Contact: David Parham 940-322-4343

Website: Internet Bible Studies

Matthew Menu

















Ball23A0.gif (3556 bytes)


Matthew Chapter 13:1-30

 Memory verses for this week:   John 21:25  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. 

Introduction: In last week’s lesson, we studied about the unpardonable sin which is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.   If we are being brought under conviction by the Holy Spirit to be saved, we need to come to Christ right then.  Today is the day of salvation, and if you put it off one day, you might never have another chance.

This week we begin a study of 7 parables.  The all are closely related and seem to be delivered by Christ on the same day.  They relate to the period of time between Christ’s rejection and his final return to setup His kingdom.   Parables are illustrations which make spiritual truth more plain to the hearer.   These parables have been designated as the “Mysteries of the Kingdom”. 

I.   The Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven 

Mat 13:1  The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

Mat 13:2  And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 

Jesus was the master teacher.   As he went out the sea side, great multitudes gathered together with him so that they might hear him speak.  Mysteries of the Kingdom were about to be told, and Christ has to go onto a ship so that all on the shore might see him and hear what he had to say.   A ‘mystery’ according to the New Testament usage, does not refer to something that cannot be understood, but it denotes a truth which once was hidden but now is revealed.   As these multitudes gathered, it gave Christ the opportunity to present the truths from the Word of God.    All of God’s word is truth, and we can trust it and believe it. 

Mat 13:3  And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

Mat 13:4  And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Mat 13:5  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

Mat 13:6  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Mat 13:7  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

Mat 13:8  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Mat 13:9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

This first parable speaks of the sower.

Although our Lord gives several parables in this chapter, He interprets only two of them: the parable of the sower and the parable of the wheat and tares. His interpretation is a guide to the symbolism in the other parables. For instance, in this parable of the sower, the birds represent Satan. Now when He uses the symbol of birds in another parable, we may be sure that they do not represent something good. We need to be consistent and follow our Lord’s interpretation.  [i]

 In verse 4, we read about the way side soil which is a hard soil that leaves the seeds exposed to the birds.   Before they seeds could ever sprout or take root, the fowls came forth and devoured the seed.  Verse 6 speaks of the sees that fell on stony soil.  The soil did not produce because of the heat and the shallowness of the soil.   If you’ve ever raised vegetables or flowers, you have to have good deep soil to raise plants.   And the ground has to be cleared of weeds.  Verse 7 talks of seeds falling among thorns, and when they did sprout, the thorns choked them out.  Finally verse 8 speaks of good ground.. fertile ground that could put forth plants and sustain them.   Some gave forth a hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty.  Only good ground can produce fruit.   These sayings were given that we might learn, and verse 8 warns us to listen and understand. 

J. Vernon McGee said this about the seed that failed to take root. 

With these folk the world crowds out the Word of God. The Devil got the wayside folk, and the flesh took care of the rocky-ground folk, but the world chokes out the Word for this class of hearers. The cares of the world move in. Sometimes it is poverty, and other times it is the deceitfulness of riches. It is quite interesting that folk at each end of the social spectrum—extreme poverty and extreme prosperity—are folk who are the most difficult to reach for Christ. I find that a great many people have let the cares of the world crowd out the Word of God. These three types of soil do not represent three types of believers—they are not believers at all! They have heard the Word and have only professed to receive it. My friend, it is well for all of us to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are really in the faith.  [ii]


II.  The Reason for Speaking in Parables 

Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 

The apostles question why Jesus spoke to them in parables.  This was a new method of teaching and something they were not familiar.   David prophesied in Psalms that Jesus would come and teach with parables. 

Psalm, 78:2, I will open my mouth in a parable. 

A parable is an illustration teaching a specific truth.  Jesus uses the method to teach the disciples, yet the specific lesson was hidden from the unbelieving Pharisees.  To know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven was given only to believers.   There are many things that we as Christians understand that the world desires to know, but can not.  Even the Word of God is not clear to the lost man or woman, which probably explains why someone tries to write a new ‘version’ of the bible each month.   The person without the Holy Spirit can not discern the Word of God. 

1 Cor 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.


Mat 13:12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Mat 13:13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 

The Pharisees could hear the words Jesus said, but they could not understand the words.  They did not see nor hear the truth.  God promises that if we desire to know more, He will give that to us.  And if we have no desire to understand, He can oblige you with that also.  Verse 12 says ‘but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 

Mat 13:14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

Mat 13:15  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 

This inability of the Pharisees to understand was a fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah.  They could hear the words, but they could not understand.   They could see, but they could not perceive.   Sadly, far too many in the world are this way today.  Our responsibility is to lead those to Christ that they may understand and perceive.   It says the people’s heart was waxed gross and their ears were dull of hearing.     Do we have a warning that many will be like this in these last days? 

2 Tim 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

2 Tim 4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 In many pulpits today, you won’t hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed.   Many will not preach against sin like they were commissioned to do.   Many good stories will be told and some book reports will be read.  God help us to never get away from doing what God told the church to do, and that is to reach the lost with the gospel, and then teach them ‘to observe all things’ that they may have fruitful abundant lives and become soul winners also. 

Mat 13:16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Mat 13:17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 

The disciples were really blessed to be a part of this teaching.  Jesus tells them that they are seeing things that the prophets of old had longed to see.   These were seeing the true Messiah teach the truths like no other ever could.


III.  The parable of the Sower Interpreted 

Mat 13:18  Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

Mat 13:19  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Mat 13:20  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Mat 13:22  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Mat 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 

Jesus interprets each of the types of soil.  The first wayside soil is like one that hears and never understands it due to Satan catching it away before it comes into the heart of the hearing.   The stony soil speaks of those that hear the Gospel and are excited about it, but never is truly saved.  The first sign of trial causes them to be offended and they leave.   There are many good time ‘christians’ that will only be around when good things are going on.    But true Christians will be out in bad weather, in the heat, to the possible threat of death.   Many today overseas put their lives on the line to go to church.   Would we come today if we knew we might be shot?   It would take the grace of God, but I believe the true believer has such a desire to please God that they have to come.  The thorny ground seeds (verse 22) are like those who hear the word and perhaps believe, but the cares of this world are more important to them than Jesus.   The rich young ruler was like those. 

Mat 19:16  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Mat 19:17  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Mat 19:18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Mat 19:19  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Mat 19:20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Mat 19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Mat 19:22  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 

Jesus was not wanting this young man’s money… he was simply pointing out how that he had not really kept all of the law.  The very first commandment was to put God first.  His possessions were more important to him than serving God.

 Verse 23 gives us the interpretation of the good ground hearers.  These are they who really do get saved, and they become fruit bearers.    Some will bring a 100 to Christ, some 60, some 30.   But if we are saved, we will be fruitful.    Will every Christian lead another to Christ?   I think that is definitely God’s perfect will for our lives.   Some might lead over 1,000.   But whatever we do, it is simply following the Lord’s Will for our lives, because we are nothing in ourselves.  It is God that gives the increase. 

1 Cor 3:5  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

1 Cor 3:6  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

1 Cor 3:7  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

1 Cor 3:8  Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

1 Cor 3:9  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.


IV.  The Second Mystery – The Tares Among the Wheat 

Mat 13:24  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Mat 13:25  But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 

We see in the same field, tares and wheat were sown.   They were sown by different people… the good man (God) plants good seed, whereas the enemy (Satan) comes in and plants bad seed.   After Satan sows his tares he goes on his way. 

Mat 13:26  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

Mat 13:27  So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

Mat 13:28  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

Mat 13:29  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Mat 13:30  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. 

What is this teaching about tares and wheat mean?   Jesus tells them that men were not permitted to go out and take out the tares, lest they harm the wheat by uprooting it.  Wheat has short roots, and can easily be pulled up.   The tares and the wheat look a lot alike, sort of the way wild rye looks here in Texas in our wheat.   You have to look carefully to tell the tares from the wheat.   Jesus says that the reapers will first bind the tares into bundles and burn them, but the wheat will be taken into the barn.   The angels will separate the lost from the saved.  The lost will be burned, the saved will go to heaven.    

I want to read you what Matthew Henry said about this last part of the parable. 

At the end of the world, there will be a great harvest-day, a day of judgment; at harvest all is ripe and ready to be cut down: both good and bad are ripe at the great-day, Rev. 6:11. It is the harvest of the earth, Rev. 14:15. At harvest the reapers cut down all before them; not a field, not a corner, is left behind; so at the great day all must be judged (Rev. 20:12, 13); God has set a harvest (Hos. 6:11), and it shall not fail, Gen. 8:22. At harvest every man reaps as he sowed; every man’s ground, and seed, and skill, and industry, will be manifested: see Gal. 6:7, 8. Then they who sowed precious seed, will come again with rejoicing (Ps. 126:5, 6), with the joy of harvest (Isa. 9:3); when the sluggard, who would not plough by reason of cold, shall beg, and have nothing (Prov. 20:4); shall cry, Lord, Lord, but in vain; when the harvest of those who sowed to the flesh, shall be a day of grief, and of desperate sorrow, Isa. 17:11.

(7.) The reapers are the angels: they shall be employed, in the great day, in executing Christ’s righteous sentences, both of approbation and condemnation, as ministers of his justice, ch. 25:31. The angels are skilful, strong, and swift, obedient servants to Christ, holy enemies to the wicked, and faithful friends to all the saints, and therefore fit to be thus employed. He that reapeth receiveth wages, and the angels will not be unpaid for their attendance; for he that soweth, and he that reapeth, shall rejoice together (Jn. 4:36); that is joy in heaven in the presence of the angels of God.   [iii]  


Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


e-mail at:



Practice Random Acts of Kindness.  Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.



[i]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[ii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[iii]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.