The Parable of the Soils

scattering seedWhile studying FFOZ’s Torah Club volume 4, Chronicles of the Messiah (a year-long, weekly commentary on the Gospels), this morning, I came across a few things I would like to share in regard to Yeshua’s Parable of the Soils. While this is typically known as the Parable of the Sower, I think his emphasis is more on the different types of soils than the sower. The sower and the seed are the same in every instance. It is only the different soils that affect how the seed is received.

First, a word about parables:

‎”Christian readers sometimes misread and misunderstand the parables of the Master because they assume that they contain deeply symbolic, secret, esoteric, mysterious truths. Christian teachers enjoy extracting unanticipated and hidden meanings from the parables of the Master, but such interpretations are ordinarily farfetched and far removed from the simple intended meaning. The rabbis did not use parables as riddles. They used them as illustrations.” 1

We have to be careful in our interpretation of parables in that we don’t want to “over read” them and “super spiritualize” them as was often the case with the church father Origen. Our job is to catch Yeshua’s intended singular portent, and then apply that principle to our lives as his disciples. With this in mind, I would like to give you a list of how Daniel Lancaster interprets the symbolism in this popular parable:

Symbol Meaning
Seed the message of the kingdom, i.e., “Repent, the Messianic Era is at hand”
Path the disciple who cannot receive (or understand) the message
Birds Satan
Rocky Soil the disciple who begins to repent but gives up quickly under pressure
Weedy Soil the disciple who begins to repent but becomes distracted by the business of life and materialism
Good Soil the disciple who obeys, repents, and submits to the kingdom with perseverance
Abundant Crop good deeds, acts of righteousness (mitzvot)
Meaning Only those who obey the message of the kingdom of heaven and persevere in it will endure to produce fruit for the kingdom of heaven.


Where has the seed fallen in your life? What kind of crop are you producing?

  1. Chronicles of the Messiah, p. 486.

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3 thoughts on “The Parable of the Soils”

  1. Good post Darren :) I would even take it a step further and say that at the micro level this parable is about the soil’s condition, but at the macro level, its main emphasis is in our ability and the ways in which we produce fruit. This concept of being fruitful is a primary principle of the Rebbe’s teachings and he later identifies that the fruit we produce is how we will prove to be his talmidim (John 15:8) I would in turn then call this the Parable on Fruitfulness. For further discussion, see my website on this exact parable.

  2. Are you saying that Americans are Bible illiterate or that Christians are Bible illiterate? The former is understandable if those Americans aren’t Christians. The latter is a problem. However Americans and Christians aren’t equivalent terms, so some of the statistics you present don’t really speak to the problem of Bible illiteracy in the church. They only speak to the fact that not everyone in this country is a Christian.

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