New International Version (NIV)
Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
It would seem so, according to this verse. But some see another possibility: that this verse looks at how people appear, rather than their true spiritual condition. They suggest the appearance of falling away (that is, turning away from the faith entirely and decisively) reveals that the person never had true faith.
Others, however, say it’s possible to believe for a while. They say the New Testament warns believers to persevere in their faith—a warning different from that given to unbelievers. They say God gives people a free will—something they still have when they commit to Christ.
The debate goes on, so it is perhaps best to emphasize what both sides agree on: In the end those who believe will be saved, and only the seed that bears fruit will reach its goal.