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Bible Study: June 4, 2017

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.

Bible Passages: Mark 4:1-9, 13-20

Discussion Questions: What are some characteristics of a heart receptive to see and hear the good news of the Gospel? What are some things that can get in the way of a heart understanding the good news of the Gospel? Why should we freely share the Gospel with people regardless of our perception of them?

Food for Thought:

One of Jesus’ well-known parables was about a sower sowing seed, a parable that depicted the crowd before Him, which was composed of diverse people. Here we will look at the first type of soil, representative of a hardened response to Jesus’ message.

Jesus began by telling the crowd emphatically to listen, to pay attention. Then He told them to imagine a farmer going out to sow his seed. According to Jesus’ explanation of the parable, beginning in verse 14, the seed being sown is “the Word.” Jesus Himself had already been casting this Word, and His message was that “the kingdom of God has come near” (1:14-15). Yet here Jesus spoke in parables to the crowd so that only those with “eyes” could “see,” and only those with “ears” could “hear” (see 4:11-12). In other words, only those with receptive hearts would understand and follow Him into the kingdom.

As the parable goes, the sower casts liberally, even tossing his seed “along the path.” The soil was too hard for the seed to take root, so the seed was snatched up by hungry birds. We learn from verse 15 that the birds represent Satan, who quickly snatches away the Word from some who hear it.

One wonders why God allows seed to be sown on “hard ground” and who might the “hard ground” be. Likely it represents those in the world who refuse to acknowledge God’s existence. They live for themselves, chasing after their own pleasures or simply too busy to think about the supernatural. They have no interest in God because they have filled their hearts with other pleasures.

Jesus’ story is meant to tell us about the different responses people will have to the Gospel, yet we are not to let our perception of the “soil” dictate where we scatter the seed. As we share about God’s kingdom in Christ, we sow the Word even in places where it may never take root; but only in this manner can we fulfill our obligation to share the Good News with others.

The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students, and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information, free samples, and The Gospel Project blog can be found at gospelproject.com.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

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