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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: σπευδω

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/s/s-p-e-u-d-om.html

σπευδω

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

σπευδω

The verb σπευδω (speudo) means to hurry or hasten, and stems from a broadly attested Proto-Indo-European root "spewd-", meaning to press, urge or hurry. Curiously, the extant traces of this ancient root in modern languages all have to do with spits and skewers, which seems to suggest that it originally spoke of some penetrating drive or sentiment (the image painted in Luke 2:35 comes to mind). This also means that our verb is not directly related to our English verb to speed, which instead emphasizes succession and is actually closer related to the word prosper.

Our verb is common in classical Greek, but as the above suggests, does not simply describe an above average velocity, or a careless rush-rush sort of haste (that would be described by the word ταχυς, tachus, to be quick). Instead it rather emphasizes zeal, resolve and drive; those sentiments that result in a confident and emphatic progression toward (or away from) a scene of interest. Thus it's often translated as to seek earnestly or to strive eagerly after, to promote zealously, to urge or exert. Our verb may express an enthusiasm for an attractive thing, or conversely, abhorrence or mental trouble due to an repulsive thing.

In the sense that our verb may mean to seek diligently, it's comparable to the Hebrew verb שחר (shahar), to seek diligently, from the noun שחר (shahar), meaning solar eclipse. From the verb חוש (hush), to hurry, comes the word תחש (thahash), which describes an animal known as a "hurrier," whose hides formed the outer layer of the tabernacle (see our article on Thahash).

Our verb is used a modest 6 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, but from it derive:

  • The noun σπουδη (spoude), which may literally mean a haste (as in "make haste") but most often it refers to the resolve, zeal or pains that make a person haste, or religious zeal or high regard for someone or something that quickens a person's mind, heart or pace, whether literally or figuratively. Our word may be translated with resolve, earnestness or seriousness, and describe a focused or unwavering devotion to a thing, person or cause. Our noun is frequently used adverbially, to describe an action performed with speedy dedication or zealous pursuit. It may even describe a proverbial degree of difficulty, and so express the rarity with which a pursued thing is actually obtained: scarcely, hardly. In the New Testament it occurs 12 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
    • The verb σπουδαζω (spoudazo), meaning to be resolute or diligent, to undertake actions with dedication and resolve. This verb is used 11 times; see full concordance.
    • The adjective σπουδαιος (spoudaios), meaning diligent or resolute (2 Corinthians 8:22 only). From this adjective derives:
      • The adjective σπουδαιοτερος (spoudaioteros), which is a comparative of the previous and means more resolute. It occurs in 2 Corinthians 8:17 and 8:22 only, and from this word comes:
        • The adverbially used neutral accusative form of the previous, namely σπουδαιοτερον (spoudaioteron), meaning more resolutely (2 Timothy 1:17 only).
      • The adverb σπουδαιως (spoudaios), meaning diligently or resolutely (Luke 7:4 and Titus 3:13 only). From this adverb comes:
        • The comparative of the previous, namely σπουδαιοτερως (spoudaioteros), meaning more diligently or more resolutely (Philippians 2:28 only).