Parable Surprises – Parable #9 – Tares Among the Wheat

This parable of good seed in a field of weeds is surprising in a number of ways.

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Tares among the Wheat

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

This is the same crowd that heard the parable of the sower. Matthew 13 was a busy day of pouring truth out to the crowds through the medium of parables. Many in the crowds were receiving teaching that would challenge men and women for millennium, and that for past saints, had been precious truth they based their lives on. But for the most part, the audience were deaf to the message being provided on this day.

When did the Lord give this parable?

Check out my previous post.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

Check out my previous post.

Why did the Lord give this message?

Aw – the big question! Initially, a story of bad seed after the story of the sower seems a bit confusing, but the topic is different. The seed is not a metaphor for truth, or the gospel, but of how the kingdom of God would grow.

The kingdom would grow, but with enemies within it. It seems the reason for the existence of the enemies is due to the servants sleeping, and how true this is of the modern church. So many enemies of the gospel, parading about as representatives of the Messiah, growing, and seemingly thriving in the church, sucking the life out of it. But alas – I digress.

What was the message for the original audience?

Your expectations for an earthly kingdom is wrong.

Many of His audience were looking for Messiah ben David, a Messiah that would conquer the Romans and bring Israel to dominance in the world. An earthly kingdom, where all those gentile “dogs” would be dominated and ruled over, controlled and taxed, with revenge and power being available to every Israelite.

Wow Did I get carried away there for a minute? But you get my point.

Jesus was continually bringing a message that challenged the “earth bound” mindset. Jesus is Messiah ben David, the ruling King, but His subjects have to understand His Kingdom, and this kingdom would have enemies within it that are allowed to exist alongside them. Jesus ben Joseph, the suffering King was on display for all to see and to follow, if they could hear His message

How counter intuitive.

What is the message for us today?

Our expectation for the end may be incorrect – Notice that the weeds are gathered first. How does that jive with the common teaching of the saints being gathered first, that is with the common teaching of the pre-tribulational rapture. I don’t get it! But that is such a minor issue, for it does not impact a greater, a somewhat troubling truth.

The enemy has a purpose within the Kingdom. What do you say Carl?

Notice the Land owner’s concern over the wheat, the good seed and how He restricts any damage to their existence. And yet the enemy, the weed, is within their presence, their very life is effected by the weed. Now I have always been told to never make a parable walk on a hundred legs, but their may be some truth to the concept of the enemy being in the church for the sake of keeping us alert, of winnowing out the false believer, of showing to the world the difference of a true believer with the hypocrite.

Consider your own walk with Him.

Are their “weeds” in you life, weeds that fight against you in your Christianity? By this I mean folks that are a hindrance, or are blatantly against you in your faith.

We need these “enemies” amongst us, for we are not to be “out of the world”, where we could not rub shoulders with those who know not the Master.

No. We need to be amongst them, loving our enemies, blessing those who curse us and praying for those who persecute us.

Matthew 5:44, 45

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Those weeds will get pulled soon enough, but until then, we got some loving to do!

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Psalms for Psome – 14

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let’s take a few moments out of our day to consider Psalm 14.

Psalm 14:1 -7

To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

This is a rich psalm, and is referred to in the New Testament to define the fallenness of the sinner. It is interesting that the pronouns used in the third chapter of Romans is indefinite, and that by reference back to this Psalm, we find they are describing the fool.

The fool says in his heart “No God!”

Per the reading of the Old Testament, it is important to remember that when a fool is referred to, it is not describing the person’s intellectual ability, as so often we think of in todays culture. No – back then, to be termed a fool was a description of a person in moral failure. David begins this psalm with the central claim of a fool.

“No God”

Most translations usually have the phrase as “There is no God”, and that may be the intent of the passage, but there is an alternate intent. The fool has said “No God”, as in – I refuse to confess You, I refuse to acknowledge You, I refuse to obey You. It is not simply a matter of claiming there is no God, but that the fool rejects God. To reject something implies a knowledge of that something being rejected.

Does this fool have knowledge of the God of the universe and yet says “NO” to God in his heart?

Much may be said about the results of this rejection of God, and David spells it out in the next few verses. Corruption, doing evil and not doing good (which are two different things!)

The fool appears to have all the power, and no conscience. They destroy the people of God, as if they are nothing. Yet the LORD is his refuge, the refuge of the generation of the righteous, those who are described as poor. Yet a few verses later, David speaks of the fortunes of the Lords people. The future is bright for the people of God. As darkness may descend, remember, dear brother, dear sister, that Salvation has come out of Zion, redeeming us from this evil world.

Look to the One who gave Himself for your foolishness.

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Book Look – The Potter’s Promise – 2

As many who follow this blog may know, I have recently stumbled (providentially?) over a web page called Soteriology 101, fueled by the passionate Dr. Leighton Flowers. I have supplied a number of 60 second videos, under “Calvin’s Concern” blog posts, and have found his teaching to be challenging and refreshing.

As I was listening to Dr. Flowers, I decided to purchase his book and received it in the mail recently. As I mentioned in my first post about this book, I would be adding addtional comments, and lo and behold here I am again.

In a subsequent chapter, when Dr. Flowers is approaching the 9th chapter of Romans, which is the “hotbed of Calvinism”, he drew my attention to the following verses that express the heart of the Apostle

Romans 9:1-3

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—

that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

So lets get this right.

The apostle Paul expresses his love for those who are not believers, supposedly reprobates by the teaching of an average Calvinist, and would sacrifice his own salvation for those that are not able to be saved. These he prays for are very likely the reprobate, those that have been determined to be damned for all eternity by the determinant counsel of God before all of creation.

I don’t get it. How could the servant love greater than the Master? Paul has greater love than Jesus? Something is so wrong with the way I understand the Word. I suppose I need to reconsider key Bible passages in order to have the higher knowledge of Calvinism claim my spirit.

I suppose 1 John 4:8 should be rewritten as

1 John 4:8

Anyone who does not act holy and righteous does not know God, because God is holy and righteous, (P.S. Paul is love).

My apologies to John, and to our Father in heaven, for such a suggestion.

If any who are reading this and have found Him as I am describing, please let me know.  If you do not know of the Savior as the loving God of all creation, please reach out to a believer you may know. Or reach out to myself. I would be honored to assist if I am able.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.

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Psalms for Psome – 13

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let us take a few moments and consider Psalm 13

Psalm 13: 1-6

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

As a believer, I have forgotten His mercies and grace too many times to recount. During my hectic day and to my shame, I find little time to think on His goodness. He is a constant Savior, even a Brother, that treats me better than I deserve, and because of that, I yearn to be of that character. The character of Christ, who exhibited a self sacrificial life, forgives me as I repent of my wrong thinking/doing and is constantly drawing me into fellowship.

As I consider His goodness, grace and kindness, I tend to hear the niggling doubts, the faraway thoughts that remind me of my fears and struggles, the enemies that are so real. And yet these two thoughts seem to be at war with one another.

It has been years since I learned that fear and faith cannot live together. Why can I not maintain this truth in my experience? Why must I be reminded of it so often?

It appears that the psalmist is going through the very same struggle that so many of us can identify with.

At one point in the first verse the psalmist states that God is ignoring him, forgotten His child, ceased from caring for His child. He claims that God has hid His face from him, a term that signifies absence. The Father is no longer available to the child.

Have you experienced this? Have dark times enveloped you, where the love of God is completely absent from your life, where the enemy is seemingly victorious, and that you have no helper, no resource, no experience with the Father?

I do not intend to minimize this, as I have in the past experienced very dark times of solitude, of living in fear and feeling abandoned. As many of my readers may know, I have known the Lord for over 40 years, and during that time have struggled with many battles.

If I were to admit to one battle that I seem to have recurring failure at is that of addressing my fear. My fear of rejection, my fear of loss, my fear of failure, my fear of shame…. Need I go on?

The psalmist had physical enemies that were growling about his life, that were nipping at his heals. The victory of the enemy seemed inevitable.

Our fear seems justifiable in the appearance of the circumstance!

The believer is to rest in the steadfast love of God, in the constant truth of the salvation found in the Messiah. Does this resolve all specific aspects of all the circumstances being faced by the saint?


Circumstances do not necessarily change because of trust. (They may of course, due to His mercy, but that is not the point of this post!)

The psalmist states a fact, that is that he has trusted in the steadfast love of God. The circumstances are what they are, and yet in the past, the saint has trusted. The saint is trusting now, and this is obvious, since his heart is in rejoice mode. Fear is fleeing, and the rejoicing heart is victorious over it. (Consider 1 John 4:18!)

To trust is not to have all the answers, or to be experiencing “your best life now”. As a matter of fact, trust implies that there are issues that are fighting against our decision to trust.

Consider the concept Paul refers to in Romans 8:24-25

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

What we see with our physical eyes is often a distraction for our spirits eyes.

As you consider this, remember that the life of faith is truly a battle.

The turning point for the psalmist was his remembrance of the steadfast love of the Lord. Do not abandon your trust by concentrating on the appearance of life.

It is either faith or fear.

These two do not exist together.

Remember the steadfast love of God when the enemy rears its head and tells you to be afraid!

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Love Like Jesus – Without Rejoicing in Evil


Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Rejoicing in Evil

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing

1 Cor 13 - 5463 rejoice

To rejoice. To have a deep seated joy in the midst of any circumstance, to have a calmness and serenity that is deep seated in my life. This is a fruit of the Spirit.

But love’s rejoicing is kinda picky.

Love’s rejoicing does not live in evil doing, in the wrong.

1 Cor 13 - 93 iniquity

The next two posts will consider this “pickiness” of love and give us direction as to the condition of our hearts.

This post will consider what love does not rejoice in, what love cannot rejoice in. Love cannot rejoice in unrighteousness.

Any injustice or wrong doing, from love’s perspective, can not be rejoiced in. In our last post we considered holding onto a wrong, a “kaka”. Paul was referring to a memory of an injustice or a hurtful word, of a wrongdoing suffered by us.

This verse may include a wider audience. This passage may include my injustice. My wrongdoing. My sin. Sure, love cannot rejoice in the injustice perpetrated on a fellow human being. That is not love. That seems so obvious.

It is easy to be furious, even “self righteous” in our condemnation of another’s ill treatment of a brother. It sets us on the “high ground” supposedly, and we feel like we are better than those wretched dogs who are so filthy in God’s eyes.

What is not so obvious for me, in my day to day walk, is the sin that I spread around my friends, family and foes! Let me explain.

True love in a believers life, as we walk in the Spirit, cannot find rejoicing in a sin. If I do not have a solid understanding of what is right and what is wrong, I can find myself rejoicing in unrighteousness. A friendly reminder – the Bible helps bunches on defining this what is right and what is wrong!


I got the upper hand on my peer at work. That is so great. Let’s party! Of course he suffered a wrongdoing, and may not trust me in the future, see’s me as a bit of a cheat, but I landed that promotion and am able to supply for my family. Surely that is what God wants, and I am so full of happiness, it must be the right thing to do! Rejoice in that promotion!

What would love do here? Where can we find true rejoicing in this instance?

My child comes home from school with a note about being in a fight in the school yard. My first question invariably is “Did you win?” After all, he is a chip off the old block. Sorry to hear about the other kid, and the bruising, but life is hard. My son proved himself, and I am so full of happiness, it must be the right thing to do! Rejoice in my boys dominance over another!

What would love do here? Where can we find rejoicing in this instance?

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

Recently I have read of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, where the Master is referred to as a “Man of sorrows”. Our sins caused this sorrow. And yet the fruit of the Spirit is joy. He was led of the Spirit and under full control of the Spirit of God. The tension in this though is hard to accept sometime, unless you consider when the joy is to be expressed. Jesus, being under the authority of the Father, could not rejoice in wrongdoing. He was a “Man of sorrows”, and yet Luke 10:21tells us

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

In what hour? In the hour when the Father revealed truth to those who were receptive, and also hid it from those who were closed minded to the Messiah. Both of those actions are righteous acts. He rejoiced in righteousness.

I think I am getting ahead of myself, since our next topic will be rejoicing in the Truth. Let’s get together next time and consider the positive aspect of rejoicing! See ya then!

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.

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Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Believe in Prevenient Grace?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.

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300 Thanks eh?

When I started “Considering the Bible” over a year ago, it was primarily for my own benefit.  I enjoy putting my thoughts together and working to improve my skill in communicating my beliefs in an orderly and irenic way.

Since beginning, I have received many comments and “likes”, and some of y’all have even decided to follow me. (And some of y’all have become folks I look forward to interacting with – You know who you are!!!)

We just broke 300 followers.

Kinda cool, and I hope my feeble efforts to communicate a message of good news that I find in the Word is making a difference for those reading. Let me know – your encouragement is greatly appreciated.

Thanks again – Carl

If’n you aren’t following yet, it ain’t hard. Just click on the link below. And welcome to the discussion!

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Psalms for Psome – 12

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let’s read this short Psalm in it’s entirety

Psalm 12:1-8

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.

Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

The Psalmist is bemoaning the loss of the faithful man, the righteous and good man who spoke truth, who could be relied upon to provide wisdom and understanding. He cries out to the Lord for justice, for His justice to prevail upon those who lie, boast and flatter.

These boasters speak of thier ultimate power over everyone, since they boast of prevailing , and even question who is the master over them. Little do they know, they are the slaves to their own deception, they have no power over their own speech. These men are being led by the ring in thier nose to thier destruction

As I think of the New Testament teaching on the tongue, one passage comes to mind.

James 3:2

…And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

James uses the tongue as the ultimate test of perfection in the saint. Imagine, the implication is that the tongue is the greatest of our foes.

James 3:8

…but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James continues, stating that the tongue is the master of the man, the ruler of the body that is full of deadly poison. This counsel is for the believer, who has been forgiven of his sins, and provided the Spirit of God to empower godly living. And yet the tongue is a formidable enemy for the saint. How much more so for the poor sinner who is captive to its wiles.

The tongue plunders those who are supposedly weak. The tongue is a destroyer, the enemy of those who are in humble conditions, who are needy and are easily taken advantage of. Great swelling words seek to dominate those who are susceptible to the lies and deceptions of the proud and arrogant, godless man.

Where can we find a man who can be trusted? Where is there any hope of knowing a faithful witness, a brother who will speak faithfully?

Psalm 12:6

The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

His words are pure.

This purity speaks of an article or material as being unalloyed, such as gold. It is common to think in our modern world of some precious metals as being 99.99% pure. This is a standard that is used within the metals industry. The concept of a percentage of purity was not considered in the Old Testament to this degree. When purity is spoken of, it is to an absolute.

Habakkuk speaks of the Lord’s eyes as being pure

Habakkuk 1:13

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?

James speaks to us again, informing us that purity is the first characteristic of the wisdom from above.

James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

His words are pure.

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

It seems obvious to me that the words of the wicked draw them to the trap, to a destruction they do not expect, and shall swiftly fall upon them. Those who look to the word of Jesus, find a Brother who is worth listening to, a Friend who speaks the truth, (hard as it is to hear at times!), and a Savior Who is ever present to give direction and encouragement for those very folks who may be under the influence of the boasting liars all about us.

The psalmist closes this psalm, speaking of the wicked prowling about Peter also reminds the believer of an enemy prowling about

1 Peter 5:8 …Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Be sober, be vigilant, be aware of your circumstance and your resources. The Lord has not left us helpless.

It is common knowledge that the lion will devour the weakest of the prey. Do not be fodder for the adversary, by being the weakest of the body of believers. Much strength may be found in the words of God, pure words that are given for our edification and exhortation. For the building up of the saint, to increase our knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

His words are pure. Read them, memorize them, study them, treasure them and work them out in your life. Without them, you will only have one source of information. Let me tell you – that source of information is definitely not pure!

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Calvin’s Concerns – Drawing

A few weeks back, I published the first of a series of posts offering 60 second video discussions on alternatives to the popular Calvinistic teaching in our churches these days.

The videos were provided by Dr. Leighton Flowers, and addressed a number of topics that related to Calvinism and it’s resultant effects on the believer.

Since then, a brother has been in discussion with me and has sought to correct me of my errors. This is exactly my aim with this blog, to enter into discussions, consider other believers opinions and perspectives and by hopefully referring to the scriptures, come to a conclusion that is satisfactory.

My brother, has sought to correct me in the 4th of the 5 TULIP doctrines, which is the teaching of irresistible grace.

He has referred to John 6:44 in making his assertion and I spent the day yesterday considering the passage as I went about my chores.

Lets read the verse and dig a bit.

John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

My friend has “drawn” my attention to the word “draws” in the above verse and claims that the Greek word is better translated drag, and should be written as “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drags him“.

As a Calvinist in my previous thinking, I too used this argument since there is some support for it. Let’s perform a quick study to consider the strength of his arguement.

The Greek word is ἕλκω, transliterated as helkō, and is found in the New Testament 8 times. Lets take a look at them

John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

This, of course is our subject verse and we will come back to it in the near future.

John 18:10

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Ok, he may have something with his assertion. The action of drawing the sword could be considered equal to dragging the sword (out of it’s scabbard). Peter drew/dragged the inanimate piece of metal from its resting place and was a tool for Peter to use against the haplus victim Malchus.

John 21:11

So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.

My oh my. This may also support his teaching the the word should be translated as dragged, since Peter hauled/dragged the fish ashore. The fish were caught in the net and Peter physically dragged the catch to the shore, all 153 of them.

I may have to reconsider my understanding of John 6:44, but lets consider the remaining verses prior to jumping to a conclusion

John 21:6

He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

Now this is interesting. Even though the fish were caught and restricted from any freedom of escape by the use of the net, the disciples were not able to drag the fish into the boat. This seems to imply that the greek word helkō, (draw/drag) does not necessarily imply success in the dragging/drawing, but that other forces may impact the result.

Acts 16:19

But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.

The apostles were dragged into the marketplace. Obviously, Paul and Silas were taken by the hand and physically guided into an area of the market where they could discuss the ramifications of their teaching and consider options for the free dissemination of alternate thoughts. What? No, they were violently taken by force before the rulers. This time, the term helkō, can and rightly should be translated as dragged, physically dragged into a location the men had no desire to go

Acts 21:30

Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut.

Again, the term helkō, describes a time when the apostle is dragged somewhere. Golly, he sure was physically “helped” by a lot of folks when he got to preaching!

James 2:6

But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?

James uses helkō once in his epistle, speaking of how the rich dragged the poor in to the courts to oppress them and abuse them. Obviously, the poor came reluctantly, and had to be either physically dragged, or by legal threatening coerced into attending the court. Either way, it is a negative image.

So in conclusion, my brother may have a point in translating draw, in John 6:44 as “drag”, if Jesus is speaking a drawing

  • an inanimate object, such as a sword, as in John 18:10
  • something trapped, as in fish in a net, for the sake of consumption, per John 21:11
  • a man or men physically, as in Acts 16:19 or 21:30
  • a poor man to court physically or legally, as in James 2:6.

If we can transfer these intentions to John 6:44, we could conclude that the drawing is inescapable, but the implications trouble me. Something is nagging at my mind and I can’t seem to let it go.

To transfer the idea of physically dragging a man to judgement to be equal to dragging a soul to Jesus seems to be a stretch. But let’s assume for the sake of arguement, that we can rightly consider helkō to be always translated as drag whenever it appears in the New Testament.

Oh, by the way, I have found one additional verse, which gives me great joy due to this new truth we have recently discovered. Since helkō, must be translated as dragged throughout the New Testament, I can now rest in the glorious truth that all of creation will be saved and enter into heaven.

WHAT? What type of heresy have you fallen into now Carl?

Consider the final verse, where helkō, is also used

John 12:32

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw (drag?) all people to myself.”

Such awesome news.

Ok, so I tried to make a point! We can’t simply apply one of many definitions of a Greek word, applying it to every occurrence.

When I read John 6:44, I also think of Jeremiah 31:3

Jeremiah 31:3

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

I like to think Jesus may have been thinking the same.

Is the drawing irresistible?

I think the New Testament speaks volumes on the way our evil hearts resist the love of God, to our shame.

Is His will irresistible?

Take a few moments to consider the many time the Lord spoke of His will being frustrated by the will of another?

Additional information for the curious

A synonym for draw was used occasionally in the New Testament, The Greek word is σύρω, with the transliteration being syrō . Vines has an interesting comment for your consideration

Drag:“to draw,” differs from suro, as “drawing” does from violent “dragging.” It is used of “drawing” a net, Jhn 21:611 (cp. No. 1, in ver. 8); Trench remarks, “At vv. 6 and 11helko (or helkuo) is used; for there a drawing of the net to a certain point is intended; by the disciples to themselves in the ship, by Peter to himself upon the shore. But at ver. 8helko gives place to suro: for nothing is there intended but the dragging of the net, which had been fastened to the ship, after it through the water” (Syn., xxi).

This less violent significance, usually present in helko, but always absent from suro, is seen in the metaphorical use of helko, to signify “drawing” by inward power, by Divine impulse, Jhn 6:4412:32. So in the Sept., e.g., Sgs 1:4Jer 31:3, “with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” It is used of a more vigorous action, in Jhn 18:10, of “drawing” a sword; in Act 16:1921:30, of forcibly “drawing” men to or from a place; so in Jam 2:6, AV, “draw,” RV, “drag.”

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Parable Surprises – The Sower of the Seed

This is the big one. Of all the parables the Lord taught, I think this one is the most known, with the possible exception of the prodigal son. It is also one of the more complex ones, since it is dealing with four types of soil, and the recurring results of the soil.

Let’s take a look at

The Sower of the Seed

Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23

3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. …

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Great multitudes gathered to the Lord, to hear of His teaching. This was a general audience, a large crowd that had accumulated

When did the Lord give this parable?

Based on the parallel version of the parable in Mark, this teaching was provided after His confrontation with the scribes who came down from Jerusalem, claiming He was possessed of the prince of demons, and that He was casting out demons by Satan’s power.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

As the text tells us, He was in a boat, off the shore in order to teach the large crowd. Most believe He was on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee, near the village of Gennesaret

Why did the Lord give this message?

I had always considered the parables as a unique method of teaching, a method that would reach all those who heard it. But as my momma used to say, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” Jesus was finding out with this parable, and all parables, who was thirsty.

He taught this parable to multitudes and the disciples had had it. They weren’t getting it, and they came to the Lord to ask why. This is the parable that prompted the explanation of why the Master taught in parables throughout His ministry. I addressed this explanation in an introduction to this series here. I would encourage you to read the post – it may surprised you what I found out

What was the message for the original audience?

Naming this parable the parable of the sower is somewhat distracting, since it is concerning the soil that the seeds fall on that is the message. I will not address whether this parable describes four different levels of Christian, or the difference between true and false Christianity. This is not clearly defined in the parable, though some may claim it is. This is a results parable – What results from the same seed landing on four types of soils?

Four types of soil are described in this parable.

  • Hard Soil
    • The seed became food for birds. It didn’t have the chance to germinate. The soil was trodden down, packed by the constant pressures of foot path, of the day to day pressures of being used for travel. The soil itself was unable to receive the seed, and it was taken away.
    • No life.
  • Rocky Soil
    • Along the edges of fields, a farmer would pile rocks and stones that he had pulled from the field. Rows of stones were common along a farmers property, being used to mark out a field, or his property. I had always translated this thinking into the verse, yet most would consider “rocky ground” to be describing shallow earth that received the seed, and yet lurking so close to the surface, an impenetrable material that refused any growth. This condition allowed initial growth, but not continual growth. This seed germinated, but continuous life was not to be experienced for this plant – The ground had not depth, no support!
    • Life, but not continuous.
  • Thorny Soil
    • This ground was not necessarily shallow. It had the depth to support continuous life, and the proof of this was the thorns that became an impediment for this soil. The thorns choked out the good seed. It is interesting that the term choked describes a “crowding out” of the good seed. Yes the seed germinated, yet the seed did not come to maturity. In the Greek, this term “choke” conveys the idea of strangling, of taking by the throat. To choke is a very apt description of the action of the thorns. This is a competition for sustenance.
    • Life, but not continuous
  • Good Soil
    • This soil produced grain. Multiplication occurred in this soil. The one seed produced many seed.
    • Life.

What is the message for us today?

I have been reluctant to sit down and consider this parable, since my “general” thoughts have condemned my own experience. You see, when I first became a believer on Feb 19th, 1981 I saw a future of impeccable faithfulness to the Master, a life of constant obedience to a Master who loved me and gave Himself for me. As I have hit 40 years of walking with Him, I realize the “truth” of the thorny soil, since I have not been the believer I anticipated. I am a weak and inconsistent follower, that has had much less impact on my world than I had hoped.

But as I was working outside yesterday, considering this passage in my thinking, I realized that I am, by nature a greedy guy. I wanted a hundredfold multiplication, and yet in my dark days, I fear there is more thorn in my life that life. I was looking only at, what I considered the obvious signs of life from my walk.

He has kept me based on His grace and not on my efforts. He has sometimes dragged me through some difficult times, giving me only a slight glimmer of hope, and yet He still is very present, very real and is continuing His work.

As you read this parable, don’t be greedy and compare your life with a famous evangelist, teacher or flamboyant showy believer.

If you have produced one seed, one grain, give thanks.

And get the weed whipper out.

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