Who is the referent of "his own" in the immediate context, and in the larger context of Jesus statements-Mt. 15:24, 10:5.6, Paul in Rom. 15:8?

How the the identity of the "referent" would affect exegesis of the parable of Sower, and for that matter, other parables,i.e. the "talents" (Mt.25:14-30); "ten virgins()Mt. 25:1-12); the great banquet (Mt. 22:2-9). etc.


John 1:11

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (ESV)

Parable of sower Mt. 13: 3-9

And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, a let him hear.” (ESV)

  • 1
    The parable of the seed and sower is a fundamental statement of what happens when the seed of the word is sown. In any context, in any nation, in any age : this is the fourfold consequence (in the heart) of seed being sown. And if this parable is not understood, then no other parable will be understood, says Jesus. I am not clear as to what you are saying but I get the impression that you are trying to 'interpret' the parable and constrict its consequence.
    – Nigel J
    May 12, 2020 at 7:51
  • What do you mean "you are trying to "interpret" the parable and constricts its consequences ? Is it not essential first to identify the target audience in the context for better understanding and proper application of the parable? The parable as whole in the context of Jesus explicit words on His primary audience in the Gospels seemed to imply a lesson more than that of the standard "What happen sowing seeds in four type soils and varying result.
    – Sam
    May 12, 2020 at 13:28
  • See hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/47349/… there are also 4 statements in John 1. He was the light, the holiness of God in Gen 1, and Adam given skin, a pun to light as a garment. 2. In the world. 3. came unto his own 4. those born again. The difference between this and that in the article linked is the period of Israel in the desert, 'in the wold' may be an expression of the time, rather than the specific 'among the stones'. Patterns define prophecy. Prophecy is given more than once.
    – Bob Jones
    May 12, 2020 at 16:03
  • Yes @Sam, By the path is Christ revealed to Adam, Among the stones is Christ revealed to Israel, Among the thorns is among 'his own' His 'cares for the world' nailed him to the cross. Jhn 3:16
    – Bob Jones
    Jul 4, 2020 at 2:01

1 Answer 1


As best as I can determine, I can find no verbal, literary or thematic link between John 1:11 and Matt 13:3-9. In fact, the two are quite different genres of Biblical literature. John 1:11 is factual and highly structured (eg, staircase parallelism) which is a sort of crossover passage between Hebrew and Greek thought; while Gen 13:3-9 is a classic Hebrew parable.

John 1:11 is clearly discussing the general rejection, by the Jews, of Jesus' teaching. As Ellicott observes:

His own is neuter, and the same word which is used in John 19:27, where it is rendered "his own home." (Comp. John 16:32, margin, and Acts 21:6.) What then was the "home?" It is distinguished from the "world" of John 1:10, and it cannot but be that the home of Jewish thought was the land, the city, the temple bound up with every Messianic hope. Traces of this abound in the Jewish Scriptures. Comp. especially Malachi 3:1, "The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple." (See also Luke 2:49, Note.)

His own in the second clause is masculine--the dwellers in His own home, who were His own people, the special objects of His love and care. (See Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalm 135:4; Isaiah 41:9, and Notes on Ephesians 2:19 and Titus 2:14.) We turn from the coldness of a strange world to the warmth and welcome of a loving home. The world knew Him not, and He came to His own, and they despised Him!

Matt 13:3-9 is a very famous parable that classifies the receivers of Jesus' message into four general types, typified by different soil types. Thus, it is a timeless message that applies wherever the Gospel is preached.

By contrast, John 1:11 is very time specific and anticipates the Jews' rejection of their own Messiah and King, John 19:15.

  • @Sam - The word "home" is not in the Greek text - I have not used this word.
    – Dottard
    May 13, 2020 at 7:03

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