4:1 Again he began to teach by the lake. Such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there while the whole crowd was on the shore by the lake. 2 He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching said to them: 3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it did not have much soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. 6 When the sun came up it was scorched, and because it did not have sufficient root, it withered. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked it, and it did not produce grain. 8 But other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, sprouting and growing; some yielded thirty times as much, some sixty, and some a hundred times.” 9 And he said, “Whoever has ears to hear had better listen!”

10 When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. 11 He said to them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those outside, everything is in parables,

12 “so that although they look they may look but not see,

and although they hear they may hear but not understand,

so they may not repent and be forgiven.”

13 He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand any parable? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: Whenever they hear, immediately Satan comes and snatches the word that was sown in them. 16 These are the ones sown on rocky ground: As soon as they hear the word, they receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root in themselves and do not endure. Then, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 Others are the ones sown among thorns: They are those who hear the word, 19 but worldly cares, the seductiveness of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it produces nothing. 20 But these are the ones sown on good soil: They hear the word and receive it and bear fruit, one thirty times as much, one sixty, and one a hundred.”