A Lexical Semantic Case for καταστολή as “Self-restraint” in 1 Timothy 2:9

This paper presents the findings of a comprehensive investigation of καταστολή, a term appearing as a hapax in 1 Timothy 2:9. The usage of καταστολή in 1 Tim 2:9 represents one of only eighteen occurrences of this term among twelve primary sources through the mid-second century CE. Based on a five-year study of καταστολή within this range, the present research reveals fifteen patterns related to lexical, semantic behavioral, and authorial characteristics of its usage, having significant implications for interpreting καταστολή in 1 Tim 2:9. English translations of the singular usage of καταστολή in 1 Tim 2:9 present variations of “clothing” and “apparel” as the meaning of this term. Conversely, the literary contexts and translations of the ten remaining secular sources feature καταστολή as a virtue-related behavioral quality primarily of self-restraint with connotations related to manner of being. This paper addresses this discrepancy using a critical mass of linguistic evidence to reveal the biblical usage of καταστολή in 1 Tim 2:9 (and Isa 61:3 LXX) as consistent in meaning and function with the ten non-biblical sources from various genres. Thus, this paper asserts a translation of “self-restraint” as the most accurate translation of καταστολή in 1 Tim 2:9 based on the current research. The composite understanding of καταστολή this study reveals then provides further insights as to its semantic relationship in v. 9 with αἰδώς and σωφροσύνη, and to the wider corpus of positive ethical terms in 1 Tim 2 as based on frequency of use within the wider classical range.