Seeds that fell in weeds

The Seed Sown Among Thorns

Both my mother and grandmother are avid gardeners. They each have beautiful gardens that bloom all summer long. When I visit, we always spend time walking through the gardens to enjoy their beauty. However, those moments do not compare to the countless hours each of them spend working in them. To have a beautiful garden constant weeding is necessary otherwise the weeds will overtake the flowers.

Thorns Choked the Plants

“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain” (Mark 4:7).

The third type of soil is the full of thorns. As the plants grow, the thorns also grow and choke the plants, robbing them of essential nutrients so they cannot produce. Notice no attention is given to weeding or removing the thorns, they are allowed to grow alongside the plant having access to the same nutrients and water supply. The weeds flourish, grow strong, overtake the plants and make them unfruitful.

Jesus gives insight in His explanation, “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19).

This is how the Amplified Bible describes it, “And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless” (Mark 4:18-19).

This is the person who receives the Word; however the cares, worries, distractions and desires for other things are their main focus in life. Like a garden with both plants and weeds, there are only enough nutrients to sustain either the plants or the weeds, not both. In other words, where you place your focus is where growth will happen in your life.

A prime example of this parable in action is the rich young ruler. He came to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. After a discussion, Jesus looked at him in love and said, “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). At this the man’s face fell and he went away. He was very rich and the desire for wealth and worldly things trumped his desire to follow Jesus.

Having wealth and possessions is not wrong. And it appears that this man had a desire for God and sought out Jesus knowing life was in Him. His own words testified that He had made an effort to keep all of the commandments since he was young. Seeds had been planted; however, when it came down to it, the desire for wealth and the cares of this life, choked the seeds, making them unfruitful.

Life Reflects What You’ve Planted

In the parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29), we see that the soil activates the seeds (vs. 28). The soil will not only cause good seeds to germinate, it will cause bad seeds to germinate. Whatever you focus your attention on grows. Your heart brings forth fruit of itself (Proverbs 23:7 KJV). So careful attention must be given to the seeds you want growing in your life.

Modern day life is full of distractions. Busyness is a terrible enemy! We run from here to there filling up our lives with activities. Then when we are at home, it is easy to spend most of our time in front of a TV or a computer. By comparison, the time spent reading scripture or meditating on God’s word is minimal.

By taking a look at society as a whole, we can see that we are reaping what has been planted. Everywhere you look you see violence, broken families and an entire culture that disregards authority. But look what is constantly on TV and it is no surprise these things have appeared in our society. The language and topics of today’s shows would never have been acceptable to be on the air, even only ten years ago.

This same principle applies to our individual lives as well. Our lives reflect both what has been planted and what is given preference to grow. Weed seeds can be planted unintentionally by whatever we take in. Whether it is what we watch on television, the magazines we read or the gossip we listen to. A lot of seeds are tossed our way during the day. If we do not root them up right away then they are also allowed a share of soil in which to grow.

If the Word is going to make a difference in your life then you need to weed out other things. Jesus said, “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). To produce, the Word needs to dominate your thoughts, so for these seeds to grow we must get rid of the weeds.

How to Weed Your Garden

Jesus started this parable by explaining that the Word of God is the seed. He went on to describe the different soils and different reactions to the seed. It is a progression. So here is an amazing application to this dynamic truth, if you let weeds grow wild they will sap vital nutrients from any scripture you plant. However, if you continually plant the Word, then it will choke out and overtake the weeds keeping them from producing.

This is done by being singular. In the third type of soil, they got too busy living and life choked the seed making it unfruitful. So we must stay focused. The Lord will cause you to prosper more than you can imagine if you stay focused on Him.

This is done by finding out what God’s call and purpose for your life is and then giving your whole existence to that end. What is the one thing that God has called you to do? If you cannot answer that question then out what that is and give yourself wholeheartedly to seeing that purpose come to pass. To be successful in that endeavor, continually plant God’s Word in your heart and you will see it yield fruit year, after year, after year.

Paul said it is knowledge of God that demolishes strongholds and makes every thought captive and obedient to Christ (II Corinthians 10:3-5). The Word of God is our offense to uproot and tear down anything that sets itself up against that knowledge. To weed, we must set aside the worries and desires of this world and give ourselves fully to the Lord. Giving more consideration to what He says, than any other source in our lives.

What is the Meaning of the Parable of the Weeds?

First century Jews lived in an agrarian culture, so it’s no wonder that a lot of Jesus’s teaching used the example of crops and farmers. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talks about how people respond to the gospel. In the Parable of the Tenants, He used the story of a vineyard to address the ways Israel had consistently worked against God.

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells another farm-related story:

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”

“An enemy did this,” he replied.

The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”

“No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn” (Matthew 13:24-30).

Horticultural sabotage

The specifics of this story would have made a lot more sense to Jesus’s original audience. When one farmer wanted to sabotage another, it wasn’t unheard of for them to sow bearded darnel into their wheat.

Bearded darnel is a noxious weed that mimics many of the characteristics of wheat—for a while. Before they mature, the two plants are almost identical, but as they grow, the differences become apparent in the fruit. Unfortunately, darnel is poisonous and in big enough doses will kill a person. So it’s not something a farmer wants mixed up in their harvest.

The concerned servants want to remove the darnel, but the farmer is afraid they’ll mistakenly throw out perfectly good wheat. He instructs them to leave the separation to the harvesters whose job it is to remove the darnel.

Interpreting the parable

After Jesus and the disciples leave the crowds, they ask Him to interpret the parable for them:

He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matthew 13:37–43).

When Jesus first introduces the parable, He says, “The kingdom of heaven is like. “

To really grasp this parable, it’s helpful to understand that Jesus is describing the kingdom of God. Jesus is sowing gospel seeds throughout the world and raising up Christians. But at the same time, the enemy is in the world spreading counterfeit seed. In its immature state, it isn’t always simple to discern the differences between those that belong to the kingdom and those who do not.

The servants want to help the farmer by uprooting the imposters, but they lack the sensitivity of the angelic harvesters. It’s not the job of the servants to make judgments about what is and isn’t actual wheat. Their job is to serve the farmer as He spreads the legitimate seed.

It seems that the main point of the parable is that unlike the disciples’ expectation, the kingdom of God wouldn’t be a restored Israel. It would be a borderless kingdom where the citizens might not immediately appear much different than those in the kingdom of man. Any attempt to separate the two could do damage to God’s kingdom.

The servants should assist Jesus in planting seeds and ensuring that they grow to maturity. At the end of the age, it’s the job of the harvester to judge who is or isn’t a member of God’s kingdom.

If you’re interested in learning more about Jesus’s teaching, check out All the Parables of Jesus for a bird’s-eye view of His story-like lessons.

Seeds that fell in weeds

New International Version
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

New Living Translation
Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.

English Standard Version
Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

Berean Study Bible
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings.

Berean Literal Bible
And other fell upon the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

King James Bible
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

New King James Version
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

New American Standard Bible
Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

NASB 1995
&#8220Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

NASB 1977
“And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

Amplified Bible
Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out.

Christian Standard Bible
Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them.

American Standard Version
And others fell upon the thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked them:

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And others fell among the thorns and the thorns came up and choked it.

Contemporary English Version
Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And others fell among thorns: and the thorns grew up and choked them.

Good News Translation
Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants.

International Standard Version
Other seeds fell among thorn bushes, and the thorn bushes grew higher and choked them out.

Literal Standard Version
and others fell on the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them,

New American Bible
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.

NET Bible
Other seeds fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked them.

New Revised Standard Version
Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

New Heart English Bible
Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

Weymouth New Testament
Some falls among the thorns; but the thorns spring up and stifle it.

World English Bible
Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.

Young’s Literal Translation
and others fell upon the thorns, and the thorns did come up and choke them,

The Parable of the Sower
… 6 But when the sun rose, the seedlings were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil and produced a crop—a hundredfold, sixtyfold, or thirtyfold.…

Jeremiah 4:3
For this is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground, and do not sow among the thorns.

Matthew 13:6
But when the sun rose, the seedlings were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

Matthew 13:8
Still other seed fell on good soil and produced a crop–a hundredfold, sixtyfold, or thirtyfold.

Mark 4:7
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings, and they yielded no crop.

Luke 8:7
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the seedlings.

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Genesis 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Jeremiah 4:3,4 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns…

(7) Among thorns. –Literally, the thorns, so familiar to the husbandman. These were not visible at the time of sowing. The ground had been so far cleared, but the roots were left below the surface, and their growth and that of the grain went on simultaneously, and ended in the survival, not of the fittest, but of the strongest. The ears shot up, and did not die suddenly, as in the preceding case, but were slowly strangled till they died away.

Verse 7. – And some fell among thorns; upon the thorns (Revised Version); which were sure to be close by (cf. Jeremiah 4:3). And the thorns sprang up ( grew up , Revised Version, ἀνέβησαν ), and choked them. Whether brambles or merely spinous weeds (on their abundance, see Tristram, ‘Nat. Hist. of Bible,’ p. 423, edit. 1889) are here referred to is not certain. Even the former might be comparatively low in sowing time, and only as they “grew up” cause serious injury to the wheat.

Other [seeds]
Ἄλλα (Alla)
Adjective – Nominative Neuter Plural
Strong’s 243: Other, another (of more than two), different. A primary word; ‘else, ‘ i.e. Different.

fell
ἔπεσεν (epesen)
Verb – Aorist Indicative Active – 3rd Person Singular
Strong’s 4098: A reduplicated and contracted form of peto; probably akin to petomai through the idea of alighting; to fall.

among
ἐπὶ (epi)
Preposition
Strong’s 1909: On, to, against, on the basis of, at.

the
τὰς (tas)
Article – Accusative Feminine Plural
Strong’s 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

thorns,
ἀκάνθας (akanthas)
Noun – Accusative Feminine Plural
Strong’s 173: A thorn-bush, prickly plant; a thorn. Probably from the same as akmen; a thorn.

[which]
ἄκανθαι (akanthai)
Noun – Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong’s 173: A thorn-bush, prickly plant; a thorn. Probably from the same as akmen; a thorn.

grew up
ἀνέβησαν (anebēsan)
Verb – Aorist Indicative Active – 3rd Person Plural
Strong’s 305: To go up, mount, ascend; of things: I rise, spring up, come up. From ana and the base of basis; to go up.

and
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong’s 2532: And, even, also, namely.

choked
ἔπνιξαν (epnixan)
Verb – Aorist Indicative Active – 3rd Person Plural
Strong’s 4155: To choke, throttle, strangle; hence: I drown. Strengthened from pneo; to wheeze, i.e. to throttle or strangle.

[the seedlings].
αὐτά (auta)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun – Accusative Neuter 3rd Person Plural
Strong’s 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.