Luke 8:13

ESV And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.
NIV Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
NASB Those on the rocky soil are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and yet these do not have a firm root; they believe for a while, and in a time of temptation they fall away.
CSB And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and fall away in a time of testing.
NLT The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.
KJV They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

What does Luke 8:13 mean?

Jesus is explaining the meaning of the parable of the sower. Some of the seed spread lands on rocky ground—a thin layer of soil covering sold bedrock (Luke 8:6). The seed germinates quickly, but when the hot sun comes out, the plant doesn't have deep enough roots to find sufficient water and the plant dies.

Jesus has explained that the "seed" is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). The thin layer of soil is like a shallow person. They like the good news that Jesus teaches, but they do not take the psalmist's instruction and meditate on the meaning. They are not like a tree planted by streams of water that can withstand hardship. When the world tests their faith and their devotion to God, they become like chaff that dries up and blows away in the wind (Psalm 1:2–4).

The parable of the sower is often used to identify what it takes to be saved or what identifies someone who is saved. Does "fall away" mean these people were saved but lost their salvation? That interpretation contradicts Ephesians 1:13–14. Does it refer to apostates who fully understood the way to salvation and rejected it, and now cannot be saved? That's an extreme view considering how many religious leaders rejected Jesus during His ministry but later joined the church (Acts 6:7).

It's important to understand what the text does not say because laying out the mechanics of salvation is not the point. The point is that we are responsible for listening to Jesus' words and acting on what we understand. If we do so, we will bear fruit (Luke 8:15).

Even so, Peter may be an example of this type of believer. He quickly claimed to have great faith in Jesus. Then he faced his first trial. Standing around the fire, surrounded by the guards and servants who had arrested Jesus, he found himself questioned by a relative of the man whose ear he had just sliced off (John 18:10, 26). The only way to distance himself from the act was to deny he knew Jesus at all (John 18:27). Peter's faith did not stay weak, however. Before long, he praised God that he was worthy to be whipped for the sake of his Lord (Acts 5:41), and tradition states he was crucified upside-down for his faith.
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