This (katargeō) was one of Paul's favorite words. He used it at least twenty-five times but it has a very wide semantic range.

A. It's basic etymological root is from argos which meant

1. Inactive

2. Idle

3. Unused

4. Useless

5. Inoperative 

B. The compound with kata was used to express

1. Inactivity

2. Uselessness

3. That which was cancelled

4. That which was done away with

5. That which was completely inoperative

C. It is used once in Luke to describe a fruitless, therefore useless, tree (cf. Luke 13:7)

D. Paul uses it in a figurative sense in two primary ways

1. God making inoperative things which are hostile to mankind

a. Mankind's sin nature – Rom. 6:6

b. The Mosaic law in relation to God's promise of "the seed" – Rom. 4:14; Gal. 3:17; 5:4,11; Eph. 2:15

c. Spiritual forces – 1 Cor. 15:24

d. The "man of lawlessness" – 2 Thess. 2:8

e. Physical death – 1 Cor. 15:26; 2 Tim. 1:10 (Heb. 2:14)

2. God replacing the old (covenant, age) for the new

a. Things related to the Mosaic Law – Rom. 3:3,31; 4:14; 2 Cor. 3:7,11,13,14

b. Analogy of marriage used of Law – Rom. 7:2,6

c. The things of this age – 1 Cor. 13:8,10,11

d. This body – 1 Cor. 6:13

e. Leaders of this age – 1 Cor. 1:28; 2:6

This word is translated so many different ways, but its main meaning is to make something useless, null and void, inoperative, powerless, but not necessarily non-existent, destroyed or annihilated.

Copyright © 2013 Bible Lessons International