Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Matthew 13:32

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Which indeed is the least of all seeds - That is, of all those seeds which produce plants, whose stems and branches, according to the saying of the botanists, are apt δενδριζειν, arborescere, to grow into a ligneous or woody substance.

Becometh a tree - That is, it is not only the largest of plants which are produced from such small seeds, but partakes, in its substance, the close woody texture, especially in warm climates, where we are informed it grows to an almost incredible size. The Jerusalem Talmud, tract Peah. fol. 20, says, "There was a stalk of mustard in Sichin, from which sprang out three boughs; one of which, being broken off, served to cover the tent of a potter, and produced three cabes of mustard seed. Rabbi Simeon ben Chalapha said, A stalk of mustard seed was in my field, into which I was wont to climb, as men are wont to climb into a fig tree." See Lightfoot and Schoettgen. This may appear to be extravagant; and it is probable that, in the case of the three cabes of seed, there is considerable exaggeration; but, if it had not been usual for this plant to grow to a very large size, such relations as these would not have appeared even in the Talmud; and the parable of our Lord sufficiently attests the fact. Some soils being more luxuriant than others, and the climate much warmer, raise the same plant to a size and perfection far beyond what a poorer soil, or a colder climate, can possibly do. Herodotus says, he has seen wheat and barley in the country about Babylon which carried a blade full four fingers-breadth: and that the millet and sesamum grew to an incredible size. I have myself seen a field of common cabbages, in one of the Norman isles, each of which was from seven to nine feet in height; and one in the garden of a friend, which grew beside an apple-tree, though the latitude of the place is only about 48 deg. 13 min. north, was fifteen feet high, the stem of which is yet remaining, (September, 1798). These facts, and several others which might be added, confirm fully the possibility of what our Lord says of the mustard-tree, however incredible such things may appear to those who are acquainted only with the productions of northern regions and cold climates.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, Mr 4:26-29, yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Ro 6:13. From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?
Ellen G. White
A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, 43

In new fields no work is so successful as medical missionary work. If our ministers would work earnestly to obtain an education in medical missionary lines, they would be far better fitted to do the work Christ did as a medical missionary. By diligent study and practice, they can become so well acquainted with the principles of health reform, that wherever they go they will be a great blessing to the people they meet.—Medical Ministry, 239. CME 43.1

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 76-9

This chapter is based on Matthew 13:31, 32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18, 19.

In the multitude that listened to Christ's teaching there were many Pharisees. These noted contemptuously how few of His hearers acknowledged Him as the Messiah. And they questioned with themselves how this unpretending teacher could exalt Israel to universal dominion. Without riches, power, or honor, how was He to establish the new kingdom? Christ read their thoughts and answered them: COL 76.1

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 333

This chapter is based on Matthew 8:23-34; Mark 4:35-41; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:22-39.

It had been an eventful day in the life of Jesus. Beside the Sea of Galilee He had spoken His first parables, by familiar illustrations again explaining to the people the nature of His kingdom and the manner in which it was to be established. He had likened His own work to that of the sower; the development of His kingdom to the growth of the mustard seed and the effect of leaven in the measure of meal. The great final separation of the righteous and the wicked He had pictured in the parables of the wheat and tares and the fishing net. The exceeding preciousness of the truths He taught had been illustrated by the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price, while in the parable of the householder He taught His disciples how they were to labor as His representatives. DA 333.1

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Ellen G. White
God's Amazing Grace, 17.1

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, ... which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Matthew 13:31, 32. AG 17.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 27

Subsequent records indicate that steps were taken to consolidate the church's worldwide activities, which had been under the management of various committees, and place them under the control of the General Conference Association with its committee of twenty-one. TM xxvii.1

The leading officers of the General Conference Committee were also leading officers of the General Conference Association. However, with the members of both committees usually scattered throughout the world, the routine business fell largely into the hands of a few men in Battle Creek, some of whom were deeply involved in the business interests of the institutions there. TM xxvii.2

Not all that was contemplated in the action calling for consolidation came about, but sufficient did materialize to start a train of movement toward consolidation and to load the General Conference Association with the financial obligations of the publishing houses, tract societies, educational institutions, and sanitariums throughout the world. With a full meeting of the committee held only rarely, it was inevitable that routine decisions affecting the interests of the cause throughout the world were made by a handful of men in Battle Creek—often no more than four, five, or six men. In her communications Ellen G. White protested the moves toward consolidation, and other moves which did not bear God's endorsement. (See Life Sketches, Pages 319-330, chapter, “Danger in Adopting Worldly Policy in the Work of God.”) TM xxvii.3

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