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Bible Study: The Parable of the Sower–What Kind of Soil are You?

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Matthew 13

The parable of the Sower describes how those who receive Christ wholeheartedly will grow in holiness and bear “good fruit” with eternal benefits. Those who reject or do not fully accept the Word of God will not produce good fruit. Good fruit is generally attributed to the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9)

3And He [Jesus] spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower by Jesus (Matthew 13:18-23):

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the Word of the Kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. 20 The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the Word and receives it at once with joy. 21 But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the Word, he immediately falls away. 22 The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the Word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the Word and it bears no fruit. 23 But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the Word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

In this explanation of the Parable of the Sower, the emphasis is on the various types of soil on which the seed falls, i.e., on the attitude with which the Word of God is received by the hearer. The four types of persons envisioned are (1) those who never accept the preaching of Jesus (the Word of God); (2) those who believe for a little while but then fall away because of judgement from others and/or cultural persecution; (3) those who believe, but in whom the Word is eventually choked out by worldly anxiety and the seduction of earthly wealth and riches; (4) those who respond (hear, believe and take action) to the Word of God and subsequently produce an abundance of good fruit.

Attachment to material wealth, power, and temporal concerns distract us from seeking God and turns our attention away from doing the will of God. In order to be fruitful and receive the blessings we desire, we must respond to God in faith. We must heed and be obedient to His Word–our roadmap for a blessed life.

Question to ponder: Which type of soil are you?

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[Jesus often spoke in parables–stories that use images or metaphors to illustrate mysteries about the Kingdom of God. Through these parables, Christ instructed us to reflect on the Kingdom of God…and how the Word of God grows within us.]

References: CCC 29, 546, 1153, 1724, 1802-1803

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