Matthew 13:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 13:22, NIV: The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Matthew 13:22, ESV: 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.

Matthew 13:22, KJV: He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Matthew 13:22, NASB: And the one sown with seed among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the anxiety of theworld and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and itbecomes unfruitful.

Matthew 13:22, NLT: The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.

Matthew 13:22, CSB: Now the one sown among the thorns--this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

What does Matthew 13:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The disciples are being taught the deeper meaning behind the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1–9). Jesus spoke of a seed-thrower whose seed falls on various kinds of soil as he plants a field. The seed that falls on the hardpacked dirt of the path is like the word of the kingdom of heaven that is not understood by those who hear it (Matthew 13:5–6, 19). The rocky soil represents those who seem to receive the word at first, but have no depth. Hard circumstances and persecution cause them to fall away (Matthew 13:5–6, 20–21).

Now Jesus describes the soil among the thorns or weeds. This represents those who hear and understand teaching about the kingdom. However, they are distracted by worldly things. That includes wealth and ultimately superficial concerns. Their potential growth loses out in a battle against materialism and the stress of everyday life. Just as a weed steals nutrients from the soil and the light from the sun, those cares steal away the needed time and attention to commit to the Messiah. The plant never grows to maturity, so it never multiplies into more seeds of grain.

It's crucial to remember that Jesus' most immediate point is about how the nation of Israel will respond to His teaching (Matthew 13:10–17). This parable is not meant as a spectrum from "lost" to "saved," though there are useful parallels with how people respond to the gospel.

This soil represents the experience most familiar to people living in times of general prosperity. Wealth is deceitful in several ways. One is the nagging pressure to always have "more." Another is that money is so essential that it must be borrowed before it is earned.

The "cares of the world" do not describe disaster or persecution or grave illness. They are simply the everyday stresses of busy lives. In short, those represented by the thorny soil decide they simply don't have the time, energy, or attention span to commit to the Messiah and participate in the kingdom of heaven.