Episode 082 – Parable of the Soils Pt 1: How’s Your Dirt?

The Parable of the Soils (traditionally: Sower) is only one of three parables that shows up in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Of the three parables, it shows up the earliest, and in each one, it kicks off a series of parables. Why do we need to know that? Because it’s a parable about parables. To understand what Jesus is doing in his other parables, it’s imperative to understand what he’s doing in this one, which is why we’re starting here. Jesus portrays his listeners as one of four soils, but only one soil is desired. The question is, “Are we that soil?” And if not, what do we need to do? This episode will help you figure that out. 

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching? 
  • How have you traditionally understood this parable? What was most surprising to you?  
  • Knowing the Parable of the Sower is actually about the soil, how does this change your perspective, if any, when reading it? 
  • Have you ever experienced the resurfacing of rocks in your life? If yes, how so? 
  • So how is your dirt? What rocks are currently in your field? 
  • Like the farmer outside of Nazareth, how hard are you truly willing to work to address the rocks in your field? 
  • Who in your life can help you deal with any rocks you may have? What does this process look like for you? 
  • How will you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week? 

For Further Study

  • Stories With Intent by Klyne Snodgrass – Pages 145-178 address this parable. 
  • The Parables by Brad H. Young – Chapter 14 addresses this parable. 


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  1. Brad, let me first say I am stoked that you are teaching on the Parables!
    We just listened to this teaching for the second time and were really challenged by the aspects you brought out. You compared passages in the OT that zeroed this in on our hearts and making sure we have good “dirt”. A cross reference came to mind, Jer 23:29 “Is not my word like fire says the Lord, Like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.” Could this tie in with the Fire and Rock pictures you spoke of, with the point being that the Word is not only what we are to receive in our hearts but it is the Word that helps prepare the soil (our hearts)?
    Just wondering if you thought it could connect in or if it is stretching too far.

    • Karl, I was actually going to bring that passage into the teaching, but it was one of the many pieces I had to cut out to hit our time frame 🙂 I do believe this passage is a cross reference that illuminates more of the Parable of the Soils. So good call!

  2. Brad, I was wondering if you were going to have another biblical context conference this year? Parables would be a great conference theme!
    Story! of Course! That’s why it is so easy to remember and retell, and connects deeper. The Lord wired us that way.
    Of course Jesus teaches us with stories, word pictures, and parables!
    It makes so much sense now…

    Thanks Brad

    • Hey Jim, we are having another Institute of Biblical Context Conference this next year (wow, we’re already into our 4th year doing this). It’s June 8-10 back at Community Church in Zeeland, MI (more details will be released soon through our Walking The Text emailing list). It’s going to be on Paul and His Roman World. I have on my list to do a conference on the Power of Story and Parables in the coming years. So great idea 🙂

  3. Thanks again Brad once again. I always enjoy your teaching. It is always a pleasure to have you come to Orlando and teach at Discovery Church also. God bless.

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