Bible Study Brief 4: Seeds Sown Among Thorns

These Bible Study Briefs are deliberately informal. They are structured so that they can be considered in a short twenty-minute session or become the basis for an hour-long discussion.

The studies are intended to provide you with accessible, usable, and brief Bible studies on topics that touch on the peculiar needs, problems, and dilemmas that confront Christians in the legal profession.

No formal leader is required. After reading the brief scriptural passage (perhaps with a couple of different translations available in the group to add nuances of meaning), use the questions as prods for discussion. Please add your own questions, because the concerns and interests of each study group are different.

Some discussion "Do's":

  1. Do resist the temptation to make Bible study a mere intellectual inquiry or to parade your finely tuned analytical skills.
  2. Do provoke each other into finding concrete ways to apply and incorporate scriptural insights into your lives.
  3. Do commit yourselves to encouraging each other to stick to these commitments through friendship and prayer.

We're grateful to the Christian Legal Society for sharing these Bible Study Briefs with us.


Law school is a terrific drain on your time, attention, and emotions. The all-consuming nature of the enterprise has a tendency to crowd out things that, if you think about them, are more important. Charles Hummel has referred to this phenomenon as “The Tyranny of the Urgent” — that which is immediate strangles that which is important. Consider this passage from that angle.


Mark 4:1-20

  1. Consider first verses 7 and 19. Do they have any bearing on your law school life? Jesus gives three different kinds of content to the “thorns.” Identify and consider each separately.
  2. How is the term “choke” descriptive of your experience in growing your Christian faith?
  3. What do “fruitful” and “bear fruit” mean? Do they describe a personal development concept or an evangelism concept? Is verse 20 an empirical description or a command? What are the implications of your answer?
  4. Do the “hard” and “rocky” grounds better describe your spiritual status quo?
  5. Verses 11-12 contain one of Jesus’ most disturbing recorded statements. What does it mean? (Compare Isaiah 6.) Who is responsible (“whence cometh”) for a person’s hardness of heart? Solutions?
  6. It has been said that “the law is a jealous mistress.” The prophets condemned Israel for “playing the harlot” after other gods. Do you see any connection between the metaphors?
  7. Are the thorns/idols likely to change after law school? How? (Time? Money? Prestige?)
  8. If you had 30 hours a day (and still allowed yourself only 4 hours sleep!), would you spend the extra 6 hours studying? How do your time priorities reflect the treasure of your heart?

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