Luke 8:11-15 - The Parable of the Sower - How Is Your Heart?

Luke 8:11-15 (NIV) "This is the meaning of 
the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and 
then the devil comes and takes away the word from 
their hearts, so that they may not believe and be 
saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who 
receive the word with joy when they hear it, but 
they have no root. They believe for a while, but 
in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The 
seed that fell among thorns stands for those who 
hear, but as they go on their way they are choked 
by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and 
they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil 
stands for those with a noble and good heart, who 
hear the word, retain it, and by persevering 
produce a crop.  

Luke 8:11-15 (CWR) The meaning of the 
parable of the sower is this: The seed being sown is 
the word of God. 12 The road represents the 
hearts of those people who listen, but the devil 
comes and takes from their hearts what they heard. 
13 The rocky places in the field are the hearts 
of those people who listen and love what they 
hear and instantly take hold of it. But then they 
don't take what they heard deep into their hearts, 
and when they're tempted or troubles come, they 
give up. 14 The thorny places represent the 
hearts of those people who gladly listen and put 
down their roots, but soon their love for the 
truth is choked out by the cares of this life, its 
opportunities and pleasures. So what was sown dies out. 15 
The good soil represents the hearts of those who 
gladly listen, who sink their roots deep into the 
word and hold on to it. These people endure and 
produce a large harvest of spiritual fruit. 

Luke 8:11-15 (MSG) "This story is about some 
of those people. The seed is the Word of God. 
12 The seeds on the road are those who hear the 
Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil 
snatches it from them so they won't believe and be 
saved. 13 "The seeds in the gravel are those who 
hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn't 
go very deep. It's only another fad, and the 
moment there's trouble it's gone. 14 "And the seed 
that fell in the weeds"well, these are the ones 
who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and 
nothing comes of it as they go about their lives 
worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having 
fun. 15 "But the seed in the good earth"these 
are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold 
on no matter what, sticking with it until 
there's a harvest.  


The word hear is used nine times in 
these verses, for it is by our hearing that we 
take the Word into our hearts where it can create 
faith (Rom. 10:17). The Word is like seed because 
it has life in it and can produce fruit when it 
is planted (received and understood). The human 
heart is like soil and must be prepared if the 
Word is to be planted and fruitful. [Wiersbe 
Expository Outlines] 

These different soils represent, of course, 
different types of human beings. In one sense, it 
might be more appropriate to call this the 
parable of the soils rather than the parable 
of the sower. Some people have called it 
the Parable of Parables because it describes 
how men will react to all of Jesus teachings. 
[Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown Commentary] 

That some of the seed produced no crop was 
not the fault of the faithful farmer or of the 
seed. The yield depended on the condition of the 
soil where the seed fell. Path people, 
like many of the religious leaders, refused to 
believe Gods message. Rock people, like 
many in the crowds who followed Jesus, believed 
his message but never got around to doing 
anything about it. Thorn patch people, overcome 
by worries and the lure of materialism, left no 
room in their lives for God. Good soil 
people, in contrast to all the other groups, 
followed Jesus no matter what the cost. Which type of 
soil are you? [Life Application SB] 

The four types of soil represent different 
responses to God's message. People respond differently 
because they are in different states of readiness. 
Some are hardened, others are shallow, others are 
contaminated by distracting worries, and some are 
receptive. How has God's Word taken root in your life? 
What kind of soil are you? [Life Application SB] 

The parable teaches that there would be four 
different responses to the Word: no response, 
emotional response, worldly response, and fruitful 
response. [Ryrie SB] 


   Farmers scattering seed by hand were a 
familiar sight in Jesus' time. The soil was rich for 
the most part, but there were thornbushes and 
fields full of stones. Travelers walked through the 
fields, beating down the ground and disturbing the 
seeds. Some seeds fell on thin soil that hid the 
stones underneath. Other seeds were blown into 
thornbushes. Neither were good environments for the new 
   Jesus knew this. He wanted them - and us 
- to ask some probing questions: Are our 
hearts hard, like the paths worn down by travelers, 
so that it's easy for Satan to steal away God's 
truth after we hear it? Is the soil of our hearts 
thin and rocky so that the roots of God's Word 
can't go very deep? Or are we thorny-ground folks 
who are so worried and anxious about our lives 
that the seed never produces good fruit or grows 
into maturity? God's Spirit is always ready and 
willing to make our hearts good soil so his Word can 
grow strong in us. Ask him to do that today. 
   LORD, I want to receive the seed of your 
message, apply it to my life, and be obedient to you. 
If my heart is hard, soften it with your love. 
If my roots aren't deep, enrich the soil. 
Deliver me from being consumed with the cares, 
riches, and pleasures of this world. Bring forth, by 
your Spirit, a great harvest in my life! [Praying 
Through The Bible By Fuller] 

   Jesus didn't always explain the meaning 
of His parables, but this one comes with 
defining details. After all, the "secrets of the 
Kingdom" had been given to these followers (Matthew 
13:11); they needed to know what the secrets meant. 
In this case, Jesus gave them a powerful 
picture of our responses to Kingdom truth. Some 
people don't understand it; some accept it eagerly 
but can't hold on to it through pain and 
persecution; some receive it and get distracted by 
this-world concerns, rendering their lives unfruitful; 
and some receive it, understand it, and flourish 
in it. Four responses: rejecting it, dropping 
it, choking it, or growing in it. And four 
outcomes: missing out; having but losing; having but 
without power; and having and thriving. Everyone who 
hears the Kingdom message falls into at least one 
of these categories - sometimes several over 
the course of his or her life. 
   We have to recognize the adversaries and 
obstacles in the Kingdom life. There's an enemy that 
snatches truth out of people's hearts. There are 
normal trials and tribulations of life that seem to 
contradict the Kingdom message. And there are anxieties 
and concerns related to money, work, 
relationships, health, and more, which deceive us about 
what's important and draw our attention away from 
Kingdom purposes. Everyone faces these adversaries 
and obstacles, but not everyone responds to them 
the same way. Only those who cling to Kingdom 
truth above all else will flourish in the 
   That's why it's vital to pay attention to 
God's voice, persevere in following what He says, 
and refuse to be distracted from it. Only people 
with vision and resolve can do that. Others may 
taste the Kingdom without ever flourishing in it, 
but we want the full experience. Our goal is not 
just to survive; it's to thrive. Cling to words 
of life, and you'll receive whatever they 
promise. [The One Year Heaven On Earth Devotional by 
Chris Tiegreen] 

   At any time, the receptiveness of your 
heart will determine your response to Gods word 
(Lu 8:5"18). If your heart is like the 
trampled ground, hardened by the sin of bitterness 
and unforgiveness, you will be unable to accept 
a message from God. Though you hear the words 
of the message, you will remain unchanged. If 
your heart is like the shallow soil on top of a 
rock, you will accept Gods word in your mind, 
but the truth will not penetrate your heart to 
make a difference in your actions. A heart like 
thorny soil is a life that is distracted by the 
cares of the world; the pursuit of earthly 
pleasures prevents Gods word from taking hold and 
producing righteousness. The heart that is like good 
soil receives a word from God, applies it, and 
brings forth fruit in due time. This is the heart 
that Jesus desires in us, for the fruit will be a 
Christlike life. 
   Any time you hear a word from God, 
whether through Bible reading, prayer, or worship, 
the way you respond will depend on how you have 
cultivated your heart (Hos. 10:12). How do you develop 
a heart that is like good soil? Repent of any 
bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness that is hardening 
your heart. Meditate on Gods word until it 
enters deep into your heart and not just your mind. 
When you read or hear a word from God, apply it 
to your life and let God bring His word into 
reality in your life (Ga 6:9). Protect your 
lifestyle. See that you dont devote all of your 
energy to worldly concerns, rather than to pursuing 
your relationship with God. The condition of your 
heart will vary, depending on how you cultivate 
it. If it was receptive to a word from God 
yesterday, this does not guarantee it is receptive 
today. Daily prepare your heart for the word God 
has for you! [Experiencing God Day by Day by 
Henry and Richard Blackaby re Luke 8:15] 


HARD GROUND HEARTS " No Relationship

The seed sown by the wayside represents the 
word of God as it falls upon the heart of an 
inattentive hearer. Like the hard-beaten path, trodden 
down by the feet of men and beasts, is the heart 
that becomes a highway for the world's traffic, 
its pleasures and sins. Absorbed in selfish aims 
and sinful indulgences, the soul is "hardened 
through the deceitfulness of sin." Heb. 3:13. The 
spiritual faculties are paralyzed. Men hear the word, 
but understand it not. They do not discern that 
it applies to themselves. They do not realize 
their need or their danger. They do not perceive 
the love of Christ, and they pass by the message 
of His grace as something that does not concern 
them. [COL 44] 

ROCKY GROUND " Shallow Relationship

The seed sown upon stony ground finds little 
depth of soil. The plant springs up quickly, but 
the root cannot penetrate the rock to find 
nutriment to sustain its growth, and it soon perishes. 
Many who make a profession of religion are 
stony-ground hearers. Like the rock underlying the layer 
of earth, the selfishness of the natural heart 
underlies the soil of their good desires and 
aspirations. The love of self is not subdued. They have 
not seen the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and 
the heart has not been humbled under a sense of 
its guilt. This class may be easily convinced, 
and appear to be bright converts, but they have 
only a superficial religion [COL 46]   

The gospel seed that falls into the hearts 
of stony-ground hearers finds enough soil to 
germinate, but the soil is shallow and the effect of 
the gospel is at best superficial. The gospel 
appeals to their emotions, and they are quick to 
react to it, but the impression made by it passes 
with the fickle tide of emotion. The rock of 
selfishness (see COL 46) prevents the gospel from 
effecting a reform in the life. Any effort to serve 
Christ is so hindered by the fundamental purpose in 
life to serve self (see COL 50) that the gospel 
has little or no influence. Stony-ground hearers 
habitually follow their inclinations. Any convictions 
that such people may have are based on 
inclination rather than on principle. It is evident that 
the truth has a measure of appeal to them; they 
admit that it is good; but they love themselves. 
[SDA Bible Commentary] 

   In the parable of the sower, Jesus 
described how "some [of the seed] fell on rocky 
places, where it did not have much soil." The gospel 
seed had nothing to root itself into, nothing in 
which to anchor. The soil was simply too shallow. 
And because Jesus taught that the soil 
represents our hearts, could it be that our hearts are 
too shallow? Is there enough soil? When fresh 
truth falls into your heart, is it able to take 
root? Does it find an anchor in your soul? The 
Bible calls us to go deep in our life in Christ. 
It starts with putting away a surface interest 
in God and fertilizing the soil of your heart 
through daily prayer and reading God's Word. As you 
do, you will become more and more occupied with 
spiritual reality and less and less distracted and 
caught up in the shallow trivialities of this life. 
The deeper your heart becomes, the more God's 
truth will take root, blossom, and bear fruit. 
   Lord, I know Your truth sometimes skips 
across the soil of my heart like a rock on a frozen 
pond. That's not what I want, Lord. I want to 
receive Your words, Your warnings, Your 
encouragements, and Your guidance. Open my spiritual eyes 
and ears, Lord. Deepen the capacity of my heart. 
[A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada 
and Larry Libby re Mat. 13:1-9] 


   In thorny ground the tender plants did 
not wither as rapidly as they did in the stony 
ground. Similarly, the experience of thorny-ground 
Christians progresses further than that of the 
stony-ground hearers. They make what appears to be a real 
start, and apparently they experience justification 
and the new birth. But they soon become weary 
in well doing (Gal. 6:9) and do not go on 
unto perfection (Heb. 6:1). Absorbed by the 
pleasures of this world and in the pursuit of its 
attractions, they neglect to weed out from the life those 
tendencies and traits of character that respond to 
temptation. They are like the person who had been freed 
from demon possession only to be repossessed by 
seven evil spirits (see on Matt. 12:43"45). Many 
of the things that attract the thorny-ground 
hearers and absorb their attention may not, in and 
of themselves, be harmful. But such persons 
become so absorbed in this world that they have no 
time to prepare for the next  
   Secular interests prevent the fruits of 
the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23) from reaching 
maturity. Religion is relegated to the subordinate 
position of being only one interest among many. For 
lack of cultivation it withers and eventually 
dies. That which the thorny-ground hearers lack is 
a moral transformation (COL 50). To them, 
justification is the sum and substance of religion, and 
they fail to realize that the Christian life 
consists essentially in the process known as 
sanctification"the process by which evil traits and tendencies 
are replaced by the perfect life-pattern of 
Jesus Christ (see on Gal. 2:20). [SDA Bible 

GOOD GROUND HEARTS " Healthy Relationship

In man there naturally dwelleth no good 
thing (Rom. 7:18). The ground is good 
simply because it yields to the plowshare of truth, 
because it responds to the softening influence of 
the Holy Spirit The fruit of the Spirit 
manifested in the outward life is evidence of a healthy 
Christian experience. In the hearts of the wayside 
hearers the truth found no response. With the 
stony-ground hearers truth produced nothing more than a 
momentary impulse. With the thorny-ground hearers it 
was a response that began well but withered 
But in the hearts of the good-ground hearers the 
response is permanent and effective. The result is a 
life transformed according to the pattern of the 
perfect life of Jesus Christ. [SDA Bible 


   Seeds are very interesting little things. 
Did you know that seeds tell us a very important 
story? Suppose you plant some seeds and you don't 
know what they are. When they produce plants, you 
can tell what kind of seeds they were. Seeds 
come in all sizes. The Bible talks about the 
mustard seed (see Mark 4:31, 32) as being the 
smallest of the seeds, yet it grows into a big 
   I remember when I was a boy my 
grandmother asked me to help her plant some seeds in our 
garden. I said OK, so she gave me a package of 
squash seeds and asked me to plant these seeds in 
hills, three seeds in a hill. Then I was to cover 
them lightly with soil. I started down the row. I 
would mound up the dirt, then dig a hole in it, 
put in three seeds, cover them up lightly, and 
then go on to the next one. It was a long row. By 
the time I reached the end of the row I was 
tired of bending over. I still had quite a few 
seeds and should have started another row, but 
instead I just dumped the rest of the seeds into the 
hole and covered them up, thinking, Grandma will 
never know. 
   Days went by, and with Grandmother's 
watering and the sunshine, the seeds began to sprout. 
You can imagine my surprise when she asked me to 
come to the garden and showed me that hill where 
I dumped the last of the seeds. There were not 
just three little plants but a whole bunch. She 
scolded me and told me that these little plants told 
her the whole story. She knew what I had done. 
   God's Word is like seeds. If we put only 
a little of it into our lives people will be 
able to tell because only a little will show. But 
if we put a lot of God's Word into our lives 
much will show, and people will know that we 
spend time with God and His Word. God's promises 
in His Word and other great truths and counsels 
are to help us on the path toward heaven. We'll 
know which path to take. Pray today that God's 
Word will grow in your life, and you will know 
which path to take - the one that leads to heaven. 
[Talking Trees & Singing Whales by Charles C. Case] 


Matthew 13:19-23; Mark 4:14-20; Luke 8:11-15


If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or 
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either 
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in 
hearing from you.  Thanks in advance and let's keep 
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred 


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