Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb τρεφω (trepho) means to nourish, feed or nurture. It appears to originally have denoted the congealing or curdling of a liquid, but came to denote a feeding or fostering (Matthew 6:26, 25:37, Acts 12:20, Revelation 12:6), then pampering and cherishing (James 5:5) and finally a leading toward maturity; the upbringing of a child (Luke 4:16).
It's used 8 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and comes with the following derivatives:.
- Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb ανατρεφω (anatrepho), literally meaning to bring up by means of fostering (Acts 7:20 and 7:21). The third time this verb occurs in the New Testament it is used in the sense of to educate (Acts 22:3).
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out: the verb εκτρεφω (ektrepho), meaning to bring up out of (the condition of being a child); to train (Ephesians 5:29 and 6:4 only).
- Together with the preposition εν (en), meaning in, on, at, by: the verb εντρεφω (entrepho), meaning to bring up as or into something (1 Timothy 4:6 only).
- The noun θρεμμα (thremma), literally meaning nursling (men or beast) and often denoting domesticated cattle (John 4:12 only).
- Together with the noun τεκνον (teknon), meaning child: the verb τεκνοτροφεω (teknotropheo), meaning to bring up children (1 Timothy 5:10 only).
- The noun τροφη (trophe), a common word meaning food or nourishment. This word may be used figuratively, denoting food for the mind (Hebrews 5:12-14), and may even cover one's wage or stipend with which to procure food (Matthew 10:10, 1 Timothy 5:18). This noun occurs 16 times; see full concordance.
- The noun τροφος (trophos) meaning someone who feeds: a nurturer, nourisher or nurse (1 Thessalonians 2:7 only).
The noun θρομβος (thrombos) means clot (of blood) or curd (of milk), hence our English word thrombosis. It's thought to share its root with the verb we discuss above, τρεφω (trepho), which originally appears to have meant to congeal or curdle, although it isn't clear of which language this shared root may have been a part.
In the New Testament, this word is used in Luke 22:44 only, in the scene in which Jesus sweats drops of blood. Why Luke chose this word, rather than one that actually meant drop, isn't clear, but it should be remembered that blood was considered the seat of the soul (Leviticus 17:11), and clots of blood were like clots of soul (also see Genesis 4:10 and Matthew 23:35).
The prophet Isaiah spoke of Immanuel and stated that "he will eat curds and honey at the time he knows enough to refuse evil and choose good" (Isaiah 7:15), whereas Jesus himself offered for consumption his blood, "which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28).