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The Parable of 
The Sower

Matt 13:3-23; Mk 4:2-20; Lk 8:4-15
Luke 8:4-15 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable.  "The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed,
  • some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot,

  • and the birds of the sky devoured it.
  • other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away,

  • because it had no moisture.
  • Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.
  • Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit one hundred times."

  • As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
    Then his disciples asked him, "What does this parable mean?"
    He said, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables; that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
    Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

  • Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes,

  • and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.
  • Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy

  • but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation.
  • That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard,

  • and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches,
    and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
  • That in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart,

  • having heard the word, hold it tightly, and bring forth fruit with patience. (web)

    Discussion Questions

    What is the seed?
    What is the growing process?
    Can you elaborate on each of these types of ground? How can people in the first three develop good soil?
    And how can those on the good soil maintain the condition of their soil?
    Among which type of soil or soils represent the redeemed?
    What type of soil are you growing on?



    Word of God
    Path Trampled
    Birds ate
    The ways of the world
    philosophy of the world
    Taken away
    (Didn't understand)
    Rock Withered
    No Moisture
    Religiously shallow Believed but 
    fell away after testing
    (Not deeply rooted)
    Thorns Chocked The Distracted
    Worries, Riches, Lusts
    100 X
    Spiritual Believers Noble & Good heart
    through Perseverance

    Christians are called to be the farmers, sowing the seed of the Word of God into the world. Of course the farmer wants to sow his seed only a good ground so that it will be fruitful. And there are often things he can do to prepare the soil. But this is not soley his responsibility. As he sows seed, I would imagine he would focus on what he perceives is good soil. But in the process, the seed also lands in places where the soil is not ideal.
    The ones along the path are those who fail to understand how the word applies to them. They don't take it to heart. Satan blinds their eyes to the truth, or puts mental stumbling blocks in their way. I'm always amazed when I hear someone from the intellectual elite say that Bible is difficult for them to understand. I think they must simply be reading it incorrectly. The Bible pretty much says what it means and means what it says. And thus people of all ages and generations have come to understand it. But there is a spiritual blindness that veils people's hearts. Speaking of the blindness of the Jews to the revelation of the Bible, Paul writes:

    "But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." 2Cor 3:14-16

    Those on the rock accept the word, but with a shallow faith not of salvific value, not on the level of a "conviction", but more of an opinion. They received it with joy but they didn't understand the implications. They may have accepted Christ as Savior, but not as Lord, which is not an acceptable type of faith to save. On the other hand, you would not have known from their initial reaction that they only had a shallow faith. It wasn't until they faced trials that their faith was reveal. It was not that they had saving faith to begin with, as if they had been deeply rooted, and then lost saving faith. But rather the quality of their faith was revealed by their reaction to trials.
    Jesus says, "Whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." Rev 22:17 But that water is running under ground, and you must have a deeply rooted faith to obtain it. Those on rocky soil had their roots blocked by rocks. Rocks are our own deeply rooted convictions which hinder us from really believing. For example we may have convictions about having other people think well of us. Our whole lives may be dominated out of the fear of what other people think of us. We may already have religious convictions that we refuse to give up. But instead we try to fit Jesus into such convictions. Thus you end up with religions like Islam which, while not denying Christ, simply change him to fit their religion.

    Those on the rock must in humility break up their soil and remove the rocks. They must be willing to give up their former convictions which hinder them from believing. Or else others can pray for God to break up their soil by bringing them through humbling circumstances in hopes of developing in them the necessary humility to respond to the gospel properly.

    A Thorny Epiphany - VERY SIGNIFICANT!

    "Land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned." Heb 6:8

    Formerly, for a number of years I was of the opinion that those among the thorns were Christians, redeemed but distracted, so as to not produce much fruit as Christians. While the versions of this parable in Matthew and Mark speak of these as being "unfruitful", the version in Luke speaks of them not bringing fruit to maturity. I had given them the benefit of the doubt and assumed that they had produced fruit, but of an immature kind. I had also assumed that unlike the first two cases, since the seed took root in their life, and it doesn't speak of them dying, that they were saved, though remained immature. However based on studies in John 15 and 1John primarily and like cross references, I have changed my opinion.

    In John 15:1,2 Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." Only two scenarios are presented here.
    1. Either a person is bearing no fruit or
    2. A person is bearing Much fruit.

    Is there a third possibility - maybe bearing some fruit or not bringing fruit to maturity - in which these thorny Christians can fit? The following verses seem to answer no.

    John 15:5:6 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."

    If a person does not bear much fruit - I assume when the season comes - then it states here that they are not remaining (abiding) in Christ, and will be thrown into hell. So even if we can read into the parable of sower concerning those among the thorns that they may be bearing immature fruit, still they are not qualified to be reckoned children of God. For as children of God remain in Christ, they bear MUCH fruit. Either having little or no fruit from one's Christian life, such a person is not to be reckoned saved.

    Bearing Much Fruit
    after Persevering
    Indicative of Salvation
    Not Bearing Much Fruit
    in the Long Run

    This is very much along the lines of what John was saying throughout 1John. "Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him." 1John 3:6 The word "abide", the Greek word "meno" is the same word used in John 15 for "remain". In fact the NIV often translates "meno" as "live". The idea is to take up a permanent residence. And again it says,  "Whoever claims to live (meno) in him must walk as Jesus did." 1John 2:6 And likewise concerning remaining it John gives a specific example in 1John 2:19 saying of a particular group of former alleged "Christians", "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19 And as we can see from the middle of this verse, while those born of God do have eternal security and cannot lose their salvation, if alleged Christians don't remain in the faith - which involves behaving as children of God should which ultimately results in bearing much fruit - they had never really belonged to the faith to begin with. Or as Jesus said, "by their fruit you will recognize them." Mt 7:20

    There are those experimenting with Christianity for a time. It may help them reform their lives. But "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud." 2Peter 2:20-22

    What time span are we talking about when it comes to being fruitful. As a warning Jesus said, "For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’... If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’" Luke 13:7,9 That's probably a good reference. Within three or four years of becoming a Christian, one should be fruitful.

    Burning Cross References: Compare with these scriptures:

    The parable of the Wheat and Tares
    "Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn. ... Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Mt 13:30,40-42

    The parable of the Dragnet
    "the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Mt 13:47-50

    And how about this:
    Mt 3:12  "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
    Better yet this:
    Mt 7:19  "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Followed by, "Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." Mt 7:20,21

    The seed on good ground are those who don't just simply understand the message, but receive it into their hearts and conform their life to it. This is not to say that they received it with a blind, gullible faith. But that they took it seriously. Consider the noble manner in which the Bereans received the message:

    "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11
    These are not like people on the rocky ground who received the message quickly and gullibly. These were people that received it with some skepticism, carefully examining it, making sure that it was true. And having done so, they will also be prepared to defend their beliefs against skeptical unbelievers, having asked of themselves the same questions. Through slow gradual perseverance they produce a crop. Weeds grow up over night. But fruit-producing plants take a while.

    One more thing to mention is that, though one may have started out on good soil, such soil has to periodically be broken up or else pride can harden the soil and rocks can also grow up. Many Christians who started off well, became popular and ended up not so well as they started. Becoming respected and popular is somewhat a danger. For it removes potential sources of humiliation which can keep the soil healthy. Respectable Christians must therefore be on their guard to avoid the pitfalls of pride and popularity. Nonetheless, I have found that institutional leaders tend to be the most arrogant of Christians.


    One day a farmer went out to sow
    Scattering seed to and frow
    Some fell along the path
    Which could not deliver from God's wrath
    For the devil took what they hadn't craved
    So they didn't believe and were not saved.
    Some fell on rocks but withered and died
    For their faith was not deep enough to be qualified
    To receive the life God promised to those
    Who really believed Jesus died and arose.
    Yes at first they were overjoyed
    But when trials came their faith was destroyed
    For they received it without their faith being rooted
    And so fell away after they were persecuted
    But then some among thorns fell
    But in the end didn't mature too well.
    For they were too concerned for their security
    To bring any fruit to maturity
    But those on good soil retained what they heard
    It wasn't taken away by any bird
    Nor did they fall away like those on the rock 
    But continued to believe when others did mock
    The problems in life would not make them stop
    And by persevering they produced a crop

    The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

    Jan 29,2022