The Parable of the Sower 

By Drew Hall

Acts 2:41 tells us that "... they that gladly received his (Peter's) word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Also, Acts 2:47 states that "... the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." We can see from these passages that those who accept GOD's message will be saved and added to the church of Jesus Christ. What kind of a person accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ and what determines their subsequent faithfulness or unfaithfulness? In the parable of the sower Jesus gave us a glimpse at the different kinds of people and how they would react to the gospel, the word of GOD.

Each individual's reaction to the word of GOD will have a direct impact on their relationship to the Lord's church. How can we know of our standing in the church and before GOD? What danger signs should we look for? How can we improve ourselves and our relationship with Christ and His body -- the church? Let us try and draw the answers to all these questions from the parable of the sower.

One passage where we can find the parable of the sower is Luke chapter 8. In Luke 8:5-8 Jesus said,
"A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold."

In the parable there are four different types of ground: way side (Luke 8:5), rocky (Luke 8:6), thorny (Luke 8:7), and good (Luke 8:8). What happened to each? To start with, each type of ground had the same seed sown on it. The seed sown on the way side was eaten by birds and was never given the chance to germinate and grow. The seed sown on a rock did germinate and grow, but when the sun came up (Mark 4:6) it withered and died from the lack of an adequate root system. The seed sown in the thorns germinated and grew, and, while it did not wither as the rocky soil, it was choked out by the thorns and failed to bear fruit. In contrast to all the other soils stands the good ground. The seed sown on the good ground germinated, grew and produced fruit an hundredfold. Is GOD telling us where to plant our crops this Spring? Or, is HE telling us something about ourselves? In order to tell us something about ourselves, no doubt, is why Jesus spoke this parable.

The parable of the sower was spoken to give the spiritually-minded person understanding. The interpretation of the parable was given so that all may
"... know the mysteries of the kingdom of GOD:" (Luke 8:10). The seed sown is the word of GOD (Luke 8:11). As this word is sown (preached) there are several types of people upon whom it may "land".

The "way side" person is one who hears the word of GOD spoken to him but the word never gets a chance to sink into the heart of the person. Why? Because the devil comes and takes the word away before it can change the person's heart (Luke 8:12). How is the devil able to do this? One thing that plays a part is an individual's own attitude toward GOD. As Romans 6:16 states
" whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are ..."; we can choose to serve the devil. If this is our choice then our "master" will make sure that we cannot be "harmed" by the good word of GOD. Apathy, to outright antagonism, toward GOD and HIS word may indicate that we are a way side person. These are those who "...received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Persistence on the part of our true friends, who give us a good example of living in Christ and who keep planting the word of GOD, can help those who are the way side soil.

The "rocky" person accepts GOD's word but does not have the depth of character or knowledge to withstand the troubles the devil can throw against us as we serve GOD. When temptations, in the form of affliction or persecution, comes along they "wither" and die spiritually. They are easily discouraged and disheartened, perhaps overly anxious of what tomorrow holds. If we recognize our self as a "rocky soil" person we need to begin studying GOD's word more and seeking out those who are strong to support us when the bad times come. We need to think on the good things that GOD has planned for us and not concentrate so much on all the "bad" stuff that might happen to us as a Christian; Philippians 4:6-7,
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." If we can keep all of GOD's positives before our mind then perhaps we will not wilt when we are faced with the negatives.

The "thorny" person accepts GOD's word but collects too much extra baggage in their life as a Christian. They become entangled in the things of this world and are gradually choked to death by the things they desire to possess. They spend too much time with the cares of this world and with the good things this life has to offer. Their emphasis becomes earthly riches instead of Heavenly treasures. When they weigh the fleeting pleasures of sin and the eternal pleasures of Heaven they have a hard time which to choose. Paul in 1 Timothy 6:9-10 pictures this type of person as someone who is falling into
"... many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.", and who has "... erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." While the lifestyle of the "thorny soil" may look good to a lot of us GOD has an entirely different view of it. What can we do if we find our self caught in the thorns? Quit our new time-demanding job or take a demotion to have more time for Bible study, personal work, or time with our family. Don't let our child play every sport — maybe they shouldn't play any sports; go to more gospel meetings or start a Bible study in our home. Spend more time with Christians and less with non-Christians. In short, weed the thorns out of our life. We may have less money and/or recognition but we will get to go to Heaven.

Surely we would all want to be the last soil discussed by Jesus — the good soil which brought forth a hundredfold. The good soil person is able to do what the other types were unable to do. They readily accept GOD's word and allow it to take root in their life. They are able to develop the spiritual depth they need to face persecution and endure. They rid themselves of the spiritual thorns that attempt to strangle them spiritually. Besides not withering or being choked the good soil person will also produce. They are busy trying to encourage and help others get to Heaven. They try to plow the way side, break up the stones, and weed out the thorns in their own and others lives. A good verse to describe the activities of the good soil is 1 Thessalonians 5:14,
"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men." Or, perhaps 1 Timothy 4:13-16, "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

As we close this article, let us apply the things taught specifically to the church. While the church will never contain the way side type of person, there will be the rocky, thorny, and good soil persons. We must each recognize how we stand in regard to Jesus' teaching. If we are a rocky or thorny person we must realize we are in spiritual trouble and be willing to accept the help we need. There is no time for pride, stubbornness, or denial of the obvious. As a good soil person we must step up to the task at hand. We must take the time to help others develop and maintain the qualities of the good soil. We must all try to follow GOD's instruction --
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16).

[Editor's Note: Thanks to Drew Hall for the article! He can be reached at: 198 Airport
Road, Lacey's Spring, AL (205) 883-7416, ]

Email the Editor at