Recently I did a brief study on the Greek word katechō. What I found is that this word is an important word for discipleship.
The leading dictionary of the Greek New Testament, BDAG, says one of the main meanings of this word is “to adhere firmly to traditions, convictions, or beliefs, hold to, hold fast” (p. 533). They list the following seven verses as carrying this meaning
Luke 8:15. “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it [or, hold fast to it] and bear fruit with patience.”[i]
1 Cor 11:2. “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep [or, hold fast to] the traditions just as I delivered them to you.”
1 Cor 15:1-2. “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved [or, spiritually healthy], if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”[ii]
1 Thess 5:21. “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
Heb 3:6. “And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”[iii]
Heb 3:14. “For we have become partakers [partners] of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…”
Heb 10:23. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
BDAG lists seven other meanings for this word, but they list very few passages as having those other meanings and, in most cases, holding fast fits the context as well as their suggested translation. Here are the other suggested translations and the passages BDAG thinks fits under them: “prevent, hinder, restrain” (Luke 4:42; Rom 1:18; Phile 13); “possess” (Matt 21:38; 1 Cor 7:30; 2 Cor 6:10); “confine” (Luke 4:38; John 5:4; Rom 7:6); “occupy” (Luke 14:9); “lay claim to” (Rom 1:18); “hold course” (Acts 27:40); and “determine” (no NT passages cited).
So how do we as believers hang on to Jesus’ death and resurrection? We do so by living each day with the gospel foremost in our minds. If we are to be spiritually healthy, we live at the foot of the cross and the entrance to the empty tomb, not just on Passion Week, but every week, and every day.
Commenting on 1 Thess 5:21, Mahlherbe writes, “The verb katechein frequently has the sense of holding fast to something that is authoritative (1 Cor 11:2; 15:2; cf. Luke 8:15; Heb 3:6, 14; 10:23), and it probably has that connotation here…it will be found to be that which edifies the church (v 11; cf. 1 Cor 14:3–5, 12, 26)” (The Letters to the Thessalonians, p. 334).
Some say, “doctrine divides.” Scripture says, “sound doctrine edifies.” We remain spiritually healthy if and only if we hold on firmly to sound doctrine, especially the death and resurrection of our risen Lord and Savior.
[i] Compare soil 4, Luke 8:15, with the first servant in the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:16-17). The good soil believer will rule with Christ over many cities. Also compare soils 2 and 3 with the third (Luke 19:20-26) and second (Luke 19:18-19) servants.
[ii] The word sōzō here means that only if a believer holds fast to Jesus’ death and resurrection will he remain spiritually healthy. Compare 1 Cor 5:5; 11:2; and Col 1:21-23.
[iii] To be God’s own house means to be one of Christ’s partners, that is, co-rulers, in the life to come. Compare Heb 1:9 and 3:14. This is a rewards issue, not an issue regarding eternal destiny.