(Transmission: Mill’s Inductive Method)
I. Yahshua in His wisdom in Mark four does not define the subject of the parable prior to his reported delivery, for example: “Sown seed is like unto the word of God”. In other parables he does identify the subject and we can only conclude it was not so in this instance to teach us another truth. If the subject had been stated the audience would most assuredly have linked up the statements with the subject thereby clarifying the meaning of the parable. Of course, it is clarified for the Apostles later which in itself teaches a truth.
(1) (The method of agreement) The one factor common to all antecedent situations where an effect occurs is probably the cause of the effect.
Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. (a) As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. (b) Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. (c) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
(2) (The method of difference) whenever an effect occurs when A is present but not when it is absent, then A is probably the cause of the effect.
(d) Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.
(3) (The joint method) Combine the first two methods when one method alone does not yield a definite result.
(4) (the Method of Concomitant Variations) When an antecedent factor varies concomitantly with a consequent factor, then the former is probably the cause of the latter.
The sower is constant. The only factor that varies is the type of ground the seed is sown upon; therefore, I’d agree with method four because the change in the cause (the sowing on good soil) results in a change in the effect. Then the change (soil) is the cause.
II. Yahshua employed “midrash” (creative exegesis) of the Second Temple era in stating scriptural truths In this instance he was addressing a multitude of probably largely uneducated people and it appears that this audience was not prepared by the Holy Spirit to grasp the truth demonstrated by the parable. His midrash was structured in a progression of principles from simpler and more fundamental to more complex and derivative to establish truth in a way that should have been fairly obvious to Jewish peasants. However, a clue to his employment of what was to them a complex midrash is given in verse ten. Not everyone is given the understanding necessary to receive the Word. He was speaking of the Word of God and the many complexities inherent in the receiving of it. The message then and now is: we as sowers shall fulfill our commission by proclaiming the “Good News” without regards to the status of the recipient and the Holy Spirit shall fulfill His by the preparing of hearts.
Rabbi Phil Davis