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New Defender's Study Bible Notes

13:8 an hundred fold. It is noteworthy that the very first reference in the Bible to seed-sowing speaks of Isaac’s seed as bringing forth in the very year that he sowed “an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him” (Genesis 26:12). The promise of spiritual fruit from spiritual seed is found throughout the Bible (e.g., Ecclesiastes 11:1,4-6; Isaiah 55:10-11; John 4:37-38; I Corinthians 3:6-8).

13:8 thirtyfold. This suggested threefold division of fruit-bearing indicates that even when seed-sowers are careful to sow on good ground (that is, in hearts properly prepared to receive the Word), the hearers can be categorized in three groups. There are other examples of this threefold division in Scripture. In His parable of the vine, Jesus spoke of bearing “fruit,” “more fruit” and “much fruit” (John 15:2,5). He indicated, too, that the “much fruit” category is for those who “die” to this world (John 12:24-25). Peter speaks of a three-fold categorization of rewards—“praise and honour and glory” (I Peter 1:7). “Every man shall have [his] praise of God” (I Corinthians 4:5), and “if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26). But “if ye be reproached for the name of Christ,…the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you” (I Peter 4:14). Note also how God pared Gideon’s small army of 32,000 (facing 135,000 Midianites) first down to 10,000 then to 300 (Judges 7:3,6; 8:10) before they were ready to fight the enemy. Among Christians there were believers, disciples (that is, believers who were also learners and followers), and apostles (that is, “sent ones,” disciples who were also called and sent forth for special ministries of full dedication, witness and sacrifice). The fruitful Christian life can also be characterized as, first, “separation” from the world, then “service” for the Lord, and then “suffering” for His sake.

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