True believers can believe for a while and fall away
“Fall away” is a translation from the Greek word “skandalizo”.
Mark 4:16-17 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately RECEIVE it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so ENDURE only FOR A TIME. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they STUMBLE (skandalizontai).
The Greek word translated as “receive” is the same Greek word below, also translated as “receive”.
John 1:12 But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave the right to become “children of God…
John 13:20 Most certainly I tell you, he who receives whomever I send, receives me; and he who receives me, receives him who sent me.”
Rom 5:11 Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
1 Cor 2:12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God.
The stony ground hearers were children of God as they endured for a time. The Greek word translated as “stumble” could also be translated as “fall away”. How can the stony ground hearers fall away from something they were never in? We see that these people heard the word, received the word and endured for a time, so these were genuine converts who stumbled due to persecution. Also below verses talk about a “falling away” based on “skandalizo”.
Matthew 24:9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Matt. 5:29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matt 26: 31Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
1 Cor. 8:11And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
We can get confirmation from yet other verses that there will indeed be people who will end up in apostasy (apostasia) in the end of times:
2 Thess. 2:3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
1 Tim. 4:1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
The same parable is very similar in Luke and Matthew:
Luke 8:6And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
Luke 8:13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while BELIEVE, and in time of temptation fall away.
Matt. 13: 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Since the seed sprung up it shows it produced a plant (life) and we can read that the hearer believed for a while. Something can’t “wither” unless it had life to start with. The word for BELIEVE is pisteuó and is also used in many other verses, such as these:
John 3:18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:36: One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John 5:24 Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 7:38 He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.”
John 12: 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness.
John 14:12 Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father.