The Parable of the Sower

Again(A) he began to teach(B) by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around him. So he got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore. He taught them many things in parables,(C) and in his teaching(D) he said to them, “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow.(E) As he sowed, some seed fell along the path,(F) and the birds came and devoured(G) it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly,(H) since the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.(I) Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce fruit. Still other seed fell on good ground and it grew up, producing fruit that increased(J) thirty, sixty, and a hundred times.”(K) Then he said, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”(L)

Why Jesus Used Parables

10 When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve(M) asked him about the parables.(N) 11 He answered them, “The secret(O) of the kingdom of God(P) has been given to you, but to those outside,(Q) everything comes in parables 12 so that

they may indeed look,
and yet not perceive;
they may indeed listen,
and yet not understand;(R)
otherwise, they might turn back
and be forgiven.”[a][b] (S)

The Parable of the Sower Explained

13 Then(T) he said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable?(U) How then will you understand all of the parables? 14 The sower sows(V) the word.(W) 15 Some are like the word sown on the path.(X) When they hear, immediately Satan(Y) comes and takes away the word(Z) sown in them.[c] 16 And others are like seed sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy.(AA) 17 But they have no root; they are short-lived. When distress(AB) or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately fall away.(AC) 18 Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, 19 but the worries(AD) of this age,(AE) the deceitfulness[d](AF) of wealth,(AG) and the desires(AH) for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.(AI) 20 And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word,(AJ) welcome it, and produce fruit(AK) thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.”

Using Your Light

21 He(AL) also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed?(AM) Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand?(AN) 22 For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed,(AO) and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”(AP) 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure(AQ) you use,(AR) it will be measured to you—and more will be added(AS) to you. 25 For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”(AT)

The Parable of the Growing Seed

26 “The kingdom of God(AU) is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps(AV) and rises(AW) night(AX) and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. 28 The soil produces a crop(AY) by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain(AZ) on the head. 29 As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle,(BA) because the harvest(BB) has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 And(BC) he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God,(BD) or what parable(BE) can we use to describe it? 31 It’s like a mustard seed(BF) that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground. 32 And when sown,(BG) it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants,(BH) and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky(BI) can nest in its shade.”

Using Parables

33 He was speaking the word(BJ) to them with many parables(BK) like these, as they were able to understand.(BL) 34 He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.(BM)

Wind and Waves Obey Jesus

35 On(BN) that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm(BO) arose, and the waves(BP) were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 He was in the stern, sleeping(BQ) on the cushion. So they woke him up(BR) and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” (BS)

39 He got up, rebuked(BT) the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence!(BU) Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid?(BV) Do you still have no faith?”

41 And they were terrified[e](BW) and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey(BX) him!” (BY)


  1. 4:12 Other mss read and their sins be forgiven them
  2. 4:12 Is 6:9–10
  3. 4:15 Other mss read in their hearts
  4. 4:19 Or seduction
  5. 4:41 Or were filled with awe

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