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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Seed

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The early Christians used ‘seed’ in its natural sense, of that which contains the germ-cell (1) of plants (σπέρμα, Matthew 13:24; Matthew 13:27; Matthew 13:32; Matthew 13:37 f., Mark 4:31, 1 Corinthians 15:38, 2 Corinthians 9:10; σπόρος, Mark 4:26 f., Luke 8:5; Luke 8:11), and (2) of man (σπέρμα, Hebrews 11:11; σπορά, 1 Peter 1:23). Metaphorically, ‘seed’ (σπέρμα) was used (1) of the nucleus of the Jewish race left from the Captivity (Romans 9:29); (2) of offspring in general, either (a) taken literally (Matthew 22:24 f., Mark 12:19-22, Luke 1:55; Luke 20:28, John 7:42; John 8:33; John 8:37, Acts 3:25; Acts 7:5 f., Acts 13:23, Romans 1:3; Romans 4:13; Romans 9:7; Romans 11:1, 2 Corinthians 11:22, 2 Timothy 2:8, Hebrews 2:16; Hebrews 11:18, Revelation 12:17), or (b) figuratively, as when believers were called Abraham’s seed because they emulated his faith (Romans 4:16; Romans 4:18; Romans 9:8, Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:29); and, finally, (3) of the generating power of God acting through His Word (cf. 1 Peter 1:23) and His Spirit (1 John 3:9). St. Paul argued in Rabbinical fashion from the distinction between ‘seed’ and ‘seeds’ (Galatians 3:16 ff.). Since the singular stood in Genesis 13:15 f. and Genesis 17:7 f., he concluded that the promise made to Abraham pointed to Christ as an individual and not collectively to Jews. For this and similar examples of artificial exegesis in the NT, see Interpretation.

S. J. Case.


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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Seed'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/s/seed.html. 1906-1918.

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