Mustard seeds

Are Mustard Seeds the Smallest or Was Jesus Wrong?

The misunderstanding of the mustard seed parable

by Harry F. Sanders, III

In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus calls it the smallest seed. But was it really? Both evolutionists and old-earth creationists latch onto this parable, evolutionists to discredit the Bible entirely, and old-earth creationists to prove that the Bible does not have to be taken literally. Both approaches attempt to undermine the authority of God’s Word and challenge the foundation upon which the Christian faith is based.

The term “mustard seed” shows up five times in the Bible, all in the Gospels as a part of Jesus’ teachings. In three cases it is used as part of a parable. (A parable is a story that uses earthly things to relate to a spiritual application. It is meant to teach a spiritual concept rather than a literal, earthly one.) In the other two instances, it is used as an analogy to faith. In all five cases, Jesus is specifically using the mustard seed to teach a spiritual concept, not a scientific one.

In the synoptic Gospel accounts of the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus says, “He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32).

Mark and Luke repeat the same parable with similar wording, though Luke leaves off the size of the seed.

Evolutionists like to twist the phrase “the least of all seeds.” Evolutionists attempt to seize Jesus’ words and twist them to mean something Jesus didn’t intend, thus discrediting the authority of the Bible…


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