There is a parable in the scriptures that is the key to understanding all parables. If you fail to understand this parable you will never interpret the Bible properly.
The seed and sower parable in Mark chapter 4 holds the key to interpreting all the parables and the entirety of the Bible.
Jesus said, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”
Parables can be challenging to interpret. The Bible itself is not the easiest of books to understand. The scriptures are 2,000 plus years old and the authors were from the eastern hemisphere. Americans are from the western hemisphere, the cultures are very different.
The western mind is distinctly unique from the eastern mind. So proper interpretation of the scripture requires prayer, meditation, and a good mentor. So, we see the challenges of interpreting the scriptures correctly. However, we also have a full-time teacher at our disposal — the Holy Spirit.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:26, NIV)
If you are born again, the Holy Spirit (Helper) is available to you. If you are not born again, you have not received the Holy Spirit. If you do not have the Holy Spirit, you will interpret the Bible through your intellect or human wisdom. This will only create added confusion.
Therefore, having the Holy Spirit is necessary, and properly interpreting the parable in Mark chapter 4 is vital. The focus of Mark 4 is genuine conversion versus false conversion. You cannot understand the Bible properly without your Spirit being born again. The Bible calls this regeneration. Think of regeneration as jumper cables being put on a dead battery. Regeneration results from God the Holy Spirit being connected to your spiritual heart.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5, NKJV)
Now back to the parable … the text is a little long for a blog, but more of God’s Word cannot hurt you.
And again, He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables and said to them in His teaching: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside, and the birds of the air came and devoured it.
Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth, and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. But when the sun was up, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased, and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you, it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive and hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.”
”And He said to them, The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness, and they have no root in themselves and so endure only for a time.
Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, they immediately stumble. Now, these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mark 4:1-8
I have heard this passage preached more than a hundred times. This parable holds the key to all parables because you can never correctly interpret the scriptures without receiving the seed from the sower (Jesus).
As we look closely at the parable, we see three people who received the seed, but the seed was not permanently planted in their hearts. We can apply this to those who answered an altar call and recited a prayer, but the seed never took root.
Why is this important? It is essential because some people believe they are born again, but their heart was never converted to Christ-the seed was not received.
Why is this parable the key to all parables?
Have you ever talked with someone who cannot understand the scriptures?
Do you personally know people who have not spiritually matured?
Do you know Christians without hunger for Jesus?
Have you ever thought certain people were not regenerated by the Holy Spirit? I am not saying we should be the Holy Spirit police or question everyone’s salvation, but I am saying this may be the reason for their spiritual growth struggle.
An authentic experience with Jesus is a must. All spiritual growth starts there, and genuine conversion occurs when we die to our old way of life and become a “new person” in Christ.
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 ESV).”
When a person receives Christ, they no longer live for themselves; they live for Christ.
“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” (I Peter 1:23, NKJV)
The Bible calls salvation death to the “old person” and living like a “new person.”
Genuine conversion begins when we repent of our sins and confess that Jesus is our Lord. True transformation is being crucified with Christ, and Christ lives His life through us.
False conversion can also be challenging to comprehend, and Satan can steal the seed because of the condition of our hearts. The falsely converted live the “me first” life, and they will do things for God without truly knowing Him.
The struggle is discerning our own hearts. The way to check our salvation is to examine our life and fruit.
Jesus makes it clear that believers were to forsake everything and abide in Him.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this, My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples. (John 15:5-8, NKJV)
Being a disciple begins a life of transformation. The disciple is like a branch attached to a vine and being connected to the vine provides the nourishment to bear fruit. We cannot bear fruit without abiding in the vine. And we cannot abide in the vine without being grafted in through being saved.
Let’s end with this fundamental truth-bearing the fruit of Christ is the result of genuine conversion.
And genuine conversion is the starting point of interpreting the scriptures, spiritual growth, and having the Holy Spirit.
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