The Four types of Soil
By David P. Ward

In the Parable of the Sower we are going to examine this story/parable that Jesus told to His disciples.

Jesus reveals four types of ground that the farmer’s seed fell upon.

Same seed, different ground. The Word of God is the incorruptible seed that never changes. The soil is compared to the four different conditions of the heart, or human spirit you find in everyday people.

As we study this powerful parable, we can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our heart condition. Let us declare today that our heart is good ground to receive the incorruptible seed of God’s Word.


- Some fell by the way side

- stony ground
– thorns
- good ground

Mark 4:3-8

3Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

4And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

5And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

6But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

8And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

Mark 4:3-8

(The Message)

3-8"Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.


Mark 4:14-20

14The sower soweth the word.

15And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.


- some fell by the way side

a. this is the worst ground out of the four types.

b. The seed never has a chance to go very far because after the seed is planted, Satan comes and talks the person out of what they had heard.

c. This is the person who cannot sit still in a service for too long.

d. This person usually is bored and can’t focus; thinks about washing clothes, the meatloaf, all of things he/she would be rather doing.

e. Once they know the service is about over they take a deep sigh of relief.

16And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.


- stony ground

a. This ground/soil is a little better than the type 1 soil.

b. roots actually start, but when persecution comes they quickly fall away

c. “Man, it seems like I was better off over at the 1st Church because when I started coming here all my family starting giving me fits! Everything has been going wrong since I started with the those WORD folks are nice, but, their music is loud, the youth pastor has dreads, they don’t sing familiar songs, etc…”

d. They love God, they prayed for their friend/loved one, and they still are sick.

e. They love God, they prayed for their friend/loved one, believed God for a miracle, and it didn’t happen.

f. They love God, they prayed for their friend/loved one, and they died.

g. They tithed, they gave, and God they still don’t see the return on their giving.

e. Pastor is not a democrat.

Finally, after the stress of it, they quit.

18And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

19And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

TYPE 3 - thorns

a. This soil/person’s heart passes through hard ground.

b. This soil/person’s heart passes through stoney ground and actually starts to find peace & prosper.

c. This soil/person’s heart actually sees some blessing in serving God. They’re just tired on Sundays. I have Pastor’s series, his books. I know all of his sermons. I know all of the songs. “It’s great, but, since I have heard everything I think its time to switch gears and spend more time with the family, visit of few people I haven’t seen in awhile…”

d. “My children are grown, so, now I think I will just watch TBN on Sundays because I need a day of rest. Sunday is my day to rest up for the week and do laundry.”

e. I thank God for all that I have learned, I love my Church, but, Sunday is the only day I can sleep in and Wednesday night is just too hard.

20And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

TYPE 4 - good ground

a. Finally! Good ground!

b. This person keeps hearing the Word and it produces a harvest beyond their wildest dreams!

c. This person’s heart/soil is governed by the Word of God.

What happens when something bad happens to us or our loved ones? Why do some people get healed and some don’t?



Psalm 11:3

3If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

How important is the Word of God? As Pastors we need to open up the Bible and teach the scriptures to people from the time they are in the womb to the time when they take their last breath. In our case, until the trumpet sounds and Jesus comes back for His Bride!


Unanswered Questions

Sooner or later, we will get the answer of why bad things happen sometimes to good people. Some things happen we do not understand. This does not nullify the promises of God. Some answers might not come till we get to heaven. The Bible says, “let God be true and every man be a liar.”

This means that what the Bible says is true, regardless of the fact that men and circumstances say something different. Our experiences do not negate the promises of God. I know that we have seen times when the person needing healing from a terminal disease is confessing God’s Word that they are healed, and, over a period of time they still die.

We have to believe that it wasn’t God’s fault if they didn’t receive their healing. It may seem that God chooses to heal some people and some He decides not to. Some things that happen like this may not be understood until we get to heaven. The Bible says. “The secret things belong to the Lord.”

Acts 1:7

(Amplified Bible)

7He said to them, It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings [the things and events of time and their definite periods] or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time), which the Father has appointed (fixed and reserved) by His own choice and authority and personal power.

1 Corinthians 13:12

(Amplified Bible)

12For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].

These two verses clearly state we just don’t know everything. We can look at the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. He went through some crazy suffering and events in his life for years, yet he chose to stay the course.

We see the mighty hand of God revealed for Paul and Silas. Look what happened to them at midnight! After they had sang praises to God, they experienced a supernatural deliverance, the prison doors flew open! (Acts 16:25-26)

On another account, we can read the story of John the Baptist. The scriptures tell us that John the Baptist had been put in prison. It could have been very possible that John was waiting for Jesus to show up at the prison and get him out of there! Think about this for a minute. What did John the Baptist do to be sent to prison? From the time John was in his mother’s womb, the Bible says that when his mother and Mary got in the same room that they both leaped in their mother’s womb! How exciting! John was predestined in the plan of God to be the forerunner to the Messiah. That was John’s destiny! His calling was to preach, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” John the Baptist preached many times about the coming of the Messiah. He fulfilled the ministry that he was called to do. But now, he sits and waits in this prison and, worse yet, he was going to be beheaded. What was John feeling? Why wasn’t Jesus on His way to rescue Him?

Matthew 11:2-6

2Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

3And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

4Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

5The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

6And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.


As a Christian, I cannot allow the stresses of life to steal the Word that is planted in my heart. I cannot allow losing a loved one to a terminal disease to get bitter toward God for allowing them to die.

If I walk away from the Word of God because of a tragedy, then, what is left for me to believe as a Christian? If ONE part of the promises are not true, then the whole thing is a lie.

The Bible declares, “Jesus Christ the same; yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

The Bible declares, “He watches over His Word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:12)

The Bible declares, “By His stripes we were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

The Bible declares, “All things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)

The Bible declares, “…lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:18)

The TYPE 4 soil/condition of the heart loves to hear the Word and expects a miracle!

Ephesians 3:20

20Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]--

Mark 4:14-20

(The Message)

14-15"The farmer plants the Word. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them.

16-17"And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

18-19"The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.

20"But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams."

Mark 4:20-27

(The Message)

20"But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams."

21-22Jesus went on: "Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don't you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We're not keeping secrets, we're telling them; we're not hiding things, we're bringing them out into the open.

23"Are you listening to this? Really listening?

24-25"Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes."

26-29Then Jesus said, "God's kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time!

“If any one hears, let him keep on hearing.”

30, 60, and 100 fold. The KEY is to KEEP ON HEARING.

Salvation is not because you THINK you are saved. Our eternal life we have In God is not based upon whether we feel saved. Salvation is not based upon our emotions. Salvation starts with the Word, confessing with your mouth and believing with your heart. (Romans 10:9-10)

Acts 2:42

42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:42

(The Message)

41-42That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

a. Notice the Foundations of Faith are taught by the Apostle’s. That is why teaching is so important from the pulpit. It is not to be left up to those who are not called to the 5 Fold ministry. Pastors should teach the Foundations of Faith. Pastors and those who are called to the 5 fold ministry need to feed the flock of God.





1 Peter 5:2

2Feed (poimen)

the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

A. poimen= pastor, shepherd, feed

1 Peter 5:3-4

3Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.

4And when the chief Shepherd(poimen) shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

A. Notice Jesus is called the GREAT POIMEN.

Ephesians 4:11

11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors (poimen) and teachers;

A. Pastors are married to the Local Church. The other 4 ministry gifts can be constantly moving, ministering and are in and out of a local Church.

B. It is God’s will for every Christian to have a Pastor.

C. It is God’s will for every minister to have a Pastor and a local Church.

D. Without a Pastor we can develop an INDEPENDENT spirit which can lead to no accountability.

E. To be IN authority one should be UNDER a spiritual authority.


2 Thessalonians 3:13

(The Message)

10-13Don't you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? "If you don't work, you don't eat." And now we're getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don't slack off in doing your duty.

a. sometimes you won’t feel like coming to church.

b. sometimes you won’t feel like lifting your hands and praising God.

c. sometimes you don’t feel like tithing.

d. sometimes you don’t want to pray.

e. sometimes you won’t feel like doing the right thing!

There are some days when it is harder to serve God and choose to be a blessing. Keep on hearing. Keep on hearing. Keep on hearing.

It doesn’t matter what your spouse does.

It doesn’t matter what your children are doing.

It doesn’t matter what anyone says or does.

God will answer you in due time. You will reap if you faint not!


2 Thessalonians 3:13

(Amplified Bible)

13And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right [but continue in well-doing without weakening].

2 Thessalonians 3:13

13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

Weary = diakrino half-hearted, double-minded, doubt

Mark 11:24

(Amplified Bible)

24For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

a. There are 4 YOUS in that verse! What YOU desire when YOU pray believe YOU have received and YOU shall have it.

b. There is something about the prayer of faith that sometimes we miss. It’s YOU and GOD!|

Matthew 18:19

(Amplified Bible)

19Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and [everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.

I loved that craziness I used to hear in the Wednesday night prayer meetings as a young

Man when I would go to church. The times when the Pastor would ask for prayer requests. They would always get a few that would say, “unspoken.” Then the pastor would nod his head. How do you ever get in agreement if you don know what you were agreeing to? The “unspoken” prayer request meant we all agreed the prayer was unspoken. Wow. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we didn’t go anywhere in prayer with all that mess.

The first type

of soil is the poorest ground; never allowing any time for roots.

The second type

of soil is not much better; roots actually start, but when persecution comes they quickly fall away

The third type

of soil has promise. Much better than the first two; the stress of life strangles what they have heard.

The fourth type

of soil is always good ground.

Four types of soil. Four types of heart conditions. Only one out of the four will produce lasting fruit.

© Copyright 2011 David P. Ward Ministries All Rights Reserved