Last evening the Life group which my wife, Leonora, and I host discussed Jesus’ parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) guided by The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups’s questionnaire for beginning groups.
MT 13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
MT 13:18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (NIV)
The questionnaire was divided into two parts, Looking into the Scriptures and My Own Story. For each I allowed at least five minutes for members of the group to answer the four or five multiple choice questions in it and then we shared our answers. Although only four of our seven or eight regulars were present, we had a good discussion. However we didn’t reach a consensus in answering most of the questions and so here I’ll give just the questions except for the last question in each section.
Looking into the Scriptures
1. If you had been in the crowd when Jesus shared this parable, how would you have felt?
2. Why do you think Jesus used this illustration to explain how people receive his message?
3. What is the “crop” that the seed is to produce?
4. What is Jesus really saying in this parable? – We agreed on “if you’re not producing, it’s not the fault of the seed..” In each case the sower and the seed were the same’ only the soil differed.
My Own Story
1. If you had to divide your life from BIRTH to RIGHT NOW into four quarters (Like the quarters of a football game), how would you describe each quarter as far as the spiritual values that Jesus preached and live? On the line below, fill in the quarters of your life–starting with CHILDHOOD as your first quarter. Then, for each quarter, jot down one of the four soils.
2. In the period of your life where you indicated the best crop, what was the contributing factor?
3. In the period of your life where you indicated the poorest crop, what was the contributing factor?
4. If you were to take God seriously for 30 days, what would it mean in practical terms?
5. Which of these “farm trivia” facts would encourage you the most as you “sow” the “seed” of the gospel? – We divided between “a seed of grain can yield 100 times its own weight” and “the crop cannot be determined as the seed is planted.” We observed that the latter should be encouraging to pastors in their preaching and to all of us in our witnessing.