Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb φυω (phuo) describes a sprouting and growing up of plants primarily and secondarily of people. It occurs in a mere two contexts in the New Testament (Luke 8:6 and 8:8, and Hebrews 12:15) but gives rise to a small cluster of important derivatives:
- The noun φυλη (phule), meaning race or tribe, or pretty much "that which sprouted as one" or "a collective of persons with the shared identity of one thing growing (like leaves on a tree)". This word is often used to describe all the peoples of the earth (Matthew 24:30, Revelation 1:7, 5:9, 7:9), and with which obviously not the artificial political nations of today are meant but rather naturally formed/forming cultures. Our word is even so often used to describe the tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28, Luke 2:36, Acts 13:21, Romans 11:1). This noun is used 31 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:
- Together with the adjective αλλος (allos), meaning another: the adjective αλλοφυλος (allophulos), meaning other-tribely; not a Jew but from another people (Acts 10:28 only).
- Together with the cardinal number δωδεκα (dodeka), meaning twelve: the noun δωδεκαφυλον (dodekaphulon), meaning twelve-tribe, which is a synonym for Israel (Acts 26:7 only).
- The noun φυλλον (phullon) meaning leaf. Note that although fruits and blossoms were known by their own words (ανθος, anthos and καρπος, karpos), this word for leaf literally denotes whatever grows on a tree (or even in general). It's used 6 times; see full concordance.
- The noun φυσις (phusis), which denotes naturally produced things: that which naturally sprouts up, or what moderns may refer to as "nature". In the New Testament this word is commonly deployed to refer to the natural man: the mentality of a person who hasn't had the benefit of a formal education or suffered the distraction of a corrupt culture. It occurs 14 times, see full concordance and from it in turn comes:
Our verb is also used in three or four compound words:
- Together with the common preposition εκ (ek), meaning out: the verb εκφυω (ekphuo), meaning to produce out or bring forth (Matthew 24:32 and Mark 13:28 only).
- Together with the familiar adjective νεος (neos), meaning new or young: the adjective νεοφυτος (neophutos), meaning newly sprung up (1 Timothy 3:6 only).
- Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συμφυω (sumphuo), meaning to spring up together (Luke 8:7 only). From this verb comes:
- The adjective συμφυτος (sumphutos), meaning sprang up together, united with, innate (Romans 6:5 only).