The first parable of Matthew 13 lays the groundwork (pun intended) for the remainder of the chapter. Martin Collins explains the various soils upon which the seed of the gospel falls, and the reasons why growth—or its lack—results.
God spreads His Word liberally among the world's people. Besides God's direct involvement in converting people, the difference between one growing in it and another "dying on the vine" is the soil in which the Word is planted, explained in Jesus' Parable of the Sower.
The Bible, in both parables and prophecies, interprets itself and remains consistent in its use of symbols. We cannot arbitrarily attach meaning to symbols.
The Mustard Seed parable is commonly interpreted as an illustration of church growth. However, rightly dividing the word of truth shows a sobering reality.
Bible students do not often consider Christ's parables to contain intrigue, but His Parable of the Wheat and the Tares has its share!
Like its physical counterpart, spiritual growth happens slowly. A newly baptized Christian will not produce the fruit of the spirit as easily as a mature one.
Matthew 13 contains more parables than any other chapter in the Gospels. They are related in theme and organized to teach Christians specific lessons.
Most commentators see this parable as a positive message of the growth of the church. However, deeper study shows that they have it exactly backward!
John Ritenbaugh, focusing on Deuteronomy 30:19-20, reminds us that we are called to a lifetime of decisions and judgments. We have problems with judging fellow brethren in different groups of the greater Church of God, of which at least three claim to be the only true church. This intemperate judgment may come back to bite the …
Richard Ritenbaugh, commenting on the dry and hard clay in South Carolina, a real challenge to cultivate, identifies some grounds of comparison Christ cites between ourselves and clay (soil). In the Parable of the Sower, Christ describes 1.0) hard, impenetrable soil of the wayside, vulnerable to birds, symbolizing the devil and …
Drawing an analogy between kudzu and the thorns in the Parable of the Sower, Mike Ford shows how we have to "weed out" detrimental habits that choke our lives. If we want to produce quality fruit, we must weed the garden!
John Ritenbaugh, focusing on God's creation of plants (Genesis 1:11-13), observes that God demonstrates His practicality and efficiency by establishing the genotype within the seed capable of infinite reproduction. God also gave humans the means to master time efficiently. God's called out-ones, metaphorized as soil, should …
Guilt from failure to overcome is a dangerous distraction. When we consider God's profound pity, we realize that He is able to cleanse us, too.
God's calling and predestination can be confusing, especially the verse that 'many are called, but few are chosen'. Why does God not just choose everyone?
The letters to the seven churches of Revelation warn of losing our first love, heeding false teachers, compromising God's Truth, and forgetting right doctrine.
Time—it marches relentlessly on, and we have only so much of it. Yet we waste a lot of it on foolish pursuits, procrastination and distractions. John Ritenbaugh explains how getting control of our time puts us in the driver's seat in our pursuit of God's Kingdom!
Fruit is not produced immediately; it is produced only when a plant is both mature and stable enough that mere survival is no longer its top priority.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon the average American's pathetically short attention span (largely caused by media over-stimulation), admonishes us to improve our listening and concentration skills. Listening, which is far more important than simply hearing, is a vital spiritual skill—actually an act of love—that …
The ability to do miracles does not identify a speaker as a representative of God, especially if the signs entice one to depart from the Word of God. Jesus warns that if we ask God for protection from demonic influence, we cannot sit back passively; Satan always counterattacks. Evil must be displaced with good. Jesus encourages …
James Beaubelle reminds us that, if it were not for the ability to change, we could never grow to become like Christ. We may begin our journey on shifting sand, but we must end on the solid mountain. Not all change on our part is productive, especially if we reject our calling and return to the world. Our human nature resists …
David Grabbe, taking issue with nominal Christianity's faulty doctrine of dominion theology (the belief that it is the Church's responsibility to spread God's Kingdom before Jesus Christ returns), using the "kingdom as leaven" parable as proof, takes apart this fallacious reasoning. We are correct to understand God's …
When Solomon visits the Temple, he comes away with a sense that too many treat religion far too casually, forgetting that they are coming before God.
The Kingdom parables allude to the process of spiritual maturity, depicting a planted and cultivated seed becoming a sprout, eventually bearing fruit.
Having anxiety, foreboding and fretting about food, clothing, and shelter, or being distressed about the future, demonstrates a gross lack of faith.