The Doctrine of the Kingdom in Matthew 13 -- By: Mark L. Bailey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 156:624 (Oct 1999)
Article: The Doctrine of the Kingdom in Matthew 13
Author: Mark L. Bailey


The Doctrine of the Kingdom in Matthew 13*

Mark L. Bailey

The message of the kingdom, preached by John, Jesus, and the disciples, included both the need for repentance and the announcement of the imminent coming of the kingdom. The former prepares individuals for the latter. Whereas in Luke 8:11 the message is called “the word of God,” Matthew appropriately referred to it as “the word of the kingdom” (Matt. 13:19), that is, the good news of the kingdom. While the message of the kingdom cannot be limited to the gospel, it must at least include it, as the various gospel contexts affirm. The good news is that God acted in Jesus Christ to provide redemption for humanity and to defeat all who would stand in the way of His being recognized as King.

Reception of the Word

The reception of “the word of the kingdom” produces varying degrees of growth in the lives of those who hear it. Maximum reception with a good and honest heart is shown to be God’s goal for every hearer of the Word of God (13:23). The right response to the message includes hearing, understanding, and doing (v. 23). Obedience is a critical concern in several of Matthew’s kingdom parables. The blessing of God is seen in the fruitfulness of one’s life. The degree of fruitfulness is not the same even among those responding rightly to the message of the kingdom. Each individual is unique in his or her heart response and understanding, and so the extent of fruitfulness also varies. That not all grow at the same rate is an encouragement not to judge one person by the benchmark of another. The differing rates of growth are also a

* This is the final article in an eight-part series, “The Kingdom in the Parables of Matthew 13.”

Mark L. Bailey is Vice President for Academic Affairs, Academic Dean, and Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.

warning that failure to produce fruit may indicate a problem in discipleship commitment that needs to be addressed. Hearing, understanding, obedience, and a commitment that holds fast even under pressure are prerequisites for maximum fruitfulness. Receptivity enhances productivity.

Rejection of the Word

Those who preach or teach the message of the kingdom need to realize that not all will respond as they ought. Three obstacles to the effective appropriation of the message of the kingdom include satanic activity, external pressures from those uns...

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