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The Parable of the Sower: The third and fourth hearer explained

December 15, 2015 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkThe third, or thorny-ground, hearer is the most difficult to identify, but the Lord has graciously supplied fuller help on this point by entering into more detail in His explanations of what the “thorns” signify. All three accounts tell us that they “grew up,” which implies that no effort was made to check them; and all three accounts show that they “choked” the seed or hindered the Word. Matthew’s record defines the thorns as “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches.” Mark adds “and the lust of other things entering in.” While Luke mentions also “the pleasures of this life.” Thus we are taught that there is quite a variety of things which hinder any fruit being brought to perfection — against each of which we need to be much on our prayerful guard. The good-ground hearer is the one who “understandeth” the Word (Matthew 13:23), for unless its sense be perceived it profits us nothing — probably an experiential acquaintance therewith is also included. Mark 4 mentions the “receiving” of it (cf. James 1:21), while Luke 8 describes this hearer as receiving the Word “in an honest and good heart,” which is one that bates all pretense and loves the Truth for itself, making application of the Word to his own case and judging himself by it; “keeps it,” cherishes and meditates upon it, heeds and obeys it; and “brings forth fruit with patience.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Parable of the Sower: The first and second hearer explained

Arthur PinkThe first is the “wayside” hearer, whose heart is entirely unreceptive—as the highway is beaten down and hardened by the traffic of the world. The seed penetrates not such ground, and “the fowls of the air” catch it away. Christ explained this as being a picture of one who “understandeth not the word” (though it be his duty to take pains and do so—1 Corinthians 8:2), and the wicked one takes away the Word out of his heart—Luke 8 adds “lest they believe and be saved.” The second is the “stony-ground” hearer—i.e., ground with a rock foundation over which lies but a thin layer of soil. Since there be no depth of earth the seed obtained no root, and the scorching sun caused it soon to wither away. This is a representation of the superficial hearer, whose emotions are stirred, but who lacks any searching of conscience and deep convictions. He receives the Word with a natural “joy,” but (Matthew’s account) “when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” These are they who have no root in themselves, and consequently (as Luke’s account informs us) “for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” Theirs is naught but a temporary and evanescent faith, as we much fear is the case with the great majority of the “converts” from special missions and “evangelistic campaigns.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Example 2 Of interpreting scripture in context

June 23, 2015 1 comment

Arthur PinkThe parable recorded in Luke 15:3-32, cannot possibly be interpreted aright if its context be ignored. What needless perplexity has been occasioned and diversity among the commentators concerning the identity of the ninety-nine sheep left in the wilderness (defined as “just persons who need no repentance”) and the “elder son” (who complained at the generous treatment accorded his brother), through failure to use the key we observe that this one parable (in three parts) was not spoken by Christ to the disciples, but addressed to His enemies. It was given in reply to the Pharisees and scribes who had murmured because our Lord received sinners and ate with them. His design was to expose the condition of their hearts, and to vindicate His own gracious actions. He did so by portraying the lost condition of His carping critics, and by making known the ground on which He received sinners into fellowship with Himself, and revealing the Divine operations which issue in that blessed result. Once those broad facts be apprehended, there is no difficulty in understanding the details of the parable.

Two distinct and sharply contrasted classes are set before us in Luke 15:1, 2: the despised publicans and sinners who, from a deep sense of need, were attracted to Christ; and the proud and self satisfied Pharisees and scribes. In each of the three parts of the parable the same two classes are in view, and in that order. First, the good Shepherd seeks and secures His lost sheep, for it is His work which is the basis of salvation; the ninety and nine, who in their own estimation needed no repentance, figured the selfrighteous Pharisee—-left in “the wilderness,” in contrast with the sheep brought “home.” In the second, the secret operations of the Spirit in the heart (under the figure of a woman inside the house) are described, and by means of the “light” the lost coin is recovered—-the other nine being left to themselves. In the third, the one sought out by the Shepherd, illumined by the Spirit, is seen with the Father; whereas the older son (who boasted “neither transgressed I at any time Thy commandment”) figures the Pharisee—a stranger to the feasting and rejoicing! Learn from this the importance of observing to whom a passage is addressed, the circumstances and occasion when uttered, the central design of the speaker or writer, before attempting to interpret its details.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures