UNDERSTANDING THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER – PART 5 – AN ESSENTIAL SOIL TYPE OVERVIEW
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 5 in the Bible Study series of the most significant Parable in the Bible. Jesus said if you do not understand this parable, how then will you understand any parable (Mk 4:13)? That makes this parable on a greater level or a higher plain of importance than all the others. Of course, all of them are still important to us. If you have not studied this subject from the beginning, I would highly recommend that you begin with “Part 1” first. We will be unable to go over every detail previously provided in this series. For example, in earlier lessons we obtained an excellent overview of the sower, the seed and the fruit. These were three positive symbols given to us in the parable by Jesus. In these lessons we should have learned that the Seed represents primarily God’s spoken Word, but that there was also an implied negative counterpart to it that comes from Satan. This negative seed type will result in distractions and deceptions that we can label as “weeds”. Spiritual “weeds” originated from the curse spoken to Adam in Genesis 3:18 when God said the soil would produce “thorns” and “thistles”. Today we will learn more about what these represent.
Finally, we learned about fruit in our last lesson. This subject is the positive intended outcome for God’s incredibly positive Word when planted in good soil. I am convinced that “fruit” is God’s spiritual goal and plan for every human who will cooperate and receive His Word into their heart. I am also convinced that fruit represents requirements or specifications for salvation. This brings us to today’s subject of the soil. The soil represents the unseen heart of a human. However, this invisible heart is NOT the physical blood pumping organ that keeps our human body alive. No, the heart of a human is the unseen captive eternal spirit being on the inside of our body. Our human spirit becomes one with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:17) after we receive the Word of God, believe, and confess Jesus as our Lord. There was more to our lessons than that, but that was a quick review. We will now continue with this subject and the specific topic of “soil” and “soil types”.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SOIL
I would like to begin this study of the “soil” with an overview of the soil types found in the Parable of the Sower. Soil represents the heart also called the spirit of a human. This is the internal unseen spiritual part of the triune composition of every human (1 Th 5:23). Our heart element is the human portion that will never cease to exist (Lk 16:22-23). We should also understand that Jesus gave us 4 specific divisions of spirit/soil types in the Parable of the Sower. It is also important to note that this parable occurs in 3 Gospels Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. All accounts of the parable agree, but with some specific details only being mentioned in one parable. This is a major reason why we should read every one given to combine them into an accumulated list of facts to conclude every truth that was taught. It is very much like a crime that occurs with three different witnesses that observe the event from three different angles of perspective. Each witness testimony must be true from each individual perspective but when it is balanced together the combined agreement of testimony provides the most accurate overall information of what happened. Here are the main 4 soil types as described by Jesus:
- Way Side (Mat 13:4, Mk 4:4, Luk 8:5)
- Stony Ground (Mat 13:5, Mk 4:5, Luk 8:6)
- Thorny Ground (Mat 13:7, Mk 4:7, Luk 8:7)
- Good Ground (Mat 13:8, Mk 4:8, Luk 8:8)
We are going to go through each soil type individually picking out the details of Greek Words to help us understand what Jesus said. We will list every descriptive explanatory verse from Matthew, Mark and Luke to learn from. Let us get started with the wayside soil.
#1 – WAYSIDE SOIL OVERVIEW
The first type of soil mentioned by Jesus is called the “way side” soil. This soil type comes from the Greek word G3598 that literally means a “road” or “highway”. That is an informative descriptive term with widespread implications attached to it. Any well-traveled road in Bible days was a soil that was compacted from constant chariots, carts, and human foot traffic as well as other animal hoofs (horses, donkeys, and camels) loaded with people or goods. The soil would be so compressed that scattering seed upon it would do no real good. The seed would rest on the top of the packed surface and would be easily eaten by any birds that were nearby. Let us review the three explanations that Jesus provided to help us understand what this soil type represents:
Mat 13:19 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.
Mar 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Luk 8:12 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.
Can we notice the symbolism? This ground type is called “Wayside”. Remember this is the Greek word G3598 that means a “road”. How would this symbol correspond to a human heart/spirit? What does it mean when someone or something is being walked on symbolically in the Bible? This condition of being walked upon normally indicates a person or a nation that has been defeated, conquered, overcome, and beaten in a battle. God told Joshua in the book of Joshua chapter 1 “Everywhere the sole of your feet shall tread, I have given you”. God was representing to Joshua that wherever he chose to begin walking by faith in the promised land, he would be victorious over those people that were occupying it. God used the symbolism of “treading” upon to describe this victory. Tread is an action verb that means to walk with your feet as in “step on”.
In the Parable of the Sower the wayside soil represents a human heart that has been hardened by Satan to not be able to hear and understand the Gospel. We see this plainly stated in Matthew 13:19. In this verse God declares this soil type heard the Word of God but since they did not understand it, it was easily stolen by Satan. This soil type indicates this person can be easily distracted, deceived, and defeated by Satan. This is implied because of the reference to the “birds of the air” that represent the devils in the world. Unclean and evil spirits can easily come to trick the wayside soil’s mind to prevent the seed from being sown.
Notice that in Luke 8:12 the primary objective of the Word being sown is to cause the human to believe it for their personal salvation. In contrast, the primary objective for the devil’s work is to deceive the soil to not believe the Word so that they will not be saved. This corresponds with 2 Corinthians 4:4 where God informs us “Whom the God of this world blinds the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel (Seeds) of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”. Pay close attention to presence of a spiritual battle of two opposing kingdoms. One is of darkness (blindness from Satan) and the other is of the light (from God). Now recall Psalm 119:130 that says, “the entrance of thy Word bringeth light and understanding to the simple”. God’s plan is to help people receive and understand the Word and Satan’s focus is to make sure that this does not occur.
This “Wayside” soil type represents the only human heart that is incapable of being saved as it is because of the darkness covering their minds. The inability of the Light of God’s Word to enter their minds causes this lack of understanding and this results in their continued captivity to the darkness. This is exactly why Satan removed the Bible from public schools in the USA in the 1960s. As a result of the elimination of God’s truth being taught in public-school the brains of ignorant children have grown up creating an easy age of deception. Anything sounds good and true when it is not compared to the actual truth. This blindness will remain unless parents teach the truth of the Bible at home. I personally believe that this Wayside soil type was never saved through hearing the Word of God, nor can be. But that does not mean this person cannot be changed to become a different soil type through prayer and a process of seed planting. Let us review what we have just learned:
- The objective of God giving us His Word is for our salvation through hearing and believing.
- The objective of Satan stealing the Word is so that humans will not believe and be saved.
- One strategy for humans not to be saved is for the Word of God to never be heard.
- Another strategy for humans to not be saved is for the Words not to be understood.
- Wayside soil humans are already hard hearted defeated captives of the kingdom of darkness.
We will talk more about this soil type later when we get into some examples. Let us move on to soil type #2.
#2 – STONY GROUND OVERVIEW
Mat 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21 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.
Mar 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mar 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Luk 8:13 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 (G3986) fall away.
The stony ground is the next soil type described by Jesus. Jesus refers to this soil as a type of intermixed hardness of stone under the surface with an implied thin layer of softness of one human heart on the outside. But clearly Jesus claims that the presence of the hard rocks and stones does not allow for the development of adequate roots from the seed to grow deep enough to endure the heat of being a Christian. Jesus said when the sun comes up and shines on this growing seed, it lacks sufficient moisture, withers, fades, and is too weak and dies. Luke 8:13 describes the heat of the sun to be a time of temptation. Literally this word represents a satanically inspired testing time to see if someone really believes the Word of God that was spoken to them. However, Matthew describes it in a much clearer manner in Matthew 13:21. Here Matthew teaches us that the heat of the sun represents “tribulation” and “persecution”. “Tribulation” represents satanically inspired “pressure”, “stress”, “worries”, etc. The word “persecution” literally represents human “sufferings”, “oppressions”, “harassments”, “intimidations”, “discriminations” and can even be physical and mental “tortures” for believing in Jesus and letting others know about the same message that was sown in them.
Notice that Jesus said in Matthew and Luke that this soil type received the Word of God with “Joy”. Jesus said in Mark this soil type had significant “gladness” after what they heard what was taught from the Word of God. This is particularly important because the Word of God is called the Gospel, and this simply means “good news”. The Word of God should make us extremely happy. Why should we be happy? The Good News is based upon Jesus paying the price for our sins dying on a cross, being raised from the dead and giving us His righteousness in exchange so that we do not have to go to hell. Wow, that makes me happy!
I think everyone that has ever been saved has experienced persecution and satanic testing at one time or the other. Notice this soil type indicates that the person began the Christian walk with joy at the beginning of the process of generating fruit. But did not endure through the pressure of persecution to become fruitful. This clearly teaches us this soil type was on the path to being saved but chose to not remain saved because of the pressures of friends, relatives, or other worldly people. Jesus indicates strongly that this soil type heard the Word of God, believed it, and was saved for a short time but then turned away because of Satanic attacks and tests.
I want to quickly address two important facts of truth that were mentioned by Jesus in this soil type. Jesus clearly teaches us that producing “roots” before we produce “fruits” is essential to the process of our salvation. How is this accomplished? Also, Jesus clearly said there is a stone and a rock that can be found that causes us not to remain saved. How can we get these rock elements out of our hearts? Let us address removing the stone first. We will turn to 1 Peter chapter 2 and read starting in verse 6:
1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Jesus is clearly observed to be compared with a stone. This is an analogous typology that represents a potentially greater spiritual truth. We clearly find the presence of believing the Word of God in this discussion. Therefore, it is right in line with what we are studying and read in the stony ground explanations. Notice the Holy Spirit teaches us that whoever remains in faith by believing in Him (Jesus) will not be confounded. What does the Greek word G2617 translated as “confounded” mean? Strong defines this word to mean “to shame down”. Thayer says it means to “put to shame” or to “make ashamed”. Uh oh! We are catching on to some of the reasons why people fall away after believing the Good News with a joyful heart. Remember this concept because it is important. Feeling a sense of shame after believing the Word of God is what Satan will try to get a Christian to do by using persecution and pressures of the world. It can also be the fact that some of the Words that were heard were not understood enough or at all. We will see this later in an example.
“Persecution” is a major stratagem of Satan. Many weak newly born-again believing Christians will not be able to withstand against the outward peer pressures when someone comes and calls them a stupid idiot for believing in an old book of fables and fantasies. Of course, the Bible is not either of those, but that does not mean the devil is not going to try to convince someone that it is, with his lies. I want us to also focus on the Greek word G4625 that is translated as “offence” in verse 8. This word represents the inner-working mechanism of a trap that causes someone to become ensnared and trapped again, back into captivity that they were previously released and freed from after believing in Jesus. Wow, this sounds important. Please recall what Jesus said that He came to do in Luke 4:18. In this verse Jesus said, “God had sent Him to preach deliverance to the captives”. Preaching is sowing seeds and these seeds if they are believed, will release people from a spiritual prison that they did not even know they were in. Satan will attempt to persecute new believers to get them to return to their past lifestyle and way of living in darkness.
Ok, we need to keep moving with the subject of producing roots. Hopefully you learned that persecutions does come in this life and these are designed to try to get us to turn away from, believing, knowing and growing in the Truth of the Word of God. What are roots and how do we cooperate with allowing them to grow. I do want to emphasize that the first step after receiving and believing the Word of God is for us not to become offended at the words of other people that do not know the truth in the Bible. But there is more to it than this. We also need to pray and ask God to give us boldness to be able to share His Word with others free from any shame that could result by others rejecting it or laughing at it. Getting rid of “stones” that cause the roots to fail will help us move closer to a fruit bearing season Let’s move to root development next..
We must continue in the Word of God to allow God’s seed to be watered. Without continued watering any natural or spiritual plant seed will wither and not continue to grow. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted, and Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”. The word “increase” simply means God produced the “spiritual growth and maturity” through the continued entrance of every word of God spoken into our ears. We also learn from Ephesians 5:26 that the Word of God represents His Water. Therefore, the continued watering of the Word of God, is an essential part of our spiritual growth to produce roots and fruits. Let us review another part of the root subject by reading in Ephesians 3:17:
Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ok, did you see the connections from the parable of the Sower? We have the main subject of soil by the reference to the human heart. We have the factor of faith remaining in the human heart by a human choice. We also have the subject of deep developing unseen roots in the human heart that are connected to continued believing. Remember what roots do for a seed and the developing plant that comes from the seed. The roots provide essential nourishment for the plant production of eventual fruit when the plant becomes mature. By continual hearing of the Word of God our faith grows stronger and the unseen roots are the symbol for this strength. As we have seen essential nourishment of plants is water and that represents the never-ending flow of the Word of God.
Remember what Psalm 1 teaches us. God says in Psalms 1, “blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly”. Counsel represents words of advice, guidance, and direction. These words being referred to are obviously not the Words of God. Then in verse 2 God says, “This man’s delight is in the law of the LORD”. These are the wise words of God. So, we have a battle of words being revealed to us. There are two sources of words to choose from and continuing with the Word of God exclusively is the wise choice to make us strong.
Then in verse 3 God says this man is like a tree planted by the rivers (of water/His Word) that brings forth his fruit in season”. Wow, we have some great connections being made by the Holy Spirit to the Parable of the Sower. A tree feeds from the river because of the well-established root system. The river represents the Word of God. The continual supply of the Word of God will produce “fruit”, and this is the goal of salvation that God’s Word is designed for. We have just discovered another trait of fruit failure. This comes from Christians not developing good changed habits of putting God and His Word as their number one priority after first believing. It would seem to imply that because of continued bad habits people are hardened in a part of their heart to become easily offended. Ok, let us quickly review the major points of the stony ground.
- Stony Ground received and believed the Seed of God at first.
- Their hearts were initially filled with Joy and Gladness and began the process of producing roots and fruits.
- But when persecution, trials and tests came upon them to test their faith, they became offended and ashamed of the Word of God unable to stand strong and defend the Truth.
- The stony ground could not endure the test of Satan and fell away being dry leaving to go back into their previous way of life because of a lack of Water from the Word of God.
- The stony ground was initially saved but left the faith because of Satan’s attacks, temptations, tests, trials.
- Stony ground was not able to develop new habits that will result in new thinking, that will result eventually in new actions.
I pray that this was helpful in your understanding this Stony soil type. We will review some of these types later in the examples. But, for now let us move to the Thorny Ground overview.
#3 – THORNY GROUND OVERVIEW
Mat 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care (G3308) of this world, and the deceitfulness (G539) of riches, choke (G4846) the word, and he becometh unfruitful (G175).
Mar 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mar 4:19 And the cares (G3308) of this world, and the deceitfulness (G539) of riches (G4149), and the lusts (G1939) of other things entering in, choke (G4846) the word, and it becometh unfruitful (G175).
Luk 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches (G4149) and pleasures (G2237) of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection (G5052).
Ok, soil type 3 is called the “thorny ground”. Jesus teaches us that this thorny ground human was also able to receive the Word of God like the previous stony ground and it is implied that they believed it and were in the process of bringing forth fruit. Also notice that it is implied that this soil type does not have hard places of offences or shame. Jesus further implies this truth in Matthew 13:23 when the seed in this soil type begins the process of first taking root and then the next moving into the process of growth to initiate them producing fruit. We know this because the Greek word G1096 that was translated as “becometh” before the word unfruitful implies the process of being fruitful must have been initiated, in order for it to be terminated and chocked out by the thorns that were growing in the same soil simultaneously.
What then were these thorns? Jesus taught us that the thorns represented “worldly cares” and “deceitfulness of riches” in Matthew 13:23. And in Mark 4:19 Jesus adds the “lusts of other things” to the list of thorny issues. Lust is a Greek word that means to set our heart on something that has the appearance of good in our sight but has evil motives and intentions resulting in our future destruction. Luke 8:14 reveals the choking thorns to be the previously mentioned “cares” and “riches” and these are added to a new concept called the “pleasures” of this present life. This is a remarkably similar concept to “lusts” that do not satisfy us.
Let us start this with understanding the word “cares”. “Cares” is the Greek word G3308 and it represents the concept of “distraction” or “isolation”. If Satan can distract a Christian with something that is not necessary and important but appears desirable, then he has their focus removed from what God desired them to see in His Word. If that does not work, another strategy is to separate a Christian from obtaining support and encouragement from other Christians. Both are tricks that can be used to cause a Christian’s fruits to be choked out. But Christians can apply 1 Peter 5:7 and allow God to take all our cares that are attempting to distract or isolate us when we choose to cast them upon Him. We allow Him to carry them and solve them. We do this while we don’t even worry about them.
“Pleasures” is the Greek word G2237 that means “sensual delight and desires”. This is a truly clear reference to a person that is walking in the flesh and not in the spirit. These wrong desires and lusts based upon the five physical senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound) appear to take control of the human heart to not allow God’s good seed to produce mature fruit.
The Greek word G5052 was translated as “fruit to perfection” but it literally means “to ripen fruit”. This Greek word that means “to ripen” was combined with the absolute negative G3756 word that declares no ripe fruit was produced. God is teaching us that because of the presence of thorns (pleasures and lusts) distracting the believer from the Word of God, the human fruit of salvation begins but is never completed. What other distracting and choking thorns apply to you? What is taking your time away from the Word of God to focus most of your time on a 5 physical sense item in life?
Thorns could represent a lot of things in the human world. But these could include a person that desires and lusts for wealth, fortune, fame, power, control, a celebrity status, stardom, recognition, casual physical sexual relations, highs from drugs or alcohol, maybe it is even cooking and eating too much, or dieting, etc. There are many tricks of the devil used to entice a human away from God, His Word, and His salvation. Let us go over a list of key points that we have observed about the thorny ground.
- The Thorny ground received the Word of God and is implied to have believed it to begin the process of producing fruit for their salvation.
- There are no mentions of being hardened by symbolic stones in this soil type and it is implied by this omission that Satan could not offend them to turn them away from God’s Word by using “persecution”.
- Therefore, Satan tried a new tactic and strategy to divert the believer away from God. Satan places enticing elements of fortune and fame before them and these elements tend to become a greater and greater distraction from being watered by the Word of God daily.
- The end-result of this soil type is a barren bush that has no matured ripe edible fruit. The thorn plants growing in the same soil has become their dominate desire and has completely choked out any possibility of “fruit”.
- Therefore, the thorny ground represents another unsaved human spirit.
We will see some examples of this soil type later in the Bible Study. Let us now move to the good soil overview.
#4 – GOOD SOIL OVERVIEW
Mat 13:23 But he that received seed into the good (G2570) ground is he that heareth (G191) the word, and understandeth (G4920) it; which also beareth fruit (G2592), and bringeth forth (G4160), some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Mar 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Luk 8:15 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.
Finally, soil type 4 called the “good ground” is the only human heart condition that produces the precious fruit that God is seeking (James 5:7). I would like to go through a few of the key words selected by the Holy Spirit to describe this soil type. The first is G191 that was translated as “heareth”. This word literally means “to give audience”. This is the deliberate choice of human participation to listen closely to what is being said. If I go to church and while the preacher is speaking, I am looking at my phone to see who wants to do something after church, am I giving audience to the speaker. It would be like someone paying $300 for ticket to a concert and they spend the whole evening outside the arena at the food and drink line. When something else takes our priority over what is really the most important subject of the evening that is a wrong human choice.
One of our main subjects in this Bible study on the Parable of the Sower, is the Word of God called “Seed”. This should be our number one desire whenever we can give audience to hear it. Notice this topic specifies there are personal decisions and choices made to participate. This is important to know. The next Greek word is G4920 and it was translated as “understandeth”. This word means “to put together”. It comes from another Greek word “G4862 that literally means to be in “union” with. Wow, this is important even if we do not fully understand it. To be in union is marriage covenant terminology. It would be like Adam “knew” his wife and they had a son (Gen 4:1). Having and participating in gaining knowledge and understanding of the Word of God contributes to the presence of a covenant relationship. Finally, the Greek word G4920 translated as “understand” contains the implication “to act piously”. In other words, after we understand the Word of God, we are supposed to be wise enough to apply it and do it. Wow! Notice what Jesus said in this verse:
Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine (Seeds), and doeth them (Act on them), I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
It would appear, that just hearing and beginning to learn the Word of God is only an initial part of the process for bearing fruit unto salvation. This could be another factor for why some Christians only produce a 30-fold return. These 30-fold soils may only be applying a small part of the Bible while ignoring other parts. God is teaching us that we must “act piously” to continue the spiritual growth process. This simply means that we should become wise enough to do what the Word of God tells us to do. Never forget what Jesus says to some people, “Not everyone that says to me LORD LORD will enter into the kingdom heaven, but only he that does the will of the Father shall enter” (Mat 7:21). How do we know the will of the Father? We read His Word and do it.
The next Greek word in Matthew 13:23 is G2592. This word was translated as “beareth fruit”. It is defined by Strong as “to be fertile”. There is an implied application that this is our responsibility of choice to make our self “to be fertile”. I believe humans have a lot more accountability than we care to acknowledge in this fruit bearing process.
Let us move to the next Greek word G4160. This Greek word was translated as “bringeth forth” in the KJV Bible. But it is defined by Strong as “to make or do”. In other words, this is another Greek word that is assigning human responsibility in the fruit producing process. It represents a verb of human preference, choice, and action. Jesus used this same word in Matthew 4:19 when He spoke to the future disciples in their boats and said, “Follow me and I will make (G4160) you fishers of men”. Clearly, we can see Jesus’ commitment of personal responsibility to teach them to become a human fisherman. But we can better understand that Jesus was not going to force them to do this and they needed to cooperate and begin to take steps to follow. No, Jesus ask them to come, but it was their choice to follow. This is exactly what the Parable of the Sower is teachings. Jesus wanted to save us, so He chose to spread His Seed/Words in our ears so we could permit them to enter our hearts. Then we are required to cooperate to listen to begin the process of receiving them and after believing them to begin the seed growth process by doing them. The first soil type failed completely in this process. The second and third soil types failed later during the ongoing process to not bring forth fruit. But Jesus is talking about the good soil, these people have decided to be a faithful follower of Jesus and His Words to “bring forth” the fruit He desired.
This good soil type desires to hear the words of God, values the Word of God sown more than any other thing found in the world and overcomes every Satanic persecution and distraction to remove it from their heart. This type of ground chooses to be well watered by participating in every opportunity where the Word of God is being spoken and focuses on absorbing and understanding every Word of God that was spoken. What Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, and Apollos watered, but God gave the increase he was very clearly cooperating with the God designed process of salvation by planting God’s Word in their hearts and then Apollos continued the maturing growth process of the fruit by watering the initial seeds with more of the Word of God. But the people that were listening had to be cooperating with this divine process by intensely listening with an open mind to hear and understand (Acts 17:11). These are the types of good soil that produced fruit. Fruitful people primarily concentrate on the Word more than anything or anyone else in the room that could disturb them. These people do not get consumed or entangled with the short-term pleasures of sin in this world and they continue in the Word of God until they produce as much fruit for salvation as is possible.
It is particularly important to notice that Jesus taught us that some in the good soil type produced 100-fold, while others fell shorter at 60-fold and then finally others fell even shorter at producing only a 30-fold return of fruit to seed and water ratio. This simply proves that not every Christian is going to produce the fruit level that God intended or desired for them to deliver to Him. But we must ask and answer why this variation of fruit occurs. Is it God’s choice, Satan’s work or a human choice that causes many to have no fruit and some to have varying levels from 30 to 100 times fruit production? I believe we can find the answer confirmed in another parable that Jesus taught us:
Joh 15:5 I (Jesus the Word) am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me (human choice), and I in him (a divine choice), the same bringeth forth much fruit (30 fold 60 fold or 100 fold): for without me (Jesus the Word) ye can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me (human negative choice), he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire (hell), and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me (human positive choice), and my words abide in you (human choice), ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
We can see how Jesus claims to be a symbolic vine and His implied believers in Him are described to be His symbolic branches. We can clearly see how these branches wither and die if they choose to not remain in Him. The factor of human choice is mentioned directly 4 times in these three verses. We can further see that there is an implication based upon verse 7 of John 15 that it is the amount of the Word of God that we let come in us and remain in us that will determine the level of fruit production. Jesus is the living Word of God (Rev 19:13). But I believe God is saying we are to keep His written Word in us every chance we get. We can see this in other places in the Bible that confirm this truth (PS 1). Therefore, I believe the key to no fruit, little fruit or much fruit is the amount of time that we spend in the Word of God. Finally, notice this amount of Word remaining in us, is also a contributing factor for God answering our prayers. But that is another topic.
Let us list some of the key points given to us by Jesus in the explanation of the good soil:
- The Good Soil Always Produces Fruit in season.
- Based upon previous soil types this fruit that is initiated endures to become matured fruit.
- This fruit is produced because they first heard the Word of God.
- This person chose to receive the Word (let it enter their minds and heart while ignoring every distraction)
- Keep the Word (regard the Word as Valuable and Important enough to try to remember it)
- Aggressively pursues to understand the Word of God.
- Ignores all persecution to continue in the Word of God.
- Exalts the Word of God far above any other natural or physical desire or pleasure.
- Chooses to “bring-forth” fruit with “patience” over an extended period of time.
- Continues in the Word of God to allow it to transform and renew their mind to water the seed that has been planted.
Let us move on to the subject of the human heart/spirit for a better understanding of soil types.
THE HUMAN SOIL/SPIRIT FIRST CONCEPTS
I would like in this Bible study to move next in the subject of the “soil” to God’s first mention of the word “heart” in the Bible. This is one great, common, and fundamental technique of sound Bible interpretation and understanding God’s design of His Word. It is very much like when a baby is born and the parents eagerly await the first word of their baby. Will it be “mama” or “dada” or “big truck”. God implemented this design on purpose to help us understand every major subject of the Bible. We will use this established law of “First Mention” to discover some very important basics to the subject of the “heart” of man. We will do this by searching for this word “heart” in our Bible program and then going to the verse where it is mentioned and read the context. We will find that this word is first used by God in Genesis chapter 6 and reading with verses 5 and 6:
Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart (H3820) was only evil continually.
Gen 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
This chapter of Genesis can be considered widely controversial to many Bible teachers and students. God placed some things in this chapter that are exceedingly difficult for people today to accept. The time frame of this chapter was shortly before the flood of Noah. We read in verse 5 one part for the need for God’s judgment to practically destroy the entire earth and to start fresh with just 8 people that survived. Notice in verse 5, that God was observing His human creation on the earth and He remarked that they were greatly wicked. Many will assume that this was the physical acts of their flesh and I believe that was the external lack of positive fruits that could be observed. But I believe God was more interested in what was happening in their internal spiritual condition first. God teaches us that He sees things not as man sees them but since He is a Spirit, He judges’ a human spirit first. Let us review an evidence of this truth:
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart (H3824).
We learn something especially important by reading 1 Samuel 16:7. God speaks to the prophet while he is looking on the outward qualities of the man standing before him. God’s prophet was judging in his heart based upon the man’s outward appearance. But God clearly tells us this is not His focus or His priority. It is very clearly stated that God judges a human based upon their unseen heart. Ok, we have just learned that the unseen part of the man is God’s principal focus. All three verses that we have read so far have the key word “heart” (H3824 and H3820). By the way H3820 is a form of the word H3824 so there is a direct connection. Let us get back to Genesis 6 now.
In Genesis 6:5 we learn that God was genuinely concerned that man’s heart had become very wicked. I would like to point out that the Hebrew word H120 that is translated as “man” can also be transliterated as “Adam”. It is the same Hebrew Word. But here God is not speaking of one Adam as an individual but rather as all humans collectively comprised of every descendant that came from Adam’s body. That would include people today. Keep that in mind. God then teaches us that these Adam descendants were very wicked. Wicked is a Hebrew word (H7451) that means “bad or evil” in the sense of natural behavior or moral intent and desires. God then begins to describe the initiating process for this wickedness. God says that man’s wickedness originated from an internal spiritual process dealing with the human “imagination”.
What is imagination? And do people today still use this divine gift of imagination? Perhaps you have been to Disney World. They thrive on making a fortune taking advantage of their human imaginations. Perhaps you have heard of Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Little Mermaid, and on and on. Obviously, human imagination is still thriving in our world also. This should give you some idea that imagination is alive and well in the modern age. But what is it exactly?
Here is where we begin to go much deeper into a complex subject. Imagination can be either good or evil or positive or negative. The Hebrew word H3336 that is translated as “imagination” literally means “a form”. This Hebrew word comes from H3335 that literally means “to squeeze into a form” or “mold into a shape”. This represents a process concept that can be visualized very well from the observable actions of a potter that is molding a shapeless useless lump of soft clay into a lovely pot which is useful. A potter is normally using and applying their imagination to change a lump of useless stuff into something especially beneficial. That concept of imagination represents creativity and design. No exquisitely designed vase has ever “evolved” from a lump of clay of its own will power over a very long period of time.
God uses the Hebrew word H3335 in Genesis 2:7 when He formed the body of man from the dust of the ground. Wow, I pray you are paying attention. Remember God says in Genesis 1 everything that He created was good and was summarized to be collectively “very good” in Genesis 1:31. But, before this we know that man was “made” in the image and likeness of God in Genesis 1:26. Therefore, we learn that God must have transferred a portion of His divine ability into humans to design and make non-functional things into useful objects. Exercising this ability can be considered human imagination being applied on a lesser level than the God kind of awesome imagination. This human imaginative ability had to be a divine pattern of intelligent design. A human that can manufacture good objects had to come originally from God the utmost imaginative intelligent designer and creator. However, man in Genesis 6 was not using this God given gift of their imagination for creating anything good. No, we are told that all of man’s thoughts were coming up with designs and plans for only evil. That is a major problem that required God’s attention.
Finally, Genesis 6:6 God gives us some new information that He has a heart. God uses the identical Hebrew word H3820 translated as “heart” in verse 5 describing man’s heart to refer to His divine heart. Therefore, we learn where man obtained their spirit from. In verse 6 God’s heart is grieved for the current state of man’s heart being so evil. Uh oh! Did not God create humans in the state of good at the beginning? Didn’t He use His omnipotent power to create them the exact way that He desired? We just learned that man was created in a described state of “very good”. But, now 5 chapters later in Genesis 6 God is very regretful that He even made them. Does this sound familiar? Do you remember what God said about Satan when He was created? Reread Ezekiel 28:15 where God says, “You were perfect in the day you were created until iniquity was found in you”. That is a remarkably similar description to what just happened to Adam’s lineage almost 1500 years later in Genesis 6.
What we are learning is the concept of “freewill”. Apparently, God’s created angels and human both had been created with the ability to make their own independent decisions to do as they please even though they had everything that they already needed to be happy. It was Satan’s choice to rebel even though it was not morally permissible or acceptable in the eyes of God to do so. It was this way with God’s human creation also. It is still this way in humans today. Every person has the freewill to make whatever choices they wish either good or evil daily. Adam and Eve had everything they needed including fellowship with their Creator but they too rebelled. This concept of “freewill choice” will play a major role in us understanding the heart of man in the Parable of the Sower. We have already seen this in Parable but now let us examine some relevant Bible examples to prove it further.
EXAMPLE 1: SOIL TYPE 1 AND SOIL TYPE 4 COMPARISON
I would like us to go through a few Bible examples of these important soil types that the LORD has taught us about in this subject. I love to use the Bible to understand the Bible. God’s design of His Word is so immensely amazing. He has designed this book masterfully as a well-integrated set of truths using positive and negative examples for us to learn from. For example, He teaches us a simple parable of sowing seed and that represents a great beginning, but then He places living models and patterns of these basic truths right in front of our eyes to confirm what was metaphorically taught in the parable. We are going to begin this section by reading a story of Jesus teaching and healing a lame man. In this story please look for the presence of at least two different soil types (humans) that Jesus (the Sower) is sowing His Father’s Words. Notice how each of their hearts received the Word and then notice their responses and attitudes:
Mar 2:1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
Mar 2:2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached (Sowed) the word (Seed of God) unto them (All Soil Types/hearts).
Luk 5:17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching (sowing Seeds from the Word of God), that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by (Soil Type 1), which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power (G1411) of the Lord was present to heal them (EVERY SOIL TYPE).
Luk 5:18 And, behold, men (Soil Type 4) brought in a bed a man (also Soil Type B) which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
Luk 5:19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
Luk 5:20 And when he saw their faith (Soil Type 4), he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
Luk 5:21 And the scribes and the Pharisees (Soil Type 1) began to reason (In their Minds), saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
Luk 5:22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts (Negative Words of Unbelief in the Minds of Soil 1), he answering said unto them, What reason (Negative Judgments Based Upon Your Ignorance), ye in your hearts (Soil 1 spirits)?
Luk 5:23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
Luk 5:24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, he said unto the sick of the palsy, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
Luk 5:25 And immediately he (Soil 4) rose up before them (Soil 1), and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
Luk 5:26 And they (Soil 1) were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.
Mar 2:12 And immediately he (Soil 4) arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all (Soil 1); insomuch that they (Soil 1) were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
Many times, in the Bible God uses direct comparisons of opposite beliefs, attitudes, motivations, desires, reactions and results to teach and confirm to us very profound truths. In this story of a lame paralyzed man that could not walk, is found one of these examples of opposing soils types. You probably noticed that I included a few verses from the story found in Mark to fill in details that were not included in Luke. Please note that I do not plan to teach every verse. I pray you read it over closely and paid attention to the underlined words and my added explanations in the parentheses to help identify a few of the important differences between these two soil types that I called Soil 1 and Soil 4.
What was the number one difference between these two types of soil? Perhaps you noticed in Luke 5:17 that the Power of the LORD was present to heal everyone but only 1 lame man received anything from Jesus! Please do not let that bypass your focused attention. What was the reason for Jesus not healing everyone? It should become obvious that it was the positive faith combined with their attitudes of purpose and determination within their hearts of the men in Soil Type 4 that were radically different from the negative attitudes found within the Soil Type 1 hearts.
The house where Jesus was teaching was jammed packed with people of Soil Type 1. They were sitting everywhere and even blocking all the doors and windows. On the surface this would appear to be a positive desire to hear the Words of God spoken by Jesus. But we learn from other scriptures that many of the Sadducees and Pharisees desired to trap and trick Jesus into saying something that could be used against him in a kangaroo court (Mar 12:13, Luk 11:54, Luk 20:20). We know the end of the story by reading the Gospels. Jesus was taken before the Roman government and the demand for His execution was not going to be denied. Therefore, we begin to understand what type of soil these religious leaders sitting with Jesus in the house represent.
Notice the especially important contrast of the 5 men we called Soil Type 4 on the top of the roof of the house. They possessed determination and confidence that Jesus was their answer to the lame man’s problem. Pay close attention to verse 5. This verse claims that Jesus saw their (the 5 men of Soil Type 4) faith. What is faith? I pray you have read the Bible Study Series called “Understanding Bible Faith”. Romans 10:17 is where we learn how faith comes to every human. According to this verse in Romans, God reveals that these 5 Soil Type 4 men, have already heard the Word of God from Jesus and have believed His Seeds planted in their hearts. This is dramatically an opposite of the religious men sitting in the house and blocking the doors to not allow any others soil types to come in.
It should now be plain that these men on the inside of the house Soil Type 1 were the Wayside Soil type. These were men that had a hardened surface of pride, that would not allow the Word of God to penetrate their hearts. It was this trampled-on soil type that was easy for Satan to steal the Word Seeds up quickly before entering their hearts. But, notice how Satan did this sly work. Satan used their own thoughts and said to their minds “who is this that blasphemes, who can forgive sins except God”. Do you understand that most of Satan’s thoughts that are placed in your mind are given to you as if you had thought of them? This is a masterful trick of deception. People are most easily tricked when a thought is believed to be from their own mind spoken in the first person about them self or someone else. Satan’s thoughts are almost always spoken in the human mind as if it was our own personal thought. That was a gift from the Holy Spirit and worth reading this entire lesson if you won’t forget it.
These men inside the house were simply distracted from believing this man named Jesus was more than a man, that had just forgiven a lame man’s sins and healed him. In fact Jesus was the creator God in the flesh standing in front of them in a human form (John 1:1-14). No one present in the house before the lame man was able to think correctly and choose to have an open mind to receiving the truth. These religious men did not know enough and did not want to learn. They did not know Jesus was born in Bethlehem the city of David (Micah 5:2). They did not know His mother’s lineage was directly from King David (2 Sam 7:13, Luke 3:31). They also did not know He was born of a woman that was a virgin who had never had physical sex with any male and according to Isaiah 7:14 this made Him God as well as a human son of David simultaneously. By fulfilling just these 3 prophecies Jesus is proven to be a human child of Mary and the Son of God. Therefore, according to Hosea 4:6, God says His people are destroyed for their ignorance and because they have no desire to learn the truth. Finally, another reason other than pride, desire and ignorance is based upon their prejudicial beliefs. Human beliefs based upon our personal preconceived information absent of the real facts is a major blindness that causes people’s eyes to be unable to receive the truth. It was only the lame man that received the healing through Jesus, even though the Bible clearly says, “the power of God was present to heal them all”.
Here is what I take away from this example of these two soil types. Most of the people that were present listening to Jesus were unable to be saved because they refused to listen and see (receive) truth from the correct perspective. Most of these men were educated and sophisticated religious types of leaders with roles of power and influence. They also believed things mostly based upon their five physical senses. We know this from reading Luke 5:26 and Mark 2:12. These two verses claim that they left Jesus being amazed saying, “we have seen strange things” and “we have never seen it done like this before”. This confirms they only were looking at natural things and ignoring the spiritual words being spoken to them.
But, the five men that had faith from hearing the Word of God went away rejoicing and giving all the glory to God having received the healing that was always there. These 5 men with faith that I called Soil Type 4, they represent Jesus’ “Good Soil” and they were on the way to being saved.
Joh 5:34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
The Greek word that is translated as “saved” in this verse is “sojo” G4982. Mostly it is translated as “save” or “saved” but it also means “healed” or “made whole”. According to the last statement in John 5:34 Jesus claimed that His words that were being sowed into the human lives on the earth, they were designed by God to “save” us. We get a further confirmation of this truth by reading what Paul wrote to the Roman church:
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power (G1411) of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Notice what God says in this verse. The Gospel of Christ is the “power” of God which has the potential to produce human “salvation”, but only to those that believe it. In other words, God’s Word is sovereignly powerful to save anyone, if they choose to receive it, believe it and act on it. The Greek word translated as “power” in Romans 1:16 is the exact same word selected by God in Luke 5:17 to describe the “power of the Lord” that was available to heal everyone present. This is not a coincidence.
We are gaining significant understanding that soil types have a role to play in the powerful Word of God seed sowing salvation process. God clearly teaches us these concepts by giving us 4 soil types and only 1 good seed type being sown by one good sower. Jesus was sowing seeds to the Jews first while walking the land of Israel. But, after His death, burial, and resurrection, the Word of God Seed for salvation began to be spread to Gentiles. Natural seeds work like Spiritual Word seeds. The concepts are significantly similar in operation by God’s design. A natural seed that remains in a packet unopened represents a preacher that keeps their mouths shut to never share their seeds inside them with anyone.
We know that everyone present in Luke 5 and Mark 2 when Jesus healed the lame man could have been healed by the same “Power of God” by receiving, believing and acting upon the same Words that were being spoken by Jesus. This firmly convinces me that it is the human’s choice what type of soil we want to be. I do understand that it takes the Holy Spirit’s drawing of humans to also be saved (John 6:44). But that does not mean God only draws to Him some to be saved and not others. This also does not mean that the Words (Power of God) are being spoken only to a few and not to everyone present at the same time. That type of belief would be a doctrine of “bias” and “favoritism”. Many religious people put all the responsibility of who is saved and who is not only on God’s sovereign choice. This belief eliminates a man’s responsibilities of choice and freewill to believe or not to believe like John 3:16 claims. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.
Can we begin to see how the choices to what we hear and believe and how we hear can result in our spiritual, mental, and physical outcomes? I know speaking personally of my own experiences of making good and bad choices, I have either succeeded or failed to receive what God wanted for me for years because of my beliefs or unbelief. Let us go on to a new example of two other soil types found in the Bible.
EXAMPLE 2: SOIL TYPE 3 AND SOIL TYPE 4 COMPARISON
To begin we will read from the book of Luke and chapter 10:
Luk 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha (Soil 3) received him into her house.
Luk 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary (Soil 4), which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Luk 10:40 But Martha was cumbered (G4049) about much serving (G1248), and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luk 10:41 And Jesus (the Sower) answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful (G3309) and troubled (G5182) about many things:
Luk 10:42 But one thing (G1520) is needful (G5532): and Mary (Soil 4) hath chosen (G1586) that good part (G3310), which shall not be taken away from her.
Here are two more of the basic four soil types being taught to us from one real life true Bible example. We will call these the MARY (Type 4) and the Martha (Type 3) soils. I am sure you can already begin to see which of the 4 soil types each woman represents from the Parable of the Sower. We will deal with the positive Mary Soil Type 4 first. She was described by Jesus in verse 42. This verse contains two great Greek Words that need to be understood to appreciate the Parable of the Sower.
The first Greek word was G1586 and it was translated as “chosen”. This word clearly teaches us that it is the human’s right and freedom to choose to listen to the Words of God being spoken or not to listen to the words of God. Mary was intensely listening and paying attention to every word coming out of the mouth of Jesus. Mary made Jesus and His Word her number one priority. We understand this by the Greek word G3310 that was translated as “part”. This word informs us of Mary’s choice to be with Jesus instead of doing other things of less significance. The Greek word G3310 shows us Mary was “participating” with receiving the Words of Jesus and Martha was not. Mary made it her number one main concern to listen intently with her whole undistracted heart and Marth did not. We understand this by the Greek word G1520 that was translated as “one thing”. One thing means there were no other things on her mind. In other words, Mary was only thinking of what Jesus said and not what she was going to eat for lunch or whatever else could distract her. Wow, this is important.
Remember the focus of thoughts from the last soil type example of the religious rulers? They appear to be focused on what Jesus said to accuse Him of blasphemy. But Mary was listening with no wrong motives and was open to hear whatever was spoken even if she did not fully understand it all immediately, or agree with it, or receive it completely.
Mary “chooses” to be a type of good soil by focusing on Jesus and His words and making it her focused precedence without prejudicial judgments. Also notice that she took a place of humility at His feet listening very closely to every Word that was being sown into heart. Humility is a key to receiving anything from God and this attitude was the opposite of the position taken by the religious leaders in the house at Capernaum. Mary clearly gave Jesus more of her selfless priority than anything else that she could have been doing to work, cook or serve him. All these works can be good unless they cause us to become distracted from knowing and hearing from Jesus. That is especially important to learn. What we focus upon and place our priority upon in our mind will determine what type of soil we choose to become. Also, the humbleness of our heart will allow the Word to enter while the pride of what we think we know already will close our mind from receiving.
Obviously, Martha was a representative type of a negative non-fruit producing soil. She was very distracted by worldly priorities of doing good works of service for Jesus instead of sitting at His feet to make Him her priority. These choices that Martha made choked out the Words of Jesus that were being spoken to everyone in the house. The Martha Soil Type 3 fits the thorny ground soil type very well. Jesus clearly said she had “cares” that caused her to think that hearing from Jesus was not as an important focus as her works of service for Him. What was the primary difference that caused the Marry soil Type 4 to be wiser than the Martha Soil Type 3? They were both sisters living in the same house.
Here is where some Bible teachers would attempt to claim that this was God’s sovereign selection or election. One woman named Mary was created to be saved and the other named Martha was not chosen. But that cannot be true. Humans love the sovereign God belief that everything in life that happens to them was His choice. This removes the responsibility for their bad choices and places them upon the shoulders of God to blame Him alone. It is the classic blame shifting we read about in Genesis 3. Adam said it was this woman that you gave me. Eve said it was this serpent that deceived me. This is a major deception of the enemy. Satan likes humans to believe they have no responsibility for their own bad choices. However, using God’s evidence given to us from the Bible proves this is NOT TRUE.
No, here we have an example of two soil types that were determined by their own individual priorities, desires, and choices. One woman named Martha cared more about doing some worldly good serving things than listening to the Word of God. Maybe you know people like this in your church? They are great volunteers and servants but if you asked them about the Bible, they might have difficulty to know what it says or means. Wow, does that mean we should not serve or do good works? Absolutely not! This only means the soil type should make the Word of God and fellowshipping with Jesus their number 1 priority above serving. When God is speaking, we should shut up, stop what we are doing and listen. We should change our focus off the world and make Him our goal.
Let us ask the question what would have happened if Martha had made the same choice as Mary? Do you believe that Jesus would have let everyone in the house go hungry? I remember when Jesus fed 5000 once and 3000 another time after everyone listened without complaining of their hunger. These large numbers of people were further examples of the good soil type. They were hungrier in their spirit for His Words than they were for any natural food in their stomachs. What did Jesus finally do? I know you remember that He fed them from a small amount and after this they had a lot of food left over. God was able to multiply a small amount of natural substance to feed them all. Let us move into another example of the thorny soil.
EXAMPLE 3: A DIFFERENT PATTERN OF SOIL TYPE 3
Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running (SOIL 3), and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Mar 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
Mar 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Mar 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
Mar 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Mar 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
This is an incredibly significant example of how a man’s desires for his natural possessions and wealth overruled his desires for God’s Kingdom. We can tell by the way the man approached Jesus, that he was humble, honest, and sincere. He had a significant desire to know the truth. He even knew a lot of the Bible commands and trusted in his service to obey them. But when the truth was presented in love to him by Jesus it caused a new problematic change in his focus and attitude. Suddenly the rich man took his eyes off Jesus and in his mind reflected on everything that he had accumulated to exalt them more than his desire for eternal life. Jesus was deeply saddened by this man’s reaction and bad choice. The rich man was also saddened but still turned away from following Jesus and longer. This was not a wise choice. In contrast we can read about Moses who was raised in Egypt by Pharaoh’s daughters and he obtained everything that the world could possibly offer, fortune, fame, a life of luxury and power, etc. But, according to Hebrews 11:25:
Heb 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
According to God’s Word Moses made the right wise choice to suffer affliction rather than to enjoy temporary pleasures for a short season of his life. The eternal rewards of making wise choices like Mary and Moses will pay off with far greater benefits than living life here on earth to get only get rich..
EXAMPLE 4: A BIBLE PATTERN OF SOIL TYPE 2
Joh 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Joh 6:52 The Jews (Soil Type 1) therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Joh 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Joh 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Joh 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Joh 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
Joh 6:59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
Joh 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples (Soil 2), when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
Joh 6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples (Soil 2) murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
Joh 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words (Seeds) that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Joh 6:66 From that time many of his disciples (Soil 2) went back, and walked no more with him.
This is a long set of verses that center on the primary subject of “How to receive Eternal Life”. Jesus is speaking about spiritual truths that are difficult to understand for unsaved and naturally minded Christians. It is noticeably clear that Jesus is the Sower in this story. He is there in the synagogue teaching God’s Words. This is clearly the “Seed” of God being spread verbally from His mouth. If the soil (people present) received it, it would allow the fruit growing process to start or continue. However, there are two major problems revealed in this passage taking place in the hearts of a lot of the people that were listening. First, they did not understand that He was speaking of Spiritual things called “Bread” also known as “Words” and they were only thinking of physical natural bread. They were also “ignorant that His flesh did come from heaven sent to them by the Word of God (John 1:1-14). God did this by sending His Word to the heart of Mary who received it, believed it and conceived it to produce the male child Jesus in her womb (Luke 1:38). Therefore, we have a factor of ignorance and a lack of understanding that caused a significant problem. Let us look at the next problem.
Problem number two was revealed by Jesus in John 6:61. Here Jesus asks them “Does this offend you?” This Greek word translated as “offend” is G4624 and it comes from G4625 that we have looked at earlier that means “to set a trap” in order to capture or recapture a free and living creature. The Greek word G4624 means “to trip or cause to stumble”. This is a fully accurate description of one of Satan’s key strategies to stop people from being saved. Many of Christ’s followers admitted they did not understand what He was talking about in John 6:60. They said, “This is a hard saying, who can hear it”. They were saying, “Who can participate with these words?” It was the wrong thinking of these disciples that caused their offence in their heart.
John 6:66 is the final confirmation of which soil type these disciples that could not participate with the Word of God. This verse says, “from this day they turned back and walked no longer with Jesus”. These were obvious personal choices that they made to begin to “walk with Jesus” and to “walk no more with Him”. It was the Words that Jesus spoke that caused them to make both decisions. With the first words that they heard, they must have received and believed them with gladness. But the later words in this example were suddenly offensive to cause them to be turned away. What made them offensive? We should have just learned it was their lack of understanding and their choice to not continue to participate to learn what they meant. This was a great specific example of Soil Type 2 called the “Stony Ground”. Jesus’ words became a stumbling block of offence and Satan used it masterfully to get them to all turn away.
We could go through example after example in the Bible of the four types of soil given to us in this Parable of the Sower, but I will leave that to you. I would highly recommend that while you are reading the Bible, pay close attention to why some received, believed, and were saved and why others that heard the same words were not. There are always reasons given in almost every reference. Just look up the Greek words that are used to describe each situation and individual. Notice what was said and how it was heard. Was it taken as it was intended or was it misunderstood as something totally different like we read about in John 6 about Jesus’ body being Bread from Heaven?
I hope and pray that this lesson was a blessing to you. I really am blessed to write them and give them to you to read, study and learn. Also, I am blessed to hear your comments and questions. I pray that everyone will be ready to meet Jesus, because I believe He is coming soon. God Bless you all until the next lesson.
Posted on July 2, 2020, in Bible Basics, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Faith, Jesus, Parables, Religion, Seed, Soil, Truth. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
This post is incredibly in depth on the parable of the sower! I had previously not heard many interpretations of what you have written here. I’m sure the rest of the series is very fruitful and impressive as well! I took the time to check out this post because I also recently wrote on the parable of the sower, which is one of many parables that I aim to tie into the contemporary findings of positive psychology, which is the scientific study of well-being and happiness. Feel free to stop by and check out any of the material sometime! I look forward to hearing any comments/reflections you may have as well. Great post, I hope you are doing well, and God bless you!