Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!Mark 4:8
Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great. As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”Luke 8:8
Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was a hundred, sixty, and thirty times as much as had been planted!Matthew 13:8
I have drawn your attention already to the different approach of each gospel writer on this verse and the related verses. This is the only time the concept of 30 fold and 60 fold are used in the Bible.
In this parable we have one gospel writer opting for 100 fold only (namely Luke). The other two use 30-fold 60-fold and 100-fold and use them in an ascending and descending series.
So what is going on and even more important what does it mean?
- What have others taken it to mean?
- How do people understand this passage?
- There is lots of wacky stuff out there.
- How do we avoid the wacky and stick to the truth?
- What is truth?
We have to be careful to exegete and not eisegete the passage. Exegete (lead or to read out of) means to get from Scripture what the original author meant. Eisegete means to read into Scripture what we think it means to us. In short to read into Scripture what was not intended in the first place. The difference between these two vantage points can be a quantum leap. And that is sometimes what people do when they eisegete, I.e. take quantum leaps into fantasyland.
The first step is to realise we are talking about the yield on a planting of wheat. It is that simple. The following are some helpful comments from the commentators who are listed in E-Sword.
An hundred-fold … – That is, a hundred, sixty, or thirty “grains” for each one that was sowed an increase by no means uncommon. Some grains of wheat will produce twelve or fifteen hundred grains. The usual proportion on a field sown, however, is not more than twenty, fifty, or sixty bushels for one.
Some a hundred-fold – For the elucidation of this text, I beg leave to introduce the following experiment. In 1816 I sowed, for a third crop, a field with oats, at Millbrook, in Lancashire; the grains weighed, on an average, 3/4 of a gram each. One grain produced three stalks with three ears: the largest had 68 grains in it, the second 26, and the third 25.
- Whole number of grains 119, which together weighed 82 grs.
- The root separately, after washing and drying, weighed 13 grs.
- The stalks and remaining leaves (for many had perished in the wet season) 630 grs. Weight of the whole produce of one grain of oats 726 grs. which was 725 times and one quarter more than the original weight.
On the 2nd of June, 1766, Mr. C. Miller, of Cambridge, sowed some grains of the common, red wheat; and on the 8th of August a single plant was taken up, and separated into 18 parts, and each planted separately: these plants having pushed out several side shoots, about the middle of September some of them were taken up and divided; and the rest between that time and October. This second division produced 67 plants. These plants remained through the winter, and another division of them, made between the middle of March and the 12th of April, produced 500 plants. They were divided no farther, but permitted to remain in the field. These plants were in general stronger than any of the wheat in the field. Some of them produced upwards of 100 ears from a single root and many of the ears measured seven inches in length, and contained between sixty and seventy grains. The whole number of ears produced from the single plant was 21,109, which yielded three pecks and three-quarters of clear corn, weighing 47lbs. 7oz., and, from a calculation made by counting the grains in an ounce, the whole number of grains was about 576,840. Mr. Miller thinks that, had he made a second division in the spring, the number of plants would have amounted to 2000. Who can help admiring the wisdom and providence of God in this single grain of corn! He has, in some sort, impressed on it an idea of his own infinity; and an idea which, like the subject to which it refers, confounds our imagination and reason. How infinitely great is God, even in his minor works.
The power of grain to multiply itself, even in the same year, is a subject as much of curiosity and astonishment as of importance and general utility.
and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold: some seeds produced an hundred, others sixty, and others thirty. The first of these especially was a large increase, but what was sometimes had, and which Isaac received in Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, Gen 26:12 and is what Pliny says of Byzacium, a country of the Lybi-phoenicians, that it yielded an hundred fold to its husbandmen; and of such fruitfulness was the land of Israel, of which the Jewish doctors say some things incredible: they tell us a story of
“one that sowed a measure of vetches, or pease, “and it produced three hundred measures”; they say unto him, the Lord hath begun to bless thee,” Thirty-fold is a good crop, even for such plains as Esdraelon, just below Nazareth. In the time of Christ is might be possible to realize in favorable seasons a hundred-fold. Intelligent gentlemen on the plain of Esdraelon maintain they have themselves reaped more than a hundred-fold.
Note that we are simply talking about the yield on the planting of a seed of wheat. As I said the other day it is all to do with how many wheat kernels you get back per seed planted. A 30-fold yield was considered good in some areas while a 100-fold yield was wonderful. Perfectly possible either one of them and all points in between.
More to come in the coming Gems. We haven’t finished this one yet by a long way. Keep those cards and letters coming people.
Success in any venture lies in holding on, even when others let go. There are no shortcuts.Bob Gass
We’ve got to pay full price; it never goes on sale. Endurance is the price tag of achievement.Bob Gass
Success bases our worth on a comparison with others, excellence measures us against our own potential.Anon
Success grants its rewards to the few but is the dream of the multitudes.Anon
Excellence is available to all living beings, but is accepted only by the few.Jon Johnston