Mark 4:27(NASB):

and [the sower] goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows — how, he himself does not know.

Who is the sower in this passage? I had traditionally read it as God, but perhaps it’s referring to anyone who shares the gospel? What does it mean that the sower does not know himself how the seed grows?


We should first note that Jesus is telling a parable. A parable is a form of comparison to help us understand something that is difficult or abstract. The word parable means "to cast alongside." You "cast alongside" something known to help the audience understand something unknown.

In this case, the unknown is the Kingdom of God (Mark 2:26)

"The kingdom of God is like...

Particularly, this parable is addressing the mysterious nature in which the kingdom of God advances or expands. You can't see it happening. It happens while you sleep.

Ultimately, we know that plants grow - but most people don't fully understand how it happens. I suppose if you are a biologist you could teach the mechanics but even then there is still a wonderful mystery to how plants grow.

The sower is anyone who advances the kingdom of God.

When we plant seeds of the kingdom of God we can't see how growth is happening and we can't fully understand how the kingdom expands, but we can have faith that it does. We do the work in very small steps and those steps mysteriously bring about the kingdom.

Our job is not to figure out when someone will recognize Jesus as Lord. Rather, our job is to sow the seeds for the Holy Spirit to work and bring about God's desired end.

  • Very helpful answer, thank you!! – Gremosa Sep 9 '20 at 19:10

Personally, I find this verse comforting. I tell people about the gospel. The reactions range from positive to neutral to negative. I have done my sowing. I go about my daily business, go to bed at night and get up by day. Hopefully, what I have said will sprout and grow in the hearts of some individuals. How? I do not know. Only God knows. I rest in the power of the Father.

John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.


First understanding you need to take is that the principal of Sowing and Reaping’ is foundational to all parables ...

MARK 4:13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

Second, this principle is a ‘kingdom principle’. The economy, in fact everything, in the kingdom runs on this. That’s why this parable is foundational. If you want increase, in the Kingdom, this is the principle that brings it. And the ‘what is sown’ applies to most things, although in this particular parable it applies to the word.

Now to the question ... why doesn’t the ‘sower’ know how/why the ‘increase’ happens, because that part of this ‘principle’ is not dependant on anything that ‘we’ do. Nothing we ‘do’ can stop the effect, nor speed it up, nor stop it. It just happens. And we can ‘see’ this in [literally] in everything around us. Without exception. Everything!


Sower = Son of Man

Matthew 13:37 [NASB] : And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man"
Matthew 13:37 [KJV] : "He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man"

Why does the Sower not know how the Seed grows in Mark 4:26-27?

Mark 4:26-27 [NASB] "And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know."

YHVH has not revealed this miracle to the Son of Man.

  • Only God knows how the Seed grows.

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