The mission of the Messiah, 1:5-9:50

5. The dawning of the kingdom in the words of Messiah, 8:1-56

i] Sowing the seed


In the passage before us, Luke records the parable of the sower, more rightly called the parable of the soils. Luke also records Jesus' explanation of the parable and three independent sayings which reinforce its message.


The parable of the sower teaches a simple truth; we must take care how we hear the Word of God. It is all too easy to approach the Word of God distracted, even uninterested. We must approach the Word of God in the right frame of mind, holding it fast, persevering with it; we must hear in faith, or as imaged in the parable, be good soil.


i] Context: See 1:5-25. Chapters 8 and 9 are often viewed as the conclusion of Jesus' Galilean mission (4:14-9:50), during which he travels around the countryside. Jesus is certainly on the move, but Luke is really not into recording the life of Jesus the tourist. Luke's focus is theological, not geographical. In the six episodes which make up The dawning of the kingdom in the words of Messiah, 8:1-56, Luke's focus is on the meaning of the kingdom message. As Ellis puts it, "the new creation, like the old, comes into being by a word. Jesus speaks to the wind, the demons, the dead - and they obey!" This powerful word carries with it the promise that "the kingdom will deliver men from death and evil and even restore to nature its intended order." Yet, to access the promised blessings of the kingdom it is necessary to hear in faith, for only by this means can a person enter the kingdom. For most, the response is fear and amazement leading to unbelief, but some discover that "faith is the response through which the benefits of the kingdom are given."

Taking central place in these six episodes is the parable of the sower / seeds / soils. Luke has told us that Jesus is preaching and proclaiming the important news of [the coming of] the kingdom of God. As a crowd gathers, he communicates a "parable" to them, ie. Luke relates this parable as an example of Jesus' preaching to those who have responded to the gospel. In the following episodes Luke continues with the theme introduced in the parable of the sower / soils, namely "responsive hearing", Danker - "the importance of hearing the word of God aright", Marshall. This "responsive hearing", or as Luke puts it hearing and doing / putting into practice (just "doing" in Mk.) entails responding to the word of God in faith, so Marshall.


ii] Structure: This passage, The parable of the sower / soils, presents as follows:

Summary of Jesus' ministry of proclamation, v1-3;

The parable of the soils, v4-8;

Jesus explains why he uses kingdom parables / riddles, v9-10;

Explanation of the parable of the soils, v11-15;

Sayings, v16-18:

Truth will out, v16-17:

"no one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar ....."

"there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed ......"

Take care how you hear, v18:

"to the one who has, more will be given, but for the one who does not have .........."


iv] Interpretation:

In the Parable of the Sower / Seeds / Soils, Luke reminds us that although the kingdom of God breaks into our world through the preaching of the gospel, the preached word does not automatically guarantee membership. In fact, membership of the kingdom of God depends on a right-hearing of the word of God and a holding fast to it, a persevering in it. So, in v1-3 Luke records the preaching mission of Jesus and his disciples. Then, as those who respond to his preaching gather together, he relates the parable of the sower, or better, the parable of the four soils, v4-8. Then follows an explanation as to why Jesus often preaches in kingdom parables / riddles, v9-10, then an explanation of the parable itself, v11-15, and finally a warning to "take heed how you hear" - Be good soil, v16-18.


The parable of the soils: The intended teaching of the parable of the sower / soils is a matter of some debate:

• "That the preaching of the word of God will, with patience, produce a harvest of hearers", Evans, "an extravagant fruitfulness", Nolland, so also Jeremias (a triumphant eschatological harvest), Fitzmyer, Bovon;

• "The parable is concerned with the way in which men hear the Word of God", Marshall, and "the variety of responses" to it, Bock, with a focus on "the quality of one's hearing", Green, so also Stein, Johnson;

• Given the space allocated to the first three soils, the parable concerns rejection and judgment of unbelief within the frame of remnant theology, so Ellis.

There is a sense where the parable of the sower unlocks the mystery of the coming kingdom. The word of God / the gospel is proclaimed; some see, but some remain blind to the message. Yet v16-18 remind us that what is hidden will be revealed; the word is for proclamation, so take care how you hear. The parable asks the question of those who have responded to the gospel, in which soil do you find imaged your own engagement with the renewal set off by Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God? For Luke, the parable calls for the right-hearing of the Word of God / the gospel. "Take care how you hear", hold tightly to the Word and persevere in it, ie. hear in faith. "Hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance", v15. So, the message of the parable is simple: Take care, be good soil.


Is the parable of the soils / sower a teaching or kingdom parable? We can usually classify parables into two groups: a) teaching parables - illustrations with a clearly stated application, and b) kingdom parables - a gospel presentation in riddle form. Kingdom parables are usually introduced with the formula: "the kingdom of God/heaven may be compared to the situation where ...." Kingdom parables may be complex in the telling, but usually make a single point - the kingdom of God is at hand, ie. they are not allegories. Of Jesus' parables, a small group function allegorically where each element of the story corresponds to another element in the interpretation / application of the story.

So, how do we classify the parable of the sower? It has all the hallmarks of a kingdom parable, a gospel riddle, but without the introductory formula, cf. v4, 8. When it comes to Jesus' explanation of the parable, he treats it as if a teaching parable, an illustration instructive of truth (Note that unlike Mark, Luke does not state that the explanation of the parable is done in secret. Luke implies that the crowd is still present). The parable simply illustrates the different responses we can expect from people confronted by the gospel. In that sense we are prompted to ask, which soil am I?


Why does Jesus preach "in [kingdom] parables so that seeing they may not see? Luke is faithful to the gospel tradition in recording "why" Jesus speaks in parables, although he virtually turns it into a parenthetical comment, an observation about Jesus' preaching method in general, rather than a specific comment about the parable of the sower. Luke has the disciples ask "what", not "why"; he makes no mention of Jesus moving off to speak to the disciples privately, as noted in Mark; he drastically edits Jesus' reasoning down to one sentence; and he downplays the issue of the secretive nature of kingdom mysteries (singular in Mark = gospel??).

For Luke, the parable of the sower is primarily a teaching parable and not a kingdom parable; it does not encapsulate the hidden mystery of the coming kingdom. The evidence is that Jesus did initially preach the gospel openly; "the good news of the kingdom", 4:43. As rejection set in, Jesus' preaching became more parabolic. He still preached "the good news of the kingdom", but it was in the form of gospel riddles / kingdom parables. A people who fail to rightly hear a clear word from God will inevitably be given an unclear word, a riddle, a sign of judgment on a people who ignore divine revelation. Still, we should note that Luke emphasizes the fact that the seeker, confronted by the riddle, can still come to Jesus and be "given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God" - God still reveals his mysteries to those who respect him, Ps.25:14, Prov.3:32.

Irrespective of whether Jesus preached the gospel as a straightforward message or in the form of a riddle / kingdom parable, the parable of sower / soils applies to both forms of gospel message - there is a variety of responses. Which soil are you?


Take heed how you hear! The conjoined sayings in v16-18. Luke, as with Mark, adds three independent conjoined sayings to the parable of the sower / soils and its explanation which serve to reinforce the point being made by the parable. Luke uses the sayings elsewhere, 11:33, 12:2, and 19:26, which sayings seem to share their source with Matthew. The first saying, in the form of a proverb, "a piece of general wisdom", Evans, is exegeted by the second, both making the point that all will be manifested - truth will out. This is obviously so of God's revealed truth, the gospel. The third saying summarizes and applies the whole teaching unit: take heed how you hear, or in the terms of the parable of the sower be good soil. "Hearing aright will lead to receiving more from God, but failure to hear will mean losing what one already has", Bock - an abundant harvest, or nothing.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 8:1

The right-hearing of the word of God: i] "At this point Luke briefly summarized Jesus' ministry of proclaiming the good news of God's kingdom and ministry of healing", Stein, v1-3. Luke tells us that Jesus is now fully involved in gospel ministry, going from village to village proclaiming the news that the day of God's eternal reign is at hand. Jesus' disciples are assisting him in this ministry, and Luke makes particular note of three female disciples.

kai egeneto en tw/ kaqexhV "after this" - and it happened in the subsequent time / afterwards. Temporal prepositional phrase.

autoV "Jesus" - he. Emphatic position.

diwdeuen (diodeuw) imperf. "traveled" - was passing through. This durative imperfect functions as the main verb of a single sentence consisting of v1-3.

kata + acc. "from [one town and village to another]" - from [town and village]. This preposition here takes a distributive sense, cf. BAGD 406; "from village to village"; "city by city, village by village", Rieu.

khrusswn (khrussw) pres. part. "proclaiming" - preaching. As with the participle "proclaiming", this participle is modal expressing the manner in which the action of the main verb "was passing through" is accomplished. As is often the case the verb euaggelizomai is translated as "to preach good news". The verb simply means "to communicate an important message" which of course in the case of the gospel is only "good news" to those who accept it.

tou qeou (oV) "[the kingdom] of God" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, although verbal, subjective, is a possible classification where "kingdom" takes the verbal sense, "reign". The gospel message concerns the kingdom of God "at hand", about to be realized/inaugurated. The "at hand" virtually means "upon you", ie. the moment is now for the establishment of God's promised eternal reign, a reign which brings with it both blessing and cursing. So, now is the time to repent.

sun + dat. "with [him]" - Expressing association.


gunaikeV (gunh aikoV) "[some] women" - Luke makes a point of recording Jesus' ministry to women, a ministry which was radically different to that of the male orientated rabbis of the time.

h\san teqerapeumenai (qerapeuw) perf. pas. part. "[who] had been cured [of]" - [who] were having been healed [from]. A periphrastic pluperfect construction, possibly emphasizing durative aspect, they were healed/released and remained healthy; "had been cured of evil spirits and illnesses", Barclay.

apo + gen. "of [evil spirits]" - Expressing separation; "away from."

hJ kaloumenh (kalew) pres. pas. part. "called [Magdalene]" - the one being called. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Mary", "who was called Magdalene" = "Mary from/of Magdala". The "of Magdala" serves to identify her, given that there are a number of Marys referred to in the gospels. She is given a prominent position in the gospel tradition and according to John, was the first person to meet with Jesus after his resurrection.

daimonia eJpta "seven demons" - The "seven" indicates "the severity of the possession", Fitzmyer.


Iwanna "Joanna" - Clearly as the wife of the manager over the household of Herod Antipas she is a person of means and so is able to financially support Jesus' missionary team.

Couza (aV a) gen. "of Chuza" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. He is unknown.

epitropou (oV) gen. "the manager" - of the steward. Probably best taken as adjectival, attributive, limiting by describing "Chuza"; "who was the manager." The sense of "steward" is unclear, but probably means that Chuza was the administrator of Herod's estate.

Hrwdou (oV) gen. "of Herod's household" - of Herod. The genitive is adjectival, of subordination. Obviously not Herod himself, but as NIV, his household.

Sousanna "Susanna" - The only reference of her in the NT, but obviously known to Luke.

autoiV dat. pro. "[were helping to support] them" - [were providing] them. Probably a dative of direct object, but possibly interest, advantage; "were providing for them."

twn uJparcontwn (uJparcw) pres. part. "[out of their own] means" - [from] the things being possessed [to them]. The dative pronoun autaiV, "to them", responds to the verbal sense of the participle "having at ones disposal to give to them". Culy classifies this as a possessive dative, but dative of interest, advantage, would be better. The participle itself functions as a substantive. "Who used their private means to provide for the needs of Jesus and his comrades", Barclay.


ii] The parable of the soils, v4-8. Take care, be good soil. Quite a few people have responded to Jesus' gospel preaching and have now joined together to hear more of what Jesus has to say. So, Jesus tells them a story. The story concerns a Palestinian farmer who, following the usual practice, clears his allotment, tills the soil, sows the seed and awaits the harvest. Only the seed that falls on the good soil bears a fruitful harvest, the rest is lost, trampled on, dried out, or choked by weeds.

suniontoV (suneimu) gen. pres. part. "while [a large crowd] was gathering" - gathering together, coming together. A genitive absolute participle forming a temporal clause, as NIV. "One day, when a large crowd was gathering", Rieu.

twn .... epiporeuomenwn (epiporeuomai) gen. pres. part. "[and people] were coming" - going to, making a way to, journeying to. The participle is again a genitive absolute conjoined to the opening phrase by kai "and", and as such is temporal. The gathering is the consequence of Jesus mission recorded in v1. Jesus has preached the gospel, town after town, and now those who have responded have come out to a central place (unidentified) for further instruction.

kata + acc. "from town after town" - according to [town]. The preposition here is distributive, as in v1; "from every town", Rieu, or "town after town", Moffatt, as NIV.

dia + gen. "[he told them] this [parable]" - [he spoke] through / by means of [a parable]. Instrumental, expressing means. Luke changes Mark's "he was teaching them many things with/in parables" to indicate that only one parable is in mind, namely the sower. The sower may be a representative example, "he spoke such a parable as this to them", Fitzmyer, or the particular parable for this particular occasion. "Luke concentrated his readers' attention on this particular parable and the need to pay attention to how they heard Jesus' teachings", Stein. "he addressed them in a parable", Moffatt.


oJ speirwn (speirw) pres. part. "a farmer [went out]" - the one sowing. The participle functions as a substantive. Jesus is not suggesting that he is the one sowing - the Word is sown by whoever, even by God.

tou speirai (speirw) gen. aor. inf. "to sow" - The genitive articular infinitive forms a purpose clause, "in order to sow."

en tw/ speirein (speirw) dat. pres. inf. "as he was scattering [the seed]" - This preposition with the dative articular infinitive forms a temporal clause, as NIV; "Now while he was engaged in the task of sowing", Cassirer.

o} men "some [fell along the path]" - The usual men ....... de used for an adversative comparative construction is reflected in this series of contrasting clauses introduced by o} men "some" ...., v5, kai e{teron "some [fell on rock]", v6, ..... kai e{teron "other [seed fell among thorns]", v7, ..... kai e{teron "still other [seed fell on good soil]", v8.

para + acc. "along [the path]" - beside [the way]. Spacial. Obviously of seed sown on a pathway where it is trampled and exposed. The normal Palestinian practice was to clear a fallow block, sow the seed and then plow. The exposed seed falls in an unplowed area.

tou ouranou (oV) "[the birds ate it up]" - [the birds] of heaven [devoured it]. The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin.


epi + acc. "[some fell] on" - Spacial; "upon".

thn petran "rock / rocky ground" - Mark's "rocky places" implies shallow soil. Luke may be expressing the same idea. As he explains with dia, "because", the land is devoid of moisture.

fuen (fuw) aor. pas. part. "when it came up" - having grown, come up. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.

dia to + inf. "because it did [not] have" - This construction forms a causal clause, as NIV.


en + dat. "among" - in. Expressing space / sphere.

twn akanqwn (a) gen. "thorns" - [in the middle] of thorns. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

sumfueisai (sumfuw) aor. pas. part. "which grew up" - having grown up with [the thorns chocked it]. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal; "as / when the thorn bushes grew up, they choked the sprouting seed."


thn ghn thn agaqhn "the good soil" - The articles are generic, cf. Canon of Apollonius, "fell on/into good soil." The good soil is the soil that receives the seed and in which it flourishes. So the point of the parable, be good soil! = Don't be a person who, having responded to the gospel, then loses interest, or allows the cares of the world to choke their faith, but rather persevere in faith.

fuen (fuw) aor. pas. part. "[it] came up" - growing up. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "it made / produced".

ekatontaplasiona adj. "a hundred times more than was sown" - an hundredfold. the adjective functions as a noun. Note Luke's thirty, sixty, hundred. The hundredfold is not so substantial to demand an eschatological interpretation, but does indicate the fertility of the ground. Luke may have dropped the thirty / sixty for the sake of brevity, but the fertility of the good ground is central to the point he is making in this passage.

legwn (legw) pres. part. "when he said [this]" - saying [these things]. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV.

oJ ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "he who has [ears]" - the one having. The participle functions as a substantive.

akouein (akouw) pres. inf. "to hear" - The infinitive is adverbial, expressing purpose, "in order to hear."

akouetw (akouw) pres. imp. "let him hear" - hear. This command emphasizes the need to take careful note of the teaching encapsulated in the parable and to respond accordingly. "Are you listening to this? Really listening?", Peterson.


iii] Jesus explains why he now preaches the gospel in kingdom parables / riddles, v9-10. Luke records a general comment on Jesus' use of parables, in particular, those in the form of a riddle. When Jesus first preached the gospel he spoke openly of the coming kingdom, but because people rejected the message, as a sign of judgment, he began to proclaim the gospel in riddles, parables which begin with the phrase "the kingdom of God / heaven is like ...."

The sense of the disciples' question (v9) in Mark is unclear. In Matthew they ask Jesus why he speaks in parables, presumably kingdom parables, but here in Luke the disciples ask tiV, "what", auth, "this", parable means, presumably the parable of the sower / soils. In Luke we are best to take v10 as parenthetical. So, Jesus explains why he speaks in riddles / kingdom parables before answering the disciples question, explaining what the parable of the sower / seeds / soils means.

ephrwtwn (ephrwtaw) imperf. "[his disciples] asked [him]" - The use of a durative imperfect is rather unexpected here. Culy suggests that its use indicates that Luke intends us to read v9-10 as background information. Jesus' use of parables in general serves to present the gospel with a judgmental edge to those whose ears have grown dull. This does not specifically apply to the parable of the sower since it is a teaching parable / an illustration for teaching purposes.

ei[h (eimi) "[what this parable] meant" - [what this parable] was. The meaning of the parable is surely the intention of the question.


gnwnai (ginwskw) aor. inf. "the knowledge" - to know. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb dedotai, "has been granted."

ta musthria (on) "the secrets" - the mysteries. A "mystery" is a truth hidden, now revealed.

thV basileiaV (a) "of the kingdom [of God]" - The genitive is adverbial, expressing reference / respect; "the hidden truths concerning the kingdom of God".

dedotai (didwmi) perf. pas. "has been given" - had been granted. "You ... have received the privilege of knowing ...", Barclay.

uJmin "to you" - Dative of indirect object. Is that "to you disciples" or the wider "to you who have responded to the gospel and come to hear me today"? In Mark's account it would be the first option, but Luke may well be opting for the wider audience. Note Luke's generalized toiV ... loipoiV "to others / the ones remaining", as compared with Mark's "to those who are outside". So, Luke's perspective is that the truth of the riddle (the kingdom of God is at hand) is not hidden from those who seek to solve it, although it does require right hearing, a holding fast to / faith in the kingdom message. "To/for the others / the rest" God's revelation remains a riddle and thus their life is devoid of eternal hope.

de "but" - but, and. Here adversative.

toiV loipoiV dat. adj. "to others" - to/for the others, rest, the ones remaining. The adjective serves as a substantive, while the dative is adverbial, reference / respect; "but with respect to other people."

en + dat. "I speak in [parables]" - in parables. Here instrumental; "with / by parables." This construction possibly takes on adjectival force; "like a riddle", cf. Jeremias. The ellipsis here is handled in numerous ways, usually reflecting whether the following hina clause is taken either as expressing purpose or result. Given the statement that "knowledge (dedontai perf. pas.) has been given (theological passive??) to you", it is possible that "parables have been given to others." Yet, the point does seem obvious enough; those who don't seek answers to riddles are just left with riddles. "The mysteries of the kingdom of God have been revealed to seekers, but the rest are left with riddles."

iJna + subj. "though [ ..... may not understand]" - This construction usually forms a purpose clause, but sometimes a consecutive clause expressing result. Commentators are divided: eg. a final clause = Fitzmyer, Bock, Evans; consecutive clause = Danker, Stein, Moule (cf. Matt.13:13, oJti, "because"); even possibly recitative / a dependent statement, introducing a quote, "so that the Scripture is fulfilled which says that .....", Marshall, Nolland. We should have no fear of the divine will in such a matter, nor should we fear demeaning the divine will by arguing for result. Either way, the clause, alluding to Isaiah 6:9-10, refers to the last days when many will be left with riddles instead of truth. "That the scriptures might be fulfilled of this generation in that they think they see, but don't see the truth; in that they think they hear, but don't understand the truth."

bleponteV (blepw) pres. part. "though seeing" - seeing. As with akouonteV, "hearing", the participle is adverbial, concessive; "although they see, they may not see", Barclay.


iv] An explanation of the parable of the soils, v11-15. The parable of the sower is not a riddle, it's just a simple allegory and Jesus now explains its meaning. The seed is the Word of God, in particular the gospel, and as seed responds to different soils, so the Word of God responds to different frames of mind. The Word doesn't even touch the uninterested person, nor take root in the flighty person, or the distracted person. The Word only takes root in the person who grabs hold of it and keeps on wrestling with it. No wonder Jesus ended the parable by asking "Are you listening to this, really listening?" So, Jesus makes the point that the gospel only flourishes with right-hearing, a hearing that holds fast and perseveres in faith.

de "-" - but, and. Probably just transitional here; for us, introducing a new paragraph.

estin (eimi) "[this] is the meaning of [the parable]" - [this] is [the parable]. "Meaning", NIV, paraphrases the verb to-be, with auJth, "this", taking a predicative position, "the parable means this", Marshall.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[the word] of God" - The genitive is unresolved: adjectival, possessive, "God's word"; ablative, source/origin, "the word from God"; verbal, subjective, "the word declared by God."


oiJ "those" - "The seed."

para + acc. "along [the path]" - Spacial; "by, alongside, near", but sometimes "on", so "along" as NIV. Still, the land beside the parthway is not plowed and it may be this hard uncultivated land that is in mind, so "beside the path / road." As Culy notes the verb pesonteV, "sown", is implied.

eisin (eimi) pres. "are" - "Mean / signify / represent", as above.

oiJ akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "the ones who hear" - The participle functions as a substantive.

ei\ta "then" - then, next.

apo + gen. "from [their hearts]" - Expressing separation; "away from." Evil / "the devil" sees that "there is no attraction to the message or reflection on it", Bock. As a young adult our youth fellowship attended the evening service. Our preacher at St. Phillips Eastwood was Allan Funnel. He was an above average preacher. During the sermon, a spot light was focused on the preacher and the church lights dimmed. One of my mates, at that point, would always close his eyes and go to sleep. Snoozing beside the way does not help ground faith and so ensure salvation.

iJna mh + subj. "so that [they may] not [.... be saved]" - that not. Forming a final clause expressing purpose; "Satan takes the seed way in order that they may not believe and be saved." The clause, not found in Mark, may be Luke's reference to Isaiah 6:10. "For fear they might believe and find salvation", Fitzmyer.

pisteusanteV (pisteuw) aor. part. "believe" - having believed. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "they may be saved." The aorist is punctiliar here, whereas in v13 pisteuousin is a present, durative. When it comes to the Word, some don't get past first base, others get into the Word a bit, but in the end it is only those who "hold fast" who "endure".


eisin (eimi) "[Those on rocky ground] are" - The verb to-be is assumed with oiJ ... epi thV petraV serving as its subject, so Nolland, as NIV; "[now] the ones / those upon the rock are/represent ......"

meta + gen. "with [joy]" - Here adverbial, expressing manner.

o{tan + subj. "when [they hear it]" - when [they hear with joy they receive the word]. Forming an indefinite temporal clause, "whenever", although here more definite, "when", as NIV.

kai "but [they have no root]" - and. Here adversative, marking "an additional classification", Culy.

proV kairon "[they believe] for awhile" - for a time [believe]. Temporal. As noted above "believe" takes a durative present.

en + dat. "in [time]" - Temporal use of the preposition.

peirasmou (oV) " of testing" - testing, temptation. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, "a testing time." The warning concerns the danger of "a shallow faith that cannot survive the pressure of persecution", Bock; "when they are involved in any situation which puts their faith to the test, they quit", Barclay.


to .... peson (piptw) aor. part. "[the seed] that fell" - [the one] having fallen. The participle serves as a substantive; "that which fell among the thorns", AV.

eiV + acc. "among [thorns]" - into [the thorns]. Spacial; distributive, as NIV.

eisin (eimi) pres. "stands for" - [these] are. Again "these represent."

oiJ akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "those who hear" - the ones having heard. The participle serves as a substantive.

kai "but" - Again best treated here as adversative.

poreuomenoi (poreuomai) pres. part. "as they go" - going, journeying. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV. "As they go about their lives", Peterson.

sumpnigontai (sumpnignw) pres. "they are choked" - Here Jesus warns his new disciples of the danger of having their faith-response to the gospel crowded out by the busyness of life; "like people who .... become completely taken over by problems, wanting to look good to others, driven to have more and more things, and the so-called good life", Junkins.

upo + gen. "by" - Here expressing agency; "by", as NIV.

tou biou (oV) gen. "life's [worries, riches and pleasures]. The genitive may be adjectival, possessive, as NIV, "the pleasures that belong to life", or possibly ablative, source/origin, "the pleasures sourced from life." Although tou biou stands with hJdonwn, "pleasure", it is likely limiting all three nouns, "worries, riches and pleasures."

ou telesforousin (telesforew) pres. "they do not mature" - they are suffocated. Suffocated by "the charms of life", Johnson; "there is a start in faith but no perseverance", Stein.


de "but" - but, and. Possibly adversative, as NIV, or transitional, "as for that in the good soil", ESV.

en + dat. "in [the good soil]" - Expressing space/sphere; locative. Again a possible ellipsis exists; "sown in good soil."

eisin (eimi) "stands for" - are. "[These] represent".

oi{tineV pro. "those" - those who.

en kardia/ kalh/ kai agaqh/ "with a noble and good heart" - in a noble/generous and good heart. The preposition en is either instrumental, "with / by", or modal, expressing manner, "with". We have here Hebrew and Greek qualities descriptive of a person with integrity and thus of a person who is responsive to the Word of God as good soil is responsive to seed. It is very unlikely that this integrity is ethical, even though in common use ethical goodness is in mind. This is surely the integrity of self-awareness, an openness which honestly faces the full weight of the Word of God. The responsiveness of such integrity entails "hearing / listening / paying attention" to the Word, "holding closely / retaining / protecting" the Word, and "persevering / bearing up under pressure" in the Word, thus producing fruit. In simple terms, hearing with faith.

akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "hear [the word]" - having heard. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "retain", as NIV, but possibly adverbial, temporal, "they are those who, when they hear the word, hold it fast ..."

en uJpomonh/ (h) "by persevering" - in persistence. The preposition en is adverbial, modal, expressing manner; "with patience", although possibly instrumental; "they yield a crop through their persistence", Fitzmyer. Expressing "clinging to God's hope in the midst of religious pressure and worldly distraction", Bock.


v] Sayings, v16-18: Luke now records three independent sayings of Jesus. The first two make the point that truth will out. Of course, this is obviously true of divine revelation; The gospel cannot be muzzled. The third saying, v18, provides the punch line. Although God's Word is manifest in his world, a disciple still has to be careful in what frame of mind they listen. If we hear with faith, then everything is ours, if we just listen, then everything is lost. Beware! Only good soil is productive.

de "-" - but, and. Transitional, indicating the next unit of teaching - for us indicating a new paragraph.

aJyaV (aJptw) aor. part. "lights [a lamp]" - having touched = lit. The participle is adverbial, temporal, "no one, after lighting a lamp, covers it."

skeuei (oV) dat. "in a clay jar" - in a vessel. The dative is locative, as NIV.

uJpakatw + gen. "[puts it] under [a bed]" - under, beneath [a bed].

alla "instead" - but. Adversative.

epi + gen. "on [a stand]" - upon [a lampstand]. Spacial; "upon, on."

iJna + subj. "so that [.... can see the light]" - that [.... may see the light]. As already noted, this construction usually forms a purpose clause, "in order that", but result, "with the result that" or hypothetical result "so that", as NIV, is just as likely. The saying is often interpreted as if an exhortation to evangelistic enterprise - the disciple, having been enlightened, is bound to shine: i] ethically ii] evangelistically, cf. Stein, Nolland ("those who make the right response to the word of God ..... shine as revealing lights as they live out the content of the word they have heard"). Such an interpretation seems unlikely; see above.

oiJ eisporeuomenoi (eisporeuomai) pres. part. "those who come in [can see the light]" - the ones entering [may see the light]. The participle serves as a substantive.


gar "for" - Here simply a stitching device, although the saying does serve as a commentary on v16. The saying is reinforcing the point that truth will out and this is certainly so when it comes to divine revelation. Our responsibility, when it comes to the Word of God, is to hear it right and respond accordingly in faith, cf. v18.

faneron adj. "[that will not be] disclosed" - [which will not become] evident, plain, known. Predicate adjective. Later, "brought out into the open", this adjective serves as a substantive.

ou mh gnwsqh/ (ginwskw) aor. pas. subj. "will not be known" - by no means be made known. As with elqh/ "may come [to light]", a subjunctive of emphatic negation. "There is ..... nothing kept secret which will not become known and be brought to light", Cassirer.


oun "therefore" - Drawing a logical conclusion.

pwV "[consider carefully] how you listen]" - [see] how [you hear]. This particle is used here to introduce an object clause / dependent statement, expressing something about what is said, rather than what is said, "How you hear" is certainly more understandable than Mark's "what you hear". Here then, in a nutshell, is the teaching of v1-18, "hear aright" = "be good soil." "Be careful in what frame of mind you listen [to God's word]", Rieu.

gar "-" - for. Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why a disciple should be careful how they hear the word; "for to the man who already has, more will be given, kai but ....", Barclay.

o}V an + subj. "whoever" - whosoever. Forming an indefinite relative conditional clause, 3rd class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "whoever, as the case may be, ..... then ......"

ech/ (ecw) pres. subj. "has" - has [it will be given to him]. This saying precisely exegetes the parable. The good soil produces the bountiful harvest; the bad soils produce nothing, even the sown seed is lost. A hearing of God's Word with faith produces an eternal harvest, a superficial hearing without faith loses life itself. Anyone who strives to rest on Jesus' words, even though troubled by questions and doubts, will begin to experience the life-changing realities of a relationship with God, while the person who makes the right noises but really isn't bothered by it all, will lose even what they think they have.

autw/ dat. pro. "[will be given more]" - [then it will be given] to him. Dative of indirect object.

kai "even [what they think they have]" - and [what he seems to have]. Ascensive, "even", as NIV

ap (apo) + gen. "from [them]" - Expressing separation; "away from."


Luke Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]