"And he spake many
things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth
to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way
side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon
stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they
sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the
sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root,
they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns
sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and
brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some
thirtyfold." Matthew 13:3-8
LESSON 1, VERSE 3:
The word "parable" is interesting! It appears
in the first verse of our Text. "And he
spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower
went forth to sow." Matthew 13:3
Spelled "parabole" in Greek, parable means
that which is "thrown" (in Greek "ballo") alongside ("para")
something else. A "parable" is an illustration, often a little
story or narrative or some kind, literally "thrown alongside" a
doctrine or truth one's teacher is emphasizing, placed there to
reinforce the meaning and intent of the instructor.
In two usual Texts, the New Testament uses
the word "parabole" in a surprising way, adding further light to
its meaning. In Hebrews 9:9 the Old Testament Tabernacle is
called a "parable!" Watch the word "figure" which is "parabole"
in Greek: "The Holy Ghost this signifying,
that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest,
while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was
a figure for the time then present ...." This
parable is not a story or narrative either!
Further, Hebrews 11:19 says that the whole
Isaac affair, Abraham's son supernaturally born, was a "figure"
or "parabole" too, especially his near death experience on the
altar that day! "By faith Abraham, when he
was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the
promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was
said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that
God was able to raise him up, even from the dead;
from whence also he received him in a figure."
Again, no story or narrative, but a historical event is
Also the Greek "parabole" is the word used
for the Hebrew noun "mashal." That's a proverb or a similitude
as well as a parable in the Old Testament. In this sense Numbers
23:7 calls Balaam's sermons parables! Even questions could be
parables there, according to 1st Samuel 10:12. Yet again a
parable is a short wise saying in 1st Samuel 24:13.
"As saith the proverb ("mashal") of the
ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand
shall not be upon thee." A riddle or hard saying can be
included in the list also. See Psalm 49:4 or 78:2. Preachers use
parables or proverbs often in expounding God's Word. That's
according to Ecclesiastes 12:9. Sermons of denunciation and
judgment can be catalogued as parables or proverbs too.
"That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of
Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city
ceased!" A parable can even be a "taunt!" Habakkuk 2:6
says so! "Shall not all these take up a
parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and
say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!
how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!"
We seldom allow the New Testament parables of
Jesus to have such latitude of meaning. But, semantically
speaking, the word itself, along with its Hebrew cousin, can
Therefore, Jesus' beautiful story her of the
farmer and his seed and land can be illustrating truth ... or
teaching wisdom ... or preaching a sermon ... or hiding
something the Lord does not want to be taken and twisted ...
giving serious warning ...or sarcastically mocking the devil and
Or, all of the above!
The verb "behold," in Greek "idou," is an
imperative verb. Look! See, with understanding! Perceive even!
The noun "sower" is associated with the verb
"speiro," to scatter seeds! It's a participle here, saying
something like this ... "Behold, one sowing went forth into his
To "go forth" is "exerchomai" and means "to
go out" or "to come out" ... here into a field. The aorist sense
of time used here suggests that Jesus is telling about some past
event He has personally witnessed. The Lord was always drawing
spiritual lessons from from earthly living.
"To sow" or to "scatter" literally translates
"speiro" again, but this time as the main verb in the Verse, not
a supporting participle. The whole point of this parable is the
sowing of the seed ... and the resultant fruit!
One more thing today I need to add. The two
verbs for "speaking" or saying" are different! To "speak" uses "laleo"
while "saying" uses "lego." One, "laleo," emphasizes HOW Jesus
said things that day and the other, "lego," accents the content
of His Message!
Either way Jesus was the most powerful
Preacher who ever lived! Matthew 7:29 informs us:
"He taught them as one having
authority, and not as the scribes." And even the enemies
said of our Lord: "Never man spake like
this man." John 7:46
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 2, VERSE 4:
The Farmer we met back in Verse three. He is,
as the Ultimate Sower, a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is
the One Who made the Gospel Message possible, dying on the Cross
for our sin!
"Sowing," in Greek a derivative of the verb "speiro,"
means "to scatter," usually with some kind of seeds in mind. It
is most often a farm term.
Here, we are told: "And
when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the
fowls came and devoured them up."
One interesting thing about this verb is that
it, like its Hebrew counterpart, means a "broadcasting" of the
seed, slinging it in every possible direction, in the field I
mean! It is so widely distributed, seemingly at random, that the
farmer must know that much of it will not bear fruit! He is well
aware that other things, birds and thorns and weeds and hard
undersurfaces, will ruin any possibility of potential growth!
Yet he sows it anyway!
Back in 2nd Chronicles 36:15 we see God
"sending" His Prophets to a wayward and hard-hearted Nation. The
verb "send" there is spelled "shalach" and means "to cast forth"
or "to distribute widely!"
That's God's Way when it comes to
promulgating the Gospel! And the whole Word of God too,
including the warnings and judgments that accompany
"Whosoever will" may come!
Many live in the theological construct in
which the Gospel is sown like one plants potatoes! One here and
one a foot further up the line, all in a precise row mind you!
No scattering in that plan!
But read this. It's in the last verse of
Mark's Gospel: "And they went forth, and
preached every where." Everywhere!
That's scattering, broadcasting, telling
everyone you meet!
Also Mark penned, quoting Jesus:
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
There we have it!
The sower is sowing everywhere in that field!
And as Jesus later explains,
"The field is the world."
The "seed," in Greek "sperma," are not
mentioned by name or by actual vocabulary word, not in the whole
parable! I double checked on this too. In our honest and
accurate King James Text, the italicized nature of the word
seeds reveals this truth. Yet nothing else can be meant by
the "seed." That's all that could "fall" onto the ground as the
sower "sowed!" The reson for this is, I think, that the emphasis
here is one the soil, soils I really should say. The seed here
is readily accepted as powerful and efficacious and pure without
"Sower," that initial verb is set as a
present tense infinitive. This action is on-going and durative
and habitual. Jesus may have that very morning seen such a
thing! He always took physical earthly sights and transformed
them into mighty tools for relaying spiritual truth.
The verb "fell" is "pipto" and generally
means "to descend from a higher place to a lower place." In our
Bibles it is rendered "fall" or "fall down" or even to "light"
on something. See Revelation 7:16 where the sun no longer
"lights" ("pipto") and scorches the Tribulation Era saints of
Only "some" fell there though!
"Hos men," in Greek translated "some," means
"that which otherwise." This is the way the Holy Spirit has
chosen to tell us that all the seed was not landing on
the "way side."
Thank God, some will hit good ground!
"Way side" is "hodos para" and means
alongside the roadway. It would not have been paved out in the
country, on a farm, like this. But it would have been packed
down by many passing travelers, footfall after footfall having
done its work!
But as the whole field must receive the seed,
part of being an efficient farmer, some will invariably hit
So is the case here.
These seed did not even have an opportunity
of germinating. Not in place long enough for the warmth of the
sun and the moisture of the dews or rains to work their
God-given powers, these seed were taken away quickly! Removed
from the scene!
That's probably the devil's first line of
defense against the Gospel anyway. Get the folks away from such
Preaching! Separate them physically! Keep them out of Church!
Hinder their hearing that Gospel Sermon on audio or even video
recording. Don't allow them time to respond!
Birds or "fowls" ate the seed. "Peteinon"
means those little flying ore winged creatures God made that
normally are so lovely! "Ptaomai" means "to fly" in Greek.
Here the birds represent the forces of nature
itself that may detract from the Truth. Some men read nature and
hear "evolution!" Other men, more spiritually oriented and
morally versed, read nature and shout, "God!"
Birds in this life can either eat the seed,
effectively removing it from the field ... or as do some of the
woodpeckers, bury the seed in a safe place until later. Like in
a hole in a fence post I mean.
Either way, the intentions of these birds can
be thwarted by an All Wise God! Stolen seeds can fall out of
their storage posts or be dropped by careless birds in flight or
even pass through those little digestive systems, subsequently
falling on some good plot of ground down below! I will guarantee
you that today someone is reading these lines who should have
died and gone to Hell ... but God in His marvelous Grace
miraculously spared you from the wicked birds of the world, you
escaping their grasp and falling into fertile soil!
Birds in Jesus' parables can represent the
negative side of theology. Read this about the mustard seed and
the apparently wicked birds that fill its limbs!
"Which indeed is the least of all seeds:
but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and
becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in
the branches thereof." Matthew 13:32
At other times the little birds portray God's
care for all His little creatures! Or clean up battle fields
where God has slaughtered the wicked! Think the coming
Jesus, when He later interpreted this Parable
for His Disciples, clearly indicated that these "birds"
represent "evil." Matthew 13:19 relates:
"When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth
it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth
away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received
seed by the way side."
The verb "came" or "erchomai" is framed as an
aorist, the birds only came that one time ... when the seed was
present! Otherwise there's no interest in the farmland here.
To "devour" means to consume by eating! "Katesthio"
is another aorist indicative verb. It literally means "to gobble
down!" The prefix, "kata," is the "down" part!
If you are saved, thank God that somehow your
heart became good ground! Via hearing the preached Word I'd say!
And that by God's Grace the seed of the Gospel reached your
soul, thereby germinating and growing roots downward in order to
bear fruit upward!
Probably a few "way side" seed will by the
power of God bear fruit somewhere, in spite of the birds not
because of them, but that fruit will not be in the field Jesus
is discussing today!
The greatest thing in all the earth for all
of time, is undoubtedly the salvation of a lost soul! And such
was made possible by the most despicable event of all time, the
Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Lord, we love Thee!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 3, VERSE 5:
While verses five and six have linkage, we
shall study them one at a time.
"Some fell upon stony
places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung
up, because they had no deepness of earth." Matthew 13:5
The pronoun "some" is a translation of "allos."
It means "another of the same kind." While "heteros" means
"another of a different kind." There is nothing wrong with the
"seed" here. All variables must be found in the soil.
The verb "fell" is again "pipto," meaning "to
light" or "settle down" on something, here the ground. The
aorist nature of the word reveals completed action. The farmer
Jesus observed, the source of this godly story, is long dead
now, sowing no more seed.
"Petrodes" is the basis for "stony places,"
with "petra" meaning "rock" and "eidos" meaning a "view."
Apparently some of the rock substructure was visible. Yet the
sower broadcast his seed anyway! Preach the Word even if the its
prospects of success are slim! Jesus often did!
The soil to rock ratio did not change in that
field, not for many years! The verb "had" is "echo," but as an
indicative imperfect verb. Little soil now ... and later!
"Much earth" is "ge polus." In Greek "Geo" is
"earth" and "polus" is many! See our words geography and
geologist and poly-whatever, polygamy for example, many
wives ... a sin by the way. Polytheism is describing a person
who worships many gods!
No dirt, not enough anyway!
Yet the seed "sprung up!" Now "exanatello"
blends thee separate words! "Telos" is the "goal" one has set
for maturity! "Ana" means "up" usually. Then "ek" or "ex"
indicates a point of origin, "out of" that location! Combine all
that and verbalize it and "presto," to "sprout" is the meaning.
It's clear to see from this definition that
God's plan for every Believer is that he or she reach maturity,
"telos!" Fruit bearing maturity! Inner or outer fruit, but
fruit! Of course inner fruit bursts forth into outer fruit!
Professors of faith in Christ who do not persevere just may not
have eternal life in the first place!
But there is a problem here, with this part
of the field!
The weakness does not make itself apparent
for a few days ... as many so-called "new converts" do not
manifest their true natures very quickly either.
This plant will not bear fruit!
It will not even live!
No root system can develop!
Because ... ""Some fell
upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith
they sprung up,
because they had no deepness of earth."
"Because" is represented by "dia" in the
Textus Receptus, the manuscript that gave us our King James
Bible. Here it means "on account of," hence "because."
The word "deepness" is spelled "bathos." In
English a "bath" is called just that because the water is
"deeper" than when one takes a mere shower! It means "very" or
"deep" or "of great extent." Its cousin, "bathus," means
"profound," as when a truth is said to be quite "deep!"
If the seed of God's Word does not settle
deeply, not too deeply ... but "just right" deeply, into a man's
or woman's heart, nothing will happen! Nothing lasting that is.
Truly this Parable is more about the
condition of the earth, the soil, than nearly anything else.
This seems to necessitate some preparatory
"plowing" talk place ere the seed is scattered!
"For thus saith the
LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow
ground, and sow not among thorns." Jeremiah 4:3
Preach about Hell!
And coming Judgment!
Hard hearts may be pierced and tenderize by
the Holy Spirit's powerful work!
Jesus, speaking of This Same Spirit,
promised: "And when He is come, He will
reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of
judgment." (John 16:8) See that plowing?
Yes, The Holy Spirit of God convicts deeply!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 4, VERSE 6:
The seed had been scattered by a hard-working
farmer. However some fell "upon stony places." These had "no
deepness of earth."
Yet the seed "sprang up" anyway!
But ... "When the sun
was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they
withered away." Matthew 13:6
This Parable, one of Jesus' best known, is
explained later in Matthew 13. There our Lord illuminates our
verse: "But he that received the seed into
stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon
with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but
dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth
because of the word, by and by he is offended." Matthew
This explanation takes us back to the verb
"sprung up." In Greek it's "exanatello" and means for one "to
reach the goal" the master has set, a goal that defines
The seed here, representing hearers of the
Gospel, indeed "sprang up," the verb implying enthusiasm and joy
according to Jesus. He's the Expert too! But this joy is not
lasting! It is apparently not real! Psalm 5:11 talks about those
who know the Lord "ever shouting for joy!" These hearers lacked
that quality. One whole New Testament Epistle, 1st John, is
written that our "joy might be full!"
But something happened to these little
plants, the shallow soil ones! The "sun," in Greek "helios,"
came up! And they couldn't take the heat!
Incidentally, "was up," the verb ascribing
action to the sun, is spelled "anatello" and we just had a form
of it one verse ago. It means "to reach the goal!"
What the seed did not accomplish ... the sun
"Scorched" is "kaumatizo" and means to burn
with intense heat! It can even mean to be tortured with it! "Kaio"
means "to set on fire." The verb is an aorist passive. These
little plants did not have any grounding, no root system with
which to draw moisture and strength and food from the earth
below! The sun that brings life to most vegetation, brought
death to these shallow sprouts.
Listen to what God did for a little vine in
Psalm 80:9. "Thou preparedst room
before it, and didst
cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land."
But here in Matthew 13:6 that did not happen.
"Because they had no root."
Psalm 12:3 mentions
"the root of the righteous" too, as does Proverbs 12:12.
And in Colossians 2:7 Paul wants us to be
"rooted" in Christ! While, for the Ephesians, he prays for the
saints to be "rooted" in love.
To "wither away" means "to dry up" or "to
pine away." It grammatically implies the absence of water! To
"desiccate" says one Text. This little word is derived from the
Latin "siccus," dry. Dehydrated!
Spiritually this can be applied to anyone who
lacks the moisture and influence of the Word of God! "The water
of the Word" Paul calls it in Ephesians 5:26.
No fruit here!
These seed did not survive.
No real life!
And yet, mathematically anyway, one fourth of
those one sees in the "field" of so-called Christendom will fit
into this category!
And if I understand the Lord's teaching
rightly, they are lost.
If there are any "good ground" hearts reading
here today, you had best be praising the Lord!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Back to Jesus' interpretation a minute. Our
Lord compared the scorching sun to "tribulation" or
"persecution." That's "thlipsis" and "diogmos" in Greek. The hot
sun typifies the "pressures" of life! The aggravations that
"chase" and "pursue" us no end!
To "arise" means "to be born or to come into
existence," that's "ginomai."
Our Lord again: "But he
that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that
heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he
not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when
tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and
by he is offended." Matthew 13:20-21
These trials come because ("dia") of, on
account of, God's Word! Or maybe Jesus means "for the sake of"
the Word, an equally valid rendering. Tests will come because
the Word of God says they will come! That same Bible tells us
how to handle them too!
Then, ultimately, the seed that had sprouted
and "dureth" for a "while," famished! "Dureth" is "eimi" in 3rd
person singular indicative present form. It "was" for a while!
Then it was not! "For a while" equals "proskairos," for a season
or better, for a short window of "opportunity!"
No substance here!
No nutritious foundation!
Remember what faith is! Among other things,
"Now faith is the substance of things
hoped for." Hebrews 11:1
Is Jesus implying "no faith" here?
"By and by" in our King James Bible
translates "euthus" and means immediately! At once! Forthwith!
These sprouts "withered" in the original
telling of the Parable, but Jesus in His interpretation has them
being "offended." And "skandalizo" as a passive verb means "to
be tripped up," or even "to be trapped" by something or someone!
It originally meant a "snare" with which to capture an animal!
What Lessons today!
LESSON 5, VERSE 7:
The next verse is one that tells us about yet
another hindrance to the growth of the sown seed.
Jesus, still speaking of the seed, preaches:
"And some fell among thorns; and the
thorns sprung up, and choked them." Matthew 13:7
Here's a prime example of how to handle a
Parable. Jesus not only delivers it, bare and brief as it is.
That's the nature of Parables anyway!
Our dear Lord later interprets it too! More
fully than one could imagine, praise His Name!
The pronoun "some" is "allos" again, some of
the same kind as before. All the seed is out of the same bag, so
"Fell" also is a repetition of the regular
verb "pipto," dropping from a higher to a lower place. Its
aorist property makes this event one that is now complete, two
thousand years ago in fact.
The word "thorns" is "akantha" and implies
something "sharp." Its root or stem is really "ake," meaning a
"point." Except for its occurrence in this Parable, recorded by
Matthew and Mark and Luke, "akantha" is only found four other
times in the New Testament. However I counted 34 times "thorns"
is used in the Old Testament, Isaiah being particularly fond of
"Sprung up" is "anabaino," a different verb
entirely than the "sprung up" of verse 5, referencing the stony
ground hearers. Here our verb implies a good foundation for the
seed, much better than the stony ground situation!
"Baino" comes from "basis" in Greek and
refers to the feet! It usually means "to ascend" or "to climb,"
more literally "to walk up" something, like a hill or mountain!
These seed under other circumstances might have survived, living
and ultimately bearing fruit!
But they were "choked!" The word is "apopnigo"
and means "to wheeze," labored breathing! "Pnigo" is derived
from "pneo," to breathe or maybe to breathe hard. The picture is
someone breathing hard ... then not all all ... because their
windpipe is being constricted! They are being choked! Outside of
the Gospel accounts of this parable, the only other appearance
of "apopnigo" in the Bible is in Luke 8:33,
"Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the
swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the
lake, and were choked." Look! The world, under control of
the devil, "choked" some of God's sown seed, they therefore
never being "saved" typologically. So, Jesus chokes 2,000 demons
in a more victorious fashion! And that's only ascribing one
demon per hog! Could have been more!
But rather than me trying to explain all
this, let's let the Lord do it! He is the all-wise Teacher
Here we go. "He also
that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word;
and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful," explained
Jesus in Matthew 13:22.
Note first that the seed was "received." This
personification implies that the people being described were
interested! But it's not the regular verb for receiving with joy
and eagerness. It's more like a verb that means ... "It
landed on me!" It's "speiro" as a passive aorist participle. "To
be sown" is a good definition, rather "having been sown!"
Also Jesus' explanation clarifies another
matter. Here the seed fell with the thorns already being in
place. They were there first. If the sower is the Lord this
almost implies His willingness to spread the Gospel where He
knows there is little chance of its success! And WE KNOW He does
this! He has a generous heart when it comes to everything,
especially the Plan of Salvation! Here's the Lord talking to the
newly called Isaiah, commissioning him one might say:
"And He said, Go, and tell this people,
Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but
perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their
ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and
convert, and be healed." (Isaiah 6:9-10) Sowing seed in
difficult places, if not impossible places!
It's our job to tell the Story, no matter the
If anyone gets saved here it will be a very
improbable event, a miracle they will surely call it! But the
God who can turn a sinner into a saint, just as well say a goat
into a sheep, could I suspect even turn a thorn into fine wheat
The Lord Jesus also ascribes two enemies to
the wheat in this part of the field, the thorny area.
The "care" of this world is "merimna,"
meaning "to pull to pieces" something! It's a picture of
distraction, worry, diversion!
"World" just means, "aion," the times in
which one lives! it is not the common word for "world," which is
Jesus too equates these "thorns" with
"riches" or wealth. "Ploutos" is the word, an abundance of
external possessions. It is birthed from the verb "pleo," to be
full! These are they who "have need of nothing."
Riches "deceive" according to our Lord. A
noun, "deceitfulness" translates "apate." Its parent, "apatao,"
just means "to cheat!" Wealth cannot deliver what it promises,
not the things that really matter!
Do notice that what is really choked here is
the "word." Again, "He also that received
seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care
of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
choke the word,
and he becometh unfruitful."
I didn't know the Word could be choked!
Obviously it can! This point, if one can deduce Doctrine from a
Parable, argues against the teaching of "irresistible grace." In
reality this "choking" is pretty strong here! This verb, unlike
the "choking" of verse 7, is compounded, "sumpnigo." The prefix
"sum" or "sun" means "with." It took a bunch of thorns to do
this! God's Word is powerful! An association of assassins,
spiritually speaking, attacked It!
Yes, too many thorns ... and the potential
plant's food gets consumed, light or sunshine blocked, and air
restricted! The result ... no life, no fruit, no food!
Look what Jesus does here! In His explanation
he personifies the seed for sure! Our Lord specifically calls it
"he" in this verse! "He becometh ...." Actually the subject is
part of the verb, a 3rd person singular form of "ginomai." It
means "to be born" or "to come into being" or even "to cause to
be." The subject could have been, grammatically speaking, either
"he or she or it." But our King James Bible translators,
whomever worked on this section of the New Testament, wisely
felt that Jesus had people in mind, not just agriculture! Teams
of men back in 1611 and the years preceding that were involved
in every verse of translated Scripture! And even their work was
subjected to the approval of others on the committee that
produced the King James Bible. I respect them highly! Compare
them to the translation committee of some modern version, say
the NIV! If you do, my argument is already won! "Ginomai" here
is a present tense verb too, on-going action being pictured.
This area of the field is a lost cause.
"Unfruitful" is spelled "akarpos." The word "karpos"
means fruit in this sense, that which is "picked!" Its stem is "harpazo,"
meaning "to pluck or seize or catch," and even at times "to take
by force!" Think of an aggressive gardener! The "a" in front of
"karpos" negates the whole word, "without fruit!"
Beware of thorns!
They can even hinder growth of otherwise
Why don't we Men of God preach more against
thorns? Against worldliness and riches and ease of life?
These things are sending folks to Hell in
Oh, where are the "good ground" hearers?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 6, VERSE 8:
Four kinds of soil, yet there was only one
kind of seed!
And the Lord beautifully wove those bare
facts into one of the loveliest Sermons ever preached!
Today we arrive at the "good soil" part of
"But other fell into
good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some
sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." Matthew 13:8
I would like to think that the vast majority
of the seed fell here, on the good ground. But we have no
guarantee of that. Jesus did not say it either.
The word "other" is "allos," just meaning
other seed of the same kind. Wheat and cummin or rye or barley
are not here being mixed.
All the seed here represent fundamentally the
true Gospel, perhaps more widely other areas of truth from the
Word of God are also meant.
The "good" ground employs an adjective that
is specific in nature. "Kalos" means that kind of goodness or
beauty or even virtue that is useful. That generally spreads and
influences others. It is herein distinguished from another word
for good which our Lord might have used, "agathos," which means
intrinsic good. "Agathos" goodness stays within an individual,
hardly spreading at all!
The verb "brought forth" is also interesting.
Differently described than the plants that "sprang up," this
growth is said to be "given!" The verb is "didomai." A bestowal
from God! This is the exact idea about fruit and farming that
Paul employs in 1st Corinthians 3:7. I will capitalize the key
words for this idea. "So then neither is
he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth;
but God that giveth the
The other two examples of any growth at all,
from rocky ground and thorny ground, used aorist verbs. That
growth, such as it was, came and soon died! No real continuance
whatsoever, everything was very temporary.
But this good ground seed's "bringing forth,"
the verb tense being "imperfect," suggests that it just kept on
and on growing and bearing fruit! Parallel with Jesus' True Vine
Sermon in John 15, these little plants matured and yielded
"fruit, more fruit then much fruit!"
The ratio of yield here is astounding too.
Jesus mentions such in descending order! See, 100-fold then down
to 60-fold and finally only 30-fold. No rebuke is issued for the
thirty-fold group however! No more than the man in another
Parable who only earned two talents was rebuked, as opposed to
the man who earned five talents! We produce under the Spirit's
empowerment based upon the potential given us!
"He also that had received two talents
came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents:
behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord
said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast
been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over
many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
It's the "no fruit" people that disturb our
Lord! Like the one talent man in Matthew 25 who refused to
invest his God-given investment. Read it.
"Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord,
I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast
not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was
afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there
thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said
unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest
that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not
strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the
exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received
mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and
give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every
one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but
from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he
hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." No fruit,
no return ... no real life! Matthew 25:24-30
Also Matthew, being the Dispensational
Gospel, viewing nearly everything in its prophetic light, might
be telling us that, generally speaking, the longer time flows,
the closer the Second Coming of Jesus nears ... the less overall
fruit will be borne! The "harvest" days will gradually become
the "gleaning" days, "bumper crops" dwindling to just "handfuls
Is that not happening right before our eyes?
Of course that's the very law of the harvest anyway!
Oh, the soil of a man's heart, it's condition
... that is of critical importance when the seed is sown! The
only other variable is the seed itself, but we know this is not
bad seed! It's good seed! "If it were not so, Jesus would have
We must assume that the sunshine and rain
factors are the same for all the seed and all the types of soil.
Within the same time frame and on the same real estate the good
seed grew exponentially! All the others died.
Is your heart hard and unyielding?
Or soft and responsive?
"For thus saith the
LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow
ground." Jeremiah 4:3
Also ... "Sow to
yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow
ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and
rain righteousness upon you." That was Hosea!
Yes, a prepared heart may be the key to it
This Parable is perhaps more about the
soil than even the seed!
Is thy heart right with God?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 7, VERSE 8, THE
Our Lord Himself explains these things
Here's what he taught us about the "good
ground" seed. "But he that received seed
into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and
understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth
forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Let's compare the interpretation with the
original telling of this part of our Story. That way we can
better learn from our Lord's words. "But
other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an
hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." Matthew
Jesus uses the term "received seed" again,
showing us for sure that the ground here really represents the
potential hearers of the Gospel, not just some plot of earth. In
fact, Jesus used "speiro" four times in His application! In each
case the verb is an aorist passive participle. The amazing thing
about this is the voice of each verb, passive! The ground did
not reach out and get the seed! It just rested there in its
place and the seed gently fell upon it! This is a picture of
broadcasting God's Word, sowing everywhere, if I've ever seen
Let's read the last verse of Mark for an
illustration of sowing in this manner. Preachers, take note.
"And they went forth, and preached every
where, the Lord working with them." Preaching
Next we need to observe Jesus' emphasis on
the word "hearing" in this Text. His concluding words at the
first telling of the Parable were: "Who
hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:9 And His
opening words of explanation were also framed with this
admonition: "Hear ye therefore the parable
of the sower." Matthew 13:18
One must "hear" to be saved! Look at John
5:24, spoken by our Lord: "Verily, verily,
I say unto you, He that HEARETH my word, and believeth on him
that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Watch
the word I've capitalized!
The Greek verb "akouo" means "to give
audience, to hear with understanding, to hearken and perceive."
Here it's a present participle, indicating the consistent and
habitual hearing of God's Word!
Jesus proves this point by immediately using
the next participle, "understanding." The word "suniemi" means
"to put together" information, to comprehend. "Heimi" means "to
send" literally. I wonder if we're being told that any true
understanding of spiritual truth is "sent" to us from God!
"Beareth fruit" is also worth study time. It
is "karpophoreo," fruit being "karpos, that which is "plucked"
from the tree or vine or bush! "Phero" basically means "to
carry" something, but here "to bring forth" is the idea. This
fruit is a living commodity! This is a main verb too, indicative
present and active!
The parallel verb "bringeth forth" is spelled
"poieo." It means "to make or produce or fashion or construct or
form" something useful, something lovely. See the English word
"poem" in "poieo" please.
God appreciates beauty, spiritual beauty!
Here's a "poieo" word again, underlined and capitalized.
"For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Then Jesus of course uses the same production
numbers as earlier, a hundred-fold or sixty-fold or just
thirty-fold. I suspect our Lord would be pleased with ten-fold
The more the better, but fruit!
If a person just wins one soul on his way to
Heaven, that's precious little I agree, but it is a hundred fold
increase on God's Investment. One has spiritually reproduced
another, by God's Grace and through Jesus' blood and the Holy
Spirit's conviction I mean.
And if a saint grows to the smallest
measurable degree in love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, the
"Fruit-of-the-Spirit" package ... he or she has certainly
reproduced, at least minimally. So different now is he from the
anger and selfishness and impatience that marked his life before
Again, the descending order in Matthew, as
opposed to the ascending order in Mark's telling of the Parable,
may be due to the first Gospel's dispensational character,
prophecy being in the forefront. "And
other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up
and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty,
and some an hundred." Mark 4:8
Either way, God is glorified!
Some Ministries for the Lord do it one way,
others do it the other way! Some win more at first, then fewer
in the end. Others win only a handful at the start but have a
bumper crop before the harvest yields to winter!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 8, A LOOK AT
VERSE 9, THEN THE CONCLUSION:
"Who hath ears to hear,
let him hear," said Jesus at the end of this His best
known Parable. Yes, verse nine is short but powerful!
"Echo" as a present participle means
something like this: the one "possessing" a thing, "having" it
consistently, "holding on" to it in the most intense cases.
Attention, those of you who have the
God-given capability of hearing, comprehend and perceive the
Then the verbal units "to hear" and
"let hear." Both spring from "akouo," meaning "to hear" ... but
in this sense: to hear with understanding, with discernment! To
"give ear" is an older way of expressing this verb.
"Don't miss this," warns Jesus!
Jesus loves statements like these. Seven
times, once to each of the churches of Asia Minor in Revelation
chapters 2 and 3, Jesus speaks: "He that
hath an ear, let him hear." Revelation 2:7 and 11 and 17
and 29. Then again these very words are repeated in Revelation
3:6 and 13 and 22.
Spiritually speaking this says, "If you are
saved, if you have the voice of the Holy Spirit of God ... do
comprehend these words, then apply them to your heart and life!"
The verb is singular here.
Life and death can issues are here clearly
illustrated in parabolic form!
As a conclusion, someone pointed out that
this great Sermon of our Lord's pinpoints the enemies of the
Gospel, very distinctly too!
First let's consider the wayside ground, that
seed was eaten by the fowls! Jesus, in His interpretation,
called those birds pictures of "the wicked one." That's
THE DEVIL of course! Matthew 13:19
The stony-place seed had not much earth. And,
although springing up, failed to grow. The sun was too hot and
they had no access to moisture! This blistering heat Jesus
compares to life's tribulations and persecutions, troublesome
things to THE FLESH and killers to
the soul! Ease of life was likely wanted more than fellowship
with God! Matthew 13:21
Then comes that thorn-infested ground, which
eventually choked its seed. Those prickly things Jesus likens to
the care of THE WORLD and the
deceitfulness of riches, things which have sent many a person to
Hell! Matthew 13:22
Look at those three adversaries!
I highlighted them in red. They
remain your enemies today, Christian friend!
The world, the flesh and the
devil, three of them!
A was three-fold temptation in Eden! There
mankind, through Adam, lost!
Then three arrows from Satan were also
directed toward Jesus in His 40-day trial and victory at the
beginning of His Ministry! There mankind, through Jesus, won!
But in Matthew 13:23, when Jesus comes to the
"good ground" and its seed ... no enemies are mentioned! But
what does happen, "he that received seed
into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and
understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth
forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty,"
happens because of the direct work of the Holy Spirit
of God! He defeats those enemies!
How to conquer the world and flesh and devil?
By the Holy Spirit!
By the Word of God!
By a healthy and growing Faith!
By the Blood of the Lamb!
By our dear Saviour; by the Power of His Holy
Life, Vicarious Death, Literal Burial and Proved Resurrection,
Bodily Ascension and Present Seating at the Right Hand Of God
... including His Successful Intercession on our behalf!
He's coming again too!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
WHAT A GREAT PARABLE!