Seed - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G4690, sperma ]
akin to speiro, to sow" (Eng., "sperm," "spermatic," etc.), has the following usages,
(a) agricultural and botanical, e.g., Matthew 13:24, Matthew 13:27, Matthew 13:32 (for the AV of Matthew 13:19-Matthew 13:23, See sow, as in the RV); 1 Corinthians 15:38; 2 Corinthians 9:10;
(b) physiological, Hebrews 11:11;
(c) metaphorical and by metonymy and for "offspring, posterity,"

(1) of natural offspring e.g., Matthew 22:24-Matthew 22:25, RV, "seed" (AV, "issue"); John 7:42; John 8:33, John 8:37; Acts 3:25; Romans 1:3; Romans 4:13, Romans 4:16, Romans 4:18; Romans 9:7 (twice), Romans 9:8, Romans 9:29; Romans 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Hebrews 2:16; Hebrews 11:18; Revelation 12:17; Galatians 3:16, Galatians 3:19, Galatians 3:29; in the 16th verse, "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ," quoted from the Sept. of Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:7-Genesis 17:8, there is especial stress on the word "seed," as referring to an individual (here, Christ) in fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, a unique use of the singular. While the plural form "seeds," neither in Hebrew nor in Greek, would have been natural any more than in English (it is not so used in Scripture of human offspring; its plural occurrence is in 1 Samuel 8:15, of crops), yet if the Divine intention had been to refer to Abraham's natural descendants, another word could have been chosen in the plural, such as "children;" all such words were, however, set aside, "seed" being selected as one that could be used in the singular, with the purpose of showing that the "seed" was Messiah. Some of the rabbis had even regarded "seed," e.g., in Genesis 4:25; Isaiah 53:10, as referring to the Coming One. Descendants were given to Abraham by other than natural means, so that through him Messiah might come, and the point of the Apostle's argument is that since the fulfillment of the promises of God is secured alone by Christ, they only who are "in Christ" can receive them;

(2) of spiritual offspring, Romans 4:16, Romans 4:18; Romans 9:8; here "the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed" points, firstly, to Isaac's birth as being not according to the ordinary course of nature but by Divine promise, and, secondly, by analogy, to the fact that all believers are children of God by spiritual birth; Galatians 3:29.

As to 1 John 3:9, "his seed abideth in him," it is possible to understand this as meaning that children of God (His "seed") abide in Him, and do not go on doing (practicing) sin (the verb "to commit" does not represent the original in this passage). Alternatively, the "seed" signifies the principle of spiritual life as imparted to the believer, which abides in him without possibility of removal or extinction; the child of God remains eternally related to Christ, he who lives in sin has never become so related, he has not the principle of life in him. This meaning suits the context and the general tenor of the Epistle.

[ 2,,G4703, sporos ]
akin to No. 1, properly "a sowing," denotes "seed sown,"
(a) natural, Mark 4:26-Mark 4:27; Luke 8:5, Luke 8:11 (the natural being figuratively applied to the Word of God); 2 Corinthians 9:10 (1st part);
(b) metaphorically of material help to the needy, 2 Corinthians 9:10 (2nd part), RV, "(your) seed for sowing" (AV, "seed sown").

[ 3,,G4701, spora ]
akin to No. 1, and like No. 2, "a sowing, seedtime," denotes "seed sown," 1 Peter 1:23, of human offspring. In the Sept. 2 Kings 19:29.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words