Is there a "deeper meaning" (beyond allegorical interpretations)--that is a sensus plenior interpretation--to the parable of the sower found in the Gospel of Matthew 13?

This appears to be a duplicate of Meaning of the Parable of the Sower. But it is not. The answers there demonstrate that using literal-historical interpretive hermeneutics produce free-for-all allegory and opinion.

The sensus plenior answer must be carefully exegeted showing the source of metaphor from the text and the Hebrew language.

  • Would you like a brief overview? Or a deeper dive?
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 19:42
  • 1
    I am somewhat wary of such questions - Jesus Himself provided the meaning of the parable (V3-9) in Matt 13:18-22. Paul gives the sage advice in 1Cor 4:6, "Do not go beyond what is written."
    – Dottard
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 21:50
  • 1
    He also said all the scriptures spoke of him, study to show your self approved, and that it is a shame to decide a matter without hearing it. Paul taught Christ to the Bereans from the OT. Pr 25:2 ¶ [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 23:29
  • @Caleb, Observe that the casual reviewer doesn't understand that a SP interpretation is even possible. This will always be the case from volunteers here, and by people searching for answers. It almost be better to allow duplicate questions, but one would address the SP answer under the 'protected' class to avoid the constant misunderstandings. I know that is a bit much to ask. But SP really is THAT different.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 1:21

3 Answers 3


The sensus plenior meaning must comply with the rules:

What are the strict set of rules followed by sensus plenior? :

How to interpret scripture using the rules of Sensus Plenior

Notice that the first answer (most popular) at the link above, says that there are no rules. This is why theologians confess that they cannot read the OT scriptures the way that Jesus and the NT authors did; and why they produce free-for-all allegory.

Exegete the meaning of the words using the formation of the words and prophetic pattern. Formation of words is called: Notarikon - Interpretation by dividing a word into two or more parts in the 32 rules of Rabbi Eliezer ben Jose H'G'lili

Vanessa Lovelace defines midrash as "a Jewish mode of interpretation that not only engages the words of the text, behind the text, and beyond the text, but also focuses on each letter, and the words left unsaid by each line." wikipedia

The seed

The seed זרע is also the sower זרע.
By formation:

  1. The bride ז revealed ר by the flesh ע

  2. burden of guilt or crown זר on the flesh ע.

  3. lifted up זע with the purpose of revelation ר.

  4. bride ז evil רע

All of the legitimate permutations (no reversals) suggest Christ and the cross.

  1. Christ obtained his bride through his death and resurrection.

  2. Christ bore our guilt on the cross

  3. The cross was the ultimate revelation of the Holiness and Love of the invisible father.

  4. The bride who died with him was evil.

By prophetic pattern

  1. The messiah is the seed of the woman. Ge 3:15

  2. The Messiah is the seed of Abraham Ge 3:13

  3. The Messiah is the seed of David (multiple)

  4. Jesus is the baby bread (made from seed) in the manger. Cattle eat grass the source of flour for bread. We are his cattle who eat the bread. Jesus in the manger was a promise of the cross and communion.

  5. Jesus is the word, and the word is the seed (from the parable)

Jesus is the seed. and the sower.

He was 'sown 4 times' according to the parable. What are the hints: the path, the stones and heat, the thorns, and fruitfulness.

The garden of Eden had a path. The Sinai had stones and heat. The thorns are the 'cares of the world' according to the parable. The ram was also caught in the thorns. "God so 'cared for ' (loved) the world,... Jesus was fruitful in resurrection.

At first glance it appears that the four 'sowings of Christ and the word' occurred in the Garden, the desert, his incarnation and his resurrection. If we dig deeper these will be validated.

Each prophesies the cross, and these can be examined in new threads:

"What is the 'sowing' of the Word in the Garden?"

"What is the 'sowing' of the Word in the desert?"

"What is the 'sowing' of the Word in the incarnation?"

"What is the 'sowing' of the Word in the resurrection?"

The parable now has a sensus plenior framework as it speaks of Christ and the cross.

  1. The seed was first planted in the garden. There are two kinds of birds. Seed eaters: צפר tsippore like a sparrow and used in sacrifices, and flesh eaters: : עוף ofe (Ge 40:19 ) The seed eaters ate up the seed. By his sin, Adam did not allow the word to take flesh. He also was not allowed to eat of th etree of Life. These are parallel teachings; he could not get 'saved' before the time of the cross.

  2. The seed then was sown among the stones 'aben' אבן , which is father 'ab' אב and son 'ben' בן. When the father and son were together, they expressed the holiness of God through the law, and judgement. When the stone was split (like the separation of the father and son at the cross), the water of mercy sprang forth. The Israelites complained of the heat and the seed did not take root.

  3. The Word then became flesh. The deceitfulness of the world entrapped him as Judas bargained to betray him for riches. His love for the world nailed him to the cross, and he died 'unfruitful' like the seed planted in the ground (the heart of the earth, which heart is deceitful and wicked) must die.

  4. In resurrection he became fruitful, the firstfruits of creation, he obtained his bride and together they were multiplying by teaching, and being fruitful by the fruit of the Spirit.

  • Very interesting and detailed. Thank you. Commented May 7, 2020 at 6:11
  • Please justify chopping up Hebrew root words into entirely unrelated senses and how that makes any sense linguistically. Just because you consider this an approach to Sensus Plenior does not mean it is a legitimate approach to Sensus Plenior.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 15:26
  • If the language is built from the meaning of the letters to give meaning to the words, then it is exactly the method required to understand words. It is proven out not in this small example, but in the trove of scripture which has now been interpreted this way. Even now a dictionary of the formation of words is being compiled. It is a first century hermeneutic codified in the early second century. The contemporary use makes it of interest. It amazes me that so many prefer to have no rules for interpretation than to look at a contemporaneous method. This is about hermeneutics,
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 20:04
  • See how it makes the dietary law 'sensible': sensusplenior.net/wiki/The_Dietary_Law see also the foundations of the Hebrew alphabet: sensusplenior.net/wiki/Pneumnemonic_Hebrew_for_Beginners
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 20:06
  • I would like to see your proposed 'legitimate approach to sensus plenior'. There doesn't seem to be any agreement if it even exists, so I am not sure where you get a standard of 'legitimacy'.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 20:08

So I'm not 100% sure if this is the deeper symbolic meaning you'd be looking for, but hopefully this will be helpful to see the story in a greater light.

What I've learned from looking into parables is that nothing should be overlooked, that every word has a greater meaning behind it. Interestingly I've found deeper meaning behind this by looking into farming itself. Jesus of course was speaking to many people who were farmers themselves, so he spoke in a way that They would understand.

From what I've found the Parable itself is linear, one event connects to the other. The Sower here and His seeds simple enough is representative of Jesus (also those He spreads The Gospel through) and The Message itself.

The Very First place The Sower Sows His seeds is Besides The Road. The Word Road here G3598's Metaphorical meaning is "a way of thinking, feeling, deciding" the Understanding is That The Sower Sowed their Seed into The Mind of Man, (A New Way of Thinking) you've probably seen before that G3056 Logos (In Respect To The Mind) has all these same attributes stated. And of course I'm sure you're familiar with The Renewing of The Mind.

But when The Sower Sowed their Seed into The Mind of fallen Man, The Birds Came and Ate them up. What exactly are The Birds? Also what happened to the seeds after the Birds ate them, more on that later.

Now in order to understand what Birds represent when God speaks of them we have to turn to The Old Testament and The Hebrew Pictograph writing system.

We come across this mystery many times in The Old and New Testament these "Birds of The Air" "Beast of The Field" and "Creeping Things" when looking at each word to my Surprise each letter represented a Part of The Human Body.

When speaking of Birds H5775 the letters are made up of Ayin, Vav and Pey. Ayin on The Hebrew Pictograph is Eye, Vav is used for the Word And, while Pey is Mouth. That would be Eyes and Mouth. I thought at first maybe just a coincidence, but when looking at the next word the same thing was found. H2416 is made of the letters Het and Yodh, when looking at The Picture fo Het it is a Body/Torso while Yodh is an Arm. So far we have Eyes, Mouth, Arms and Torso. At this point I figured if the last one does the same thing it must be referring to The Human Body. H7430 made of Resh, Mem and Shin. Resh is a Head of a Man, (also connected to Ears) Mem is Water, and Shin is Teeth.

So with The understanding that Birds represent Eyes and Mouth we now have an understanding of what Ate up The Seeds, The Eyes and Mouth of Fallen Man. Of course I'm sure you can think of many verses that explain Man's eyes and mouth causing corruption and destruction.

The next place the seeds land are on The Rocky Places. The Root word that Rocky Places connect to is G4074 which is Peter, (in the sense of Simon Peter) this part of the story speaks for itself, The Rocky Places are those who are Firm in Their Beliefs and show much promise at the beginning, but When The Sun rises (The Sun Rising is representative of Jesus being lifted up) being that The Lord God is a Sun in Psalms 84:11 (lifted being Him put on The Cross) they were scorched due to them having no Root (Rooted in God through The Holy Spirit)

Others fell among The Thorns which choked them out. but where in the world did these Thorns come from? remember the Birds that ate the seeds from earlier, well this is where knowing about farming came in handy.

When A Sower Sows seeds and a Bird comes and eats the seeds, the bird then digest the seeds and expels the waste onto the ground. remnants of the now corrupted seed still exist within the waste of The Bird which then goes into the ground and from there Thorns/Weeds sprout up.

The idea here is that Fallen Men who take in the Gospel then Corrupt it with their eyes and mouth, which is than used to choke out those who hear about it. "Come on you really think some Guy Rose from the dead 2000 years ago?" "What God couldn't think of a better way to save us from Sins then sending His son to be tortured?!?" I'm sure you've heard plenty of examples like this yourself.

Lastly others fell on Good Soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. Now clearly there is no Man who understands The Gospel/Word and bears fruit, we know from Scripture that there is No Good Man/Soil not Even One, Only God is Good. "THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD" Rom 3:11 So what is Jesus talking about here in His explanation of The Parable? He clearly says "this is the man who hears the word and understands it" So Who is This Man Who can do what No other Man can in His fallen Nature?

Are Answer is in Isaiah 52:13-15 "Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. As many were astonished at you, his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will Understand."

The Body of Christ is The Man who understands The Word, because He Is The Word. He is The Good Soil that The Seed Lands On, He is The Kingdom Of Heaven that is Like a Mustard seed that has grown larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (The Eyes and Mouth of Men make their New home in The Kingdom of Heaven)

“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali. “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will be mentioned by their names no more. “In that day I will also make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, The birds of the sky And the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land, And will make them lie down in safety." Hosea 2:16-18

And from Him through His Death the crop yields. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" John 12:24

  • How do you reconcile your premise "Jesus of course was speaking to many people who were farmers themselves, so he spoke in a way that They would understand." with : Mt 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
    – Bob Jones
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 0:35
  • I'm a little bit confused because I explained that in the reply? The idea was that Fallen Man does not have the ability to understand, but once Christ died and The Holy Spirit went out, those farmers now had the ability to understand through Jesus Christ. I think we would be in agreement that Jesus spoke in a way for people to eventually understand him through The Holy Spirit, like how he says to Nicodemus about not being able to understand earthly things as it is. But once our eyes were opened by him we are now able to understand these things. Commented May 2, 2020 at 3:11
  • Did he speak simply, or in a way that can only be understood by the Spirit? What authority do the pictographs have? Can those meanings be applied to every Hebrew word?
    – Bob Jones
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 13:14
  • Scripture was written in Square text, all the tedious rules for copying applied to the square text. It would be cool if it also works reliably and can be verified in the 'common' alphabet.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 13:30
  • Do you have a set of rules that eliminate free-for-all allegory?
    – Bob Jones
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 13:34

I think the background of the parable of the sower and the seeds are passages like these, which I consider Messianic prophecies:

[Jer 31:27 NKJV] (27) "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast.

[Hos 2:23 NKJV] (23) Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they shall say, 'You are my God!' "

[Zec 10:9 NKJV] (9) "I will sow them among the peoples, And they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, And they shall return.

The context of these promises is the resurrection of covenantly dead lost sheep of the house of Israel (the northern kingdom) as Hosea is describing:

[Hos 1:4-6, 8-11 NKJV] (4) Then the LORD said to him: "Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. (5) It shall come to pass in that day That I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel." (6) And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him: "Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away. ... (8) Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. (9) Then God said: "Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you are not My people, And I will not be your God. (10) "Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God.' (11) Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!

So because of infidelity to his covenant with the northern kingdom, the LORD says (by a pronouncement through Hosea’s baby’s name) that he is cutting Israel off as his people. They are now “Not My People and I Will No Longer Be Your God”.

But he promises that later on he will bring back a remnant from of the lost sheep into their land and they will be resurrected in a new covenant. This is described graphically in Ezekiel 37.

So in the gospels we see references to “the elect”. These are the promised remnant God chose to return to him. He is, by his proxy, his Anointed Davidic King, Jesus, traversing the hills and calling for the sheep. The seed that he sowed - the elect remnant - wake up and respond to the Messiah. These are the sheep that hear his voice and follow him.

I don’t currently have an opinion on the breakdown of the different type of seeds at this time.

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