Understanding the Parable of the Sower Part 2 – The Sower
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a series of very essential basic Bible lessons concerning the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower. The first lesson was simply the introduction to the subject and it contained an overall perspective of the information taught by the LORD Jesus. In that lesson we read the parable given to us in the Book of Mark. We followed this by reading the explanation of the Parable in the same chapter given from the lips of Jesus to his disciples. From this information we derived a list of the main named elements. There were 8 in my list 1) a sower, 2) seed 3) soil, 4) enemy birds, 5) enemy stones, 6) enemy sun heat, 7) enemy thorns and 8) fruit. I then called the sower, seed & the fruit to represent positive good elements and the 4 enemy elements to be recognized as negative evil elements opposing the good. That only leaves the soil and I called this the variable element that will change. I hope and pray that you were able to read this because this information will not all be repeated in today’s lesson. If you have not read from the beginning of the series I would highly recommend that you go back and start with “Part1”. We will begin the subject again with this outstanding foundational claim spoken by the LORD Jesus:
Mar 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
From this statement in Mark 4:13 we should begin to understand that if we do not know and understand this parable that no other parable understanding will be entirely possible. Today we will be diving deeper into one of the fundamental positive elements taught by the LORD Jesus. Our key subject today will be focused on the key positive essential element called the “Sower”. This is an extremely indispensable part of the parable as evident by the name of the story being called “The Parable of the Sower”. I believe this topic will be a blessing to us to learn.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SOWER
I believe Jesus was teaching his disciples a natural story about a significantly higher spiritual subject using an indirect third party viewpoint perspective. Jesus actually used this technique of speaking frequently. In this teaching we will soon learn that Jesus is given to be the ultimate sower example to follow. I believe that Jesus is the pattern that truly saved disciples must attempt to grow up to become. The “Sower” is certainly one of the greatest elements at the time this parable was originally taught. Without the work of a sower the seed is unable to produce and really could be considered dormant. It is as if I owned a farm and had a barn that was full of seed but yet my fields were bare because I had failed to plant them.
Mat 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
According to the LORD Jesus He named this lesson the “Parable of the Sower”. Therefore we all should agree with Him that this is the name. This name implies the importance of this type of worker. In this lesson today we will be focused upon answering the basics of “Who”, “What”, When”, “Where” and “Why” of the specific “sower” subject. For example, “Who is this stated worker?” “What is their intended purpose?” “When does the work occur, begin or stop?” “Where can the work take place?” “Why is this work necessary or important?” There are literally so many questions that we could ask that I could not write them all down or even attempt to answer them all in one lesson. However, we will attempt to answer the major questions even though the answers may be expanded into other lessons because many of the subjects being discussed cross over into other subject element boundaries.
WHO IS THE SOWER IN THE PARABLE?
The Greek word translated as “sower” in this verse is G4687. This Greek word according to the Strong’s Dictionary reference literally means to “scatter” seed and that simply means to “sow” seed. This Greek word is found in 42 N.T. verses. It was translated in a number of forms of the root word “sow”. For example, “sower”, “sown”, “sowed” and “soweth” are just some of the most popular translated English words. However, this Greek word was also translated as “received seed” in several verses. Both definitions are technically true simultaneously and both are directly related to the subject of seed scattering. Seed scattering is the dual release of seed as well as the catching process. Both actions occur based upon the single active work of a sower. Notice that it is not the sower’s responsibility to catch the seed but only to throw it or place it where he would like for it to go.
It is very much like someone throwing a small rock into a pond. The single motion of tossing and releasing the rock into the water automatically causes the water to receive the rock and react with the laws of physics to cause waves extending from the entry point. This is in effect what is occurring with seed scattering paradigm with some differences. Also note that one seed throwing action causes the release of power to potentially cause other designed laws to become effective. Let’s look at another verse that was spoken by Jesus in the book of Mark concerning this subject of the “sower” to understand what kind of sower is being spoken of in this Parable:
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
In this verse both the translated words “sower” and “soweth” are the exact same Greek word G4687. This information simply confirms further that the scattering concept being discussed is about someone throwing word seeds out and someone listening to take the power. This power can represent words that make it possible for new potential life producing results that previously had never occurred before. This is how the natural process works but notice that Jesus is speaking spiritually to what seeds represent in the parable. Jesus is clearly not speaking in literal natural terms and He explains His lesson is spoken in the “figurative” spiritual application.
Jesus is teaching an amazing spiritual concept using a more easily understood natural description. According to this verse spoken by Jesus in the book of Mark, a “Sower” (the described seed scattering worker) is defined to be literally anyone that is speaking “words” to implied listeners. This verse provides us the spiritual definition of what “seed” represents. We will be discussing “seeds” in the next lesson in the series, God willing. But, according to Jesus ALL spoken words are potentially a type of a seed. That is an amazing claim if you take the time to think about. Jesus is literally implying that we all should think to our self before speaking. Ask is what I am saying to others the result that I wish to plant and grow in them? What kind of seed am I speaking to people? I know a lot of people will not believe this, but it is true none the less.
Jesus does not actually define who the sower represents directly in this verse nor does he answer the “who” question in any of the other parable explanations found in Matthew or Luke. But, I do believe very strongly that Jesus was speaking this parable of Himself and His work using the external third person point of view. Jesus actually did this frequently in many of the things that He talked to people about. It is actually a very common method of speaking or writing. Many people do this and it if you go through and read the Gospels with this in mind you should be able to easily see it.
This verse in Mark 4:14 has some far reaching impacts of implied meanings even beyond the direct context. In the first lesson I introduced the concept of this Parable of the Sower to be a spiritual battle of spiritual words. I believe this so deeply that I pray that you will join me in this understanding very soon. What this verse implies is that anyone speaking audible words that are either good or evil is potentially planting seeds within the lives of human minds and hearts that choose to hear, listen, pay attention and understand. If you do not yet see this up till now, please don’t throw it in the trash until you read some other verses on the subject.
What I believe is that we should begin to understand that this sowing principle is how human life operates from the beginning birth to the ending death cycle. If you have ever had children and watched them grow up, you must certainly agree with this concept of seed planting being Words that can positively teach, direct, help, guide, encourage, praise and correct a child to get them headed in the right direction for the rest of their life. No child comes out of the womb speaking complete understandable sentences. We are required to speak seeds into them for literally many months before the first meaningful seed planted will be returned to us. But, finally they say “mama” or “dada” or whatever you taught them to say. These are examples of positive seed plantings. It is truly an amazing process of a good life. But, we can also speak negative, mean, angry or evil words that will also have the same effect in reverse being returned to us from their mouths. That is certainly not a positive of fruitful outcome.
Of course the main emphasis in this parable is focused primarily upon “Good Seeds” spoken by the “Good LORD Jesus” spread to all humans in order to produce “Good” fruit” in return. But, the antithesis of this Good truth return objective is still true also and I’ll introduce a new parable very quickly by giving you an additional part of a direct related story spoken by Jesus on the subject of sowing.
OVERVIEW OF the PARABLE of the WEEDS
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
This parable was spoken by Jesus in the same context of the Parable of the Sower directly after the explanation in Chapter 13. Notice the fact that again this parable is spoken in the external “third person point of view”. But, we will soon discover that this reference in verse 24 to just “a man” that sowed good seed is a directly defined reference about Jesus. Also we need to notice that this verse contains the exact same Greek word G4687 that was used in the parable of the sower. This makes this parable related by both the laws of contextual reference and the more direct named word selection and subject matter reference.
It is also very important to take note of two other Greek words that follow the Greek word G4687 in verse 24 and these were translated as “good seed”. This is really amazing truth after you learn it. The Greek word G2570 that is translated as “good” literally means “valuable” and “virtuous”. Wow I hope you are seeing the type of seed being described here. This Greek word is a qualifying adjective that severely limits the type of “seed” being described. I personally believe that this Greek word describes God’s Word Seed perfectly. The usage of God’s limitation of “Good” also implies by the law of antithesis truth that there must also exist “evil seed” and that the two are extreme opposites.
Then we need to notice the next word translated as “seed” as being the Greek word G4690. The English transliteration of this Greek word is “sperma” and yes we get the English word “sperm” from this Greek word. Natural human sperm is just one type of “seed” listed in the Bible. Therefore a human male was designed by God to be a natural sower of seed into a female. This process of producing natural human life is also called bearing fruit and we will probably talk more about this when we get to that part of the subject lesson.
But, this Greek word G4690 translated as “seed” comes directly from the “Sower” Greek word G4687. In other words without a “sower” speaking words there would be no “seed” word to be planted. It really is teaching us that seed sowing is literally dependent upon the existence of sowers. Do you believe that the seed word originating from a sower is an accident or is found by chance random occurrence? I do not. I believe that this is a statement of designed truth concerning who produces “Good” seed and how this process works in us. I believe that God’s Word is His Seed that produces His Life in us to be born again spiritually and we are going into this much deeper later in this lesson series when we discuss the seed and the fruit.
This new parable story spoken by Jesus is often called the “Parable of the Weeds”. According to Jesus the Kingdom of heaven seed represents “Good Seed” that produces symbolic “wheat” that is harvestable and the “tares” represents evil seeds sown by an enemy into the same ground. You see in verse 25 Jesus speaks of two very important factors. One is the Greek word G2190 that was translated as “enemy”. This Greek word literally means “to hate”. That word represents the opposite description of God who is described to be “love” (agape, G26) in 1 John 4:8. Hate and love are antithesis opposing definitions of forces of power. These are clear descriptions of two opposing extremes. God is Love and the enemy being spoken of is Satan who is “hate”. Satan hates you and me and he hates God.
Next we need to notice the Greek word G4687 that is translated as “sowed” in verse 25. This is again the exact same Greek word translated as “sower” in the Parable of the sower and “sowed good seed” in verse 24. They are all connected directly together. We are beginning to put some major pieces of the puzzle together to understand the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds. Both are concerning the subject of sowing words. There are stated “Good” words that produce harvestable symbolic “wheat” in the Parable of the Weeds and the implied “virtuous” words of God that produce symbolic “fruit” in the Parable of the Sower. God is giving us a very detailed look into the enemy in both parables and how Satan operates.
Here in both Parables is found amazing parallels of truth using similar representations. I am not going to go into this parable in much further detail today. I mainly wanted to show the divine connection to why “weeds” appear was because of the stated work of a hateful spiritual enemy called the devil. God is introducing us to the fact that there is a described spiritual battle for humans and their end is determined by whose words these humans value. Some will become children of Satan by valuing his lies of deception and some will become children of God by valuing His Virtuous TRUTH. We will move into this more later. But, I do want you show you that Jesus claimed that He was this stated man that sowed the Good Seed mentioned in verse 24:
Mat 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
When this Parable was first taught to the disciples and the natural people of Israel, Jesus was the named “Sower” mentioned in the Parable. When we read further in his explanation of the Parable of the Weeds in verse 37, we discover plainly that the “Good seed” originated from the spoken words given by the “Son of man” (Jesus). There are over one hundred verses in the Bible that refer to Jesus as the “Son of man”. I will not give you them all here because you can easily go and search them for yourself. There are so many confirmations that there is no refuting that this refers to Jesus. This teaches us that any “good seed (sperma)” will originate from God and Jesus.
We understand that a natural sower is defined to be someone that sows (plants) seeds by scattering them in or on the natural ground (soil). But according to what we just learned from Jesus a Spiritual Sower is someone that scatters good or evil “Words” on or in the ears, minds & hearts of humans. We must understand that Jesus was only sowing “Good” (valuable and virtuous) words. We will learn the good type of Word in next lesson concerning “seeds” that Jesus spoke the “Word of God” (Luke 8:11). It makes logical sense to me that Jesus was speaking only God’s Words. However, we can confirm this when we search further in the Bible to learn that Jesus actually claimed to be a spokesman for His Father. Verify this claim here in John:
Joh 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
Jesus claimed in this verse that the “Seeds” or “Words” that He spoke including those that were found in the Parable of the Sower must have come directly from His Father in heaven by a divine command. In fact we should learn from this statement that every word spoken by Jesus in our Bibles were direct words from the Almighty God. This makes these Words directly inspired and divinely essential messages. There were no imperfections or untruths that could be found in them (Tit 1:2). These “Seeds” had to have an extremely important purpose. We will be diving into this subject in the next lesson when we further discuss in more detail the “Seed”.
ARE THERE ANY SOWERS TODAY?
We all should know that Jesus died and was raised from the dead and ascended back to heaven where He currently sits at the right hand of the Almighty awaiting the time of His return. Therefore, we need to ask a new question since we know that Jesus is not physically present on the earth to sow more seeds in any new humans born in the last 2000+ years, did this Parable end? Did the death of Jesus mean that sowing of seeds into humans has ceased? There are some denominations that have beliefs like this, but they usually do not extend them to seed sowing for some reason. But, should we just assume that the seed sowing process of the Parable of the Sower stopped or does it still continue today? We actually need verses to fix our beliefs on, in order to answer this question to remove any doubts. But, we can learn and know the answer from reading further in the New Testament that any man or woman speaking, teaching, or preaching the Word of God can also be named to be a seed planter aka a “sower”. For example, notice this verse written by the Apostle Paul written to the Corinthian Church:
1Co 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
1Co 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
These verses here contain some amazing truths. Notice what is claimed by the Apostle Paul? Paul informs the church that he was a minister and that his work performed to them was to “plant” seeds (verse 6). The Greek word G1249 in verse 5 translated as “ministers” is not a high claimed position of great authority in the church. This word literally can be translated as a servant, or someone that runs errand, or even as a “waiter” of tables for those that are present eating. Paul is an extremely humble man that is not claiming to be anyone special or important in any of these statements. If Paul felt this way who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, how can any of us ever think we are any better?
Why am I bringing these verses into our lesson on the Parable of the Sower? I would pray that it is already very obvious. Paul is repeating a significant number of positive elements found in the Parable of the Sower here in these three verses. Paul in these statements is focused on how seed planting successes occurs and who gets the honor and the praise for any of it. Paul is teaching us about his contribution and participation in the common elements of “being a sower”, “possessing seed”, “sowing seed” into “soil” in order to produce “fruit”. They may not all be mentioned directly but they are understood to be present by the direct mention of the words “planting” and “increase”.
The Greek word G5452 that was translated as “planted” literally means “to set out in the earth”. In other words this Greek word G5452 means “to implant” seed in the natural realm which must represent the parallel spiritual reality of imparting God’s Word in the human heart (symbolic soil). Earth in this Greek definition G5452 is a clear synonymous reference to the successful and fruitful soil type that we have yet to discuss in detail. The Strong’s definition goes further to state that this word figuratively means to “instill doctrine” into humans. Therefore we are definitely on the right track to speaking words to people.
The Greek word G837 translated as “increase” in verse 6 literally means “to cause to grow”. I introduced in the first lesson that “fruit” represented “salvation” and “spiritual fruit”. But we have not discussed this yet either. But that is exactly what Paul infers by verse 5 stating what he preached caused these people in the church to believe and believing God’s Word is the foundation of Bible faith and salvation. We will discuss later that faith is a basic requirement for salvation and there are many verses that will confirm this truth such as John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10 and Ephesians 2:8.
Then Paul adds a new unstated element not found in the Parable of the Sower called “watering” or “water”. If you have read all of the Bible lessons on this blog, you will already know that the same Word of God represents multiple facets of essential life producing forces called “seed”, “water” and “light” and these are the basic requirements that must be combined with the soil to produce new “fruitful life”. We will be going into much greater detail later when we speak about other elements after the “sower”. But, let’s first move to two further verses in the Paul letter to the Corinthians:
1Co 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
1Co 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
The Greek word that I wish to focus on first in these three verses is G1091 that was translated as “husbandry” in verse 9. This word literally means “a farm”. This should be another obvious connection to the Parable of the Sower using God’s law of selection of synonymous terminology. A farm is usually defined as an area of land that is used to produce and grow crops for harvest. Humans are literally called to be the spiritual ground that grows spiritual fruit from the implanted spiritual Words of God. But, yet this does not occur automatically or magically or forcefully. We will be discussing this aspect of the discussion later in the elements of “soil” and “fruit”.
These verses found in Corinthians are just one major proof text that God desired everyone in the church to become His “farm land to produce His fruit” as well as simultaneously growing up spiritually to become His “seed planters” or “seed waterers”. We may not all be called into the office of “Apostle”, “Prophet”, “Evangelist” or “Pastor” or “Teacher”, but we are all still called servants of God. Notice again in verse 5 the ending statement. Paul claims they were minister servants of the LORD and then claims this responsibility was given to “EVERY MAN”. Then in verse 9 God calls the church body to be His “co-laborers”. This word literally means we must cooperate and coordinate our efforts with His planned work for our lives. These are just more ways to proclaim the great commission given from the LORD Jesus to everyone in the church:
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Go into the entire world, and sow seeds in the entire world by proclaiming out loud of His exceedingly Great News. Jesus is commissioning all of His people to become “sowing servants” of His Word. If we are just receivers collecting His Words and not spreading the seed to others then we are being disobedient barn storage facilities. The Greek word G2784 translated as “preach” in this verse literally means someone who is like a town crier that brings good news to the people of a city. Clearly this is a “seed” planter that is attempting to follow after the LORD Jesus’ patterned example found in the Parable of the Sower. What is the purpose of being a seed planter for God? If we read the next verse we will learn God’s designed goal:
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
We are being introduced to God’s primary purpose for speaking His Word to people in the world. According to Jesus it was God’s design for His Words to be believed by a human faith choice and then this belief would place us onto a course or pathway whereby we could be saved. We actually read this in 1 Corinthians 3:5 also. We learn the fact of salvation is dependent upon our beliefs in God’s Word by reading verses like this as well as Ephesians 2:8 and even John 3:16. Whoever believes God Word to the end is the one that receives the free gift of His Great Grace.
But, then comes the bad news if any human does not choose to believe His Words spoken by His sowers, they are damned. Wow, that is so strong. What a significant warning. What a great responsibility that we are given. Is it possible if someone does not state the right words in the right way at the right time with the correct attitude and motive that the responsibility for why some are not saved could be on the sower’s hands? That is something that I believe we must take into consideration. I believe that we all must be led by the Spirit of God in everything that we do including sowing seeds.
Perhaps you have already deduced that sowing seeds is why I do a Bible study Blog on the internet. This blog is an attempt to spread God’s “seed” to every nation on planet earth. By the immense Grace of God these Bible lessons have gone into over 250 different nations already. That would be an extremely difficult physical effort for anyone to travel to reach each one personally. I praise God for using an insignificant man like me to spread His Word and I pray that you will also join me in becoming a “seed of God sower”.
I will end this section on the “sower” with this stated truth. When the LORD Jesus was teaching the Good News while Sowing Seeds into the hearts of people on the earth in His physical body during His short 3 ½ years of ministry, this was the closest to perfection that was possible for the Parable to have successful crops of fruit. However, we also know from reading the Gospels that most of the people that heard Him teach and preach these “Seeds” were possibly the same ones that killed Him on a cross. Think about it. There were only 120 believers in the 50 days from His death in the upper room in Acts 2 awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We know that when Jesus was on the earth that he sometimes taught to over 5000 people at one time and over 4000 at another time. He traveled wide and far throughout the region to preach the Word of God to people. Where were all of these thousands of people that heard the “Seed”? I think that is amazing.
This truth only proves that imperfect humans today that are attempting to follow Jesus’ example of sowing should not expect to make everyone accept what they are teaching them as “Good News”. The servant is never greater than the master Jesus said. If they persecuted me Jesus said, they will certainly persecute you also. Believe me I know this for sure. Some people are such very nice Christians that say good things about my lessons even if they disagree with something, and others sound like demon possessed people and say the meanest things. Just learn from Jesus and don’t let the praise of anyone or the condemnation of anyone else be the motivating source for preaching or teaching God’s Word. Remember what Paul said, it is not the sower of the seed or the one that waters that is anything, but rather it is God that that causes the increase of the fruit to grow that is important. Okay we answered some basic questions about the sower today so we will review:
- WHO? Jesus was the initial Primary Sower Example.
- WHO? But, Christians today have the same responsibility to sow seeds.
- WHAT? Being a Sower is simply sharing God’s Word with someone.
- WHAT? The reason we sow God’s seed is to get someone saved from a certain eternal death in hell.
- WHEN? It is implied that the time to sow is now.
- WHERE? It is implied whenever the opportunity presents itself.
In the next lesson in the series we will move into the very positive subject of understanding the “Seed”. I know we could have covered a lot more information in this subject of understanding the sower. If you have any specific questions on this part of the subject I would welcome them. I pray that you have enjoyed this lesson but I believe the next lesson will even be better. God Bless you.
If you would like to continue to study in this series please go to “Part 3“.