What does Luke 8:12 mean?
ESV: The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
NIV: Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
NASB: And those beside the road are the ones who have heard, then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
CSB: The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
NLT: The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.
KJV: Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is explaining the parable of the sower (Luke 8:4–8) to the Twelve and a larger group of disciples (Luke 8:9; Mark 4:10). The "seed" the farmer sows represents God's Word—in this context, specifically the teachings of Jesus (Luke 8:11). The hard path that rejects the seed until birds take the seed away (Luke 8:5) represents people who hear God's Word but their openness to Satan's lies is already so strong the words don't penetrate their hearts.

Luke's larger point is that these people were predisposed to reject God's Word. Jesus calls us to hear and understand (Luke 8:10), hear and believe (Luke 8:13), hear and mature in our faith (Luke 8:14), and hear and hold fast so we may bear fruit (Luke 8:15).

It's important to properly understand the role of spiritual warfare in our lives. Satan is only one being who, as far as we know, can only be in one place at a time. Very few individuals can assume that Satan, himself, is attacking them. And even though individuals can be demonized, Satan and the demons do not primarily attack individuals directly. They can more efficiently attack humanity by influencing the cultures and power structures that people live under. flooding culture with temptations for lust or greed or pride is more efficient than tempting each of us individually. So, when Jesus says that "the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts," this taking away seems to be by filling the culture with distractions—sinful and not—so that our attentions are elsewhere and our hearts are already hardened toward God's Word.

"So that they may not believe and be saved" seems to be a continuation of the Isaiah 6:9–10 quote that Luke cuts short in Luke 8:10. It is a paraphrase of "…and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed" (Isaiah 6:10).

That Satan takes the Word "from their hearts" does not mean these people are saved and lose their salvation. The Word has reached their innermost being, but the message has not implanted. Like the demons, they may have some understanding, but do not submit to and agree with the message (James 2:19).

It's interesting to note that where Luke uses "the devil," Mark uses "Satan" (Mark 4:15), and Matthew uses "the evil one" (Matthew 13:19). The difference is described using the phrases ipsissima verba and ipsissima vox. These are Latin terms that mean "the very words" and "the very voice." We tend to assume that everything written in the Gospels occurred precisely as the writers present them. In truth, the writers rearrange the teachings and miracles into themes, condense some of the teachings, and—with the Holy Spirit's leading—change words without changing meaning. We do not have Jesus' exact words—especially because He likely spoke Aramaic and the texts were written in Greek. We do have His voice, that is, the precise meaning of what He wanted to communicate.
Verse Context:
Luke 8:4–15 introduces the different ways in which people respond to the gospel. The sower—Jesus—spreads the "seed" of the gospel, and people accept or reject the message in varying degrees. Following are real-life examples of faith, particularly in conjunction with examples of miraculous salvation from the evils of the world. The parable of the sower is also found in Matthew 13:1–23 and Mark 4:1–20.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 8 includes portions of three sections of Jesus' Galilean Ministry. The women who support Jesus' ministry bridge the faithful outcasts of chapter 7 to the sower who spreads the news of God's kingdom (Luke 8:1–3). Luke 8:4–18 includes the parables of the sower and the lamp under the jar. These illustrate the importance of hearing Jesus' message with a mind to believe and obey. Luke 8:19–56 presents different faith reactions when Jesus' life, power, and authority elicit questions about His identity.
Chapter Context:
This passage continues Luke's pattern in the account of Jesus' Galilean ministry: alternating calls to discipleship with stories that describe the discipleship He expects. In Luke 6:17, Jesus transitioned from calling and training the Twelve to a more general call; in Luke 7, Jesus interacted specifically with those with less privilege in society. Chapter 8 reveals how people react when Jesus reveals who He is, mostly through miracles. In Luke 9:18–50, Jesus returns to intense discipleship of the Twelve to give them courage and faith, preparing them for the journey to Jerusalem and what they will witness there.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
Accessed 4/22/2024 2:44:30 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.