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  • Parable of the Growing Seed

    Could anyone expound on this parable? I was just reading it today and, while I have some ideas on what it means, it occurred to me that I don't think I've ever heard/read anything on this particular passage.

    Mark 4:26-29:
    And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
    May the vision of You be the death of me.

  • #2
    I would encourage you to read the whole book of Mark, and see how it fits into the Marcan theology. My other suggestion is to stop looking for what a parable "means." Parables are meant to be pictures. Spend some time considering the imagery in the story. Try sitting down and reading the whole book of Mark in one sitting. It will really help you to understand the individual stories better.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by coldfire136 View Post
      I would encourage you to read the whole book of Mark, and see how it fits into the Marcan theology. My other suggestion is to stop looking for what a parable "means." Parables are meant to be pictures. Spend some time considering the imagery in the story. Try sitting down and reading the whole book of Mark in one sitting. It will really help you to understand the individual stories better.
      I have read the entire book of Mark. By "meaning" I was referring to imagery, and like I said, I have an understanding of what I think the parable is saying. But that is only my opinion, and I'm interested in hearing what others have gotten from the passage. Perhaps I'm reading your post incorrectly, but it seems that you're scolding me for looking for some discussion of the scripture; I thought that was what Bible Chat is for.
      May the vision of You be the death of me.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with Mickey O's comments; Not that you need to examine all Mark but certainly the whole chapter is making one point and that is get your priorities straight. It begins with the Parable of the sower, you can change your soil - if you make the word of God number one in your life.

        After all you don't hide the lamp under a bushel, therefore let the word shine from your life for all to see. Take care , if God's word is not number one in your life, if you don't treat it with respect it shall be taken away from you. Vs.25

        As Mickey O said, the soil is a man's heart, our job is to scatter seed, we can't make it grow in a persons heart 1Cor.3:6; but when it does we will be able to see the changes in their life, as John says, show deeds worthy of repentance,Mt.3:8; and when that happens then he's ready, is the harvest baptism or death or are they not the same?

        Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, this is not referring to the world wide church, Mark is still referring to God's word in your heart. Those other seeds, plants are worldly studies, be they a lawyer, scientist, doctor, the greatest seed is the littlest seed when you plant it in your heart but it shall be the biggest plant in your life, even the birds, friends and love ones, will come and take advantage of the fruit in your tree, Gal.5:22,23 peace, joy, patience, love .. the fruits of the Holy Spirit. A doctor can extend life but we can show people eternal life.

        Then see how the chapter ends with Jesus stilling the seas. Mark closes with a beautiful illustration of what he's trying to teach us. Jesus told them lets travel to the other side, nothing can stop God's word, Jesus is so assured of that, He sleeps through the storm, but they left the focus on the word, the commandment of God and focused on the storm of life, oh you of little faith. Don't let the worries of this life get you down, focus on what is true, right and honorable, make God's Word and obeying it number one in your life and it will grow to be the biggest thing in your life, and friends will see that in you and you shall reap eternal life.

        Love Mark - incredible book, enjoy the study. Hint - every chapter teaches one key thought, then take all the key thoughts and apply them to your life.

        RJ

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by VisionOfYou View Post
          Could anyone expound on this parable? I was just reading it today and, while I have some ideas on what it means, it occurred to me that I don't think I've ever heard/read anything on this particular passage.

          Mark 4:26-29:
          And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”



          And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29)



          This is a secret of the kingdom of God, and to me it is one of the most encouraging of all the parables Jesus ever uttered. He is speaking of how this rule of God increases, how it grows in a life.

          He explains it as a coming to harvest by a patient expectation that God will work. The key of this whole passage is, "...the seed grows, he knows not how.

          The earth bears fruit of itself..." That is, there are forces at work which will be faithful to perform their work -- whether a man stews and frets about it or not.

          He does what he can do, what is expected of him. But then God must work. And God will work. And in the confidence of that, this man rests secure.

          As Jesus draws the picture, this farmer goes out to sow. It is hard work as he sows the field, but this is what he can do. But then he goes home and goes to bed.

          He does not sit up all night biting his fingernails, wondering if the seed fell in the right places, or whether it will take root. Nor does he rise the next morning and go out and dig it up to see whether or not it has sprouted yet.

          He rests secure in the fact that God is at work, that he has a part in this process, and he must do it; no one can do it for him. But he will faithfully perform it.

          So the farmer rests secure, knowing that as the seed grows there are stages which are observable: "...first the blade, then the ear then the full grain in the ear."

          It is only as the grain is ripe that he is called into action again. When the harvest is ready, then he is to act once more.

          This is exactly what Paul describes for us in that passage in First Corinthians 3: "For we are laborers together with God:" (1 Corinthians 3:6a KJV). This is the way we ought to expect him to work.

          It involves a witness first, perhaps a word of teaching or exhortation to someone -- or to ourselves. And then an inevitable process begins, one which takes time and patience, and allows God to work.

          One of the most destructive forces at work in the church today is our insistent demand for instant results. We want to have immediate conversions, immediate responses, immediate dedications every time we speak.

          We tend not to allow time for the Word to take root and grow and come to harvest. But our Lord is teaching us the great truth that we ought to.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by VisionOfYou View Post
            Could anyone expound on this parable?. . .
            Mark 4:26-29:
            And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
            Not an exposition by any means, I usually 'personalise' what I read so -
            How does this apply to me?
            If I submit my life to God through Jesus Christ I am part of God's Kingdom, I have become the soil in which He will grow a suitable crop.
            His good seed will sprout and grow in my life, but also 'weeds' which must be irradicated.
            The 'seed' of Christ's Life in me must be given time to grow before my Lord will gain a crop. All I can do to help this crop to reach maturity and harvest is to be diligent in pulling up 'weeds' (unGodly thoughts and actions). It is God who decides when to reap the harvest (not me). The Lord, like many farmers, may well have undersown that crop with another different one, which will already be taking some of my time and effort. . . or my life may need ploughing and harrowing (to go through difficulties) to prepare for the next crop; or leaving fallow (having a rest from active service).
            It is the owner who decides how to use the ground - not the soil.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi. I want to clear up some things that I have read here that I think either I am misunderstanding or would be misunderstood by other people.

              Originally Posted by Mikeo
              The seed represents the gospel and the ground represents the heart of the person. The seed of the gospel is planted in our hearts and takes root if we are saved.

              Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

              Luk 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with patience.
              First, Mike makes the mistake of attempting to interpret Mark in terms of Luke. That would be like me using J.R.R. Tolkien's books to interpret the Chronicles of Narnia. Although both of these men lived at the same time, had similar religious views, and were friends, we cannot interpret one in light of the other. It is true that they may have both used similar stories, but they should be compared rather than used to help interpret one another.

              For instance, it is interesting that while Luke uses the term "word of God" Mark only uses the term "the word" (Mark 4:14). What is the significance of this change?

              Second, I want to make clear that when people like MikeyO used the word "saved" to describe a Christian, there is no such "saved" language in the text. It is beyond the realm of interpretation, and it appears that MikeyO's theology is interpreting the text for him.

              Originally Posted by RJ Mac
              It begins with the Parable of the sower, you can change your soil - if you make the word of God number one in your life.
              Again, it is interesting that Mac uses the Lucan gospel to interpret Mark's gospel. The technical term used in Mark is "the word" and not "word of God." Such a grave mistake can lead to very erroneous interpretations of the text.

              Second, Mac goes beyond the text to speak of "changing" soil. This seems to be him interpreting his American context (upward mobility/modern American gospel) to interpret the passage. If you read the text, the seeds fall where they will when they will from the hands of the farmer. The seeds have no chance to change their soil. They are born where they are born.

              Third, Mac says that we must "make the word of God number one in our lives." I am giving Mac the benefit of the doubt that he is not referring to the Bible, but if he is he is again wrong as the Bible was not canonized until 300 years after the book was written. If this text was authoritative in the early church, it was only authoritative insofar as it stood on its own. The word must refer to the gospel as it is the proclamation of the kingdom of God earlier in Mark.

              Originally posted by RJ Mac
              the soil is a man's heart

              Read the Luke passage again, and you will also see that you are wrong with this interpretation.


              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by VisionOfYou View Post
                Could anyone expound on this parable? I was just reading it today and, while I have some ideas on what it means, it occurred to me that I don't think I've ever heard/read anything on this particular passage.

                Mark 4:26-29:
                And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

                It is good to share our personal reading and study. This came into my daily reading this week and these verses i felt the need of my Matthew Henry commentary. So i have already looked up the meaning for myself. This was because i thought i understood, but i was only partly right.
                To start with the seed is sown. Basically it is lost beneath the earth. Nothing happens immediatly. Then it sprouts and produces. The same is true of the good news/ gospel. It is told to the world and the individual and often nothing happens. How sad we feel. But always God's Spirit is at work and produces fruit - often we don't know how, like how the seed sprouts.
                It is interesting to me that we have discussed on other topics who converts non believers and the answer is not us, or that great guy in the pulpit or on telly, it is God in their hearts. His word, his love, his victory.
                The commentary talks of the mustard seed, and the beginings of the worldwide church. Act 1:15 One hundred and twenty people only.
                While i agree with another poster that we must be careful in our study comparing different gospels and similar seed stories, it is never a bad thing to bare these stories in our minds. Jesus standing in the open, with great crowds in awe of him, looking over there heads perhaps to see men working in the fields, and shepherds, and all manner of every day activities and using them to explain complex mysteries of the kingdom.
                Sometimes study can be too deep, and seek to divide or exclude those not inclined or able to understand. Thank God/ Jesus that much was hidden from clever people and given to me on a plate in simple language!
                1 Corinthians 1:12-13 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

                Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptised in the name of Paul?

                KJV

                May the power of the Spirit of our God unite us. SofTy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Cold fire - I do not use Luke to interpret Luke but you did at the end of your post.

                  The seed is the Word of God, which you believe is different in Marks time than from today. You believe if the Bible says the 'word' it is referring to one thing and the 'word of God' it is referring to another thing. Love to hear the explanation of that.

                  The seeds fall where they will, we do not have to decide where we throw our seed, we just have to throw the seed. The parable is not to teach that people are set in stone and cannot change, I believe the parable shows different conditions of the heart. Oh yes we all want to believe we are the good soil, but what if you see yourself as the bad soil. The seed can change the soil, the Word of God can change your heart if you will let it.

                  Did the apostles have good soil, no. They also struggled but they stuck it out because they knew Jesus had the words of Life. They made mistakes, they struggled, like many of us in our early years walking with God, but we stuck it out because we knew if we didn't change, we wouldn't make it. So with God's help, our families help, the church's help, we pulled through or are still pulling through. But thankful nobody said - oh well bad soil, don't try, you can't change.

                  Working hard with a brother who came in from the streets, hooked on crack, married with child, its been a long 1 year of being sober but he made it, never quitting because he knows if he gives it his best God will do the same. Not willing to settle for loser, he strives to be a Christian and God rewards those who strive, Heb.11:6

                  Illustration - we are in a row boat going up river away from the waterfalls. You have one oar, God has the other oar. God can only pull as hard as you because if He pulls harder, we will go in circles. But God will match our efforts, He will never desert us, so pull hard, fight the good fight.

                  Eph.3:2o To Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us ...
                  Think big brethren, because God is your partner.

                  RJ

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Posted by RJ Mac
                    The seed is the Word of God, which you believe is different in Marks time than from today. You believe if the Bible says the 'word' it is referring to one thing and the 'word of God' it is referring to another thing. Love to hear the explanation of that.
                    All right we need to settle on our terms:
                    1) What do you mean by the "word of God?"
                    2) I don't think the connotation of "word of God" in Mark has changed from Mark's time until today, I think the connotation still means, "The gospel spoken that the kingdom of God is near." This is the "word" that Mark refers to, the coming of Jesus Christ.
                    3) When you refer to "the bible" you are really referring to 66 books, each of which has an interpretation of how we are to view the world and how we are to view God. I am saying that it is interesting that Mark uses "the word" while Luke uses "the word of God." We would have to study the theology of the two books to attempt to understand what the difference is. This is beyond the scope of this thread.

                    The seeds fall where they will, we do not have to decide where we throw our seed, we just have to throw the seed.
                    Who is the farmer in the parables?

                    Did the apostles have good soil, no.
                    I'm not sure where you pulled this from.



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lars777 View Post
                      And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29)



                      This is a secret of the kingdom of God, and to me it is one of the most encouraging of all the parables Jesus ever uttered. He is speaking of how this rule of God increases, how it grows in a life.

                      He explains it as a coming to harvest by a patient expectation that God will work. The key of this whole passage is, "...the seed grows, he knows not how.

                      The earth bears fruit of itself..." That is, there are forces at work which will be faithful to perform their work -- whether a man stews and frets about it or not.

                      He does what he can do, what is expected of him. But then God must work. And God will work. And in the confidence of that, this man rests secure.

                      As Jesus draws the picture, this farmer goes out to sow. It is hard work as he sows the field, but this is what he can do. But then he goes home and goes to bed.

                      He does not sit up all night biting his fingernails, wondering if the seed fell in the right places, or whether it will take root. Nor does he rise the next morning and go out and dig it up to see whether or not it has sprouted yet.

                      He rests secure in the fact that God is at work, that he has a part in this process, and he must do it; no one can do it for him. But he will faithfully perform it.

                      So the farmer rests secure, knowing that as the seed grows there are stages which are observable: "...first the blade, then the ear then the full grain in the ear."

                      It is only as the grain is ripe that he is called into action again. When the harvest is ready, then he is to act once more.

                      This is exactly what Paul describes for us in that passage in First Corinthians 3: "For we are laborers together with God:" (1 Corinthians 3:6a KJV). This is the way we ought to expect him to work.

                      It involves a witness first, perhaps a word of teaching or exhortation to someone -- or to ourselves. And then an inevitable process begins, one which takes time and patience, and allows God to work.

                      One of the most destructive forces at work in the church today is our insistent demand for instant results. We want to have immediate conversions, immediate responses, immediate dedications every time we speak.

                      We tend not to allow time for the Word to take root and grow and come to harvest. But our Lord is teaching us the great truth that we ought to.
                      Good Job! I love the way our Savior uses every day examples to teach us amazing truths. We really can't see how things grow but we do know our Father takes care of it. Sometimes we want to rush things or help things along when we should be just waiting, watching, and praying.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The farmer in all the parables varies according to the parable. I t could be a real man - ie rich farmer, it could refer to Christ sowing seed or it can refer to Christians sowing seed.

                        When one looks at the lack of faith the apostles had, one can see the growth for some of them over the 3 yr period. Some made it, some didn't, I guess they were examples of all the different soil conditions.

                        RJ

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mikey0
                          The seed represents the gospel and the ground represents the heart of the person. The seed of the gospel is planted in our hearts and takes root if we are saved.

                          Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

                          Luk 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with patience.
                          Yup. And the seeds put forth by the enemy within the heart are lust, confusion, doubt, self-condemnation, wrath, and any other thing that goes against sound doctrine, Love, and God's Word.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If any posters here get the time could they read Matthew 5: 22. & 5: 43-48. Lastly Matthew 5:13-16. If we are not helping eachother, we are hindering eachother. I tried to bring peace before and it has been ignored. If we want to grow like the seed then the 'blades' must be helped by those who consider themselves 'heads.' Or perhaps a 'full head of corn' may enter the debate and actually show us all how foolish we are!
                            1 Corinthians 1:12-13 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

                            Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptised in the name of Paul?

                            KJV

                            May the power of the Spirit of our God unite us. SofTy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you to everyone who shared their insights - you've brought up some good points that I hadn't thought of yet.

                              There seems to be some difference of opinion on the scope of the message in this and other parables, for example, is it speaking of a single person or the church in general. I think there can be more than one level of interpretation, and that this is intentional. I also think it's interesting that some parables begin with "the kingdom of God is like" and some just begin with the story. Do you think there's any significance to that? And if a parable begins with "the kingdom of God is like", would it then go on to describe one aspect of the kingdom or would it give an overall picture?
                              May the vision of You be the death of me.

                              Comment

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