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The Parable of the Sower explained …sort of February 5, 2016

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.


One of Andy Walsh’s favorite Scripture passages is the parable of the sower. As he says,

“It’s botany! It’s metaphor! And it’s a rare parable to include an explanation… sort of. Sure, Jesus decodes the allegory for his disciples, but what is the application?

Is it a call to sow our seeds lavishly because we are not responsible for the condition of the soil, or is it a lesson on how to use our time and energy efficiently?

Are we being encouraged to prepare the soil before we go about sowing?

Are we being asked to reflect on the condition of the soil in our own mind?”

I don’t know Andy – I was just searching a few months back for a picture to illustrate the parable – but I liked those questions.

Andy went on to talk about being a comic book geek, about evangelism and about online conversation about religion and science. He finishes with the statement.

“Jesus uses, not the method of science, but the metaphors science provides to illustrate ideas which may be more difficult to comprehend in the abstract, or less memorable when expressed directly.”

You might need to read more of the post on his emerging scholars blog to unwrap that a little.

The picture Andy uses is an interesting one that he doesn’t really refer to. I’m guessing he googled for pictures of the sower and liked it too. It was painted over 40 years ago by an artist in Cameroon and designed to be used in a fairly low tech environment where scientific metaphors weren’t quite at the forefront of the peoples minds.

I’d used Google image search and found the picture on JesusMafa.com . Mini posters can be ordered that are

“printed on plastic material extremely strong, almost unalterable. These pictures are equally proof against rain and sun, insect bites and mould. They can be washed and even ironed with a moderatlely warm iron through a wet cloth”

Take a deeper look at the art and the reason behind it. Images are powerful adding detail to the story, but sometimes adding distance, setting the story in a world that isn’t quite your own.

A common challenge any time that we read the Bible is that we often already have some of our own pictures in our head. Sometimes we have to see past those before we see the scene in it’s true historic context. And once the seeds are sown and we’ve done what we can to understood what the passage meant we can move on to what it’s implications are in today’s contexts, and let the seeds grow.

Perhaps if you lead a Sunday School or home group you might challenge your participants to draw there own picture of the sower. And then see what they draw from it.



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