“Hold” the Truth in Unrighteousness

I’m sharing a brief note on the word “hold” in Romans 1:18.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” Or, “…ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων,” (literally, men whom the truth in unrighteousness hold).

The word hold here doesn’t mean embrace. This isn’t saying they “hold to” the truth. The word hold means suppress or restrain. So rather than embracing the truth, they are actively trying to stamp it out, similar to how one holds down and object, person, etc.

What’s interesting is variations of this word also translate in 2 Thessalonians as “what withholdeth” (τὸ κατέχον – neuter) and “he that letteth” (ὁ κατέχων – masculine). These occurrences describe the katechon, an often debated restraining power on the forces of darkness (the mystery of iniquity) which will be removed in the last days.

But to the point of my note, hold means suppress in this passage.

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