Parable of the Growing Seed

Christ of the Cornfield, Frank Dicksee

The Parable of the Growing Seed (also called the Seed Growing Secretly) is a parable of Jesus which appears only in Mark 4:26-29. It is a parable about growth in the Kingdom of God. It follows the Parable of the Sower and the Lamp under a bushel, and precedes the Parable of the Mustard Seed.


The sower as illustrated in Hortus deliciarum compiled by Herrad of Landsberg at the Hohenburg Abbey in Alsace (12th century).

The parable is as follows:

He said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn't know how. For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts forth the sickle, because the harvest has come."
Mark 4:26-29, World English Bible


This parable can be seen as related to the parable of the Sower,[1] although it does not follow that parable immediately. One interpretation is that it serves as a "correction provided for any ancient or modern disciples who might be feeling discouraged with the amount of fruitless labor they had extended toward those" who failed to hear the message of which the parable of the Sower spoke.[1] Even when the farmer sleeps, the Kingdom of God is still growing. Its growth is due to God, not man,[2] and follows its own timetable.[3]

Illustration together with the preceding parable of the lamp under a bushel.

Unlike the parable of the Sower, the seed here seems to represent the Kingdom of God itself.[4] Differences in interpretation result from emphasising different aspects of the parable, such as the seed, the sower, or the earth.[5]

See also


  1. 1 2 George R. Knight, Exploring Mark: A Devotional Commentary, Review and Herald Pub Assoc, 2004, ISBN 0-8280-1837-5, pp. 107-108.
  2. Richard N. Longenecker, The Challenge of Jesus' Parables, Eerdmans, 2000, ISBN 0-8028-4638-6, p. 97.
  3. James R. Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark, Eerdmans, 2002, ISBN 0-85111-778-3, pp. 142-144.
  4. Klyne Snodgrass, Stories with Intent: A comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus, Eerdmans, 2008, ISBN 0-8028-4241-0, p. 213.
  5. Klyne Snodgrass, Stories with Intent: A comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus, Eerdmans, 2008, ISBN 0-8028-4241-0, pp. 184-190.
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