Parallel Texts in Matthew, Mark & Luke

4. Understanding The Sower
Matt 13:18-23 // Mark 4:13-20 // Luke 8:11-15

  context     Greek synopsis     English synopsis     parable     analysis     source hypotheses  

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Matthew 13 Mark 4 Luke 8
    13 And he said to them,    
      "Do you not understand    
      this parable? 11 Now the parable is this:
      How then    
      will you understand    
      all the parables?    
18 "Hear then       The seed
  the parable of the sower. 14 The sower sows the word.   is the word of God.
    15 And these are the ones 12 The ones
      along the path,*   along the path *
      where the word is sown;    
19 When anyone   when they   are those
  hears the word   hear,   who have heard;
  of the kingdom and        
  does not understand it,        
  the evil one   Satan immediately   then the devil
  comes   comes   comes
  and snatches away   and takes away   and takes away
  what is sown   the word which is sown   the word
  in his heart;   <into> them.**   from their <heart>,
          that they may not
          believe and be saved.
  this is what was sown        
  along the path.*        
    16 And these    
      in like manner    
20 As for what was sown   are the ones sown 13 And the ones
  on rocky ground,   on rocky ground,   on the rock
  this is he   who, when   are those who, when
  who hears the word   they hear the word   they hear the word 
  and immediately   immediately    
  receives it with joy;   receive it with joy;   receive it with joy;
21 yet he has no root 17 and they have no root   but these have no root,
  in himself,   in themselves,    
  but endures for a while,   but endure for a while;   they believe for a while
  and when tribulation   then, when tribulation   and in time
  or persecution arises   or persecution arises   of temptation
  on account of the word,   on account of the word,    
  immediately   immediately    
  he falls away.   they fall away.   fall away.
22 [As for] 18 And others 14 [As for]
  what was sown   are the ones sown   what fell
  among thorns,   among thorns;   among the thorns,
  this is he   they are those   they are those
  who hears the word,   who hear the word,   who hear,
          but as they go
          on their way
          they are choked
  but the cares 19 but the cares   by the cares
  of the world   of the world,    
  and the delight in riches   and the delight in riches,   and riches
      and the desire   and pleasures
      for other things,   of life,
      enter in    
  choke the word,   and choke the word,    
  and it proves unfruitful.   and it proves unfruitful.   and their fruit
          does not mature.
23 [As for] 20 <And> 15 [As for]
  what was sown   those that were sown   that
  upon good soil,   upon the good soil   in the good soil,
  this is he   are the ones   they are those who,
  who hears the word   who hear the word   hearing the word,
  and understands it;   and accept it   hold it fast
          in an honest
          and good heart,
  he indeed bears fruit,   and bear fruit,   and bring forth fruit
  and yields,        
  in one case        
  a hundredfold,*   thirtyfold    
  in another sixty,   and sixtyfold    
  and in another thirty."   and a hundredfold."*    
          with patience.

* Note: In Greek, as in English, the prepositional phrase "along" the path is located at the beginning of Mark 4:15 // Luke 8:12 while it occurs only at the end of Matt 13:19.

** Note: Early Egyptian codices -- including Sinaiticus & Vaticanus (4th c. CE) -- generally have the prepositional phrase "into them" at the end of Mark 4:15.  Most Byzantine texts & codex Bezae, however, read instead: "in their hearts" (plural). Other mss., including a few Egyptian texts like Alexandrinus, also have "their heart(s)" with some preposition other than "into". Which is more likely:

  • some Egyptian scribe overlooked "heart" in the Markan text & substituted the logically awkward preposition "into" for "in"? Or
  • some Greek scribe "corrected"  the wording of Mark 4:15 to read more like Matt 13:19?

Color Code

 Blue  Three gospels use same vocabulary.
 Teal  Two gospels use same vocabulary.
 Black  Words unique to a particular gospel.
*  Same wording, different order.
 [as]  RSV wording not found in Greek.
 <and>  RSV wording altered to reflect Greek.

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last revised 28 February 2023

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