Matthew 13:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 13:23, NIV: But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.'

Matthew 13:23, ESV: 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.”

Matthew 13:23, KJV: But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Matthew 13:23, NASB: But the one sown with seed on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much.'

Matthew 13:23, NLT: The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!'

Matthew 13:23, CSB: But the one sown on the good ground--this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown."

What does Matthew 13:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus is explaining the meaning behind His parable about the sower (Matthew 13:1–9), an enrichment given only to His disciples (Matthew 13:10–17). He has connected the seed that failed to produce fruitful plants to the kind of soil it fell on. That soil represented different kinds of people. Some did not understand. Others made a shallow commitment to the kingdom. Still others failed to thrive because of a focus on wealth and the cares of the world (Matthew 13:19–22).

Now, though, Jesus comes to the good soil. These are the people who both hear and understand the word of the kingdom, with Jesus as its king. They receive this teaching and commit to Him with a clear and steady focus. The result, like that of a successful crop of grain, is to reproduce themselves in service they provide. They also generate other, equally fruitful members, who also make a commitment to the Messiah and the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus describes yields of a hundredfold, sixtyfold, and thirtyfold. Commentators disagree on whether these would have been good crop yields for grain during Jesus' day. Perhaps they would have been excellent in the arid regions of Palestine and merely adequate in the more fertile areas of Israel. In either case, Jesus is not literally talking about grain. He is describing committed disciples who, through their service and teaching and example, lead others to understand and receive the word of the kingdom.

Interpreters and scholars differ on the exact application of these verses. A minority suggest Jesus means this to be a parable about eternal salvation versus eternal damnation. Others interpret this as a lesson about productive disciples versus unproductive followers. Most suggest the parable should be read within the context of Jesus' ministry to Israel; those who grow into productive plants are the Israelites who receive Jesus as the Messiah and become participants in the kingdom He is establishing. There are certainly useful parallels for salvation and discipleship, but the main context of the passage does not seem to be about those topics.