8:9 Then 1 his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 2 8:10 He 3 said, “You have been given 4 the opportunity to know 5 the secrets 6 of the kingdom of God, 7 but for others they are in parables, so that although they see they may not see, and although they hear they may not understand. 8
8:11 “Now the parable means 9 this: The seed is the word of God. 8:12 Those along the path are the ones who have heard; then the devil 10 comes and takes away the word 11 from their hearts, so that they may not believe 12 and be saved. 8:13 Those 13 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, 14 but 15 in a time of testing 16 fall away. 17 8:14 As for the seed that 18 fell among thorns, these are the ones who hear, but 19 as they go on their way they are choked 20 by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, 21 and their fruit does not mature. 22 8:15 But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing 23 the word, cling to it 24 with an honest and good 25 heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance. 26
1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
2 tn Grk “what this parable might be” (an optative after a secondary tense, in keeping with good Koine style).
3 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
4 tn This is an example of a so-called “divine passive,” with God understood to be the source of the revelation (see ExSyn 437-38).
5 tn Grk “it has been given to you to know.” The dative pronoun occurs first, in emphatic position in the Greek text, although this position is awkward in contemporary English.
6 tn Grk “the mysteries.”
sn The key term secrets (μυστήριον, musthrion) can mean either (1) a new revelation or (2) a revealing interpretation of existing revelation as in Dan 2:17-23, 27-30. Jesus seems to be explaining how current events develop old promises, since the NT consistently links the events of Jesus’ ministry and message with old promises (Rom 1:1-4; Heb 1:1-2). The traditional translation of this word, “mystery,” is misleading to the modern English reader because this English word suggests a secret which people have tried to uncover but which they have failed to understand (L&N 28.77).
7 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.
8 sn A quotation from Isa 6:9. Thus parables both conceal or reveal depending on whether one is open to hearing what they teach.
9 tn Grk “is,” but in this context it is clearly giving an explanation of the parable.
10 sn Interestingly, the synoptic parallels each use a different word for the devil here: Matt 13:19 has “the evil one,” while Mark 4:15 has “Satan.” This illustrates the fluidity of the gospel tradition in often using synonyms at the same point of the parallel tradition.
11 sn The word of Jesus has the potential to save if it germinates in a person’s heart, something the devil is very much against.
12 tn The participle πιστεύσαντες (pisteusante") has been translated as a finite verb here. It may be regarded as an adverbial participle of attendant circumstance. From a logical standpoint the negative must govern both the participle and the finite verb.
13 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
14 sn This time of temporary faith represented by the description believe for a while is presented rather tragically in the passage. The seed does not get a chance to do all it can.
15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
16 tn Traditionally, “temptation.” Such a translation puts the emphasis on temptation to sin rather than testing of faith, which is what the context seems to indicate.
17 sn Fall away. On the idea of falling away and the warnings against it, see 2 Tim 3:1; Heb 3:12; Jer 3:14; Dan 9:9.
18 tn Grk “What”; the referent (the seed) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
20 sn That is, their concern for spiritual things is crowded out by material things.
21 sn On warnings about the dangers of excessive material attachments, described here as the worries and riches and pleasures of life, see Luke 12:12-21; 16:19-31.
22 tn The verb τελεσφορέω (telesforew) means “to produce mature or ripe fruit” (L&N 23.203). Once again the seed does not reach its goal.
23 tn The aorist participle ἀκούσαντες (akousante") has been taken temporally, reflecting action antecedent (prior to) that of the main verb.
24 sn There is a tenacity that is a part of spiritual fruitfulness.
25 sn In an ancient context, the qualifier good described the ethical person who possessed integrity. Here it is integrity concerning God’s revelation through Jesus.
26 sn Given the pressures noted in the previous soils, bearing fruit takes time (steadfast endurance), just as it does for the farmer. See Jas 1:2-4.