to take up", "to raise a child", "to exalt", "to lift and take away," and "to remove."

τὸν λόγον (noun sg masc acc) "The word" is from logos, which means "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition, ""word, ""discussion, ""reckoning," and "value."

τὸν ἐσπαρμένον (part sg perf mp masc acc) "That was sown" is speirô (speiro), which means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

εἰς (prep) "In" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

αὐτούς. (adj pl masc acc) "Their" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

Related Verses: 

Matthew 13:19 When any one hears the word

Luke 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear;