The interpretation of the parable of the Sower, Mark 4. 14–20, is frequently said to be inconsistent since it seems to identify the seed which is sown both with the word and with people.1 When this inconsistency is excused it is usually in light of the lack of concern for logical consistency which characterizes Semitic parables.2 A similar shift in usage occurs in Col. 1. 6, 10 where the metaphor of ‘bearing fruit and growing’ is applied first to the gospel and then to believers.3 The similarity of this passage and Mark 4. 14–20 in terminology, shift in metaphorical usage, and focus on proper reception of the word (Col. 1. 5 ff.) may indicate that before the writing of the gospels Paul was already familiar with the parable of the Sower and its interpretation. IV Ezra also pictures as seed both men sown by God (8. 41) and God's word (9. 31).