Parable of the Sower
Weekly Bible Study #8
These days there are a lot of Christian bands that use symbolism in their lyrics and all too often they don’t explain them. Lucky for us Jesus clearly explained the meanings of his parables. This week I want to share with you the parable of the sower from the book of Matthew chapter 13.
We are going to read the parable and then skip down to it’s explanation, but I encourage you to read the full chapter to take in the full context.
Matthew 13:3-9, and 18-23 (NLT)
Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.
Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
I recommend focusing on each of these verses one after the other to fully absorb this.
First Jesus explains that the seed that fell on the footpath (or walkway) represents those who hear God’s Word and don’t understand it, then the Devil comes and snatches it away (like the birds eating the seeds that are left in the open, not properly planted.
Next Jesus explains that the seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and quickly receive it with joy. And since they don’t have deep roots they fall away at the first sign of trouble, because the rocky ground doesn’t allow them to dig their roots deep into his Word.
Then He explains the seed that fell among the thorns which represents those who hear the Word of God but the message gets drowned out by their desire for riches, or the worries of life in general. In other words their roots in the Word get “choked out” by the worldly desire, much like the thorns in the ground choke the roots of a plant.
Finally Jesus illustrates that the good soil represents those who truly gain an understanding of the Word and produce fruit (are beneficial to the kingdom of God).
Read through Matthew Chapter 13 in your favorite Bible translation and fully absorb this is its full context. Consider this your homework.