Thursday, August 11, 2011

Luke's Version of the Parable of the Soils

The parable of the soils appears in all of the Synoptic Gospels, and it's well known. If you wish to brush up, read Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20 and Luke 8:4-15. There is some structure in the story, where each subsequent soil is a bit closer to fully accepting God's Word, the gospel.

SoilReceives WordGrowthConclusionScripture
PathWithout UnderstandingNo ChanceNo Belief, Not SavedMatthew 13:19
RockyWith JoyEndures for a whileFalls AwayMatthew 13:20-21
ThornyHears ItUnfruitfullyChoked by worldly concernsMatthew 13:22
GoodHears It and UnderstandsBears FruitEndurance, SavedMatthew 13:23

Something about the way Luke phrases Jesus' explanation of the thorny soil stood out.
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. (Luke 8:14 ESV)
This third soil, the one with the thorns actually becomes a mature looking plant, but because of the thorns, it cannot bear fruit. Matthew and Mark phrase it as the plant being unfruitful, but Luke shows that there is an expectation of fruit that never blooms. The riches of the world are a devious deception, for you can appear to be a mature christian, but because of worldly cares, the fruit never blossoms, and in the end it's found out that the plant was not really the right kind of plant (James 3:12)--that person is not saved.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24 ESV)
Luke also phrases the explanation of the good soil differently from Matthew and Mark, and it would be a fruitful exercise to investigate those differences as well.

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