Luke 8:4-15: The Parable of the Sower

The parable of the Sower is one of the most important parables because it stands at the head of Christ’s parables in Mark and Matthew, and addresses the issue of how we listen to God’s word. The parable of the Sower has been renamed the parable of the soils, because the focal point of the parable is not the sower of the seed, but it is the four types of soils representing the four types of hearts that receive the word of God. This parable usually stands at the head of Christ’s teaching by parables demanding an answer to this question, what sort of listener are you? The parable reveals to us that the heart plays a key role in how we listen. We are not neutral listeners! You will know what I mean when you think back to listening to your parents advice. Do you remember things they told you and you thought to yourself, ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about,’ but then they proved to be correct. We do not automatically believe the truth when we hear it; we believe what we want to believe. If we have made prejudgements about the source of information, that determines how we hear. If we have already written someone off as stupid or unimportant or an enemy, truth or not we will find fault with what they say. If we want someone’s approval; or think someone attractive; or if we deem them to be important for whatever reason we will prejudice the case in their favour and even defend ridiculous things they have said. The bible teaches us that we have bigger problems than just a few immature biases; the sinful heart is deceitful above all things, Jer. 17:9. How we respond to the word of God reveals the true condition of our hearts. The parable of the sower/soils is an analysis of unbelief and gives us Christ’s perspective on why most people do not believe. There were a number of different responses to Christ; this parable helps us to understand them.

We will give a quick explanation of the text and then more deeply examine the four types of hearts that Jesus portrays for us.