In 1991, the Barna Group asked American adults if they believed that “the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches,” and 46 percent of respondents strongly agreed. By 2016 that number dropped to 33 percent. Barna president David Kinnaman said, “With each passing year, the percent of Americans who believe that the Bible is ‘just another book written by men’ increases.”
In Luke 8, as Jesus’ ministry and the opposition against Him grew, a clear definition of true discipleship became increasingly necessary. Jesus told the parable of the soils to a large crowd who had gathered from several towns. This teaching was intended for the broader audience, and the farming imagery would have been familiar.
In the parable, some seed fell on the road, where it was trampled and eaten by birds. Other seed fell on rocky ground, which could be hard to spot in Palestine since a thin topsoil often covered a limestone rock base. These seeds sprouted and then immediately dried up for lack of roots and water. A third set of seed fell among the weeds, which were plentiful and large in Palestine and easily choked out the seedlings. The rest of the seeds fell on good soil and yielded a hundredfold, a very fruitful crop in a land that expected only tenfold.
When the disciples questioned the parable, Jesus explained that the seed was the Word of God, and people responded in various ways to the message—depending on the condition of their heart. Verses 19–21 reinforce the importance of responding to God’s Word. When Jesus was told that His mother and siblings were trying to see Him, He responded with a proverbial statement that He was closest to those who received the Word of God and lived by it.
>> If you did a soil test on your heart, which kind would it be? Bearing fruit does not happen in a moment but over time. We can cultivate good soil by spending time daily in God’s Word.
We want to be those who hear the word and retain it. We want to be those who persevere and produce a large crop. But we rely on You for this kind of growth. Lord God, give us rich soil and cultivate faith in us.