Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Matthew 13:23 – Bible Commentary

Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Matthew 13:23

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold some sixty, some thirty.

Mat 13:8; Mat 13:23

But other fell on good ground and brought forth fruit.

The fruit thirty-fold seems to represent the case of those who fear; sixty-fold the ease of those who hope; the hundredfold those who love. (Hermann.)

As in the bad ground, the diversity was threefold-the wayside, the stony, and the thorny:-so in the good ground there is a like diversity-the fruit yielding some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Zeroing.)

Qualifications for the reception of Gods truth

1. Sensibility to religious impressions.

2. Thoughtfulness.

3. Unworldliness.

4. An honest and good heart.

Growth precious because perilous

In the soil of the heart is found all the nutriment of spiritual life, and all the nutriment of the weeds and poisons which destroy spiritual life. And it is this which makes Christian character, when complete, a thing so inestimably precious. There are things precious, not from the materials of which they are made, but from the risk and difficulty of bringing them to perfection. The speculum of the largest telescope foils the opticians skill in casting. Too much or too little heat-the interposition of a grain of sand, a slight alteration in the temperature of the weather, and all goes to pieces-it must be recast. Therefore, when successfully finished, it is a matter for almost the congratulation of a country. Rarer, and more difficult still than the costliest part of the most delicate of instruments, is the completion of Christian character. Only let there come the heat of persecution-or the cold of human desertion-a little of the worlds dust-and the rare and costly thing is cracked, and becomes a failure. (F. W. Robertson.)

Good ground

1. A good and honest heart is a perfect and sincere heart.

2. It is an obedient heart.

3. It is a faithful heart.

4. It is a jealous heart.

5. It is a fruitful heart. (B. Keach.)

Fuente: Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Verse 23. Good ground] That which had depth of mould, was well ploughed, and well weeded.

Is he that heareth] Who diligently attends the ministry of the word.

And understandeth it] Lays the subject to heart, deeply weighing its nature, design, and importance.

Which also beareth fruit] His fruitfulness being an almost necessary consequence of his thus laying the Divine message to heart. Let it be observed, that to hear, to understand, and to bring forth fruit, are the three grand evidences of a genuine believer. He who does not hear the word of wisdom cannot understand what makes for his peace; and he who does not understand what the Gospel requires him to be and to perform, cannot bring forth fruit; and he who is not fruitful, very fruitful, cannot be a disciple of Christ – see Joh 15:8; and he who is not Christ’s disciple cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

From the different portions of fruit produced by the good ground, a hundred, sixty, and thirty, we may learn that all sound believers are not equally fruitful; all hear, understand, and bring forth fruit, but not in the same degrees-occasioned, partly, by their situation and circumstances not allowing them such extensive opportunities of receiving and doing good; and, partly, by lack of mental capacity-for every mind is not equally improvable.

Let it be farther observed that the unfruitfulness of the different lands was not owing to bad seed or an unskilful sower – the same sower sows the same seed in all, and with the same gracious design-but it is unfruitful in many because they are careless, inattentive, and worldly-minded.

But is not the ground naturally bad in every heart? Undoubtedly. And can any but God make it good? None. But it is your business, when you hear of the justice and mercy of God, to implore him to work in you that which is pleasing in his sight. No man shall be condemned because he did not change his own heart, but because he did not cry to God to change it, who gave him his Holy Spirit for this very purpose, and which he, by his worldly-mindedness and impiety, quenched. Whoso hath ears to hear let him hear: and may the Lord save the reader from an impenitent and unfruitful heart!

Fuente: Adam Clarke’s Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Mark saith much the same, Mar 4:20. Luke saith, Luk 8:15, But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. To make a good Christian all these things must concur:

1. A hearing of the word.

2. An understanding or believing it.

3. A keeping of it.

4. A bringing forth of fruit.

5. A bringing forth fruit with patience.

He that receiveth the seed into good ground, is he (saith Luke) who in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it.

The good ground, (in this parable), is the good and honest heart, that is, a heart renewed and sanctified by the Spirit of God.

He heareth the word: he (saith the apostle) who is born of God, heareth us: faith cometh by hearing. And understandeth it. Mark saith, receiveth it, that is, not in the mere notion, but by faith, and a mind willing to learn and be instructed. Luke adds, and keepeth it, retains the savour and impression of it upon his soul.

Which also beareth fruit, the fruit of holiness in his life, in an obedience to the will of God; for all seed bringeth forth fruit according to his kind. Luke adds, with patience, by which is to be understood certainty, constancy, and perseverance, and that notwithstanding all trials and oppositions he meets with from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty; not all alike. A soul may be an honest and good soul, and that (as we see here) in Christs opinion and judgment, though it doth not bring forth fruit in the same proportion with others.

Fuente: English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

But he that received seed into the good ground,…. The hearer compared to good ground into which the seed fell, is he that heareth the word and understandeth it; has a new and spiritual understanding given him, feels the power of it on his heart, enlightening and quickening him; has an application of it made to him by the Spirit of God, and can discern the worth and excellency of it, and distinguish it from all others; and, as Mark says, “receives it”; as the word of God in faith, and with the love of it, and with all readiness and meekness; and, as Luke observes, “keeps it”; holds it fast against all opposition with great struggling; will not part with it at any rate, nor depart from it in the least, nor entertain any doubt about it; but abides by it, stands fast in it, and is valiant for it: and this he does in and with “an honest and good heart”; which no man naturally has; nor can any man make his heart so: this is the work of God, and is owing to his efficacious grace. This is an heart of flesh, a new and right heart, and spirit; an heart to fear God, to love him, and to trust in him; in which Christ dwells by faith; in which the Spirit of God has his temple; and in which every grace is implanted: and such an one, as he hears with a strict, and an honest intention, and in the exercise of grace; so he holds fast the word he hears, understands and receives, with all faithfulness and honesty:

which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty: the fruit bore, and brought forth by such an hearer, is the true fruit of grace and righteousness, and is all from Christ, under the influences of the Spirit, through the word and ordinances, as means, and issues in the glory of God; and though not brought forth in the same quantity in all, yet is of the same quality; and is brought forth, as Luke says, “with patience”: constantly, and continually, in all seasons, in old age, and even unto death; and is at last brought “to perfection”, holds, and remains unto the end.

Fuente: John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Verily beareth fruit ( ). Who in reality () does bear fruit (cf. Mt 7:16-20). The fruit reveals the character of the tree and the value of the straw for wheat. Some grain must come else it is only chaff, straw, worthless. The first three classes have no fruit and so show that they are unfruitful soil, unsaved souls and lives. There is variety in those who do bear fruit, but they have some fruit. The lesson of the parable as explained by Jesus is precisely this, the variety in the results of the seed sown according to the soil on which it falls. Every teacher and preacher knows how true this is. It is the teacher’s task as the sower to sow the right seed, the word of the kingdom. The soil determines the outcome. There are critics today who scout this interpretation of the parable by Jesus as too allegorical with too much detail and probably not that really given by Jesus since modern scholars are not agreed on the main point of the parable. But the average Christian sees the point all right. This parable was not meant to explain all the problems of human life.

Fuente: Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament

Understandeth [] . See on 11 25, prudent. The three evangelists give three characteristics of the good hearer. Matthew, he understandeth the word; Mark, he receiveth it; Luke, he keepeth it.

Fuente: Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament

1) “But he that received seed into the good ground,” (ho de epi ten kalen gen spareis) “Then the seed-word that was sown on good earth,” or good soil, Mat 13:8; Luk 8:15.

2) “Is he that heareth the word,” (houtos estin ho ton logon akouon) “This is the one who hears,” and receives it by faith, Rom 10:14; Rom 10:17; Luk 14:35; Luk 15:1-3.

3) “And understandeth it;” (kai sunieis) “And he understands,” really grasps the import of the seed-word, Eph 5:17.

4) “Which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth,” (hos de karpophorei kai poiei) “Who also bears fruit and produces,” in thought, word, deed and character, as a good tree, or heart-connected vine, with vital relationship with Jesus and His church, Mat 7:17; Joh 15:5; Joh 15:8; Joh 15:14.

5) “Some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.” (ho men hekaton ho de hoksekonta ho de triakonta) “One indeed an hundred times increase, then the next sixty times increase, then the other thirty times the increase.” Php_1:11; Col 1:6. Each brought or brings forth fruit, according to his own ability, talent, gift or calling, in the service of the Lord, through his church-body, 1Co 12:12-31; 1Co 3:8; Col 1:10; 2Pe 1:5-8.

Fuente: Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

23. But he that received the seed into a good soil. None are compared by Christ to a good and fertile soil, but those in whom the word of God not only strikes its roots deep and solid, but overcomes every obstacle that would prevent it from yielding fruit. Is it objected that it is impossible to find any one who is pure and free from thorns? It is easy to reply, that Christ does not now speak of the perfection of faith, but only points out those in whom the word of God yields fruit. Though the produce may not be great, yet every one who does not fall off from the sincere worship of God is reckoned a good and fertile soil We ought to labor, no doubt, to pull out the thorns; but as our utmost exertion will never succeed so well, but that there will always be some remaining behind, let each of us endeavor, at least, to deaden them, that they may not hinder the fruit of the word. This statement is confirmed by what immediately follows, when Christ informs us that all do not yield fruit in an equal degree.

Some a hundred-fold, and some sixty-fold, and some thirty-fold. Though the fertility of that soil, which yields a thirty-fold produce, is small, compared with that which yields a hundred-fold, yet we perceive that our Lord classes together all kinds of soil which do not entirely disappoint the labors and expectation of the husbandman. (206) Hence too we learn, that we have no right to despise those who occupy a lower degree of excellence; for the master of the house himself, though he gives to one the preference above another on account of more abundant produce, yet bestows the general designation, good, even on inferior soils. Those three gradations are absurdly tortured by Jerome, to denote virgins, widows, and married persons; as if that produce which the Lord demands from us belonged to celibacy alone, and as if the piety of married persons did not, in many cases, yield more abundantly every fruit of virtue. It must also be observed, in passing, that what Christ says about a hundred-fold produce is not hyperbolical; for such was at that time the fertility of some countries, as we learn from many historians, who give their report as eye-witnesses.

(206) “ Esquelles le laboureur ne perd pas du tout sa peine;” — “in which the husbandman does not entirely lose his trouble.”

Fuente: Calvin’s Complete Commentary

(23) He that heareth the word, and under-standeth it.The process is not merely an intellectual one. He takes it in, discerns its meaning. The phrases in the other Gospels express the same thing, hear the word and receive it (Mark), in an honest and good heart hear and retain it (Luke). Even here, however, there are different degrees of the holiness which is symbolised by bearing fruitsome an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirtyvarying according to mens capacities and opportunities.

It is allowable to fill up the outline-sketch of interpretation which thus formed the first lesson in this method in the great Masters school. (1.) It may seem strange at first that the disciples were not told who in the work of the kingdom answered to the Sower of the parable. The interpretation is given in the parable of the Tares (the Sower of the good seed is the Son of Man), and, in part, it may be said that this was the one point on which the disciples were not likely to misunderstand Him; but in part also, we may believe, this explanation was not given, because, though the parable was true in the first instance of Him and of His work, He meant them to learn wisdom from it for their own work. True, they were reaping what they had not sown (Joh. 4:38), yet they too were in their turn to be sowers as well as reapers. (2.) It is obviously one important lesson of the parable that it teaches us to recognise the possible existence of an honest and good heart (the first word meaning noble, generous, rather than honest in our modern sense) prior to the preaching of the word. Such characters were to be found in those living under the Law, or without the Law (Rom. 2:14), and it was the work of the preacher to look out for them, and win them to something yet higher. What made the ground good, is a question which the parable was perhaps meant to suggest, but does not answer. Theologians may speak of prevenient grace. The language of Joh. 4:37-38 leads us to think of the work of the Light that lighteth every man. Here also the law holds good that to him that hath shall more be given. (3.) It lies in the nature of such a parable that it represents the phenomena of the spiritual life only partially. It brings before us four classes of hearers, and seems to assume that their characters are fixed, incapable of change, issuing in results which might have been foreseen. But if so, then the work of the word thus preached would seem to be limited to order and progress, and the idea of conversionthe change of characterwould almost be excluded. We must therefore supplement the parable in its practical application. The soil may be improved; the way-side and the stony places and that which contained the thorns may become as the good ground. It is the work of every preacher and teacher to prepare the soil as well as to sow the seed. In the words of an old prophet, which might almost seem to have suggested the parable itself, they are to break up the fallow ground and sow not among thorns (Jer. 4:3).

Fuente: Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

23. Received heareth understandeth beareth fruit Here is the believer, the fruit bearer, the perseverer. Good ground But is the ground of any human heart good antecedent to regeneration? Some say not; and on this ground some creeds affirm that regeneration must even precede justifying or saving faith. But certainly no man is regenerated, that is, born again, unless he is first forgiven. To be born again is to be made a child of God; and to be a child of God is impossible until after a man is forgiven. That is, regeneration is consequent upon forgiveness or justification.

And yet it is true that the ground of the human heart is never spiritually good by nature. It may be good in the sense that, having voluntarily complied with the influence of the Holy Spirit it has become ready to receive the offered word, and so is relatively good. That Spirit precedes the word and prepares the consenting heart. The good soil, therefore, for receiving the word may be called a sort of amalgam, or uniting of the Holy Spirit and the consenting will. When these combine, the word may be fully received and accepted; the man yields his full faith, and pardon, justification, regeneration, sanctification, fruit-bearing, and, upon perseverance, eternal life ensue. Happy are those eyes and those ears and those hearts that receive all this.

Hundredfold The soil of Palestine could produce at this rate, but not ordinarily. To produce a hundred from one is a rich increase; but how rich the increase of every Christian who converts a hundred sinners!

Fuente: Whedon’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

“And he who was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it; who truly bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

In contrast with these men who were represented by these three types of soil were the people represented by the good soil. They heard the word, received it, understood it, and allowed it to produce fruit in them. But not all, of course, to the same level, for even here there were three types of soil. But in each case it was good soil. All thus grew to a completely acceptable level of blessing, depending on the level of their response.

This picture of an abundant harvest to come reproduces John’s words in Mat 3:11. It would also gladden the hearts of the people as it seemed to offer them the ‘good times’ that they were looking forward to when God stepped in to deliver them. All rejoiced at the thought of abundant harvest. It sounded wildly attractive.

On the other hand they would not be quite so exhilarated at the thought of the conditions, ‘hearing the word and understanding it’. For that would mean responding to it, and being ‘healed’.

So while the proclamation of the Kingly Rule of Heaven would be welcomed in the hearts of some, and would produce fruitfulness and righteousness, in others it would finally achieve nothing because of their hardness, superficiality or being too concerned about other things. But one thing was sure. The Kingly Rule of God was among them and within them through His word (Luk 17:21), and all must ‘respond’ in one way or the other, and that was what the parable was all about.

‘He who hears the word, and understands it.’ Jesus lays great stress on the need to understand. Hearing and understanding was crucial to discipleship. In the same way in Mar 7:14 Jesus wanted the people to hear and understand, for not hearing and not understanding was what was the problem with the people (Mat 13:13; Mat 13:15; Mar 4:12). Indeed that they did not hear and understand was what marked the difference between the people and the disciples. See also Mat 13:51 and compare Mar 4:13. It was so as to ensure that His disciples had understanding that He was explaining the parable (compare Mar 4:34). Secrets were being revealed (Mat 13:11; Mat 13:35), and truth made known, for that reason. But like all of us the disciples understood at the level that they had reached. We must not read into it more than is intended. They were responding to the Kingly Rule of Heaven in the terms proclaimed by John and Jesus. They would yet need deeper understanding before they fully grasped it, but that would necessarily be something that grew and developed. We all tend to forget what little understanding we once had at times when we thought that we understood. The young converts understanding of Christ is very different from that of the mature Christian. But the fact that he is a ‘convert’ indicates basic understanding.

Fuente: Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Mat 13:23. But he that received seed into the good ground St. Luke has expressed this rather more fully, Luk 8:15. But that on the good ground are they, who, in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it,in opposition to the way-side, which never received the seed at all, but bearing it on its surface, offered it to the devouring birds;and bring forth fruit with patience; in opposition both to the stony and thorny grounds, which nourished the seed that was cast into them only for a while; the former till the sun arose, the latter till the thorns sprang up. The goodness of heart for which this kind of hearers are applauded, consists in their simplicity and sincerity: the seed or word having been duly cultivated by them, they understand what they hear. The honesty of their heart consists in their disposition through grace to believe the truth, though contrary to their prejudices; and to practise it, though opposite to their inclinations: All who hear the word with these qualifications, and join thereto, through the spirit of God, firmness of resolution, and the government of their passions, never fail to bring forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty; fruits of righteousness, in proportion to the different degrees of strength in which they possess the graces necessary to constitute them profitable hearers of the word. See Macknight, and Bishop Beveridge’s 9th sermon, vol. Mat 10:8 vo.

Fuente: Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Mat 13:23 . ] refers to . . .

For the more correct accentuation, , see note on Rom 3:11 .

] gives significance and prominence to the : and now this is he who; “ut intelligas, ceteros omnes infrugiferos, hunc demum reddere fructum,” Erasmus. See Hartung, Partikell . I. p. 274 f.; Klotz, ad Devar . p. 404; Baeumlein, Partik . p. 106.

Whether we ought to read (Beza, Grotius), or (Bengel, Lachmann, Tischendorf, following the Vulgate), is certainly not to be determined by Mar 4:20 , though I should say the latter is to be preferred, on account of the solemn emphasis with which, according to this reading, the concluding words of the parable itself are repeated at the close of the exposition, without their requiring any particular explanation: the one ( seed, i.e ., according to the blending which takes place of the figure and the person: one of those who hear and understand) brings forth a hundred, the other sixty , and so on.

Fuente: Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer’s New Testament Commentary

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it ; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Ver. 23. But he that received seed, &c. ] Which is but a fourth part, if so much, of those that have the word purely and powerfully preached unto them. As at Ephesus, Act 19:31 , so in our church assemblies, the more part know not wherefore they are come together. They will say, to serve God, and hear his word, but who this God is, or how his word is to be heard, they neither know nor care. If the belly may be filled, the back fitted, &c., a they have as much as they look after. And of such dust heaps as these all corners are full; our Church is as much pestered and even dark with these epicures and atheists, who yet will not miss a sermon, as Egypt was with the grasshoppers. These are those last and loosest times, wherein, by reason of the overflow of iniquity, “the love of many is waxen cold, but he that endureth to the end shall be saved,” Mat 24:12-13 . Where note, that for many that lose their love to God’s word, it is but a he in the singular number that holds out therein to the end.

Some an hundred fold ] As Isaac’s seed did, that he sowed in the land of Canaan. This is not every man’s happiness: yet we must propound to ourselves the highest pitch. “And let as many as are perfect be thus minded.” That man for heaven, and heaven for him, that sets up for his mark, “the resurrection of the dead,” Phi 3:11 , that is, that perfection of holiness that accompanieth the estate of the resurrection.

Some sixty, some thirty ] It befalls not every man to excel, but it behoves every man to exact of himself such a growth in grace, that his profiting may appear to all, and that he is “neither barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ,” 2Pe 1:8 . The vine is the weakest of plants, yet bears abundantly. Philadelphia had but a little strength, yet a great door opened, Rev 3:8 . The Colossians were but quickened, and not born, yet preciously esteemed of God, Col 2:13 . He accepteth according to that a man hath, be it more or less, he blesseth our buds, Isa 44:3 . Courage, therefore, though not so fruitful as thou wouldst be. Thine earnest pantings, inquietatious, and desires of better cannot but commend thee much to God. Prima sequentem honestum est in secundis tertiisque consistere, saith one. And Summum culmen affectantes, satis honeste vel in secundo fastigio conspiciemur, saith another. b Aspire to the highest pitch, but be not discouraged, though ye fall somewhat short of it. Every man cannot excel.

a Si ventri bene, si lateri, &c. Hor. Epist. I 12. 5.

b Cicer. de Orat. Columella, lib. 1, in praefat.

Fuente: John Trapp’s Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

23. ] Here also the fourth class must not be understood as a decided well-marked company, excluding all the rest. For the soil is not good by nature: the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; but every predisposition to receive them is of God: even the shallow soil covering the rock, even the thorny soil, received its power to take in and vivify the seed, from God. So that divine grace is the enabling, vivifying, cleansing power throughout: and these sown on the good land are no naturally good, amiable, or pure class, but those prepared by divine grace receptive, by granted receptive power. The sowing is not necessarily the first that has ever taken place: the field has been and is continually resown, so that the care of the husbandman is presupposed. Again, no irresistible grace or absolute decree of God must be dreamt of here. God working not barely upon , but with man, is, as we said above, the here declared, see Jer 4:3 ; Hos 10:12 ; Gal 6:7 . See note on Luk 8:15 .

, , , the different degrees of faithfulness and devotedness of life with which fruit is brought forth by different classes of persons. There is no point of comparison with the different classes in the parable of the talents: for he who had five talents yielded the same increase as he who had two.

] So Mat 13:13 , and 2Co 10:12 (rec [127] .), and this word itself Rom 3:11 , from , i. q. , of which the inf. is found in Theognis, 565. It should be accented , or (from ), not , which would be from . See Winer, 14. 3.

[127] The Textus Receptus or received text of the Greek Testament. Used in this Edition when elz and Steph agree

Fuente: Henry Alford’s Greek Testament

Mat 13:23 . . The specific feature of the fourth and alone satisfactory type is not brought out either in Mt. or in Mk. but only in Lk. by his happy phrase: . The third type understands (Mt.) and receives into the heart (Mk.), but the fourth in addition receives into a clean, i.e. , a “good and honest,” heart. : occurs here for the first time in Mt., and only a few times altogether in the N. T., but always with marked expressiveness. According to Passow and Bamlein ( Grammatik , 669, and Untersuchungen ber G. Partikeln , p. 98), connected with in origin and meaning, and signifying that the thing stated is clear, specially important, natural in the given circumstances. here = who, observe, or of course. Given such conditions, fruitfulness certainly results. , bringeth forth fruit such as is desired: ripe, useful. in last clause may be pointed either , (T. R.) or , (W. H [81] ). In the former case the meaning is: this man brings forth 100 fold, that man, etc.; in the latter, is accusative neuter after , and refers to the fruit. Opinion very much divided, sense the same.

[81] Westcott and Hort.

This interpretation of the Sower raises two questions: Was it needed? Does it really explain the parable? which is in effect to ask: Does it proceed from Jesus? As to the former: could not even the general hearer, not to speak of the Twelve, understand the parable well enough? True, no hint that it related to the kingdom was given, but, as already remarked, that might go without saying. Jesus had all along been using similitudes explaining His meaning rather than needing explanation. Then parabolic speech was common even in Rabbinical circles, a source at once of entertainment and of light to hearers. In Mt.’s report the disciples do not even ask an explanation, so that that given comes on us as a surprise (Holtz. in H. C.). Christ’s audience might at least carry away the general impression that He was dissatisfied with the result of His ministry, in many cases in which His teaching seemed to Him like seed cast on unproductive places. It might require further reflection, more than the majority were capable of, to comprehend the reasons of failure. Self-knowledge and observation of character were needed for this. As to the interpretation given, it has been objected (Weiss, Jlicher, etc.) that it is allegorical in method, and that, while going into details as to the various persons and things mentioned in the parable and their import, it fails to give the one main lesson which it, like every parable, is designed to teach; in short, that we cannot see the wood for the trees. As to this it may be remarked: (1) There is a tangible difference between allegory and parable. Allegory and interpretation answer to each other part by part; parable and interpretation answer to each other as wholes. (2) Christ’s parables are for the most part not allegories. (3) It does not follow that none of them can be. Why should the use of allegory be interdicted to Him? May the Sower not be an exception? That it is has been ably argued by Feine in Jahrbcher fr Prot. Theologie , 1888, q. v. (4) The exclusion of so-called allegorising interpretation may be carried to a pedantic extreme in connection with all the parables, as it is, indeed, in my opinion, especially by Weiss. Thus we are told that in the saying “the whole need not a physician,” Jesus did not mean to suggest that He was a physician but only to hint the special claims of a class on His attention. But the question may be asked in every case: What was the genesis of the parable? How did it grow in Christ’s mind? The Sower, e.g. ? Was it not built up of likenesses spontaneously suggesting themselves now and then; of Himself to a sower, and of various classes of hearers to different kinds of soil? In that case the “allegorical” interpretation is simply an analysis of the parable into its genetic elements, which, on that view, have more than the merely descriptive value assigned to them by Weiss. (5) As to missing the main lesson amid details: is it not rather given, Eastern fashion, through the details: the preaching of the kingdom not always successful, failure due to the spiritual condition of hearers? That is how we Westerns, in our abstract generalising way, put it. The Orientals conveyed the general through concrete particulars. Jesus did not give an abstract definition of the Fatherhood of God. He defined it by the connections in which He used the title Father. That Jesus talked to His disciples about the various sorts of hearers, their spiritual state, and what they resembled, I think intrinsically likely. It is another question whether His interpretation has been exactly reproduced by any of the Synoptists.

Fuente: The Expositors Greek Testament by Robertson

which also = who indeed.

and bringeth forth = produceth also.

some = some indeed.

some = but other.

Fuente: Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

23.] Here also the fourth class must not be understood as a decided well-marked company, excluding all the rest. For the soil is not good by nature: the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; but every predisposition to receive them is of God:-even the shallow soil covering the rock, even the thorny soil, received its power to take in and vivify the seed, from God. So that divine grace is the enabling, vivifying, cleansing power throughout: and these sown on the good land are no naturally good, amiable, or pure class, but those prepared by divine grace-receptive, by granted receptive power. The sowing is not necessarily the first that has ever taken place: the field has been and is continually resown, so that the care of the husbandman is presupposed. Again, no irresistible grace or absolute decree of God must be dreamt of here. God working not barely upon, but with man, is, as we said above, the here declared,-see Jer 4:3; Hos 10:12; Gal 6:7. See note on Luk 8:15.

, , , the different degrees of faithfulness and devotedness of life with which fruit is brought forth by different classes of persons. There is no point of comparison with the different classes in the parable of the talents: for he who had five talents yielded the same increase as he who had two.

] So Mat 13:13, and 2Co 10:12 (rec[127].), and this word itself Rom 3:11, from , i. q. ,-of which the inf. is found in Theognis, 565. It should be accented , or (from ), not , which would be from . See Winer, 14. 3.

[127] The Textus Receptus or received text of the Greek Testament. Used in this Edition when elz and Steph agree

Fuente: The Greek Testament

Mat 13:23. , who) sc. the hearer; cf. Mar 4:20 : otherwise might also be referred to , the word.-, beareth fruit) sc. perfect fruit.- – – , some-some-some) The pronoun is clearly here in the accusative neuter; for the subject[619] , which occurs here in the singular number, cannot possibly be divided into three classes of good hearers of the word by – – (one-another-a third), which is the common reading.[620] Moreover the protasis has in Mat 13:8, and the parallel passage in Mar 4:8; Mar 4:20, has also twice over.[621] A single hearers plentiful, moderate, and less plentiful progress from three several grains, so to speak, is signified by a hundred, sixty, and thirty.[622] As there are three degrees of hearing without fruit, so there are also three degrees of fruitfulness; which is not, however, restricted precisely to the proportions an hundred, sixty, and thirty fold: for another grain might also produce forty, fifty, seventy, eighty, ninety fold, etc.: since there is a greater distance between the numbers one hundred and sixty, than there is between sixty and thirty. To him that hath shall be given.

[619] The word Subject is used here in its logical sense, viz. the Subject of the Proposition, i.e. the person or thing concerning which something else is predicated or asserted.-(I. B.)

[620] Such is the reading of E. M. In his App. Crit. Bengel writes: ter) codd. nonulli vetusti apud Stapulensem, vel etiam alii apud Rus T. i., Harm. Evang. p. 1047; Ephrem Syrus f. . . . in vit Abrahamii; Isidorus Pelus. l. 2, ep. 144. Lat. Neogrc. vel plures nee non Syr. ( ter) edd. Aug. 1, Byz., etc., perinde ut versu 8, pro , et Marc. Mat 4:8, pro , non nulli habent codices.-(I. B.)

[621] i.e. the , which occurs three times in Mar 4:8, is repeated as many times in Mat 13:20.-(I. B.)

[622] When such a hearer turns the one and the same doctrine, on the opportunity of hearing it being given him even a hundred times, to his own profit and that of others.-V. g.

Beng. does not seem to me to speak of a different reading, but of the common interpretation, that there are here three classes of good hearers. He plainly understands there to be the one and the same good hearer, who bears fruit from the same seed in different degrees at different times. Hence Luk 8:8 gives the one degree only, viz. the hundredfold, as the normal state of the believers fruitfulness. However, in opposition to Beng., the transition from to , , neut. nominative, would not be unnatural (whether taken of one and the same good hearer, or of different classes of good hearers), as the individual becomes in a manner identified with the seed in process of time, just as the nutritive elements of the soil become identified with, and taken up into, the young germ: hence , he who is sown (applicable to the seed, but here also to the person), occurs in Mat 13:19, and , Mat 13:8, is nominative neuter, and plural, followed by , . There is no notable variety of readings in the case.-ED.

Fuente: Gnomon of the New Testament

that received: Mat 13:8, Mar 4:20, Luk 8:15

good: Pro 1:5, Pro 1:6, Pro 2:2-6, Eze 18:31, Eze 36:26, Mar 10:15, Joh 1:11-13, Joh 8:47, Joh 10:26, Joh 10:27, Joh 17:7, Joh 17:8, Act 16:14, Act 17:11, 2Th 2:10, 2Th 2:13, 2Th 2:14, Heb 4:2, Heb 8:10, Jam 1:21, Jam 1:22, 1Pe 2:1, 1Pe 2:2, 1Jo 5:20

beareth: Mat 3:8, Mat 3:10, Mat 12:33, Psa 1:1-3, Psa 92:13-15, Luk 6:43, Luk 6:44, Luk 13:9, Joh 15:1-8, Joh 15:16, Gal 5:22, Gal 5:23, Phi 1:11, Phi 4:17, Col 1:6, Col 1:10, Heb 6:7, Heb 13:15, Heb 13:16

some an: 2Co 8:1, 2Co 8:2, 2Co 9:10, 1Th 4:1, 2Pe 1:5-8, 2Pe 3:18

Reciprocal: Gen 26:12 – an hundredfold 2Sa 23:19 – he attained Psa 85:12 – our land Isa 61:11 – as the earth Dan 9:25 – and understand Mat 19:29 – an Mar 4:8 – fell Luk 8:8 – other Luk 19:18 – thy Act 8:14 – received Act 8:30 – Understandest

Fuente: The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


The good ground is the heart or mind that understands, and this word is explained at verse 8. The hundred, sixty and thirty fold is different in amount only. It is all good wheat, but not all men even in the good class have the same ability or capacity for producing results. The Lord is not concerned about the amount of work a man accomplishes in the vineyard just so he does what he can.

Fuente: Combined Bible Commentary

Mat 13:23. The good ground. This has been prepared. All is of divine grace, yet the verse plainly teaches that the persons referred to actively and willingly accept and understand the truth; the result being continued fruitfulness. The degrees vary, since characters and capacities and gifts vary. This class alone fulfils the purpose of the sower.

Fuente: A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Mat 13:23. He that received seed into the good ground Described in note on verse eight, is he that heareth the word and understandeth, or, considereth it Herein he differs from the first class of hearers: he understands what he hears, and makes it the matter of his serious and frequent meditation. And he differs from those of the second class; for, according to Luke, he keeps, or, retains it, as signifies. Notwithstanding the opposition or persecution he meets with, he holds fast what he has received, namely, both the word of truth itself, and the change it was instrumental in producing in him. So that he not only endureth for a while, but to the end. He is also distinguished from those of the third class: for he receives and retains the truth in an honest and good heart, Luk 8:15; a heart, not honest and good by nature, but made such by grace; a new heart given him by God, and a new spirit put within him. Eze 36:26. Therefore he is not like the ground overrun with thorns, and other weeds, which was dishonest, so to speak; eluding the tillers toil, and deceiving the husbandmans expectations. Which also beareth fruit Namely, the fruits of the Spirit, internal and external, holy tempers, words, and works, repentance toward God, and fruits meet for repentance, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and the proper fruits of faith, godliness and righteousness, piety and virtue, in all their branches: some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty That is, in various proportions, some abundantly more than others, the situations and circumstances in which some are placed by the providence of God affording them far greater opportunities for receiving and doing good than fall to the lot of others, and the abilities and capacities for usefulness in some far exceeding those of others.

Fuente: Joseph Bensons Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The good soil stands for the person who understands the message about the kingdom when he or she hears it and responds appropriately to it. This would involve believing in Jesus. Such a person eventually becomes spiritually productive, though the degree of productivity varies (cf. Mat 20:1-15). However, Jesus commended all who received the message of the kingdom and believed it regardless of their measure of productivity. The fruit in view probably represents increasing understanding of and proper response to divine revelation, in view of the context.

If the disciples understood this parable, they could understand the others that followed.

"The principle taught by the parable is this: reception of the word of the kingdom in one’s heart produces more understanding and revelation of the kingdom." [Note: Toussaint, Behold the . . ., p. 179.]

Fuente: Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)