Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3
January 25, 2009
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
1901 ASV Translation:
5 The sower went forth to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it.
6 And other fell on the rock; and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7 And other fell amidst the thorns; and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him what this parable might be.
10 And he said, Unto 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.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 And those by the way side are they that have heard; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.
13 And those on the rock are they who, when they have heard, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among the thorns, these are they that have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience.
- I. The Details of the Parable.
- A. The seed that fell upon the road.
- 1. The description.
- a. It was walked on.
- b. The birds of heaven devoured it.
- 2. The given meaning.
- a. The seed is the Word of God.
- b. The road bed represents people that have heard the Word of God.
- c. The birds are the devil.
- d. The "sowing" was "in the heart" and the devil "lifted" it "from" the heart of them in order that they should not be saved by "belief".
- 3. The facts.
- a. There are two "problems".
- 1) The "word" is absolutely resisted as packed earth disallows any penetration.
- 2) The "devil" provides sufficient "slander" to "lift" the word from the regions of the heart.
- b. There are two "results".
- 1) There is no "belief": the concept of the verb is aoristic.
- 2) There is no "salvation": this concept is also aoristic.
- c. There are several "insights".
- 1) "Belief" is "explained" by the concept of a "heart" which allows the Word of God to penetrate. This concept is not "explained" in any detail except that this is the only "seed" that, being rejected, does not "save".
- a) There is the question of the meaning of "the word of God" in that it cannot be "just any word". There are "words" of God that everyone "believes" and that "belief" is a sure guide to the choices and actions that follow. Many examples arise out of creation and are uniform in the understanding of all men -- at a very general, generic level: gravity, the need for food and water as basic elements of physical life, the rising of the sun, the cycles of day night, etc., etc. The particular "words" must, therefore, be the ones that bring "salvation". John's message, "If you repent, God will forgive", was as succinct a summary of the "saving message" as one can find, but not even those words are "simplistic" (for instance, a perusal of the literature on what "repentance" is reveals that most people simply do not know). And, likewise, the concept of "forgiveness" has been almost completely twisted by the "pop-theologians" into something that is unrecognizable. So, there is some question regarding "which" words constitute the "seed".
- b) There is also the question of what "save" means. The trampled seed that is devoured by the birds is the only seed that is declared to be ineffectual in "bringing salvation". This does not automatically mean that the remaining seed does bring salvation (to those like the hardpan and the thorn infested soil), but that implication lies there and challenges our thinking about it. Since the "salvation" is "aoristic" (a "point in time" event), the most likely meaning is "justification". Justification is one of the few elements of God's salvation that is actually "point in time". One moment a person is not justified and the next he is. It is an event in the mind of God that involves His application of a declaration of righteousness to a person that "happens" in a moment of time in the person's "life". Since this mental activity by God is taught in the Scriptures to be a "grace" act that is completely tied to an application of the righteousness of Jesus to the person who "believes" without any "attachment" of "works" (prior or following), there is no foundation for the claim that seed that does not produce the "fruit" of godliness in a person's life afterward has not resulted in "salvation". All "repentance" is imperfect; all "faith" is imperfect; all of all men's responses to God are less than they ought to be: thus, it is of no import to God that any man "fails" because all men do. Thus, He can apply the righteousness of Christ to any man who "believes" without regard for the strength of that "faith" or the quality of it or the impact that it makes down line. The problem, however, that this raises is this: how can one determine what is "faith" and what is not if there is no visible result? And the answer is rather simple: one cannot make that determination without consequent evidence unless that One is the omniscient God. It is not any man's "job" to decide who has "believed" and who has not. The point of the parable is to lay the foundation for the sowing of the word by the disciples by explaining what they will run into in terms of results in the lives of men, not to give them the ability to determine whether their sowing has resulted in "salvation". The sowing of the word is not to be "conditioned" upon any "sower's" ability to see "salvation" decisions; it is to be "conditioned" by the fact that "some" of the seed will be "fruitful" unto godliness. Men are often tempted in regard to the activity of sowing to refuse because of disappointment in what they see, or to alter the nature of the seed in order to produce what they wish to see.