Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
February 8, 2009
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:
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 [See Study # 3 <500> in this subset].
- B. The seed that fell upon the rock [See Study # 4 <502> in this subset]
- C. The seed that fell into the midst of thorns.
- 1. Clearly, this "soil" was able to sustain "seed-life", unlike the rock, and the seed was permitted to germinate, unlike the path that permitted the birds to eat it.
- 2. However, there already existed other "plant-competitors" whose grip on the moisture and nutrients was already established.
- 3. The plants cannot gain enough traction to produce anything more than the initial plant.
- 4. In the interpretation, there are three factors that keep fruit from developing.
- a. There are "cares". These are not specified. They are simply issues that distract one from more important matters. The article in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament suggests that the only solution to being overcome by "cares" is to simplify by cutting down the number of "things that are important". There is a reason that people are "driven" to exhaust themselves with schedules and commitments that simply eat up their time and energy. This is never from God. It invariably has two "legs": one is the misguided notion that whatever is "cared for" is a means of life; and the other is the misguided notion that whatever is "cared for" is under the control of the one who "cares". The fact is this: thorns that are allowed to do so, grow aggressively and uncontrollably and the majority of people simply refuse to address them. That said, however, the issue of "cares" is not how busy one is, but how one deals with the calls upon his/her time and energy.
- b. There is "wealth". The issue here is the conviction that "life is better" when there is plenty of money. The bottom line in "wealth" seems to be one: the ability of the "wealthy" to dictate the terms of his/her life. This is a complete rejection of our identity as servants of God and people who have been "bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23).
- c. There are "pleasures of the life". The issue here boils down to physical pleasure. Sex, food, drink, physical addictions, being pain-free, etc., and etc. When people simply will not address their over-commitments to the body, they destroy their ability to bear fruit for God because others can easily see the hypocrisy and they permit it to undercut their own responsibilities.
- 5. The underlying issue is fruit.
- a. Luke/Jesus chose here to use a word that is not used by other New Testament writers. It is a word that focuses not upon "fruit" per se, but upon "carrying something to completion". The issue of "fruit" is derived from the imagery of the "plant".
- b. When it comes to people, the "goals" are as varied as the people are. God has one "end" in mind for this person and another for that one and no one but God knows what that "end" is. For this cause, it is sometimes very difficult to determine which of the factors is a "thorn" and which is not. Interestingly, Jesus did not give the parable to "correct" the problems; He simply described them. There may not be any "solutions"; what is, is. There are a lot of people who do not want there to be any solutions; they simply want to be allowed to go their way with a minimum of rebuke or correction.