Parallel Texts in Matthew, Mark & Luke

2. The Sower
Matt 13:1-9 // Mark 4:1-9 // Luke 8:4-8

  context     Greek synopsis     English synopsis     analysis     source hypotheses     variants 

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Matthew 13 Mark 4 Luke 8
That same day        
  Jesus went out of the house        
  and sat 1 And again    
      he began to teach    
. beside the sea.   beside the sea.    
2 And great crowds   And a very large crowd  4  When a great crowd
  gathered about him,   gathered about him,   came together
  so that he got into a boat   so that he got into a boat    
  and sat there;   and sat in it on the sea;    
  and the whole crowd   and the whole crowd   and people
  stood   was beside the sea    
  on the beach.   on the land.   from town after town
          came to him,
3 And he told them 2 And he taught them    
  many things in parables,   many things in parables,    
      and in his teaching    
  saying:   he said to them:   he said
          in a parable:
    3 "Listen!    
  "A sower went out   A sower went out 5 "A sower went out
  to sow.   to sow.   to sow his seed;
4 And as he sowed, 4 And as he sowed,   and as he sowed,
  some [seeds] fell   some [seed] fell   some fell
  along the path,   along the path,   along the path,
          and was trodden
          under foot,
  and the birds came   and the birds came   and the birds of the air
  and devoured them.   and devoured it.   devoured it.
5 Other [seeds] fell 5 Other [seed] fell 6 And some fell
  on rocky ground,   on rocky ground,   on the rock;
  where they had   where it had    
  not much soil,   not much soil,    
  and immediately   and immediately    
  they sprang up,   it sprang up,   and as it grew up,
  since they had   since it had    
  no depth of soil,   no depth of soil;    
6 but when the sun rose 6 and when the sun rose    
  they were scorched;   it was scorched,    
  and since they had no root   and since it had no root    
  they withered away.   it withered away.   it withered away,
          because it had
          no moisture.
7 Other [seeds] fell 7 Other [seed] fell 7 And some fell
  upon thorns,   into thorns   among thorns;
  and the thorns grew up   and the thorns grew up   and the thorns grew
          with it
  and choked them.   and choked it,   and choked it.
.     and it yielded no grain.    
 8  Other [seeds] fell  8  And other [seeds] fell 8 And some fell
  on fine soil   into fine soil   into good soil
  and brought forth grain,   and brought forth grain,    
      growing up   and grew,
      and increasing    
      and yielding   and yielded
  some a hundredfold,*   thirtyfold*    
  some sixty,   and sixtyfold    
  some thirty.*   and a hundredfold."*   a hundredfold."
    9 And he said,   As he said this,
          he called out,
9 He who has ears   "He who has ears   "He who has ears
** [to hear]   to hear,   to hear,
  let him hear."   let him hear."   let him hear."

** Note: The infinitive "to hear" is not in Matt 13:9 in the two earliest codices (before 400 CE): Sinaiticus & Vaticanus. But it is found in most mss. after 400 CE. Which explanation of these facts is more plausible?

  • It was omitted by accident. Scribes copying a ms. with redundant words sometimes dropped one. Note that there are two forms of the verb "hear" in Matt 13:9. Or...

  • It was added by later scribes to bring Matthew in line with the other synoptic versions of this saying.

If this verb was missing from later mss., a scribal lapse would be clear. But since it is lacking in both of the oldest mss., accidental omission is less likely. The Diatesseron, a 2nd c. harmony of the four gospels included the infinitive in this saying. But there is no evidence for it in Greek mss. of Matthew before the 5th c. CE.

Color Code
 Blue  Three gospels use same vocabulary.
 Teal  Two gospels use same vocabulary.
 Black   Words unique to a particular gospel.
 [it]  RSV wording added to Greek text.
*  Same wording, different order.

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last revised 22 April 2022


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