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Understand(ing) #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter U


Understand mostly appears in the Bible as part of the word, understanding. There are over 230 references, depending on the translation searched. Is a definition of the meaning necessary here? There is no special meaning attached to understanding in the Bible, but there is a desire that the readers should understand its message.

Wisdom and understanding are often linked Deuteronomy 1:13, Deuteronomy 4:6

King Solomon asked the Lord for an understanding mind (sometimes translated as wisdom). 1 Kings 3:9

God understands everything about us 1 Chronicles 28:9

To jump to the story Planting seed click here.

King Solomon had a wise man to oversee the building of the temple 1 Kings 7:13-14

The book of Nehemiah (who restored the walls of Jerusalem) has references to people who could understand, especially being able to understand the Law.

The Book of Job is all about attempts to understand suffering and man’s inability to understand everything a God does.

The Psalms speak of understanding: those who seek after God Psalm 14:2

There are comparisons between foolishness and wisdom.

In Psalm 119 the psalmist (writer) asks four times for understanding (verses 1, 27, 34, 73) then explains how he has understanding (verses 99, 100, 104), asks again for understanding in verses 125, 144 , 169, while explaining how understanding is gained in verse 130

As Job discovered the psalmist explains that God created the heavens by understanding in Psalm 136:5

The Book of Proverbs is full of sayings about understanding.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Genesis 11:7 The tower of Babel was where God confused people’s languages so that they did not understand one another and could not work together.

The prophet Isaiah speaks about understanding. In particular he describes the Spirit of God as being a Spirit of wisdom and understanding. Isaiah 11:2

The understanding of the creator is unsearchable Isaiah 40:28

The people being slow to understand is also a theme in many prophets’ words.

Daniel had understanding in dreams and visions Daniel 1:17

The disciples did not always understand Jesus’ teaching Mark 9:32

After Jesus’ death and resurrection He opened the minds of two disciples so they would understand Luke 24:45

The Holy Spirit gives understanding 1 Corinthians 2:12

Planting seed

In the time when Jesus lived on earth there were no tractors or combine harvesters. Farming was done by people using animals to help them.

Nowadays seed is often planted exactly where the farmer intends using machinery.

In Jesus day the person planting seed (the sower) would have a basket or bag full of seed and walk to and fro in the field, throwing the seed. It would have been a familiar sight to the people who listened to Jesus. The method was known as broadcasting long before radio and television were invented!

One day when there were so many people trying to hear him he spoke from a boat, while they listened on dry land. He told a story about the seed, sown by a sower.

Some of the seed fell on the path. Birds flew down and gobbled it up.

Some of the seed fell on rocky ground. There was not enough soil for healthy growth. The seed germinated but withered, scorched by the sun.

Some of the seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the young plants.

The rest of the seed fell on good ground, where it grew and produced a yield of crop many times the amount sown. Perhaps one hundred times, or sixty times or thirty times.

Jesus did not tell the crowds the meaning of this story, but his disciples asked him about it later. He told them that they were being given the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.

The crowd would not understand in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

He explained to his disciples that the message was the seed. When people did not understand the message it was like the seed on the path.

The seed on the rocky ground represented people receiving the message gladly, but not continuing as disciples when persecution came.

The seed among thorns was like people, who allowed the cares of this world and the false hope of riches to crowd out the message.

The seed falling on good ground was like someone hearing and understanding the message and continuing, bearing differing amounts of fruit.


This story is a retelling of the Parable of the sower Matthew 13:1-23