A spiritual stronghold is an invisible structure that Satan erects to disable a believer’s faith. The Greek word translated strong holds, ochuroma (okh-oo’-ro-mah) “is used metaphorically in 2 Corinthians 10:4 of those things in which mere human confidence is imposed” (G3794). A better understanding of the word ochuroma can be obtained by looking at its origin. Ochuroma is a derivative of the word echo or scheo (skheh’-o), a primary verb which means to hold. “This word stresses that one has the means to accomplish a task” (G2192). Another word derived from scheo, ochlos (okh’los) means a vehicle, “a disorganized throng (as borne along)” (G3793). Another way of describing a stronghold might be popular opinion or what we read in the news headlines and hear on TV. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Paul used the Greek word kathairesis (kath-ah’ee-res-is) to describe the process of eliminating strongholds. Kathairesis means demolition and suggests that Paul was thinking about a forceful removal of any thought that interfered with belief in the truth of God’s word. Paul stated that believers are to cast down imaginations (2 Corinthians 10:5). What Paul was likely referring to was the estimation of our own abilities. When we feel convicted to do something as a result of what we have read in the Bible, our imagination causes us to think; that’s impossible, I could never do that. Paul’s instruction was to get rid of that thought by means of spiritual warfare. Paul said, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God (2 Corinthians 10:4). The Greek word translated mighty, dunatos means powerful or capable (G1415). In other words, we must believe what God says is possible in order to demolish Satan’s stronghold.
Paul made it clear that Satan seeks to gain an advantage over believers (2 Corinthians 2:11) and he uses unfair means to trick us into believing his lies. Paul described Satan’s servants as “false prophets, deceitful workers” and indicated they transform themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). The Greek word translated transforming in 2 Corinthians 11:13 is metaschematizo (met-askh-ay-mat-id’-zo) which means to transfigure or disguise (G3345). Metashematizo is derived from the words meta (G3326) and schema (G4976). These words have to do with Satan working through external circumstances to disrupt believers’ lives. Paul talked about those who wanted to disrupt his ministry as desiring an occasion or looking for an opportunity to trip him up. Paul said, “But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them (2 Corinthians 11:12). Paul’s tactic to frustrate Satan’s effort was to do what he said he was going to. In his first letter, Paul told the Corinthians he was going to visit them (1 Corinthians 4:19). Even though he was delayed, Paul eventually made it to Corinth as promised (2 Corinthians 13:1).