Those by the way side are they that hear; then comes the devil, and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then cometh the devil.—Note St. Luke’s use of this word instead of the “Satan” of St. Mark and “the wicked one” of St. Matthew, and his fuller statement of the purpose, “lest they should believe and be saved.”Matthew 13:1-23.
(See on Mr 4:3-9, Mr 4:14-20.)See Poole on "Luke 8:4"
then cometh the devil; signified by the fowls of the air:
and taketh away the word out of their hearts, or memories; that little of it, which is retained there, and diverts their minds from it by other objects; so that they quite forget what they have heard;
lest they should believe, and be saved: this clause is only in Luke; and with it may be compared 2 Corinthians 4:4 for with true faith in Christ the sum and substance of the word salvation is connected; and Satan being an enemy to the salvation of souls, does all he can to hinder their faith in him.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 8:12. οἱ ἀκούσαντες: this is not a sufficient definition of the wayside hearers; all the classes described heard. The next clause, beginning with εἰτα, must be included in the definition = the wayside men are persons in whose case, so soon as they have heard, cometh, etc.—ὁ διάβολος: each gospel has a different name for the evil one; ὁ πονηρὸς, Mt., ὁ σατανᾶς, Mk.—ἵνα μὴ πιστεύσαντες σωθῶσιν, lest believing they should be saved; peculiar to Lk., and in expression an echo of St. Paul and the apostolic age.12. Those by the way side] These are hearers who are hardened— either beaten (i) flat by lifeless familiarity—heartless formalists, Pharisaic theologians, and insincere professors; or (ii) by perversity and indifference, the habit and custom of a worldly and dissolute life. Notice the intensity of thought which identifies the scattered seeds with those in whose hearts they are sown. “The way is the heart beaten and dried by the passage of evil thoughts.” H. de S. Victore.
the devil] The Accuser or Slanderer. St Mark has “the wicked one,” St Matthew “Satan.” taketh away] “Snatches,” Matthew 13:19.—It is done in a moment; by a smile at the end of the sermon; by a silly criticism at the Church door; by foolish gossip on the way home. These are “the fowls of the air” whom the Evil One uses in this task.
lest they should believe] Rather, that they may not believe. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,” or rather “drift away from them,” Hebrews 2:1.Luke 8:12. Ἀπὸ τῆς καρδίας, out of their heart) Implying the great power of the Devil; [who, however, has less power on the second and third classes mentioned in this place than on the first.—V. g.]—πιστεύσαντες, having believed) We are saved by the word through faith: Luke 8:13. Faith is the appropriate fruit of the word.Verse 12. - Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. The wayside hearers represent the great outer circle of men and women who more or less respect religion. It must be carefully borne in mind that in none of the four classes pictured in the parable are despisers of God, declared enemies of religion, portrayed. To these the gospel, with its warnings and its promises, rarely if ever speaks. These of "the wayside" are they whose hearts resemble a footpath, beaten hard and fiat by the constant passing to and fro of wishes of the flesh, of thoughts concerning earthly things, mere sordid hopes and fears. Into these hearts the Word can never really penetrate. Momentary influence now and again seems to have been gained, but the many watchful agents of the evil one, with swift wings, like birds of the air, swoop down and snatch away the scattered seed which for a moment seemed as though it would take root. Judas Iscariot the Jew, and Pontius Pilate the Roman, might be instanced as types of this class. These - before their awful fate - both appeared to have been moved. The one for long months followed the Lord and was trusted by him; the other pitied, and for a moment in his - Pilate's case - pity seemed passing into love and admiration, and tried to find a way of escape for the innocent Prisoner. But the one betrayed, and the other delivered to death, the sinless Son of God!
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