(Embedded with permission from Dr. Brian Russell, professor of biblical studies at Asbury Theological Seminary)

Thomas Aquinas’ provides the following summary of the parable:

“And it is to be noted, that as in the bad ground there were three degrees of difference, to wit, that by the way side, the stony and the thorny ground; so in the good soil there is a three-fold difference, the hundred-fold, the sixty-fold, and the thirty-fold. And in this as in that, not the substance but the will is changed, and the hearts as well of the unbelieving as the believing receive seed; as in the first case He said, ‘Then cometh the wicked one, and carrieth off that which is sown in the heart;’ and in the second and third case of the bad soil He said, ‘This is he that heareth the word.’ So also in the exposition of the good soil, ‘This is he that heareth the word.’ Therefore we ought first to hear, then to understand, and after understanding to bring forth the fruits of teaching, either an hundred-fold, or sixty, or thirty.”

For this project, we will primarily focus on Matthew’s account of the parable from Matthew 13:1-9 and explained in Matthew 13:18-23…

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow…” — Matthew 13:1-3 ESV