Matthew 13:3
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.

King James Bible
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

American Standard Version
And he spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow;

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he spoke to them many things in parables, saying: Behold the sower went forth to sow.

English Revised Version
And he spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow;

Webster's Bible Translation
And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

Weymouth New Testament
He then spoke many things to them in figurative language. "The sower goes out," He said, "to sow.

Matthew 13:3 Parallel
Vincent's Word Studies

Parables (παραβολαῖς)

From παρά, beside, and βάλλω, to throw. A parable is a form of teaching in which one thing is thrown beside another. Hence its radical idea is comparison. Sir John Cheke renders biword, and the same idea is conveyed by the German Beispiel, a pattern or example ; bei, beside, and the old high German spel, discourse or narration.

The word is used with a wide range in scripture, but always involves the idea of comparison:

1. Of brief sayings, having an oracular or proverbial character. Thus Peter (Matthew 15:15), referring to the words "If the blind lead the blind," etc., says, "declare unto us this parable." Compare Luke 6:39. So of the patched garment (Luke 5:36), and the guest who assumes the highest place at the feast (Luke 14:7, Luke 14:11). Compare, also, Matthew 24:39; Mark 13:28.

2. Of a proverb. The word for proverb (παροιμία) has the same idea at the root as parable. It is παρά, beside, οἶμος, a way or road. Either a trite, wayside saying (Trench), or a path by the side of the high road (Godet). See Luke 4:23; 1 Samuel 24:13.

3. Of a song or poem, in which an example is set up by way of comparison. See Micah 2:4; Habakkuk 2:6.

4. Of a word or discourse which is enigmatical or obscure until the meaning is developed by application or comparison. It occurs along with the words αἴνιγμα, enigma, and πρόβλημα, a problem, something put forth or proposed (πρό, in front, βάλλω, to throw). See Psalm 49:4 (Sept. 48:4); Psalm 78:2 (Sept. 77:2); Proverbs 1:6, where we have παραβολὴν, parable; σκοτεινὸν λόγον, dark saying; and αἰνίγματα, enigmas. Used also of the sayings of Balaam (Numbers 23:7, Numbers 23:18; Numbers 24:3, Numbers 24:15).

In this sense Christ uses parables symbolically to expound the mysteries of the kingdom of God; as utterances which conceal from one class what they reveal to another (Matthew 13:11-17), and in which familiar facts of the earthly life are used figuratively to expound truths of the higher life. The un-spiritual do not link these facts of the natural life with those of the supernatural, which are not discerned by them (1 Corinthians 2:14), and therefore they need an interpreter of the relation between the two. Such symbols assume the existence of a law common to the natural and spiritual worlds under which the symbol and the thing symbolized alike work; so that the one does not merely resemble the other superficially, but stands in actual coherence and harmony with it. Christ formulates such a law in connection with the parables of the Talents and the Sower. "To him that hath shall be given. From him that hath not shall be taken away." That is a law of morals and religion, as of business and agriculture. One must have in order to make. Interest requires capital. Fruit requires not only seed but soil. Spiritual fruitfulness requires an honest and good heart. Similarly, the law of growth as set forth in the parable of the Mustard Seed, is a law common to nature and to the kingdom of God. The great forces in both kingdoms are germinal, enwrapped in small seeds which unfold from within by an inherent power of growth.

5. A parable is also an example or type; furnishing a model or a warning; as the Good Samaritan, the Rich Fool, the Pharisee and the Publican. The element of comparison enters here as between the particular incident imagined or recounted, and all cases of a similar kind.

The term parable, however, as employed in ordinary Christian phraseology, is limited to those utterances of Christ which are marked by a complete figurative history or narrative. It is thus defined by Goebel ("Parables of Jesus"). "A narrative moving within the sphere of physical or human life, not professing to describe an event which actually took place, but expressly imagined for the purpose of representing, in pictorial figure, a truth belonging to the sphere of religion, and therefore referring to the relation of man or mankind to God."

In form the New Testament parables resemble the fable. The distinction between them does not turn on the respective use of rational and irrational beings speaking and acting. There are fables where the actors are human. Nor does the fable always deal with the impossible, since there are fables in which an animal, for instance, does nothing contrary to its nature. The distinction lies in the religious character of the New Testament parable as contrasted with the secular character of the fable. While the parable exhibits the relations of man to God, the fable teaches lessons of worldly policy or natural morality and utility. "The parable is predominantly symbolic; the fable, for the most part, typical, and therefore presents its teaching only in the form of example, for which reason it chooses animals by preference, not as symbolic, but as typical figures; never symbolic in the sense in which the parable mostly is, because the higher invisible world, of which the parable sees and exhibits the symbol in the visible world of nature and man, lies far from it. Hence the parable can never work with fantastic figures like speaking animals, trees," etc. (Goebel, condensed).

The parable differs from the allegory in that there is in the latter "an interpenetration of the thing signified and the thing signifying; the qualities and properties of the first being attributed to the last," and the two being thus blended instead of being kept distinct and parallel. See, for example, the allegory of the Vine and the Branches (John 15) where Christ at once identifies himself with the figure' "I am the true vine." Thus the allegory, unlike the parable, carries its own interpretation with it.

Parable and proverb are often used interchangeably in the ;New Testament; the fundamental conception being, as we have seen, the same in both, the same Hebrew word representing both, and both being enigmatical. They differ rather in extent than in essence; the parable being a proverb expanded and carried into detail, and being necessarily figurative, which the proverb is not; though the range of the proverb is wider, since the parable expands only one particular case of a proverb. (See Trench, "Notes on the Parables," Introd.)

A sower (ὁ σπείρων)


Matthew 13:3 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Matthew 13:10-13,34,35,53 And the disciples came, and said to him, Why speak you to them in parables...

Matthew 22:1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables, and said,

Matthew 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near:

Judges 9:8-20 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign you over us...

2 Samuel 12:1-7 And the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him, There were two men in one city; the one rich...

Psalm 49:4 I will incline my ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying on the harp.

Psalm 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

Isaiah 5:1-7 Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved has a vineyard in a very fruitful hill...

Ezekiel 17:2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;

Ezekiel 20:49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Does he not speak parables?

Ezekiel 24:3 And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, set it on...


Micah 2:4 In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled...

Habakkuk 2:6 Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say...

Mark 3:23 And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?

Mark 4:2,13,33 And he taught them many things by parables, and said to them in his doctrine...

Mark 12:1,12 And he began to speak to them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and dig a place for the winefat...

Luke 8:10 And he said, To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see...

Luke 12:41 Then Peter said to him, Lord, speak you this parable to us, or even to all?

Luke 15:3 And he spoke this parable to them, saying,


John 16:25 These things have I spoken to you in proverbs: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs...


parables. A parable, [parabole,] from [para,] near, and [ballo,] I cast, or put, has been justly defined to be a comparison or similitude, in which one thing is compared with another, especially spiritual things with natural, by which means those spiritual things are better understood, and make a deeper impression on a honest and attentive mind. In a parable, a resemblance in the principal incidents is all that is required; smaller matters being considered as a sort of drapery. Maimonides, in Moreh Nevochim, gives an excellent rule on this head: 'Fix it as a principle to attach yourself to the grand object of the parable, without attempting to make a particular application of all the circumstances and terms which it comprehends.'

a sower.

Mark 4:2-9 And he taught them many things by parables, and said to them in his doctrine...

Luke 8:5-8 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down...

Cross References
Matthew 13:4
And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.

Matthew 13:10
Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"

Mark 3:23
And he called them to him and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?

Mark 4:2
And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

Mark 12:1
And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.

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