Soil, Seed & Sower – A SOAP Bible Study on Matthew 13:3–8

Posted by on 05/15/2017 in: ,

Originally posted at Bible Connection.

Scripture
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places…Other seed fell among thorns…Still other seed fell on good soil.”
—Matthew 13:3–8, NIV

Observation
Although this is often known as the parable of the sower and the seed, it can also be said this is a parable about the soil. All four types of soil are essentially the same dirt but are in different conditions and respond in different ways to cultivation.

What made one soil more responsive and the other less?

When the New Testament was written, communities were agriculturally based. A family would be appointed a section of land to farm. Every farmer’s plot was adjacent to their neighbor’s. In order to get to the fields, the farmers would walk along the boundaries bordering each field to avoid stepping on the growing plants. The “path” was held in common by all the farmers. Over time, the soil on the path would compact. It was never plowed and never fertilized. In the parable, the seed that is sown on the path is not able to penetrate the ground because of the constant use. The condition of the first soil is hard and impermeable.

The second type of soil mentioned in the parable is the “rocky places” or the shallow soil where the plow didn’t cut deeply enough to break up the shale or hard ground just below the surface. This soil produced only plants with weak, shallow roots.

The third type of soil mentioned is the thorny soil, most likely found in the corners of the field where the plow couldn’t reach; here, weeds overtook what was planted.

All the types of soils mentioned here are actually in the same plot of ground with one major difference: Only one area was fully yielded to cultivation, to being changed and prepared for planting. That area was called the good soil.

The greatest amount of fruit produced was not determined by how rich the soil was, but how yielded to the plow it was. The soil in each condition received seed, but not all produced quality fruit.

Everyone receives seed, the Word of God. Everyone has potential for the harvest, living a fruitful life, but the ones who will produce the most fruit will be the ones most yielded to cultivation.

Application
How I apply this passage is by asking questions: Can I be “cultivated” in my life? How correctable am I? How quickly do I repent? Can I self–correct? The greater my yielding to God’s cultivation the greater the capacity of my fruitfulness in life.

Prayer
Father, create in me a soft heart, an open heart that is readily yielded to your Word and your commands. Make me fruitful, I pray. Amen.

Drawn from a “SOAP” article in the LifeConnect Study Bible Notes.

How has God “cultivated” your life or someone you know? Do you see how that caused a more fruitful life? Post a comment below!

22 Comments

  • Caroline says:

    This is an awesome reflection and application

    • LUCINDA MUNOZ says:

      I have lost my faith in humanity. I have Lost my faith in the Lord.

      • Deb J says:

        Lucinda I do not know your struggles, but please take them to God. I lost my Mom , my Dad, and then my Baby Boy(29) all in a 4 year period. I hurt so bad that I was mad at God and the world. Little did I know at that time –that my struggles would make a differance in others lifes. I Thank God daily for allowing me to minister to others going through the same hurt.
        My God give you the strenth to endour.

      • Rod says:

        I am actually quoting Star Wars Rogue 1 but there it is paraphrased from the Bible, “we mustn’t lose hope.” When we are at our lowest is when God is at his biggest, we must have enough faith left to ask him for help. I pray for you.

      • Nicole C. says:

        Lucinda, I am sorry that you are at a point in your life that you feel this way. I want you to know that there is nothing too hard for our God to handle. There is a purpose for each and every thing we go through. We don’t know what it is or why it happens but God does and that’s all that matters. In the hard times is when we must look to Him and cry out to Him even more. Ask yourself why you feel this way and take it to God. Don’t give up. I will continue to pray for you, your situation and your faith!
        God is able and He will bring you out of this!!

      • Nicole C. says:

        Lucinda, here is a devotional that I read. I pray that it will bless you.

        God Is Your Unfailing Source
        Wednesday, 17 May 2017
        ‘The brook dried up.’ 1 Kings 17:7 NIV
        The psalmist wrote, ‘Joyful are those…whose hope is in the Lord their God.’ (Psalm 146:5 NLT) One author writes: ‘Sometimes when there’s not enough money to make ends meet, people tell us to budget and we chuckle. We look at the situation and say, “No way.” That’s the time to trust God. Your possibilities aren’t limited by past or present circumstances. If there’s not enough to pay legitimate expenses, do your best and then let go. Trust God to supply your need, then look beyond your wallet. Look to your source. Claim a divine, unlimited supply. Do your part. Strive for financial responsibility in thought and action. Ask for wisdom, and listen to God’s leadings. Then let go of your fears and your need to control. We all know money is a necessary part of living—and so does God.’ FB Meyer said: ‘The education of our faith is incomplete till we learn that God’s providence works through loss… There’s a ministry to us through the failure and fading of things. The dwindling brook where Elijah sat is a picture of our lives! “Some time later the brook dried up” (1 Kings 17:7 NIV) is the history of our yesterdays and the prophecy of our tomorrows. We must learn the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the giver. The gift may last for a season, but the giver is eternal. If the Lord had led Elijah directly to the widow at Zarephath, he’d have missed something that helped make him a better man—living by faith. Whenever our earthly resources dry up, it’s so we may learn that our hope and health are in God.’

        • Marta Lynn Freeman-Steele says:

          Thank you for posting this Nicole. This is exactly how my wife and I have been living, from pillar to post, since October, 2016. We have been in a very bad financial crisis and still struggling. We are trying to live everyday as the Bible says. It’s very hard but with our trust and faith in God, we are slowly, and I mean very slowly, trying to make it. After reading what you posted today brought more sunshine as well as hope into our lives. We thank God for letting us be able to read what you posted and we both thank you again m

      • Cc says:

        The devil works the evil in humans. God will work his faith in you if you ask him with your heart.

      • Joe D says:

        Dear Lucinda, I feel your pain, but don’t ever give up on the Lord. Faith is the substance of things hoped for (acting as if it is so, even if it isn’t so, in order that it will be so, simply because God said so) the evidence of things not seen. God can’t lie. So don’t put your faith in humanity but in almighty God. Be Blessed .

      • Hugh says:

        Check the type of soil that is in your heart. Don’t believe what the Devil is trying to tell you. It’s a trick to rob you of the Grace and Mercy that God has given you through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Try Psalms and Revelation 19:10. You’ve been found not lost..God will never leave you.

      • Ron Hester says:

        Lucinda, I was surprised to see your comment. I appreciate the honesty…So Sorry! What has happened to you?
        It seems you need people to listen to what is actually going on before offering solutions.
        Nevertheless, since I don’t expect to actually hear the issues let me offer this…
        To put our faith in humanity is to put our faith in a foundation of sand… it s always shifting and unstable. The problem is, we are all human and we are all sinners… Including you and me. So I think we will always be either let down or letting others down ourselves. I think we need to accept this and do the best we personally can to be at peace with the world.
        Regarding losing Faith in God: Does this mean you no longer trust Him? Does this mean you think He lied to you? Really?
        Perhaps… Perhaps the problem is not losing faith in the Lord… Perhaps you have lost faith in what you have been TAUGHT about the Lord. And that might just be a very good thing. For Example there is a passage of scripture I often hear quoted out of context… Jeremiah 29:11. You MUST read the full chapter. This was not a promise to us but to certain ones of the Children of Israel. If I really believed Jeremiah 29:11 was meant for me then I too would have lost faith in the Lord long long ago.
        I encourage you to look again, Carefully, at the 23rd Psalm. And if at all possible, Try to read the book of Job in one sitting. Read it carefully and thoughtfully. Look also at Hebrews chapter 11.

        I believe strongly that what people actually lose faith in is not in the Lord Himself but actually have lost faith in what they believe ABOUT him. But they don’t often seem to realize this. Isn’t that exactly how Satan deceived Eve… she believed the “lie” about God rather than the “truth” about God. We are all subject to Satan’s schemes and must constantly be on guard.

        May God help you find the truth about him and expose the lies so that your faith in Him will strong and fruitful.

      • Quincy Denece Davis says:

        Lucinda, that breaks my heart to hear you say that. Can you tell me what happened to cause you to lose faith in God and humanity? If you don’t want to discuss it here please feel free to email me, my_qgirl2012@yahoo.com. I would really like to help you restore your faith in God and humanity. I realize that there are terrible things happening around the world and that ppl are doing evil and terrible things to each other all the time, but it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us nor does it mean that it was God’s will for these things to happen. That free will that we were given at creation can cause one to do a lot against another or even to his/herself that can’t be reversed. Please reply. Thanks, Minister Que

  • Lemmy says:

    How do you measure whether your application is enough?

    • Rodwell says:

      Lemmy, thanks for your valid question. It is very critical to understand the core will of God when He send His Son Christ into this world..that we may have His kind of life. And His life is in, flows out of His personality/divine nature (His Person), and Christ specifically came to express to/teach us this divine nature. God sent Christ MAINLY that we learn Him – the kind of Personality attributes He as God, is! Why? Because, God by His gracious will which He purposed even before the foundation of this world, wanted those saved to inherit or partake His divine nature (Col 1:12)- nothing else is God’s eye on besides achieving this. To be conformed to the image of His Son (in character, in divine attributes by His Spirit, through grace). With this brief background, hence the necessity of APPLICATION. Therefore, Christ nature/Person, as the Holy Spirit reveals and reflects in the scriptures in our study, is the template and measure (Eph 4:13). In all scriptures, there is something about Christ (John 5:39), the mystery hidden from all the ages until now – that we might learn Him and be transformed to become in His image in personality…and we can’t no more read Scriptures without the end objective of seeing Christ in it and asking His grace to be as He is (application).

  • Victoria Wagner says:

    I am truly thankful for your example of the fruitfulness of the shower it was so helpful to me.Thank you God bless you in Jesus Name AMEN

  • DeeDee says:

    Sometimes I think the process is slow. But I realize that as long as I am going forward and climbing upward that I’m growing in the things of God. I see the fruit and the pruning.

  • Dr Z. B. Yaduma says:

    In all circumstances focus your attention on Jesus Christ.only. Human have unstable faith.

  • Cee Craig says:

    Let your focus be on God, not your circumstances. He is bigger than any problems we may have.

  • William Ford says:

    I have been using the SOAP method for three years. it is an excellent method to contemplate and cultivate Gods Word. This method has been the basis of many of my sermons and Wednesday evening Bible studies. If used, as stated, one will develop a deep love for Gods Word. I encourage everyone to give it a try.

  • This is good. honestly, this is very good. I not only enjoy the pattern of reflection but got inspired as well. thank you!

  • Suliman Mohamed says:

    Friends, the book of “Jude 20-23” listed five principles for us to apply daily in our lives, if we can prayerfully apply them, we will be cultivating in our life and in the lives of others. Let us be doer of the word:

    1. Building yourselves up in your most Holy faith: Meaning, spending quality time in His word daily.

    2. Praying in the Holy Spirit: meaning, by spending time in His word will drive us to our knees in prayer of thanksgiving and confession.

    3. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you WAIT: Meaning, don’t run ahead of God, run with God or walk with Him.

    4. Save others by SATCHING them from the fire: Meaning, as we spend time daily in His word, daily in prayer and waiting on Him then and then will be become like Jesus our Lord, having His heart and eyes of compassion with urgency to reach the lost.

    5. Hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh: Meaning, stand your grounds and do not compromise who you are in Christ our Lord.

    Suliman Mohamed!

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