Paper on Parables
1. The Parable of the Sower
September 28, 2001
The Parable of the Sower is one of seven parables in Matthew, chapter thirteen that was from familiar ideas and sources, and natural to men. (Broadus, 285) It was normal to see a farmer sowing grain in Galilee. The “truth” is this parable was designed to teach. The varied types of soil are the emphasis in this parable, rather than that of “the sowing of the seed (“word,” v.19) of the kingdom.” “Jesus called it ‘the parable of the sower’ because it was a sower who inspired the lesson.” (Hobbs, 164) The sower is a Christian teacher or Christ, “but not a prominent figure in the parable.” The seed stands for “Christian truth, ‘the word of the kingdom’, or ‘word of God,’ because when implanted in the heart and conscience, it grows, develops, and brings forth spiritual fruit. (Dummelow, 672)
In Chapter 13 of Matthew, verse three, Jesus started telling the parables, the first being the parable of the sower. The expression, “A Sower,” shows this is not given as an actual, particular occurrence. (Broadus, 285; Criswell, 74) Hobbs, however thinks differently stating, “‘the sower’, not just ‘a sower’ or any sower, meaning the scene probably unfolded before their very eyes.” Jesus then tells how the grain would fall upon the various kinds of soil. It scattered on the hard footpaths where it had no chance to take root, on the thin soil above the limestone rock, in the soil with the thorny roots, and some in the rich soil, which was free from such. The birds ate the seeds that lie exposed on the hard footpaths. (B, 285; C, 74; D, 672; H, 165) “Here the soil had different capacities, but each yielded a good harvest according to its ability.” (Hobbs, 165) “The point of the whole story is that the same seed produced no wheat, little wheat or much wheat, all according to the character and preparation of the soil.” (Broadus, 286) Criswell and Dummelow both agree the seeds are representing people’s faith. The different harvests are the different faiths. “There are those who receive the truth in the same way as the seed that falls on stony places. It grows for a awhile, then dies. There are those who start gloriously, who spring up at once, but then as quickly disappear.” (Criswell, 74) “The seed falling by the wayside” is an example of those that give their attention to business matters and worldly affairs rather than to spiritual truth. The seed in the thin, rocky soil represent those who were really religious and have it in them to believe, but the tire, and fall away. The seed in the thorns show the people who could surely “develop the highest spiritual gifts, but who fail because they deliberately attempt to serve two masters, God and mammon, which is impossible.” (Dummelow, 672) The soil that bears fruit shows the people who believe in Jesus and his messages, and “the people who bear fruit unto God.” (Criswell, 74; Dummelow, 673) “According to Matthew 13:38, the converted soul becomes himself a Word, a seed of the Kingdom. This is the method of Christ’s work, sowing the seed of the Kingdom in the society and age in which we live.”(Criswell, 74) “The story was meant to convey spiritual instruction, and not all were likely to understand it.” (Broadus, 286) Broadus, Criswell, Dummelow, and Hobbs all believe in that as an explanation to the last verse number nine.
I feel that the authors were correct in their analysis that Jesus was telling the parable to teach a lesson. I feel that they should’ve spent more time explaining the lesson being taught, instead of talking about the seeds representing a person’s faith. I disagree with the authors that explained how each type of soil represented types of people and how they acted faithfully.
The parable of the lost coin is in the Gospel of Luke, chapter fifteen, verses eight through ten. This parable comes right after the parable of the lost sheep and “the point is that God takes special delight in the restoration of the sinner who has been lost from his People.” (Nolland, 776) It sets forth the work of the Church in seeking and reclaiming the lost. (Dummelow, 758) This parable and the one before it show that “God’s love seeks the lost and rejoices at their redemption.” (Laymon, 694)
In verse eight, Jesus describes a woman who has ten silver coins, also known as drachmas. A drachma was the wage of a laborer for a whole day of hard work. The amount of coins she has shows that she must have been saving for almost a month. She loses one of them, turns on a lamp, and sweeps the house looking for it. (Clarke, 457; Clifton, 124; D, 758; Laymon, 694; Lenski, 804; N, 776) Dummelow and Lenski say that the woman is a symbol of the church, and the drachmas are the human souls that she keeps. “The lost piece is a soul that has fallen from grace through her negligence.” The lamp is showing her lighting a candle to exercise the ministry of the Word. “This brings back her lost soul to a state of grace.” (Dummelow, 758) However, Clarke says the drachma was a symbol of a sinner who has drifted away from God, “and enslaved to habits of iniquity. The lamp represents a lantern to her steps in finding and receiving the Spirit, which is a light to the soul. And when she sweeps the house, she is putting away her evil doings. (Clarke, 457) “The coins probably represent savings that would cushion the family against days that income did not come in. The one coin represents a significant part of her savings.” Clifton shows the woman as very poor and describes her as living in “a poor little hut that barely gets good light in the daytime, and it is necessary that she turn on a lamp to see at night.” The longer a coin is lost, the image and superscription may be worn off. “So the sinner sinks deeper and deeper into the impurities of sin, and gets the superscription and image of his Maker defaced from his heart.” (Clarke, 457).”
Clifton tells about her rejoicing when she has found the one drachma. He says it’s a relief to her because she knows what it’s like to be poor. “The one who rejoices over the heavenly host is God himself. The parable is really a invitation-an invitation for the critical religious leaders to be joyful and repent.” (Clifton, 124) “The repentance of the individual sinner results in joy before the angels of God. (Clarke, 457) The coin has become more important now that she found it compared to when she lost it because there is “a challenge to actively identify with the joy that results from the restoration of a sinner to God.” (Nolland, 776)
I agree with the authors who said she was poor and the drachma meant a lot to her. I also agree with the representation of the woman and the coin she lost. I do agree with Nolland in that God takes special delight in the restoration of the sinner who has been lost from his People.
New International Version
Matthew 13:3-9 The Parable of the Sower
A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering his seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-a hundred. Sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.
Luke 15:8-10 The Parable of the Lost Coin
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Allen, Clifton; ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary Vol. 9 (Nashville: Broadman
Baptist Publication Society, 1886)
Publishing House, 1961)
Dummelow, J.R.; ed. The One Volume Bible Commentary (New York: The Macmillan
Hobbs, Herschel. An Exposition of The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1965)
Laymen, Charles; ed. The Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary on the Bible
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1971)
Lenski, R.C.H. Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing
Nolland, John. Word Biblical Commentary: Vol. 35 B (Dallas: Word Books Publisher,