1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ESV

"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you unless you believed in vain." [hold fast//katexete/katecho] My emphasis.

"Hold fast"- The sense here to me is upholding or maintaining the word.

Romans 1:18 ESV

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth". [suppress/katechonton/katecho]

"Suppress"- The sense here to me is work against, push down, seek to destroy, but not "hold fast".

Does katecho contain the possibility of opposite meanings?

2 Answers 2


The Greek word "katecho" (κατέχω) does not inherently contain opposite meanings, however its interpretation can vary based on context.

katecho comes from two Greek words: (Note the many usages of "kata")

  • kata: down, against, according to
    Original Word: κατά
    Part of Speech: Preposition
    Transliteration: kata
    Phonetic Spelling: (kat-ah')
    Definition: down, against, according to
    Usage: gen: against, down from, throughout, by; acc: over against, among, daily, day-by-day, each day, according to, by way of.
  • echó: to have, hold
    Original Word: ἔχω
    Part of Speech: Verb
    Transliteration: echó
    Phonetic Spelling: (ekh'-o)
    Definition: to have, hold
    Usage: I have, hold, possess.

1 Corinthians 15:2 - you hold firmly κατέχετε (katechete) Verb - Present Indicative Active - 2nd Person Plural Strong's 2722: From kata and echo; to hold down, in various applications.

Romans 1:18 - suppress κατεχόντων (katechontōn) Verb - Present Participle Active - Genitive Masculine Plural Strong's 2722: From kata and echo; to hold down, in various applications.


1 Corinthians 15:2-3 In the case of "you hold firmly," it's often used in contexts where individuals are encouraged to hold fast to certain beliefs and/or practices. It carries a sense of actively maintaining or upholding something. (1 Corinthians 15:2) Here, "kata" conveys the idea of adherence or according to. The main focus is on the Corinthians' adherence to the teachings of the gospel that Paul had preached to them. (Others with this idea: Philippians 2:16, Hebrews 3:14, Colossians 2:19)

"Suppress," on the other hand, implies actively holding down or restraining something. In Romans 1:18, it's used to describe how individuals actively work against or hinder the truth by their unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18) Here, "kata" conveys the sense of acting against or down upon the truth, indicating an active effort to hinder or restrain it. (Others with this idea: 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 2 Timothy 4:4, Psalm 33:10)

Both words stem from the same Greek root words and both involve the concept of holding. Their translation differs because of their specific grammatical form and the context in which they are used.

Other translations show the idea of holding:

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NKJV

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

Romans 1:18 NKJV God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [a]suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

Footnotes Romans 1:18 hold down

Romans 1:18 KJV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;


The two meanings of κατέχω (katecho) are not as opposite as they appear. The word is compound consisting of, primarily of "echo" meaning to have or hold something. The prefix, "kata" is, in this case, make the word intensive or more extreme. Thus, κατέχω means, "I hold fast, bind, arrest, (b) I take possession of, lay hold of, (c) I hold back, detain, restrain" (Strong's).

BDAG gives the following more nuanced meanings:

  1. to prevent the doing of something or cause to be ineffective,
  • (a) to hold someone back from going away hold back, hinder, prevent from going away, eg, Philm 13, Luke 4:42
  • (b) hold down suppress, Rom 1:18
  • (c) to prevent someone from exercising power, restrain, check, 2 Thess 2:6
  1. to adhere firmly to traditions, convictions, or beliefs, hold to hold fast,
  • (a) keep in one's memory, 1 cor 15:2
  • (b) hold fast, retain faithfully, Luke 8:15, 1 Cor 11:2, 1 Thess 5:21, Heb 3:6, 14, 10:23
  1. to keep in one's possession, eg, Matt 21:38, 2 Cor 6:10, 1 Cor 7:30

  2. to keep withing limits in a confining manner, confine,

  • (a) in prision
  • (b) by law, Rom 7:6
  • (c) by disease, Luke 4:38, John 5:4
  1. to have a place as one's own, take into one's possession, occupy, Luke 14:9

  2. to lay claim to, Rom 1:18

  3. hold course, Acts 27:40

  4. determine

Thus, the meanings in 1 Cor 15:2 and Rom 1:18 are consistent with the meaning and use of the word κατέχω.

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