Firstfruit(s) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G536, aparche ]
denotes, primarily, an offering of firstfruits" (akin to aparchomai, "to make a beginning;" in sacrifices, "to offer firstfruits"). "Though the English word is plural in each of its occurrences save Romans 11:16, the Greek word is always singular. Two Hebrew words are thus translated, one meaning the "chief" or "principal part," e.g., Numbers 18:12; Proverbs 3:9; the other, "the earliest ripe of the crop or of the tree," e.g., Exodus 23:16; Nehemiah 10:35; they are found together, e.g., in Exodus 23:19, "the first of the firstfruits."

"The term is applied in things spiritual,
(a) to the presence of the Holy Spirit with the believer as the firstfruits of the full harvest of the Cross, Romans 8:23;
(b) to Christ Himself in resurrection in relation to all believers who have fallen asleep, 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23;
(c) to the earliest believers in a country in relation to those of their countrymen subsequently converted, Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15;
(d) to the believers of this age in relation to the whole of the redeemed, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (See Note below); James 1:18. Cp. Revelation 14:4." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 271.]


(1) In James 1:15 the qualifying phrase, "a kind of," may suggest a certain falling short, on the part of those mentioned, of what they might be.

(2) In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, instead of ap' arches, "from the beginning," there is an alternative reading, well supported, viz., aparchen, "(God chose you) as firstfruits."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words