Who is saved/elect in the Parable of the Sower?

Some parables are allegories, as is obviously the case in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23  in the Matthew account).  Not everyone, it seems, agrees as to who is truly saved when interpreting this parable.  What is your view? Has your view changed over the years?

Only the good soil -- where the seed bears fruit -- represents the elect (saved).
69% (9 votes)
The good soil and the thorny soil represent the elect.
0% (0 votes)
The good soil, the thorny soil, and the rocky soil represent the elect.
0% (0 votes)
Some elect are represented among the various soils (although the good soil might see more).).
8% (1 vote)
23% (3 votes)
Total votes: 13
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There are 4 Comments

JSwaim's picture

I'm preaching on this section this Sunday, although from Mark, not Matthew.  Matthew may have a different emphasis than Mark in this section.  I haven't studied it out so I'll refrain from commenting on Matthew.  However, in Mark, the emphasis on election--God's sovereign working-- seems to be in the following parable in which the farmer plants but has no control over the result.  He merely waits to see what God will do.  I take the four grounds to be a parable for the believing disciples.  It is an exhortation to them that they be careful to listen to God's Word and respond in obedience.  If they are hardened to it, or if they are distracted by the cares of the world or by hardships, they will be unfruitful disciples.  The passage is not a guideline for evaluating others to see if they are a part of the elect, it is an exhortation to believers to heed the word, obey, and be fruitful.  The next story reinforces this teaching.  In it, the 12 are faithless and weak during the storm, They are with Jesus, but they are not ready to be sent out by Jesus (being with Jesus and being sent out by him is the essence of discipleship in Mark--cf 3:18).  When they reach land--gentile territory-- the demoniac there exercises faith to the degree that he requests to be with Jesus and is sent out to evangelize by Jesus.  HE is a fruitful disciples while the disciples (Jesus accuses them of being hard echoing the hard soil in the parable) are not fruitful disciples; at least not yet.   FWIW

TylerR's picture


I take the point of the parable (Mk 4) not to be "who is saved," but that "most folks won't respond." I think the context supports this. Basically, I think to ask "who is really saved?" in this parable is to demand an answer to an issue Jesus isn't even addressing. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Ed Vasicek's picture

In Matthew's account, this precedes the parable of the Wheat and Tares.  That is  an argument that "who the elect are" is in mind.  IMO, the elect equates to good soil, demonstrated by fruit.  

This parable is an allegory, for Jesus tells us who represents whom.  The term "parable" is broad; it is a loose term and includes allegories, not just simpler "one point" parables (like the leaven).

In the parable of the tares, there are two types of "responders," the genuine and the counterfeit. In the sower, there are four types of responders (if we include the pathways seeds that are eaten by the devil), but, in my view, one responding to fruit (which is why the sower sows in the first place), in the other instances, the seed is essentially wasted.

"The Midrash Detective"

JSwaim's picture

No doubt the parable of the wheat and the tares is about election.  However, the conclusion of the  parable is that the elect are not known in this age nor can they be known by man.  So, do we conclude that the preceding parable of the soils is a guide for discovering in this age who the elect are?  It's hard to see how that could be.