Stronghold....Greek word oc-he-roma; this is one of the oldest words used in the New Testament and was originally used to describe a fortress or prison.
We could thus say it this way: "to the pulling down of fortresses and prisons". 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Both are correct and convey two powerful messages to us regarding strongholds.
A stronghold is like fortress or a "fortified place".
A stronghold acts not only like a fortress but like a prison as well.
In other words, those same walls that keep other people from getting in will also keep a person from getting out or breaking free to become all that God meant for them to be.
Like the steel bars of a prison, those mental strongholds can hold a person captive by making them believe the lie that they will fail, that no one wants them, that they aren't worth anything, etc.
Individuals who have these kinds of strongholds in their lives are in bondage both mentally and emotionally. Usually something occurred in their past that gave the enemy an open door into their lives.
After passing through the entrance into their minds he begins the process of taking their thoughts captive through lies and deception.
The end result is always the same, strongholds are built that act as a prison.
Two kinds of strongholds: Rational and Irrational
A. Rational Stronghold
A Rational stronghold is the harder of the two to deal with because they usually make sense.
This is what Paul was referring to when he wrote "casting down imaginations".
Imagination is taken from the Greek word "logos mos". The word logic is derived from this word. (logical thinking)
A Sound Mind is a mind that is submitted to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, otherwise it will begin to dictate your life from the realm of natural reasoning.
"Thinkers" came from this and are prone to fall prey to such rational strongholds.
It is important to note that an unsubmitted rational mind will always try to talk you out of doing things God's Way.
That means that if you fail to take charge of your mind, then it will begin to completely dominate and control your will to obey God.
B. Irrational Stronghold
This stronghold primarily deals in the fear realm.
Fear of disease, dying early in life, rejection, financial collapse, etc.
Note: These irrational strongholds in the mind, emotions and imagination will often play their course and eventually dissipate.
After a time it becomes apparent that such fears are ridiculous and unfounded even to those who are dominated by them.
Frequently these ridiculous yet captivating thoughts lose their power as soon as a person tells a friend or spouse what they have been thinking.
Note: Irrational stronghold are so ridiculous that you finally wake up to the realization that this trick of the enemy to enslave you and to keep you from thinking normally.
Note: If these harassing though persist in your mind and attempt to control you mentally and emotionally, you must obey the Word of God and deal with them straight forwardly.
Note: We need to notice that Paul doesn't say, "bringing the devil into captivity" rather he says "bringing into captivity every thought"....IF WE FAIL TO TAKE OUR THOUGHTS CAPTIVE, YOUR THOUGHS WILL TAKE YOU CAPTIVE!
The phrase; "bringing into captivity" is the Greek word aichmalatidin. This word denotes becoming brutal in its action; "to take one captive with a spear pointed into his back".
We must determine to take these opposing thoughts captive regardless of the opposition we face.
We MUST become brutal with ourselves and forcibly seize control of our minds.
If our mind or emotions try to get away from us, WE MUST GRAB HOLD of them and force them into subjection to the Word of God.
Paul lets us know that our thoughts are not going to be taken captive easily.
Note: This word in this verse is taken from the Greek word "noema" which is the same meaning of the word, "devices" (noemata) that we saw in 2 Corinthians 2:11 meaning "mind games."
C. Obedience; taken from the Greek word "hupakae" which is a compound of the word, "hupo" & "akouo".
"hupo" = under (under control)
"akouo" = "I hear and I listen", we derive the word acoustics from these two words.
These words together paint us a picture of forcing someone into a subordinate position and then making them listen to you.
Note: Paul is making direct reference to "Mental strongholds" or "Mind games" that the devil uses to attempt to manipulate and control us.
Note: Rather than listening to these lying emotions and slanderous accusations, we must lay hold of our mind and tell it to submit and listen to what the Word of God has to say.
Note: When we choose to do this, this is the very moment that the "renewing of your mind" begins to work wonders in our lives. Romans 12:1-2: This is the place that real mental renovation begins!