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Matthew 13:1-9

Context
The Parable of the Sower

13:1 On that day after Jesus went out of the house, he sat by the lake. 13:2 And such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat to sit while 1  the whole crowd stood on the shore. 13:3 He 2  told them many things in parables, 3  saying: “Listen! 4  A sower went out to sow. 5  13:4 And as he sowed, some seeds 6  fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 13:5 Other 7  seeds fell on rocky ground 8  where they did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly because the soil was not deep. 9  13:6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched, and because they did not have sufficient root, they withered. 13:7 Other seeds fell among the thorns, 10  and they grew up and choked them. 11  13:8 But other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 13:9 The one who has ears had better listen!” 12 

Mark 4:1-9

Context
The Parable of the Sower

4:1 Again he began to teach by the lake. Such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there while 13  the whole crowd was on the shore by the lake. 4:2 He taught them many things in parables, 14  and in his teaching said to them: 4:3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 15  4:4 And as he sowed, some seed 16  fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 4:5 Other seed fell on rocky ground 17  where it did not have much soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. 18  4:6 When the sun came up it was scorched, and because it did not have sufficient root, 19  it withered. 4:7 Other seed fell among the thorns, 20  and they grew up and choked it, 21  and it did not produce grain. 4:8 But 22  other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, sprouting and growing; some yielded thirty times as much, some sixty, and some a hundred times.” 4:9 And he said, “Whoever has ears to hear had better listen!” 23 

Luke 5:1-3

Context
The Call of the Disciples

5:1 Now 24  Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, 25  and the crowd was pressing around him 26  to hear the word of God. 5:2 He 27  saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 5:3 He got into 28  one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then 29  Jesus 30  sat down 31  and taught the crowds from the boat.

1 tn Grk “and all the crowd.” The clause in this phrase, although coordinate in terms of grammar, is logically subordinate to the previous clause.

2 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

3 sn Though parables can contain a variety of figures of speech (cf. the remainder of chapter 13), many times they are simply stories that attempt to teach spiritual truth (which is unknown to the hearers) by using a comparison with something known to the hearers. In general, parables usually advance a single idea, though there may be many parts and characters in a single parable and subordinate ideas may expand the main idea further. The beauty of using the parable as a teaching device is that it draws the listener into the story, elicits an evaluation, and demands a response.

4 tn Grk “Behold.”

5 sn A sower went out to sow. The background for this well-known parable, drawn from a typical scene in the Palestinian countryside, is a field through which a well-worn path runs. Sowing would occur in late fall or early winter (October to December) in the rainy season, looking for sprouting in April or May and a June harvest. The use of seed as a figure for God’s giving life has OT roots (Isa 55:10-11). The point of the parable of the sower is to illustrate the various responses to the message of the kingdom of God.

6 tn In Matthew’s version of this parable, plural pronouns are used to refer to the seed in v. 4 (αὐτά [Jaauta]), although the collective singular is used in v. 5 and following (indicated by the singular verbs like ἔπεσεν [epesen]). For the sake of consistency in English, plural pronouns referring to the seed are used in the translation throughout the Matthean account. In both Mark and Luke the collective singular is used consistently throughout (cf. Mark 4:1-9; Luke 8:4-8).

7 tn Here and in vv. 7 and 8 δέ (de) has not been translated.

8 sn The rocky ground in Palestine would be a limestone base lying right under the soil.

9 tn Grk “it did not have enough depth of earth.”

10 sn Palestinian weeds like these thorns could grow up to six feet in height and have a major root system.

11 sn That is, crowded out the good plants.

12 tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 11:15, 13:43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

13 tn Grk “and all the crowd.” The clause in this phrase, although coordinate in terms of grammar, is logically subordinate to the previous clause.

14 sn Though parables can contain a variety of figures of speech (cf. 2:19-22; 3:23-25; 4:3-9, 26-32; 7:15-17; 13:28), many times they are simply stories that attempt to teach spiritual truth (which is unknown to the hearers) by using a comparison with something known to the hearers. In general, parables usually advance a single idea, though there may be many parts and characters in a single parable and subordinate ideas may expand the main idea further. The beauty of using the parable as a teaching device is that it draws the listener into the story, elicits an evaluation, and demands a response.

15 sn A sower went out to sow. The background for this well-known parable, drawn from a typical scene in the Palestinian countryside, is a field through which a well worn path runs. Sowing would occur in late fall or early winter (October to December) in the rainy season, looking for sprouting in April or May and a June harvest. The use of seed as a figure for God’s giving life has OT roots (Isa 55:10-11). The point of the parable of the sower is to illustrate the various responses to the message of the kingdom of God (cf. 4:11).

16 tn Mark’s version of the parable, like Luke’s (cf. Luke 8:4-8), uses the collective singular to refer to the seed throughout, so singular pronouns have been used consistently throughout this parable in the English translation. However, the parallel account in Matt 13:1-9 begins with plural pronouns in v. 4 but then switches to the collective singular in v. 5 ff.

17 sn The rocky ground in Palestine would be a limestone base lying right under the soil.

18 tn Grk “it did not have enough depth of earth.”

19 tn Grk “it did not have root.”

20 sn Palestinian weeds like these thorns could grow up to six feet in height and have a major root system.

21 sn That is, crowded out the good plants.

22 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in the final stage of the parable.

23 tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:23; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

24 tn Grk “Now it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

25 sn The Lake of Gennesaret is another name for the Sea of Galilee. Cf. the parallel in Matt 4:18.

26 sn The image of the crowd pressing around him suggests the people leaning forward to catch Jesus’ every word.

27 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

28 tn Grk “Getting into”; the participle ἐμβάς (embas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

29 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

30 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

31 tn Grk “sitting down”; the participle καθίσας (kaqisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.



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