What does Luke 8:5 mean?
ESV: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it.
NIV: A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.
NASB: The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the sky ate it up.
CSB: "A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky devoured it.
NLT: A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it.
KJV: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus begins His parable. A "sower" is a farmer who spreads seed on the ground. At harvest every year, farmers would hold back grain or seeds from their crops and use it for the next year's crops. In Israel, people often lived in small towns surrounded by farmland. Families would have individual fields right next to other family fields.

The "path" may be trails that run between the fields. The ground would be quite hard from generations of sowers, harvesters, and travelers who want a shortcut around the fields. Birds aren't specifically bad in Scripture, but they are often portrayed as scavengers who clear away things that are left out—particularly bodies (Deuteronomy 28:26; Revelation 19:17–21).

Neither Matthew nor Mark mention that the seed is trampled. It's not clear why the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to include the detail, especially since it's not repeated in Jesus' explanation (Luke 8:9–15). Perhaps Theophilus faced opposition to his faith. Jesus does say that the birds represent Satan who comes upon people who have heard the word of God and "takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).

Luke's emphasis of Jesus' parable is to listen well. First, the hardened path, trampled by passers-by, is like people who have allowed the world to harden their hearts so that God's Word can't even break the surface. Second, it is extremely difficult to listen to God's Word well when we allow the enemy priority in our lives. Satan has been an expert at twisting and removing God's Word from hearts since the garden of Eden. If we want to understand what God is saying to us, we need to listen to Him, through His Word and legitimate teachers. Angry atheists and social media skeptics more interested in clicks and ad revenue than broken hearts are the modern-day birds who swoop in with foolish misinterpretations of Scripture and snatch God's Word away before it reaches our hearts. We all—believers and unbelievers—are responsible for what fills our minds. We all need to listen well.
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 2:28:50 AM
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