|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-20 This parable contained instruction so important, that all capable of hearing were bound to attend to it. There are many things we are concerned to know; and if we understand not the plain truths of the gospel, how shall we learn those more difficult! It will help us to value the privileges we enjoy as disciples of Christ, if we seriously consider the deplorable state of all who have not such privileges. In the great field of the church, the word of God is dispensed to all. Of the many that hear the word of the gospel, but few receive it, so as to bring forth fruit. Many are much affected with the word for the present, who yet receive no abiding benefit. The word does not leave abiding impressions upon the minds of men, because their hearts are not duly disposed to receive it. The devil is very busy about careless hearers, as the fowls of the air go about the seed that lies above ground. Many continue in a barren, false profession, and go down to hell. Impressions that are not deep, will not last. Many do not mind heart-work, without which religion is nothing. Others are hindered from profiting by the word of God, by abundance of the world. And those who have but little of the world, may yet be ruined by indulging the body. God expects and requires fruit from those who enjoy the gospel, a temper of mind and Christian graces daily exercised, Christian duties duly performed. Let us look to the Lord, that by his new-creating grace our hearts may become good ground, and that the good seed of the word may produce in our lives those good words and works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.
Verses 16, 17. - And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground. This sentence would be better rendered, And these in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky places, where the words "likewise," or "in like manner," mean "by a similar mode of interpretation." This is the second condition of soil on which the seed is sown - a better condition than the former; for the former plainly refused the seed, but this, having some soil layout. able to the germination of the seed, receives it, and the seed springs up, though but for a little while. So the rocky ground is like the heart of that hearer who hears the Word of God, and receives it with joy. He is delighted with its beauty, its justice, its purity; and he breaks forth with holy affections. But alas he has more of the rock than of the good soil in his heart. Hence the Word of God cannot strike a deep root into his soul. He is not constant in the faith. He endures but for a time, and in the hour of temptation he falls away.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground,.... Such sort of hearers of the word are signified by the stony ground, on which the seed were sown, who are constant hearers of the word, and have some understanding of it, and some sort of affection for it, and yet their hearts are not truly broken by it; they are not brought to a thorough sight and sense of sin, and of their need of Christ, and salvation by him; their stony hearts are not taken away, and hearts of flesh given them:
who when they have heard the word immediately receive it with gladness; seem highly pleased, and greatly delighted with it, as being a well connected scheme things; and which declares things, as heaven and eternal happiness, which they, from a principle of self love, are desirous of enjoying.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground, &c.—"Immediately" the seed in such a case "springs up"—all the quicker from the shallowness of the soil—"because it has no depth of earth." But the sun, beating on it, as quickly scorches and withers it up, "because it has no root" (Mr 4:6), and "lacks moisture" (Lu 8:6). The great truth here taught is that hearts superficially impressed are apt to receive the truth with readiness, and even with joy (Lu 8:13); but the heat of tribulation or persecution because of the word, or the trials which their new profession brings upon them quickly dries up their relish for the truth, and withers all the hasty promise of fruit which they showed. Such disappointing issues of a faithful and awakening ministry—alas, how frequent are they!
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