(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 3 in the Bible lesson series focused on the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower. We have already covered the basic introduction and one of the essential positive elements called the Sower. Today we will be continuing to increase in learning concerning the second very positive parable element named the Seed. I certainly believe that this “seed” element can easily be called the greatest and most important element in the parable. Without it none of the other symbolic elements would have any purpose. However, it is difficult to determine the greatest element of importance in this parable because of God’s design of how many of the symbolic elements work together in unison to produce His desired end positive product called “fruit”. For example, the vital symbolic seed is ineffective without the existence and the participation of both the sower and the right soil. The sower is completely unproductive without the correct and proper applied seed to be sown in the correct timing and type of soil. Of course the soil is completely worthless (dead) unless it is prepared to be good ground without all of the enemy elements (birds, stones & weeds) that work diligently to fight the awesome seed from producing the positive fruit. We will primarily be focused upon the seed in this lesson. But, like the last lesson we will still need to cross into other subject boundaries in order to understand the overall concepts given. If you have not read the entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go back and begin the series with “Part 1” first.
This is an amazing Bible subject. We could spend a lot oftime writing books and books on it. However, that is not reasonable for a blog Bible study. There are many people who want only a couple of paragraphs on any subject and if it is too long they just won’t read it. There are also those like me that enjoy reading and studying the Bible and can’t get enough to read. Whichever one you are I pray you will at least give it your best effort. I will try not to write too much or too little on the subject of the seed. I pray that I will cover what the Holy Spirit desires me to teach. Let’s begin.
In the last lesson I asked some good basic fundamental questions about any Bible study subject. Answering the basics of who, what, when, where and why found in the subject will help us to gain understanding of the fundamentals found in the topic. Today we will be again looking into finding the answers to these questions concerning the symbolic “seed” element. I may keep referring to this element “seed” as being symbolic but nothing could be further from the truth. I have discovered that this “seed” element is actually a naturally created substance of truth that reveals a far greater spiritual reality. This spiritual seed that I am referring to is by far superior to the natural seed type but both truths contain many of the exact same parallel characteristics. Here are just a few basic natural seed sowing truths that are exactly analogous with the spiritual process being described in the Parable of the Sower:
- Selecting the Right Seed is one basic requirement for a good desired outcome
- Selecting the Right Environment (location, weather, timing, etc.) for the seed to be productive is absolutely imperative for the good outcome
- Planting the correct seed at the exact and correct time in good prepared ground is required to be successful
- Managing the growth process and protecting the seed to keep out the crop enemies that destroy the process is also a requirement for a productive good outcome
Hopefully we will begin to see how these truths run parallel in the natural and the spiritual processes. We already addressed the “who” question concerning the sowing of the Good Seed in the last lesson. It should be easy to logically reason that it’s totally up to this sower “what seed’ is planted. We should have learned in the first lesson, that the sower was originally Jesus. However, when Jesus was here He still worked with the Holy Spirit’s leading to know what to plant, where to plant and when to plant. That took Jesus through steps 1, 2 and 3 of the natural parallel truths between the natural and the spiritual. But, Jesus also actually tried to perform step 4 to manage the growth process for those that would permit him. For example, Jesus saw how Satan had demanded to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31) and then warned Peter and informed him that he had prayed that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:32). This was Jesus attempting to manage the seed that was already sown into the heart of Peter. Perhaps we will talk more about this part of the subject later in another lesson.
After Jesus, the seed sowing spreading process was transferred to those that God used to originally spread the gospel in the book of Acts and this process has now produced a growing church that includes us now that are called to be believers, disciples and Christ followers. It is truly an amazing process of multiplication through one seed. Do not ever underestimate the power of planting one successful seed! One seed can produce a tree that produces a whole lot of fruit for many years. Each piece of fruit contains many more seeds that can be further planted in other soils to produce more trees to produce more fruit to produce more seed and on and on the process grows. It is actually impossible for humans to number or measure the end process outcome of one successful seed. This is exactly why God promised Abraham this:
Gen 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy (ONE) seed be.
This is a mind boggling statement. God promised Abraham a production level of fruit that is uncountable from just the planting of one successful seed and this One Seed was revealed to be Jesus Christ in Gal 3:16. In this verse and chapter Paul writes that the statement was not naming seeds as many but only one seed that was given to us to be the promised Son to come. This incredible promise that God made to Abraham was concerning one future spiritual seed crop of fruit. I believe with all of my heart that this promise was describing the process given to us in the Parable of the Sower. Jesus the Seed/Word of God incarnate came to the earth as a man to speak/plant God’s Words in human hearts to cause them to become trees of righteousness that produce fruit that permit the continued spread of seeds from their fruit to produce more trees of righteousness that produce more fruit that spread more seeds and on and on we could go. Let’s review a few quick verses that teach us about this coming concept:
Psa 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Pro 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Did you notice the theme of these three witnesses in the Bible? They are all about “righteous” trees. These all had to come from the planted Word of God seed. These all produce fruit trees that produce fruit and more seeds to spread. I really love Proverbs 11:30 because this literally teaches us that the spreading of seed is contained within a soul winning process that produces life. We will be talking about this more very soon.
We should have been introduced to the answer of “what is the Good seed” question in our last lesson. We should remember that the Good Seed was a natural symbolic representation of a far greater parallel spiritual reality of the Word of God. We learned that the Good Seed sown by the Sower to produce “fruit” was specifically said to be the God’s spoken Word. That knowledge will be expanded today to better understand new questions like “What was and still is the main purpose for sowing God’s Good Seed?” “When is the Good seed effective or productive?” “When is the Good seed ineffective or unproductive?” “Why is this seed even important or necessary to the process of producing fruit?” “Why does the Good seed work sometimes and at other times it does not produce any lasting fruit.” “Why does the Good seed produce varying levels or amounts of fruitfulness in good soil?” We may not be able to cover every answer in detail in this lesson but we will attempt to cover these answers in more detail later as we dig deeper into the subject of “soil types”.
Before we dive deeper into the subject of the seed, I would like for us to review some of the basic fundamentals of the subject of Bible faith. I believe that understanding the subject of Bible faith is essential to understanding the Parable of the sower. Without an understanding of Bible faith and how it comes and how it works, a complete understanding of Seed Sowing is difficult. I believe that we will better understand this statement as we continue through the lesson series.
A FAITH FUNDAMENTALS REVIEW
I would like to begin this lesson with a short review of just a couple of the fundamental truths concerning the subject of “Bible Faith”. I believe this review will help us to see some of the key parallels of subject of faith found in the “Parable of the Sower”. The intimate knowledge of faith will especially help us as we study the subjects of the seed and the fruit. If you have read the Bible series on “Understanding Bible Faith” you should have learned that real Bible Faith is a spiritual substance that God describes is observable, quantifiable and measurable (Part 3). Jesus observed some people with a level of zero also known as “no” faith (Mk 4:40) and then commented on others with “little” also known as weak, tiny or small faith amounts (Mat 16:8). Jesus also observed others with increasing levels of faith (Mt 9:28) to even a couple with stated “great” also known as big or large faith amounts (Mt 8:10, Mt 15:28). Stephen mentioned in Acts 6:5 was declared to be “full” also known as packed or covered over or complete with faith. Therefore, the implication to these revealed truths is that a human must possess some type of unseen faith container that permits God to be able to measure and quantify their faith levels from it being an empty bucket all the way to it being a full or overflowing container.
What is this quality that God can see and measure and how can we cooperate with Him to allow it to become filled? Or do we even have a choice in the amount of faith that we can have at any time? Of course, I believe with all of my heart that we do have the very clear choice, responsibility and a very significant role in the determination that helps God define the amount of faith contained in our spiritual heart container. We will hopefully learn more about this as we continue in the lesson.
Please keep these facts concerning the variable nature of the amount of faith a person possesses in the forefront of your mind as we move later into the subject of fruit. Remember that we were introduced already in lesson 1 that the amount of fruit produced in the life of a human is also variable, quantifiable and measureable as either a). 0% level b). 30 % return, c). 60% return d). all the way to 100 times production in 4 different types of soil. I believe these two faith and fruit variable factors are important parallels of truth. This knowledge will help us to better understand why some have no fruit and others in variations of increasing levels.
The next key Bible Faith verse that is infinitely important to learn for us understanding the “Parable of the Sower” is found in the book of Romans. This verse very clearly reveals to us how our faith container (heart/spirit) can either be empty or full or somewhere in between based upon the amount that we choose to hear the Word of God. Let’s read the verse and see what God says about how faith comes:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We should be able to learn from this verse how the Bible Faith spiritual filling up process begins, continues or can even end by a human choice of hearing or not hearing the Word of God being spoken audibly. This truth represents a very significant and powerful perspective describing how the God designed faith process for human salvation begins, continues or also potentially ends. I know that this verse alone does not plainly mention that it is a hearing process for salvation but, it is certainly an implied application based upon the verse context and the application of other Faith subject verses.
Consider the truth that if Bible faith can come to a human then it certainly must have an implied beginning. In other words, if a human has never heard the Word of God preached they would not have any faith for salvation!
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
These two verses are found in the context of Romans 10:17 and we can clearly see how God defines and applies the process of word of God planting to be a requirement for salvation to occur. The progression is clearly stated for a human requirement to hear from a preacher. We learned in the last lesson on the “sower” that a preacher of God’s Word is simply a word seed sower. Thus we have an emerging direct connection to the Parable of the Sower already. These verses in this chapter are amazing parallels to our subject study. This salvation process describes a sower that is sowing seed into a human heart soil by the sower speaking and the soil people hearing. Then this planted seed produces an implied plant that grows to produce levels of faith for salvation that bears and this corresponds to having spiritual fruit. I just gave away a lot of what we will be talking about in this lesson series.
Based upon this knowledge it must be the freewill choice of a human to participate in this process of salvation through their cooperation to hear and listen to God’s spoken Word that will cause faith to even begin to accumulate in their hearts. Furthermore, if faith can “come” (begin) or be in a “filling up” state by our right choices the implication is given to us by reverse antithesis truths that faith can also “leave” or be “emptied” by our own wrong choices. It further implies that it is even possible for “faith” to not exist at all in our heart if the Word of God was NOT HEARD or NOT VALUED or NOT LISTENDED TO, or NOT UNDERSTOOD. It is evident to me that if faith has a beginning (an empty 0% state) that it must also have an implied ending (full state) along with an implied middle time period of increasing or decreasing filling. I pray that you can see this and agree.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
I also believe completely that the amount faith in a person’s “Bible Faith” container will only grow or increase to be filled by continuing to hear the Word of God over and over. The fact that Romans 10:17 includes the Greek Word G189 translated as “hearing” twice together joined with the Greek word G1161 translated as the word “and” implies a required repetition or continuation of hearing and not just a one-time experience of having heard. The Greek Particle G1161 translated as “and” is a connecting word in this verse that further embraces the concept that the hearing of the Word of God is not a “One Time” action of an isolated choice. We will hopefully soon see other verses in this lesson later that help confirm the fact that hearing God’s Word represents a lifetime commitment.
I take away from this verse in Romans that it means that we must be hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and I could type forever and not get the point across strongly enough. I believe viewing Bible faith in this way alone defines it to be a repeated step process for filling us up with “faith”. I also view the filling process of faith to be like an automobile gas tank that when filled provides power for the engine to move it forward. But, just because the gas tank was filled to capacity once does not mean that it will still be full in a week or more time of going forward. You see even in the book of Acts the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost in Acts 2 and this filling process occurred again in Acts 4. Why would it be necessary for God to keep filling the same vessels again and again? I believe part of the answer is because we are imperfect vessels. We can hear something great today and totally forget about it tomorrow.
Why did some people in the Bible have so little faith and what caused some others to have up to very significant levels of faith, when they all potentially had the same opportunity to hear Jesus speak the same Word? If everyone can hear the exact same Word of God to get filled with faith, it is a bit challenging to think why faith levels can be missing in some completely or at dissimilar levels in some others or even be increased to being at great or the full level in still others. I mean think about what that is teaching us. If it was God’s fault that some don’t have faith and others do, then that would make God a respecter of persons and we should know this cannot be (Rom 2:11). I just refuse to believe that God causes diverse faith amounts by His sovereign choice in humans based upon my knowledge of scriptures that teaches otherwise.
It is exactly the same in the natural. The Ford Motor Company builds automobiles but they are not responsible for filling up the gas tank to cause the power to be released. This is the driver’s responsibility. God created humans but is He now totally responsible for filling you with His Spirit, His Word or His power? I don’t believe that is true. Therefore, the responsibility for the level of faith must be placed on the human side of the God created Faith project and process. There must be some human factor after hearing God’s Word that determines how much of a level of faith a human can receive or possess in our spiritual container. I think Jesus gives us one important clue to answering this question about “how faith levels can vary so much” in this verse:
Mar 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I believe sincerely that one major determining factor for us having Bible faith is definitely based upon how we choose to listen to and hear the Word of God. What are we focused upon or thinking about when the Word of God is being spoken or taught to us? What levels of importance and priority do we give to hearing God’s Word? Are there any distractions that easily take us away from giving our full attention while hearing the Word of God and on and on we could go asking other similar questions.
It is really not difficult to sit in a church service and observe people and see how they listen. Many are paying close attention, reading along in their Bibles and taking notes to not let it be forgotten. These people place great value in what is being said. That must be a major contributing factor in the amount of growth in their faith level. Others are listening halfhearted and are easily distracted by any noise of commotion that someone makes around them. These types of listeners are clearly placing a greatly diminished level f importance on what was said and the Words spoken are easily lost. Others are not listening at all and are reading messages on their cell phones or even playing games or flirting with their neighbor. This attitude towards the Word of God makes sitting in the service under the sound of the Word of God entirely worthless. The spoken Word of God can be a chosen priority or be just a background noise. We can all choose how we value the Word of God. We can all choose the ranking position and precedence that we give the Word of God. What we focus on and how we focus will be one of the most significant determining factors to learn what level of faith we will obtain from hearing God’s Word and His Seed spoken.
This Bible lesson series will hopefully help us to see a potential different perspective on answering these questions on how faith applies to understanding the “Parable of the Sower”. I believe that the LORD wants to teach us that having faith is not a one sided formula or God only responsibility but rather more like a divinely designed project and process requiring our freewill choice to become a devoted person in cooperation to participate in the planting and growing development. Let’s move on and grow in the “seed” study.
UNDERSTANDING THE SEED POSITIVE ELEMENT
There is literally so very much that I can teach on this one element alone that it is impossible to cover it all in a single lesson. We will begin the study of the seed by reconfirming what the symbolic seed in the parable represents. We were introduced to this element in the last lesson and even learned that the seed represented speaking God’s Word which we said was Good Seed. The Good seed was then compared to the evil seed as words coming from Satan. Let’s read our basic seed verse from Mark:
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
Let’s get past the preliminary subject introduction and setup to now direct our full attention on the extremely consistent & positive element that Jesus called the “Seed”. Technically speaking the word “seed” was not found in the verses of the sower written in Mark 4. But the word “seed” (G4703) is clearly used in the Luke 8 parable explanation more than once. Also, Jesus’ selection of the word “sower” in Mark 4:3 clearly implies the participation of “seed” even though it is not specifically stated. We should already clearly understand that this symbolic seed sowing represents a preacher speaking audible words. We can see this truth in the definition again in the above Mark 4:14. However, we will dig deeper into this confirmation to relieve any doubts.
In Matthew 13:19 the soil hearer is stated to be listening to the “word of the kingdom”. This general reference could be words spoken from any kingdom being earthly, heavenly, natural or spiritual but we can comprehend logically that it is meant to be referring to the Kingdom of God based upon these are the recorded words of the speaker Jesus. Jesus of course should be viewed to represent God’s Spiritual Kingdom. In John 18:36 Jesus again speaking to someone asking him about his kingdom said clearly “My kingdom is not of this world”. We gain from this statement three profoundly essential facts. First, Jesus has a Kingdom, second it is not of this natural world and third therefore it must be a spiritual kingdom. Keep these truths in your mind as we continue to study the subject of words/seeds and their origins. This knowledge will certainly help answer the “where” the seeds came from further.
Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Recall that in Mark 4:14 we saw another general/generic reference that the seed is stated to just represent “the word”. This vague type of reference implies any spoken words can be viewed as seeds as we learned in our last lesson. But, in Luke 8:11 Jesus clearly states that the seed represents “God’s Word”. The Greek word translated as “God” in this statement is G2315 and is transliterated as “theos”. This Greek word is found in over 1100 verses and less than 1% of the time do they refer to any being other than our Omnipotent Creator. It appears self-revealing that Jesus was referring to God’s spoken word is the seed sown in this verse in Luke’s explanation of the Parable of the Sower.
This information helps us to understand and confirm “who” MUST be speaking words in the attempt to plant Good seeds in human hearts to produce fruit. I know that I keep calling God’s Word Good Seed but that is backed up scripturally and is not just my opinion. For example, Hebrews 6:5 informs us very clearly that God’s word is good and this was a written warning to Christian people not to turn away from it. I also believe that we should take note again of the Greek word G2098 which was translated as “the gospel” because it literally means “good news”. There are so many verses with this Greek word in it which refers to God’s Word that it is impossible to deny that God’s Word and Good News are very synonymous terms. Therefore, we can easily conclude that God’s Word is equivalent to Good Seed and I pray that you can agree.
We should remember the difference between “good seed words” and “evil seed words” in the last lesson in the series. And we should know that the God seed words spoken are always revealed to be a God designed plan to produce ONLY HIS GOOD FRUIT. In other words, the spoken Word of God seed can never produce weeds (evil fruit) just from learning the information found in the parable of the sower descriptions or explanations. God’s Seed can truly only be GOOD seed that produces GOOD fruit and the evil seed can only produce evil fruit which potentially causes the Good Seed to fail. This is in fact the true created nature of every seed. For example, an apple seed can only produce an apple tree. An orange seed can only produce an orange tree. On and on we go. This is the stated law of Genesis 1. God informed us that every seed type of any create entity can only produce another one of the same kind. God said this clearly 5 times in Genesis 1. Please go read it if you don’t remember.
What we have just established is a basic truth of seeds. Except for perverted seeds through controlled manipulation every pure naturally create seed type that has existed will always produce another variety of the exact same type of being. Therefore we learn that God is good (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19) and whatever that He produces from His good seed/word must also be good of His same type and nature. We learn this again from Genesis 1 very clearly. At least 6 times once in every day of creation God said (spoke seed) and then observed the outcome and said it was either “good” or “very good”. Wow that speaks literal volumes of key information to understanding the Good Seed in the parable of the sower. Furthermore, this exact same good truth is also true in the antithesis speaking of God’s enemy Satan. Satan is evil (1 Jn 2:13-14, 1 Jn 3:12, 1 Jn 5:18) and whatever he produces from his spoken seed/word must also be evil and of the same exact same type, kind and nature.
It is certainly possible for both types of spoken word seed to be sown into any single human heart and even co-exist as we will explore when we study the subject of soils. We will be primarily focused upon God’s “Good Seed” in this lesson. But, I may still briefly address the antithesis evil seed type that produces weeds also. Let’s now explore further what this Good God Seed actually represents in the Bible and we will do this by starting to understand the original Greek words related to the Parable message of sowing.
Mark 4:14 stated very clearly that the symbolic seed type found in the Parable of the Sower represents the “word”. This Greek word translated as “word” is G3056. This Greek word is included in every explanation of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:19, Mark 4:14 and Luke 8:11. Also G3056 occurs in around 313 other verses of the New Testament. This makes it a very popular and important N.T. word. The transliteration of this Greek word is “logos”. I have already referred to the transliteration “theos” before, but if you do not understand what a transliteration is I will attempt to explain it quickly.
A transliteration simply occurs when someone changes a word from one language into a new language using only the corresponding alphabet letters in an attempt to produce as similar of pronunciation sound as possible. In a transliteration there is no concern for conveying the original word meaning of the original language’s name or word. If we cared about this we would translate the word from one language into a word with the closest meaning and definition in the new language without any regard to the sounds of the two words. Language transliterations emphasize sound alike words and language translations emphasize identical meaning. Normally speaking and thinking, I believe transliterations have limited usefulness. However, that does not mean they are not used in our Bible translations.
For example, transliterations are a very common technique used in many Bible translations especially with the names of people or places referenced in the Bible. For instance, the name Jesus in the N.T. is a Greek to English transliteration originating from the name “Iesous” in the Greek language which was also transliterated from the original Hebrew name Jeshohua (Joshua). I just gave you an example of two transliterations that occurred from three different languages to get us to the name “Jesus” that many English speaking people use today to name our LORD and SAVIOR. This process of transliteration does not make any of the names wrong nor does it make one name superior, more important or more relevant than the others. They are all the same name just written and pronounced in different languages using letters from the language’s alphabet being spoken and God understands them all and answers to them all when called by or spoken to using that name. Let’s get back to the Greek to English transliteration word “logos”.
Logos is one of the most popular New Testament words used in reference to God’s written and spoken Word. It is used more than once in reference to God’s Old Testament Word written by the prophets. It is clearly used to describe the Words of Jesus like those found in this Parable and others. Even angels were said to speak “logos” words to several people with messages from God. However, logos can also be used for other human spoken words. Logos words can even be someone speaking words not of a divine nature and therefore logos spoken words can either be good or evil words. This just further verifies that a spoken seed type can be of either good or evil. If you search your Bible for H3056 to find all of the occurrences of this word’s usage you will discover that what I just said is easily confirmed. I’ll give you a couple of scriptures that can verify this truth and to help prove the point:
Mat 12:37 For by thy words (logos) thou shalt be justified, and by thy words (logos) thou shalt be condemned.
In this verse Jesus is speaking to you and me. He is warning us all that every human will either be justified or condemned by our own personal spoken “logos”. It is infinitely clear to me from reading this verse that this means humans can choose to say right words (logos) or wrong words (logos), good words (logos) or evil words (logos). Jesus clearly states that human beings speak one of these types of logos by their own personal choice and freewill. Let’s explore that “logos” represents two types of seed in the Bible. We will look at another example verse to confirm that “logos” spoken words can also be negative and fear based:
Mar 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word (logos) that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
This is one verse in a longer narrative. In this story a ruler in the synagogue came to Jesus for help with his daughter who was on her death bed very sick. Jesus was delayed in going to his house to heal her by another woman with an issue of blood that also came by faith to get healed. Faith always gets God’s attention. This is actually one of the primary qualities that He is looking for in every human. We should all remember that in Hebrew 11:6 God states that it is impossible to please Him without having faith. This is how we know that the ruler of the synagogue pleased Him or he would not have set out to go to his house. We’ll get into this more very soon. However, notice what this verse says. The Greek word G3056 “logos” is used here for a negative report that came from the ruler’s house. These men with the negative message said “Don’t bother the master any further for your daughter is dead”. God calls these spoken words a “logos” message. What was the designed purpose of the negative seed message? Jesus addresses it very clearly by asking the ruler to “fear NOT” but rather continue in faith and believe.
Wow, this is some amazing information about “logos” seeds that are found in spoken words. Jesus countered the negative logos seed with a positive instruction to continue the ruler’s believing. Jesus did not allow the bad news seed to overrule the previously spoken faith word seeds. The ruler clearly had a choice to make in who he would believe. He was wise and kept quiet and his daughter was raised from the dead. We will be looking into this factor of believing good seeds and ignoring the negative bad seeds later. This is such an important connecting concept to understanding the Parable of the Sower and how seeds work.
I am not going to teach the entire story about the ruler that came to Jesus with faith. But, I do want you to understand that this ruler had to have heard someone telling him about Jesus and His ability to heal people that caused him to seek Him. Someone sowed a seed into the ruler’s heart and this caused an action/reaction to take place. Satan killed the girl before the answer fully came and then he sent human messengers that brought the negative seeds designed to overrule the positive message that was previously sown into his heart but Jesus helped him to keep in faith and to shut his mouth not to agree with the bad news seed and circumstances. Can you imagine the battle of thoughts that were racing through the ruler’s mind after hearing the bad seed sown? Jesus was clearly not fazed by the negative seeds. This is a major factor for understanding how spoken words work and what type of spiritual battle we have every day.
We should hopefully be able to see that logos words can be used to produce either faith (believing positively) or for fear (believing negatively). Both of these types of “logos” represent seeds that will produce a type of fruit outcome. Only the good faith based logos will be a good resulting fruit. The negative seed type of logos will only produce the opposite of faith type of the force called “fear”. This is exactly why I believe the Parable of the Sower is a representation of a spiritual battle of words between two opposing spiritual forces. Jesus immediately countered the negative seed planting attempt designed to remove every faith life producing seed from the ruler’s heart with His encouraging seed of redirection back to faith. We could probably spend a lot of time on this subject but we are getting into soils and types of human reactions to the words that are being spoken to them by the enemies. Let’s keep researching the word “logos”.
The literal definition of this Greek word H3056 “logos” from Strong’s Concordance is “something spoken”. This definition appears to state that any human with a brain, mouth and working vocal cords is capable of emitting a “logos” (word spoken) to anyone. This Greek word was translated as some of the following English words: utterance, speech, word, mouth, preaching, question, communication and account (not to list them all). However, they all appear to mean the same general action of spoken words coming from a mouth.
In the previous lesson in the series which was focused upon “the sower” there were verses given that stated how others besides Jesus were sowers of seed. But, I like to have a lot of witnesses to affirm the truth. Let’s look at another scripture that relates to future sown seed and sowers as well as the key purpose for God using people for sowing His Word in human hearts:
Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word (logos);
Here in this verse is a part of the prayer that the LORD Jesus was praying for both the church saved believers and for those that were unsaved non-believers. This verse represents further confirmation that seed sowing was meant to continue indefinitely even after Jesus was taken up and back into heaven. Notice that Jesus very clearly states that people after him will be sharing “logos” seeds with people and He very clearly says it is for the purpose to get them to believe in Him. There are three main facts that can be derived from this single verse that are relevant to our Parable of the Sower lesson:
- Christian disciples following Jesus can still speak the LOGOS seed (Word of God) into the hearts of other people.
- The main purpose for speaking the LOGOS seed (Word of God) is to produce a belief (faith) in Jesus Christ.
- It is because of someone choosing to hear the spoken LOGOS seed (Word of God) that Faith can be produced internally for salvation to begin the process of making fruit.
I pray that you will agree that the primary purpose of sowing God’s word/seed is to produce faith for salvation. I believe that “salvation” is definitely the principal definition for what the successful “fruit” represents in this parable. No fruit simply means no lasting salvation occurred.
So far we have been focused on the “logos” seed type. But, there is another Greek word that needs to be made known in this seed subject discussion. This Greek word “for spoken words” is the Greek word G4487. The Greek word G4487 also means something spoken but we need to begin to grasp the difference and the similarities between rhema and logos seed types in order to understand why some soil types produce fruit and others do not. I certainly believe that both Greek Words H3056 (logos) and H4487 (rhema) are “SEED” types and represent God’s Word Spoken as we will soon discover. Let’s reread a verse that we covered in the Faith Fundamentals review section of the lesson:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
This verse defines the basis of how Bible faith comes to enter into a human heart and this is where we begin to make an important connection to understanding the Parable of the Sower. You see, both the Parable of the Sower and this verse in Romans are clearly stated to be about the spoken Word of God. Therefore, they must both be directly related to our study topic based upon God’s design of an identical direct subject matter.
We will very soon discover that Romans chapter 10 was written to describe another very important view into the basic process of human salvation through faith by hearing the spoken Word of God. The Parable of the Sower is stated to be about the subject of speaking the Words of God to humans in order to produce “fruit”. Based upon mathematical laws of truth created by God almighty if “Spoken God Words planted in human hearts can produce faith for salvation” found in Romans 10 and “Spoken God Words planted in human hearts can produce fruit” in the Parable of the Sower then “the resulting fruit” must correspond or be equal with “the resulting faith for salvation”. This is based upon basic laws of physics also. These are called “Cause and Effect” principles. Because the Word of God can cause both results of fruit and faith for salvation they can be viewed to be very much alike or akin to each other.
I pray that you are getting into what this is teaching us. We are using basic rules of interpretation that are very important and sound. These are commonly used techniques in practically every Bible lesson that has been taught on this blog. They are based upon laws and logic that were created by God, not me. I believe that when we discover the fundamental laws of right interpretation it reduces or eliminates human opinions of interpretation.
But, you might question that each of these two scripture references use a different Greek word, doesn’t that change the direct relationship? It could, but I believe the answer in this case is no. I have discovered that God sometimes uses synonymous terms to increase our subject knowledge. God uses synonyms very consistently to connect subjects together. I believe that He does this in an intentional technique to cause us to search for the truth in a deeper way. For example, why wouldn’t God want the whole Bible written in the same language? It sure would be simpler if He had not changed languages from Hebrew in the Old Testament to Greek in the New Testament. God automatically caused a challenge to be created by this language change. Now we have subjects written in Hebrew that must be connected correctly to subjects written in the Greek. Are any of these subjects meant to be joined? I believe firmly that they are.
I believe that God changing one word in two verses can provide a different perspective that opens an entirely new aspect of a subject. I believe God’s usage of “rhema” does not mean that Romans 10:17 is a completely different or new subject; but rather I believe that “rhema” only means that Romans is a narrowed more specific application or revelation of the broader “logos” subject. It could be very analogous to the general subject of screws. There are a wide variety of “screws” manufactured and sold in a hardware store. If I asked you to go to the store and buy us some screws to fix a project that we were working on, you would probably get us the wrong kind simply because I was not very specific in the type of screw to buy. I should be much more specific and say please go to the store and get us some inch and quarter stainless steel flat Phillip head wood screws. Now you know exactly what we need for the project and all the other screw types have been eliminated.
In other words I believe the Parable of the Sower is God stating that FRUIT is potentially found in “any” human heart by the entrance of the general Word (logos) of God. But, in Romans 10:17 God is specifically stating that a specific man’s “FAITH for salvation” is produced by the entrance of the very narrow specific and personal RHEMA application of God’s Word into their human heart. I believe the Rhema seed is a more in-depth and personal revelation of a specific type of the Word of God seed. This was very much like my example of the specific and personal “screw” type for our fix it project. Any screw might work but only one type would truly do the personal and specific job correctly. Let’s get into researching the differences between these two Greek words for “spoken words” also known as “spoken seed”.
I believe that there is a direct connection from the “logos” found in the parable to Romans 10:17 “so then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. Both are definitely teaching the exact same concept concerning God’s Word being spoken audibly and then being heard by humans. Perhaps you have already done a deep study on these two Greek words before. I believe that they both are essential to understanding the New Testament, faith, salvation and the Parable of the Sower. You are welcome to share what you have discovered about these Greek Words with me and with other readers if you would like in a comment.
I would love to go into every element about the differences between “rhema” and “logos” but that would take an entire book. I will try to summarize what I believe is important for this lesson in a few short paragraphs. I believe the Logos Word of God is more of a general seed type that can be spoken to all humans. Thus “logos” (seed) can appear in book form or sermon/spoken form which can be made available to anyone who chooses to read it or hear and listen to it. But, it appears to me from several scriptures that the “rhema” Word of God represents more of a personal seed type that can actually even activate “faith” for spiritual life.
For example, Luke 4:4 when Jesus was tempted by Satan to change “stones” into “bread”, Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word/rhema seed of God”. God connects a human having spiritual “life” to receiving a special specific seed type called the “rhema” Word of God. This Word type (rhema) is compared to be like a natural food/bread and it is also implied to be very direct and personal only given to a specific individual or specified group. In other words someone feeding on God’s Word by hearing it personally does not cause any benefit to anyone else. Only the eater’s personal hunger can be satisfied while everyone else not feeding or hearing remains empty and therefore gains no benefit to cause life to be produced in them. Rhema appears to be a personal message spoken for a very special intentional designed purpose of producing or sustaining personal and individual life. I’ll give some more examples to help clarify this belief:
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words (rhema) that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Joh 6:68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (rhema) of eternal life.
Act 5:20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words (rhema) of this life.”
Here are three verses that contain the Greek word “rhema” used in conjunction with the Greek word G2222 (zoe) that is translated as “life”. The Greek word “zoe” represents a very specific type of spiritual life associated with God Almighty. All three verses convey the same basic truth that the “rhema” seed can produce life eternal in human hearts. First, John 6:63 is Jesus claiming that His spoken “rhema” words are a personal “life” (zoe) producing force. This appears to be related to the Parable of the Sower since His Seed Words (logos) planted in hearts potentially produce new life called “fruit” in some people. What makes it work in some and in others it does not produce? Could it be some did not take the logos seeds and make it personal rhema seed words? I believe that is true and we will find other confirmations as we continue.
Next, in John 6 verse 68 after Jesus asks the disciples if they wish to leave him also, they reply “Only you have the “rhema” of life. They appear in this wise answer to be making His Word (logos) seeds personal rhema to them. They spoke this while others in the hearing audience disregarded the spoken words, the disciples exemplify a much different attitude towards what was being spoken. This is so very important in understanding why some people produce “fruit” and others do not.
Finally, in Acts 5:20 an angel releases Peter and other disciples from prison and then commands them to go speak to the people the rhema of this life. Wow, this is really good stuff if you can begin to put it together with the Parable of the Sower. You see the rhema seed that causes this spiritual type of “zoe” life comes from the logos seed that was originally spoken in the parable. Something has occurred that we will get into more later that I believe changes the seed type from only being general “logos” seed to a specific personal life producing “rhema” seed. I’ll introduce one additional verse that will begin to confirm our understanding of this seed transformation process.
Joh 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word (logos) and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life (zoe), and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (zoe).
According to Jesus believing in God through hearing the spoken logos seed appears to be a major part of allowing God’s connecting force that produces successful eternal life (zoe). You see in this verse it references the same logos seed G3056 that begins the process of sowing seeds. But, then Jesus connects the logos spoken to a requirement of human belief in God in order to be transformed out of the status of “everlasting death” into a new greater state of “everlasting life (zoe)” . Wow, this is great news for some and really bad news for some others. It places the entire responsibility of producing spiritual life on a human choice to believe and in the right attitude. To believe or not to believe, that is my choice and your choice.
We are going to go into this more when we begin to focus on the soil types in this series. But, I wanted us to begin to make the connections. The “fruit” in the Parable of the sower from one viewpoint represents people obtaining new spiritual “eternal life” that they did not possess before they received the “seed” and “believed”. Without “logos” seed being placed in the soil people were a dormant spirit and a spiritually dead piece of property that belonged to Satan. But God the Seed producer sowed logos seed into human hearts and these spiritually dead people have the ability to receive it and believe it to begin the process of beginning a new life of being saved out of Satan’s kingdom. Of course the fruit can also represent other additional spiritual truths simultaneously but this is certainly one that is essential to be understood. We will continue to dig deeper into this subject with a verse from Matthew spoken by Jesus:
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (Rhema) that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Jesus makes an amazing statement in this verse. He is quoting a verse from Deuteronomy 8:3. I found this fascinating. Think with me if you will. Jesus is speaking the Word of God, yes? This is clearly the words that were written by the Prophet Moses in the Book of the Law. Therefore, Jesus must be quoting God’s “logos” written words. But, there is a major change taking place by His word selection to teach that this was also a reference to “Rhema” words.
In this statement Jesus takes literal natural bread which is very important for natural survival in this life and compares it to a far greater and superior substance inferring it to be like spiritual bread that produces spiritual life. This spiritual bread is called the Rhema Word of God spoken to us personally and received individually. This concept is very similar to the Old Testament type of manna (Exo 16:15) that came down to the children of Israel in the wilderness. The children of Israel were commanded daily to go out and take enough mana home to eat for that day and they then were required to go back tomorrow and repeat the same steps. This is an amazing natural pattern for Christians to follow in the spiritual realm today. Reading and studying God’s Word logos daily is us feeding our spirits on a force of power that brings to us spirit life (zoe).
This is actually an amazing truth to apply to the entire Parable of the Sower. Those that will produce new spiritual life/fruit will be those that continue in the Word of God daily. Those that do not produce any fruit will be those that hear the Word once or twice and forget it. We will get into this more later when we talk about the subjects of soils and the fruit. But, let’s continue to examine a few more verses that reveal the importance of transforming a logos seed word written or spoken to everyone into a rhema seed word that is personal.
Luk 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (rhema). And the angel departed from her.
Again here is a quick confirmation that Words can be received as a special personal revelation. In verse 31 that I did not give you the angel tells Mary that she will conceive a son and this was also a logos prophecy written by God’s prophet in Isaiah 7:14. But, notice how this general and basic logos word written to everyone is being transformed into a personal rehma unveiling of truth to just one woman and then notice what occurs from it.
Do you understand the concept of what a “revelation” represents? A revelation in simple terms is basically the unveiling of a previously hidden message that was unable to be seen or understood clearly before it was revealed. The virgin birth of the Messiah was long before written down in a general logos form for every reader to receive, but no one really got it and it was completely unproductive to fulfill its purpose. It took this hidden God breathed logos word being spoken/planted at the right time to the right person in the right way in order for it to bring forth the right fruit.
Mary is receiving a God revelation spoken from an angel of an intense personal nature. Notice that the seed message is not to anyone else but to her alone. This makes it extremely individual and special. The message is also being brought to her in the symbolic form of a seed from God that will produce a new life on the inside of her “IF” she chooses to cooperate, believe and receive it. If we read the context we should discover a very important reason why this “seed” message from God represented a personal revelation that was successfully received to produce fruit. I do not have the time today to explain that last statement. But, it is true. We will hopefully dig into this part in the lesson on “fruit” to come.
After the angel told Mary that she would have a son, she asked him a very important question about how this would be possible seeing that she has never known a man. Obviously Mary understood how babies were made. The term “known” is a nice way of saying I am a virgin and virgins don’t have children. The angel of course explains how this will be possible and Mary says “Be it unto me according to your “Rhema”. Wow, this is so awesome. She obviously believed the God seed spoken to her and received this rhema seed into her spirit and the rest is history. These are very important concepts being spoken of about why some seed bring fruit success and others bring only fruit failure. Believing is one major factor for fruit success and understanding what was spoken is another.
Let’s take a look at a different opposing view of some people in the Bible that choose not to believe and not to understand a spoken Rhema Word from God that was delivered to them. Notice in these verses how the clear role of their lack of understanding caused the seed failure to occur:
Mar 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
Mar 9:32 But they understood not that saying (Rhema), and were afraid to ask him.
Ok, in these two verses Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples and giving them a chance to understand a revelation of what is about to happen to him on the cross and his subsequent resurrection after 3 days. Verse 31 is clearly Jesus giving them some LOGOS seed even if it is not plainly stated that this is what it represents. But, notice in verse 32 God clearly states that the disciples did not understand the Rhema words that were being spoken (revealed) to them. Jesus is again uncovering a great hidden mystery to them personally. He has just taken the lid off of the most significant reason why He (GOD) had entered into this natural world in the likeness of human flesh. Yet these 12 men had no clue what was just opened to them personally because they did not choose to understand the Rhema word’s meaning. Instead they allowed a spirit of fear (from Satan) to take the seed away from their hearts. I have just crossed again into the introduction of the subject of the “wayside ground” element found in the parable and why this “tread on firmly packed soil” type did not produce any fruit. We can begin to see that it was Satan that came immediately as symbolic birds to eat the seed to cause it to be ineffective.
The disciples in these two verses are an amazing parallel example of how easy it is for Satan to steal away the Good God Seed that is being planted from a human. But, this time the crop failure occurred because they failed to ask Jesus to explain how this could be. They acted unlike a much wiser woman named Mary when she asked the angel how. I believe that a human must possess the passionate desire to understand God’s words spoken to them more than to remember or memorize words that have no personal meaning or application.
Understanding a personal spoken “Rhema” revelation from God appears to me to be a very important factor for obtaining faith and for producing fruit. It also appears to me that God is teaching us a very significant difference between general logos and the specific personal rhema Word seed types. Logos words are for everyone and anyone that choose to hear and ask to understand them and rhema words are specifically personal spoken words for one or only a few to also ask right wise questions. Logos words are generally given to produce faith for any listener that will take hold of the Seed and chooses to make it a rhema for them personally. And sometimes rhema words are targeted at specific individuals for a specific purpose at a very specific time. Always remember that no faith or no fruit occurs when the hearer did not fully understand what was spoken to them. Let’s look quickly at Matthew’s explanation of the parable of the sower describing “way side” soil that I just taught about for further confirmation to this truth:
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.
Here in this verse of Matthew Jesus explains a very significant part of the “way side” soil type’s failure to produce “fruit”. It appears to me by the facts given that when a person hears the “logos” Word of God it is the easiest for Satan to steal it away from their heart and mind because of their choice to not “understand” what was spoken. We just learned that asking the right question can help overcome this lack of understanding. This same concept is true for any learning experience. A child in school can hear the teacher tell them about the subject but cannot make them understand it. For example, I struggled with algebra at first when I was in school. But, I chose to keep at it until it clicked on like a light bulb and this is when I really learned how to apply it.
Wow, this is really important to know. I believe that if a person hears the Word of God Logos or Rhema and does not understand them, then they better start asking God, the Bible teacher or someone with wisdom to help them and make the choice not to give up until the light bulb comes on. I further believe that when they do this they begin a process of making the Word Logos Seed spoken to them a personal Rhema word and not just a general statement of unimportance.
UNDERSTANDING BASIC SPIRITUAL SEED QUALITIES
I have gone a long time on this subject of the seed but I believe we should continue into a different point of view of it using a new Greek Word. The Greek word that is often translated as “seed” in the Bible is G4690. The transliteration of this Greek word is “sperma”. Yes, we get the English word sperm from this Greek word. The male sperm is a natural seed that is planted in a sexual union in the body of the wife to produce new natural human life. One perspective in the Bible describes this process as the two (male and female) becoming one flesh. I hope you can agree with this because the one male sperm cell (seed) joins with the one female egg cell (soil) and this union becomes an entirely new living person.
Another perspective in the Bible calls this sexual reproductive process as having “knowledge” of that person. I just spoke of this in the previous section when describing Mary having not “known” a man. Both of these realities of natural truth apply to the Parable of the Sower. Both descriptions are direct parallels to the spiritual concepts found in the Parable of the Sower. The same principles in the natural and the spiritual process came about by God’s design. Let’s move into reading the first verse in this section. This verse will begin to help us to understand why some seeds produce fruit and others do not:
1Jn 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed (G4690) remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
I am going to begin this section of the lesson on “seed” with this strange verse for us to read and study and then connect to the Parable of the Sower. This verse unveils some basic vital secrets that teach us why some seed work and produce new life in the symbolic soil and why some seed do not work to produce new life. I do want to emphasize repeatedly that the end result of the seed is to produce new life. A new life production is the goal either in the sexual union or the Parable of the Sower. If there is no “new life” then the spreading of the seed does not achieve God’s designed purpose.
Notice the terminology being revealed to us in this verse in 1st John. According to what we can clearly read God’s Seed potentially causes births the same as a human male’s seed can cause births. However, the “God kind of birth” is now a spiritual birth process for salvation. We certainly learned that God sent His word/seed to Mary through an angel and she became physically pregnant with the baby Jesus. We know that Jesus was born from this natural woman as a natural human male child even though his Father was the Holy God. Therefore we know that God’s word can produce a natural child if He desires. However, John chapter 3 describes a greater birth process that the Word of God can also produce. Jesus speaking to a man named Nicodemus and tells him “Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. Jesus provides a spiritual law for the human entrance into God’s kingdom. Let’s quickly explore another verse concerning the Word of God:
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word (logos) of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Here is another confirmation of God’s primary goal of His Seed (Word). According to Peter through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are born again not of corruptible seed (the human male sperm) but by the incorruptible (everlasting, ever living, immortal) seed called the Word (logos) of God. This is an amazing statement. The Greek word in this verse for seed is G4701 that literally means “a sowing”. The implied meaning of this word is an action that initiates “parentage”, “fatherhood”, “paternity”, “maternity”, “motherhood” or “parenthood”. Wow, did you get that? In natural terms this is a sexual relationship between husband and wife that produces children. Likewise, in spiritual terms it is the implied receiving of the Word of God that also produce a spiritual birth and a new child of God. I pray that you are receiving this. God is describing the intended purpose for giving us the knowledge of His Word (logos).
It is interesting to note that this Greek word G4701 used in 1 Peter 1:23 is only used one time in the entire Bible, but this word is derived from the Greek word G4687 that was directly used in the Parable of the Sower to describe the sowing seed process. No doubt we are on the right track to understand what Seed represents and its designed sovereign purpose. All of this may sound pretty tough to understand for some but Jesus explains how this is possible.
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Joh
3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Joh
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Starting in John 3:3, Jesus begins to uncover the mystery of how a naturally born human can be born again without reentering their natural mother’s womb. He says “Unless a man is born of water (the natural mother birth process) and then be born of the Spirit (a spiritual mother birth process) he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”. Jesus just described a dual birth requirement for being saved. The first was completely natural and the second is totally spiritual. One is a natural male sperm and natural female egg union and the other is the word (seed) of God being united with the human heart (soil).
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (zoe).
Continuing to read in John 3:16, Jesus says “ For God so loved the world that He gave his ONLY begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. The Greek word translated as “only begotten” simply means there was only one natural birth that occurred or will occur to be called “His Son”. According to the Bible no other naturally born children are coming from God. However, this does not mean there are no spiritual children resulting from the hearing and believing of His Word.
This is very significant information. Believing in God and His Son sent gives us a pathway to the never ending “zoe” life. This again is confirmation for the reason that every human born on this planet must choose to receive His Seed into their heart (soil) to allow it to produce a new spiritual birth and a new spiritual life. I just love the Word of God.
I am going to end this lesson here. We could continue on the subject of the seed for a very long time. There is just so much to learn about it. I truly have only scratched the surface. I hope you have learned something new to help you in your understanding of the Parable of the Sower and the purpose of us telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to plant God’s Seed into their hearts. This seed is designed by God to create new spiritual children of His kind. This spiritual seed planting activity has enemies and is not successful every time. But, this does not mean we stop trying.
If the Lord is willing, I may continue this series with a study of the fruit next. I believe this is the lasting goal of the seed and we have already seen that it points us to the Saving Grace of God. The fruit is the last potential positive element found in the parable. As I stated before the soil can be either good or evil making it changeable and variable. I love you all and appreciate your participation in this website. Please share it with a friend and help spread the Seeds of the Kingdom. God Bless you.
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 1 in a series of very essential basic Bible lessons concerning the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower. This may be a very familiar subject to many Christians but this assumed familiarity could cause some to not open their heart and mind to receive from God something fresh. A spirit of pride caused by an assumed broad knowledge of a subject will too often cause some to not accept exactly what was new that God wanted to teach. However, I believe that many of the fundamental concepts found in this Bible lesson series should be a delight for most Christians to receive, learn and apply. We do appreciate your prayers and the time reading these Bible lessons. We hope they are a blessing and we pray for all our readers. We will begin the subject study with this outstanding claim 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?
We will be diving deep into some of the fundamental principles that were taught by the LORD Jesus from this parable. Many of these are deep spiritual truths that are not easily found even though they were given to us in a simple natural parable form. According to Mark 4:13, Jesus claimed that to know and understand this parable was the most important parable there is. It is significantly stated by Jesus in this verse that if we do not know and understand this parable then grasping even the basics of any other parable would probably be futile. This is why I believe the LORD wanted us to study this subject today. Today will be the first basic lesson and subject introduction in the series. Then we will break down the spiritual elements in more depth in subsequent lessons. Let’s get started.
From an in-depth study of this subject it has become evident that the Parable of the Sower is a direct lesson on how and why some humans obtain “faith” for “eternal salvation” and why many others fail to receive. I have concluded that there are two disparate types of people being described in this parable. There were those at the end of the parable that obtained “faith for salvation” and produced spiritual fruit and then there were those at the beginning and middle of the parable that either never had faith to be saved or abandoned their faith to produce no lasting spiritual fruit. Those that produced lasting “fruit” live and those that do not produce lasting “fruit” eventually die and go to hell. The entire process of faith, salvation, human choices and how each work together to produce fruit is God’s design of the seed sowing process. It is also revealed that this process of seed sowing has revealed enemies that assisted in the process to cause wrong human choice for a crop failure. These truths are all summarized in this parable.
Bible faith is one of the central and primary themes of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I believe that it is essential that we all learn and understand as much as we can about what has been revealed to us by God on this vital subject of Bible Faith. We know from reading Hebrews 11: 6 that if we do not have any faith it is absolutely impossible to please God. We also learn from reading Ephesians 2:8 that we are only saved by God’s grace through our faith. Based upon just these two verses alone, God makes it sound like that if we do not have faith we are in serious trouble. This to me is why we need to study the subject of “Bible Faith”. I am mentioning this first to inform all readers that understanding Bible Faith is one key to understanding this Parable. If you have not read the series on this website about this subject I would strongly recommend that you do so by clicking “Understanding Bible Faith Part 1”.
I believe that every human has the God given right to choose to participate in the “God kind of faith” (Mk 11:22) fully, partially or regrettably to choose not to partake whatsoever. Humans even have the God given right to choose to initially participate and then to turn back to choose to walk away from God’s plan for their life. I can hear people say, “faith is not that important and is only mentioned a very few times in the Bible”. If we do a search on the English word “faith”, it occurs only twice in the KJV Old Testament with it then being found in 229 verses in the KJV New Testament. Clearly the emphasis of faith was increased significantly by the LORD to His people in the New Covenant. There are 788,258 words found in the KJV Bible and I will admit that there are so many other words and subjects in the Bible mentioned more frequently than faith. “LORD” is mentioned 7365, “God” is mentioned 4293, Israel 2509, and we could go on and on with many other words. I found these numbers off of a website and I did not attempt to verify them so please don’t use them as the Gospel. I was only attempting to make a point that many other words and subjects have a greater mention besides faith. But, yet I still believe that this subject and topic of “Faith” is one of the top 3 themes that every Christian must learn after being saved.
I can still hear people say “I just can’t find faith in very many chapters of my Bible”. What I have learned from years of Bible study is that we must search for whatever we want to find (Mat 7:7). If we are not looking for faith we will never find faith. But, I believe that if we learn to change our focus on the known features, characteristics and values of faith then we will be able to find faith almost everywhere. What I am trying to say is that just because a verse, passage, chapter or book does not contain the actual word “faith’ does not mean the subject is not found there. Too many Christians are reading the Bible with wrong thought perspectives and would truly be amazed what is found in the Bible by learning to view the words on the page more like God designed them to be “as spiritual truth”. This is literally a very true Bible study methodology for any subject.
I desire in this introduction just to help us shift our focus. Just because the “Parable of the Sower” never mentions the word “Faith” does not mean that it is not directly all about the subject. I desire to teach the concepts of how a familiar set of verses that are often used to teach other subjects can contain a vast amount of truth on the subject of “faith” if we are willing to rethink to change our perspectives. In this series, I plan to visit many verses that do not mention faith directly in both the Old and New Testaments in order to show how God can use them to actually teach us key hidden “faith” principles. We will also explore related verses in other parts of the Bible that greatly assist us in understanding concepts not directly mentioned in the Parable.
We will be using this information to focus on how to understand the “Parable of the Sower”. In this lesson series we will hopefully learn to search and find relationships in this parable to the subject of faith, salvation, right and wrong words, right and wrong human choices and the spiritual battle of good versus evil for all human lives. I trust God to help me do this and to help you to also open your heart and mind to receive it and then for you to become an Acts 17:11 noble Berean and go and verify what was taught in your personal Bible study time. Please, please, please, do not take my word for anything if you do not see it in your own Bible.
INTRODUCTION TO GOD’S PROCESS OF SALVATION AND FAITH
IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
As I have previously mentioned, I would like for us to rethink the Parable of the Sower in the light of it being one of God’s revealed processes and projects to activate faith in humans for their eternal spiritual salvation. It has become very clear to me through Bible study that Jesus’ taught us a great spiritual representation of how human salvation by His extraordinary Grace through our humble cooperative faith works using a natural seed planting and farming truth many call the “Parable of the Sower”. Every parable ever taught by Jesus in the Bible was a natural truth that helps us to understand a far superior spiritual unseen and unknown truth. I have grown into the belief that this greater spiritual truth taught by Jesus in this parable is concerning primarily God’s extended grace and mercy for human salvation through their freewill choice to believe in His Word.
I further believe that this parable represents a description of how people are either saved or lost through a spiritual war of words (good vs. evil) that will take place in the human mind and heart. I also believe that this hidden unseen spiritual warfare helps to influence the decisions that a person makes concerning their salvation depending upon which spirit they choose to yield to. A person’s focused choices of importance, priority, value and worth towards God’s spoken Word will determine their eternal destiny after this natural life ends. Does this sound interesting to study? I hope and pray it does.
It amazes me that Jesus taught all of these hidden spiritual truths being described in a natural farming concept and process. The natural and the spiritual processes represent two parallel realities of truths. Growing natural food and growing spiritual faith for salvation (aka fruit) were taught to us by Jesus to represent a common paradigm. This to me is so amazing. The truth has been hiding in plain sight for the entire duration of human history on this earth. This truly displays the Omniscience and Wisdom of God.
Even though Jesus was speaking and teaching in natural terms created from the beginning, He was really not teaching us about natural farming. As I just stated humans have known this natural process of farming for literally many thousands of years. Through these basic principles of life found in simple to understand naturally created methods of farming, we can now begin to understand how spiritual life occurs or in many cases does not occur. Let’s now read the “Parable of the Sower” to refresh our memory. But also, please read the Parable with a notepad and a pencil or pen so that you can list the main items that you find as important and those that may jump out at you as you read.
Mar 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
Mar 4:4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
Mar 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
Mar 4:6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mar 4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Mar 4:8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
Mar 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus used such a very simplistic natural farming design and process to explain to us the incredibly vital interrelated subjects of God’s Word, the devil, words, faith, salvation, listening, hearing, understanding, salvation enemies and making right choices to name only a few basic concepts that I have observed. These are just a few of the most critical and highest spiritual truths that I have found so far in the Parable. I know you may not see all of these by just skimming the parable in a rapid surface reading. In fact I believe it is practically impossible to know what the parable is really about by only reading the parable. I view the parable as a type of riddle or puzzle being presented for curious humans to dig into to solve.
I believe that there are far too many Christians that have not given this living natural example the priority and emphasis that it deserves. I believe that it is essential for every Christian to learn this parable as soon as possible after being born again in order to help them to begin to mature and grow spiritually. Reading the parable you should have noticed some of the main components being mentioned as I asked you to do. I found at least 10 symbolic references that I want us to focus upon. I’ll list them for your consideration and you can compare my list with your list:
- A Sower
- 4-6 Types of Soil (Depending upon viewpoint)
- 3 different Soils that produce no fruit or no enduring fruit
- 1-3 Soils with increasing levels of fruit production (30%, 60%, or 100%)
- Enemy Birds
- Enemy Stones
- Enemy Sun Heat
- Enemy Thorns or Weeds
Wow, this list is so vital to understand in-depth. However, I will be unable to give a complete study of every symbol in this first lesson. But, we will try to explore these items in increasing depth later in the series. Today we will only try to introduce the important spiritual symbols given by Jesus. Before we get into this discussion please review the explanation of the parable from Jesus. Use your notepad and your pencil to find what Jesus said the key elements represent and then list what each of them symbolically represented next to their corresponding symbol:
Mar 4:10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
Mar 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
Mar 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Mar 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
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.
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.
Mar 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
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.
This explanation from Jesus of the Parable is also absolutely awesome. We should obviously understand that Jesus knew and understood what every symbol represented and how all the positive elements worked together to cause the plan of God to succeed and how all the negative elements worked to cause the plan of God to fail. I hope that you can agree that it should be obvious to us that some symbolic elements worked favorably together to produce a good fruit crop while other symbolic elements fought against the planned process for a positive outcome in order to keep the fruit seed and fruit crop from succeeding. This is the introduction to the spiritual battle that is taking place in the unseen spiritual realm. It is a spiritual war for human lives. I pray that you are paying close attention to what was just said, because this is very important in the rest of this revealed truth.
In verse 11 Jesus revealed to us that these combined natural elements fashioned into a symbolic parable form represented a divine mystery. The Greek word translated as “mystery” is G3466 and it literally means “to shut the mouth in order to keep a secret”. All God had to do was not speak to humans and we all would be very ignorant concerning any truth of spiritual realities. But, God was now beginning to open His mouth through Jesus to explain these many hidden secrets. At the time when Jesus was physically on the earth He was the only one speaking to a limited few humans at that time. But, since these words were written in a book form we today can also benefit by studying and applying them.
We must also notice what else Jesus said in verse 11. He told His disciples that at that time He did not desire to give everyone the secret’s explanation that He had spoken the parable to. He said “Unto you it is given but unto them that are on the outside I speak only in parables”. That is still a basic principle that is true today. Just because most everyone can find a Bible and can read the Bible does not mean that any of it is understandable to them. We confirm this principle from reading 1 Corinthians 2:14 that informed us those spiritual things of God are not received by a natural man because they are spiritually discerned. Spiritually asleep people (Eph 5:14) are usually unable to feed on deep spiritual things of the Spirit. Here now is my list of some of the major points that I found listed and what I believe that they are revealed to represent:
|1. Sower||A Spiritual Bible Preacher or Teacher (Specifically Jesus in this parable when it was spoken the first time, it later became any real Bible teacher)|
|2. Seed||Seed=Symbolic Spiritual Spoken Words from God|
|3. Soil||Heart (aka the spirit) of a human, God’s Spiritual Garden|
|4. Enemy Birds||Spiritual opponent called Satan, devils & demons that Blind Human Minds using words in the form of thoughts|
|5. Enemy Stones||The wrong hard hearted choice to not do the Word that was heard (Sown into their heart)|
|6. Enemy Sun Heat||Tormenting Words of Persecution sent because the Word of God was Believed. Persecution pressures many to make the wrong choices to returning to a life of sin|
|7. Enemy Thorns||Satanic Worldly Distractions &Temptations of the flesh and mind|
|8. Fruit||God’s goal for His Seed sown (a spiritual harvest – representing the fruits of the spirit and human salvation)|
I regret that I am unable to go into a great level of detail for every Parable Element in this list today. I will attempt to cover every element found here in this list later in subsequent lessons in the series. I would also recommend that you go and read the explanations of the Parable in the books of Matthew and Luke because these contain additional information that the book of Mark does not include. I will be referring to some of these other writer’s explanations in this series but I will not be giving the entire verses in this lesson in order to decrease the length.
In my list I have focused on what I considered to be 3 dependably positive elements, 4 consistently negative elements and one element that I will list into a variable, changeable or unstable category. The 3 positive elements listed in the parable were the sower, the seed and a good fruitful outcome that was produced from the combined sower and seed elements. The success of these 3 consistently positive elements (seed, sower and fruit) represents a successful “faith” process and project taking place in a human heart (soil). The 4 potential consistently negative elements were described as enemies to the positive elements and these were called 1) birds, 2) stones, 3) heat and 4) thorns. The single element that I considered to be the lone variable or a changeable element is the soil (heart of man). The soil is clearly the most frequently mentioned item of the parable being spoken of at least 4 times. I believe that this makes the soil one of God’s major focused items in the entire description. I will also say that the consistently positive and negative elements are all spiritual. The soil changeable element can either be carnal or spiritual dependent upon right or wrong choices made from thoughts selected.
I’m going to end this lesson with this introduction to the subject. I pray that this has at least raised your interest into learning more. In the next lesson in the series we will move into a greater detailed description of each element named beginning with the “Seed” symbolic element first. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with us. We are humbled to know that there are people that spend their valuable time on this website. May God continue to lead you, guide you, direct you and bless you.
If you would like to continue to the next lesson in the series please click “Part2“.