Matthew 13:1-23

Talks for Growing Christians

The Parable of the Sower and its Interpretation

Matthew 13:1-23

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Lesson Number 32

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. There are different responses to the word of God from the human heart.
  2. There are different results from the word of God in the believer’s heart.

Practical Application

  1. Believing is seeing.


  1. What turning point occurred in Matthew 12?
  2. Are the predictions of the Lord’s earthly kingdom being fulfilled in the Church today?
  3. What form does the kingdom have right now?
  4. What does the seed represent in this parable? What about the four types of soil?


  1. Before Matthew 12, Jesus came to the Jews with a genuine offer of the kingdom. In Matthew 12, the Pharisees attributed Jesus’ miracles to the power of Satan. After this, the offer of the kingdom was withdrawn and the predicted earthly kingdom was postponed until the King’s second coming.
  2. No. The kingdom has been postponed, and all the prophecies will be literally fulfilled in the future, when the King returns. The kingdom promises are not being fulfilled through the Church in some spiritual way.
  3. The kingdom is presently in “mystery” form. It is a mystery in the sense that it was not revealed in the Old Testament. The present form of the kingdom was only revealed after the King and His kingdom were rejected by the Jews. All of the parables of Matthew 13 are about this present form of the kingdom.
  4. The seed represents the word of God. The four different soils represent four different conditions of the human heart and their responses to the word: The hard ground represents the hard-hearted person in whom there is no response to the word of God. The rocky ground represents the heart that responds to the word with joy. But this person is shallow; the word of God never takes root in them. When trouble or persecution arises this type of hearer fades away. Their absence is an indication that they never had true faith. The thorny ground represents the human heart that is so taken up with the ways of this world that the word of God never has a chance to take root in their soul. The word is choked away by other interests before there is true faith. The good soul represents the person whose heart is prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive the word in true faith. The word of God takes root and brings forth fruit in that person’s life.


  1. Recall when the word of God was sown in your heart. How did you respond? Realize that in some people the seed must be sown many times before it takes root. Refer to I Corinthians 3:6-7. When we share the good news of salvation with someone we are “planting a seed”. Later another believer may come along and water it. Ultimately it is God who causes the seed to grow. Think of the people who planted the seeds of salvation in your life. Be encouraged as you continue to sow seeds in others.
  2. Why do some Christians produce less spiritual fruit than other Christians? The same thorns that crowd out and choke the seed in the unbeliever’s life also hinder and limit the fruit in the believers’ life. Is your faith being choked out by the cares and desires of this world, the love of possessions, and the love of money? Ask God to weed these thorns out of your life so you can bear spiritual fruit for Him.


  1. Praise the Lord that He has given you “spiritual eyes” with which to see His truth. If you have believed on the Lord Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit lives within you and helps you understand spiritual truths.

Key Verses

  • “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” Matthew 13:16
  • “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces.” Matthew 13:23

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