In doing a word study of katabole in the Septuagint, it will be seen that it is used in its verb form and is translated overthrow and cast down(2Sam. 20.15;Job.16.9,14;Ez. 26,4,9,12;29. 5;30. 22;Dan. 11. 12)and should be translated the same in the New Testament in regards to the kosmos, "since the overthrow of the kosmos", which was the disruption (chaos) of the order (kosmos), when creation was made subject to vanity Rom. chapter 8. The degeneration of the order, which will be restored during the times of the restoration of all things Acts 3:17-21, the regeneration Mt. 19:28.

The word themelion (Gr.2310) is the most used for foundation in the New Testament and the LXX (Lk.6:48; Acts.16:26; Rom.15:20; Eph.2:20; Heb.1:10; Eza.3:6,10-12; Isa.28.16,44:28;48:13).

In Heb.6:1 themelion is translated foundation, while the root word for katabole,(Kataballo,2598) is used for not regressing back to the elementary principals of Christ, with the purpose of moving on to perfection.

Also in a biological sense Katabole (catabolic) has the meaning of break down.

So could it be that by faith Sarah was able to bare, casting down her physical inability to give birth due to her age?

Was the deadness of her womb overthrown (katabole) by having believed that God would keep His promise, thus bringing life to her dead womb (Rom. 4)?

Does the Greek allow for this interpretation? For the casting down (katabole) to be in reference to her ability to bare; in regard to infertility, and not to the casting of seed? This interpretation of katabole seems to fit with its overall use, not foundation or conceive.

I recently found this “So, what exactly does the Greek term katabole (the English scientific use=catabolic) mean? In simple terms, it refers to a process of breaking something down and making something new as result. In order for a woman to conceive, her body must be able to breakdown the male’s sperm in order to incorporate his DNA information (in the sperm’s nucleolus) with her DNA (in the egg’s cytoplasm) in order to conceive a child which has the DNA characteristics of both the father and mother. This is accomplished through a biochemical process called catabolism. If the female’s body no longer produces the necessary hormonal chemistry to initiate this catabolic process, she cannot conceive. That is why Sarah, who was way past child bearing years, was able to conceive because God strengthened her body to do it. That is why the English Bible uses the word “conceive” as a translation of the Greek word katabole, because the English word perfectly describes the end result of a foundational biological process, even though the exact dynamics of that biological process was unknown to man at the time Hebrews 11:11 was penned. This is yet another Biblical example of “Progressive Revelation” of the Scriptures; it was an established scientific truth documented in the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit many hundreds of years before mankind would be able to comprehend the full meaning of what had been written”.

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    – Dottard
    Jan 30, 2023 at 8:49
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    Where in the LXX is καταβολὴ found to which you refer? This MUST be added to your question.
    – Dottard
    Jan 30, 2023 at 8:58
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    Where does καταβολή (katabole) mean "over-throw"? I could not find such a verse in the Bible.
    – Dottard
    Jan 30, 2023 at 9:10
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    I could not see any in the LXX and those in the NT never mean "over-throwing". Please list some that have this meaning.
    – Dottard
    Jan 30, 2023 at 9:22
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    I added some references its is used over thirty times in its verb form. Jan 30, 2023 at 10:05

3 Answers 3


According to BDAG, καταβολή (katabole) means:

the act of laying something down with implication of providing a base for something, foundation, eg, Matt 13:35, 25:34, Luke 11:50, Heb 4:3, 9:26, Rev 13:8, 17:8, John 17:24, Eph 1:4, 1 Peter 1:20. ... This may be the meaning of Heb 11:11 where it is said of Sarah δύναμιν εἰς καταβολὴν σπέρματος ἔλαβεν she received the ability to establish a posterity ...

The only place I could find in the LXX where καταβολή (katabole) is in 2 Macc 2:29 which says (with my translation):

καθαπερ γαρ της καινης οικιας αρχιτεκτονι της ολης καταβολης φροντιστεον τω(ι) δε εγκαιειν και ζωγραφειν επιχειρουντι τα επιτηδεια προς διακοσμησιν εξεταστεον ουτως δοκω και επι ημων = For as the architect/master-builder of a new house must care for the whole foundation (entire structure) ...

Thus, I see no conflict with the meanings and use of the words as translated by modern versions. καταβολή (katabole) thus simply means "foundation" or the "laying of a foundation" as always in the Koine Greek of the Bible.

[Note: καταβολή (katabole) never means "over-throw" unless the OP can quote such a Biblical source.]

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    The following is a list of the usage of katabole in its English translation (kataballo--verb form) in the Old Testament LXX and in the New Testament. (O.T.: II Sam. 20:15, cast or thrown down; II Kings 3:19, shall fall or cut down; 3:25, felled or cut down; 6:5, felling; 19:7, fall (by the sword); II Chron. 32:21, slew or cut down; Job 16:14, breaketh; Ps. 37:14, cast down, 73:18, cast them down; Ps. 106:26, overthrow; 106:27, overthrow; 140:10, cast; Prov. 7:26, cast down; 18:8, go down; 25:28, broken down; Jer. 19:7, fall; Ezek. 6:4, cast down; 23:25, shall fall; 26:4, shall destroy; 26:4 Jan 30, 2023 at 14:47
  • Now you have changed the question completely!! You ask about the noun and then give a series of references about the verb. Now, what question are you asking? The reference3 about Sarah in the NT uses the noun! The noun and verb have different meanings!!
    – Dottard
    Jan 30, 2023 at 21:08
  • I have listed below a number of verb forms and noun forms where the meaning is the same Jan 30, 2023 at 21:16
  • @ThatwemaybethepraiseofHisglory - you are making two hermeneutical errors: (1) that word meanings are fixed and never vary (2) that the verb always has the same meaning as the noun. Both are demonstrably false. I agree that kataballo can mean to strike down as per BDAG, but it can also mean to lay a foundation - see BDAG for numerous references. Again, are you asking about the noun (which always means "foundation") in the NT or not? According to your revised question you are asking about the noun alone.
    – Dottard
    Jan 30, 2023 at 21:32
  • Noun Verb anabole--that which is thrown up (mound of dirt), a putting off, delay. anaballo--(to toss up-as a mound of dirt) put off, delay apobole--a throwing away, a casting away, loss. apoballo--throw away, to lose diabolos - devil, slander, false accusation. diaballo--throw over, slander, accuse falsely ekbole--ejection, casting out, throwing overboard. ekballo--to eject, cast out parabole--that which is thrown alongside, comparison, parabole paraballo--to throw alongside, compare katabole -disintegration kataballo--to cast down, throw down, cut down, destroyed Jan 30, 2023 at 21:34

My understanding is that the meaning of foundation only came in because of a mistranslation of the Latin. That meaning was then retroed back into the Greek. Lexicons are only as good as the fallible people who create them, and show their biases and traditions. Thousands of years of Catholic tradition can be powerful. Also the older public domain lexicons were made before we found and studied thousands of Greek papyrus fragments in the last hundred years and learned a LOT more about Koine. Nevertheless, I have been told the phrase καταβολή κοσμοσ isn't attested anywhere except Jesus' usage and the apostles probably quoting Him. And Jesus spoke Hebrew so we don't have His exact words. But there remains no proof that it means foundation, or why if the apostles meant foundation, they didn't use the ordinary word for foundation that they use elsewhere. Making this a worthwhile discussion, in spite of rude people who just want others to shut up because they say so. If there was a simplistic answer, there wouldn't be lively interest in it. And all this is instructive about this only other NT use about Sarah, here under discussion.

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    Apr 29, 2023 at 16:22

You are making some semantic fallacies by trying to relate the noun katabole with its derivative verb kataballo (to lay down something, like destruction). It's conjugated from kata and ballo. You are relating the word with ballo, that means to throw. The secondary meaning of the word can be used for the laying down of foundation or simply conception, which is the context of the Hebrew verse. Kataballo the verb also means, this, from Thayer:

  1. to put in a lower place: in the phrase θεμέλιον καταβάλλομαι, to lay (down) a foundation (Josephus, Antiquities 11, 4, 4; 15, 11, 3; Dionysius Halicarnassus, Antiquities 3, 69; others), Heb 6:1.*

Words often two senses or meaning depending on context. MLSJ:

καταβάλλω (fut. -βᾰλῶ) (aor2 κατέβᾰλον)
Etym. epic 3rd sg. κάββαλε
I. to throw down, overthrow, Hom., etc.; κ. εἰς τὸ μηδέν to bring down to nothing, Hdt.
2. to strike down with a weapon, to slay, Il., Hdt., etc.
3. to throw or bring into a certain state, Eur., Plat.
4. to cast down or away, cast off, reject, Xen.
II. in milder sense, to let fall, drop down, Hom.; κ. ἱστία to lower sail, Theogn.; τὰς ὀφρῦς κ. Eur.
2. to lay down, set down, Lat. deponere, Il., Ar.
3. to bring or carry down, esp. to the sea-coast, Hdt.
4. to pay down, yield or bring in, Hdt.:— to pay down, pay, Thuc., etc.:—Mid. to cause to be deposited, Dem.
5. to put in, render, μαρτυρίαν Dem.
6. to throw down seed, sow, Dem.; κ. φάτιν, Lat. spargere voces, Hdt.
7. to lay down as a foundation, mostly in Mid., Eur.:—Pass., καταβεβλημένος laid down, ordinary, Arist.

You're suggested to study about fallacies in general, a bit about Greek and word study exegetical fallacies; consult dictionaries before jumping to personal speculation. See Carson's Exegetical fallacy for some examples.

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    many scholars believe breakdown is the meaning of this word I also added more info above. May 6, 2023 at 4:26
  • @ThatwemaybethepraiseofHisglory. The main problem with the question is that there is already too much information in it. A much better question would retain the original Title, but the Body would start with an explicit quotation of that verse, and then ask a simple direct question (e.g. “Why is "katabole" translated as a verb here, when it is a Greek noun?”). That might be followed by a simple, well organized summary of any research you've already done. May 6, 2023 at 13:21

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