Summary: To stress the importance of preparing your heart to receive the Word of God.

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The Gospel of Mark #11:

The Parable of the Sower and the Soils

Text: Mark 4:1-20

Thesis: To stress the importance of preparing your heart to receive the Word of God.


(1) Oftentimes, Jesus spoke in parables.

(a) “The Gospels record some sixty different parables of Jesus, most of which are found in Matthew and Luke, fewer in Mark, and none in John” (Edwards 127).

(b) It has been estimated that at least 1/3 of Jesus’ recorded teaching is found in the parables (Wiersbe, Windows on the Parables 15).

(c) A parable has been commonly defined as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

(d) The word “parable” means “a placing of one thing beside another with a view to comparison” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary).

(2) The purpose of His speaking in parables was two-fold (Mark 4:10-12):

(a) To reveal certain teachings to those on the inside

(b) To conceal certain teachings from those on the outside

1) The truth of the matter is that parables were always obscure.

2) “It was only after one had accepted a teacher and his message that the teaching given in a particular parable became understandable” (Schubert 56).

(3) In Mark 4:1-2, “the crowd was so great (some believe it was the greatest yet in his ministry) that Jesus was forced to preach from a fishing boat” (Hughes 1:103).

(4) From this boat, Jesus told the parable of the sower and the soils:


I. The Parable (vv. 3-9):

A. “The parable of the sower is framed at the beginning and end with a solemn call to attentive hearing. With this call Jesus involves his hearers in the situation he describes and leads them to form a judgment upon it” (Lane 153).

B. “The parable drew upon a rich agricultural image with which they were all familiar: a man with a seed bag tied to this waist, walking his field and rhythmically casting the seed” (Hughes 1:104).

C. In the parable, the sower cast his seed upon 4 different types of soil.

1. First, some seed fell “by the wayside.”

a. “The farmers’ fields in ancient Palestine were long, narrow, often serpentine strips divided by little paths which became beaten as hard as pavement by this feet, hooves, and wheels of those who used them. The seeds merely bounced on these paths or were swept back and forth by the wind” (Hughes 1:105).

b. As soon as the seed fell, birds took it away.

2. Second, some seed fell on stony ground.

a. “In Palestine much of the land is a thin 2- or 3-inch veneer of soil over a limestone bedrock. Here some of the seed falls, the warm sun quickly heats the seed in the shallow soil, and the seeds sprout in feverish growth. But then the sun beats down, the plant’s roots meet the bedrock, and it withers and dies” (Hughes 1:107).

b. The seed is not able to get enough root in order to grow properly.

3. Third, some seed fell “among thorns.”

a. The seed seems to be growing properly.

b. However, the roots of a thorn bush were far reaching in the Palestian soil, but it took some time for the thorns to grow out through the field.

c. Therefore, in time the thorns would stop the seed from any further growth.

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