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Zoom Bible Study - Parable of the Sower

St. Philip’s Zoom Bible Study

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Welcome! So glad you can join us today to study God’s Word. We are going to discuss Jesus’ parable of the Sower. We’ll read the text from Matthew 13 and then work through some discussion questions (listed after the Scripture). You are very welcome to participate in conversation, raise questions, etc. – or you can listen in, whatever you prefer. Let’s dive in.

The Parable of the Sower

Matthew 13:1-23


The Parable


That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.


Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the 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. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”


10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.


The Purpose of Parables


13 This is why I speak to them in parables:


“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.


14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:


“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’


16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.


The Meaning of the Sower


18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.


22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Bible Study Guide

Inductive Bible study means ‘drawing out’ the meaning from the text as opposed to ‘reading in’ our own ideas. It’s a way of letting the Bible speak for itself by listening carefully to what it says. Once learned, this method can be done in as little as 5-10 minutes or as long as an hour or more.

Part 1: Pray

We start by asking God’s Spirit – who wrote the Scriptures – to be our Guide in helping us understand the Scriptures.

Part 2: Observation

What does the passage say?

1. If it is a story, identify the characters, plot, setting, and so on. What happens in this scene?

2. If it is a letter or poetry, what are some of the key images, metaphors, or ideas?

3. What are the main concepts and themes in the passage?

4. What is the tone of the speaker or narrator?

5. Do you see any repetitions, contrasts, or causes-and-effects?

6. Are there any promises, commands, exhortations, or questions?

Part 3: Interpretation

What does the passage mean?

1. Imagine the perspective of the characters in the scene and/or the first recipients of this passage. How would they have responded to these words?

2. Develop some questions based on the text. You can ask ‘What is significant?’ about your main observations of the passage.

3. Answer your questions from the text and the context.

4. Try to summarize the passage in one sentence. What is the main point the author is communicating to the audience?

Part 4: Application

How does my life fit into God’s story?

1. What do you see in the passage that leads you to give thanks to God?

2. What in the passage leads you to confess a particular sin or sins?

3. What in the passage leads you to ask God for a need?

4. What are the implications for your community (e.g., family, work, church)?

Part 5: Pray

Ask that God will help you believe, confess, give thanks, and obey in response to your understanding of the passage.