Most translations entitle this next section
“Fight the Good Fight of Faith.”
But look at what the NASB translation says in 1 Timothy 6:11a.
“But flee from these things, you man of God.”
You would think that the editors would have something associated with their opening title and grabbed our attention right away.
What do we get, flee, but from what?
Obviously from sin, but it also includes the things that Paul described at the beginning of this chapter. In a moment we will see that there is a call to fight, but it is NOT what you think.
By the way, flee and fight is two extremely different things. In general, we perceive those who flee to be fearful, and fear doesn’t do anything but demonstrate a lack of faith.
The majority of translations use the term flee. Flee is the Greek word pheugō which means to run away or escape.
The dictionary explanation of flee is this, “To run with rapidity, as from danger; to attempt to escape.” That same dictionary tells us that to fight is to “To strive or contend for victory, in battle or in single combat; to attempt to defeat, subdue or destroy an enemy.”
The CEV calls these things that Timothy is to escape from evil. Here is a recap of what we have seen in chapter six that falls under the category of evil.
- Preaching a gospel that is different than anything Paul taught.
- Disrespect for those to whom you are submitted.
- Things that bring about strife, evil language, and controversial questions.
- Constant friction between people who are deprived of truth.
These last two items played a role in conversations I had over the Christmas Holiday season of 2020. My son-in-law had referenced a previous Pastor as a friend of mine. So, I took the opportunity to point out that this former Pastor and I were nowhere close to being friends.
[This is the Pastor who took me to lunch in a very public restaurant and then proceeded to humiliate me, first, by telling me that I could not teach “that,” considering that he had already asked me to lead a chapter at the book study on discipline that night. I had shown him my prepared notes for the meeting. And he immediately assumed that I intended to cover every word put on those pages. He was not interested in hearing any explanation. Secondly, after several minutes of frustration, he asked me why I teach Eschatology. Odd, seeing as he has never heard me teaching Eschatology, nor had he given me an opportunity. I began to answer him with a standard line; Eschatology is pertinent because it is happening worldwide. That was about all I got out of my mouth when it turned derogatory and abusive. I quickly stopped him and said, is that what you think of me? To which he replied, yes. I ended our session there.]
That former Pastor has moved on in an effort to repair some damage he previously created, and I could care less if I ever saw him again. I talked to my son-in-law about what the Bible says about forgiveness and how we are to follow Jesus’ words, found in scripture, for direction on running our daily lives.
At least I had my son-in-law’s attention for a few minutes. When I stopped talking, he immediately dove into talking about the stolen Presidential election and Joe Biden’s flaws. Honestly, I do not think that the son-in-law is willing to grasp anything from scripture unless it creates strife, controversy, or scares him away from hell.
End, page one.
Note the translation as this one is less a fearful escape and more of a responsible migration away from the snare that Satan is setting for you.
1 Timothy 6:11 CEV Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. [Contemporary English Version]
The (AMPLIFIED Bible) conveys the idea of running. However, if you spend any time in recovery, you will meet far too many people who unsuccessfully tried to run. You want to know what this equates to; it equates to people trying to do things apart from God.
Does God expect you to sit on your butt until you build up your running muscles? Hardly, and the sad part is that you know that God desires you to do something. The problem then becomes one in which we need to run to God, but we don’t do that either.
The (BBE) tells us, “But you, O man of God, keep yourself from these things, and go after righteousness.” If I were to describe what a life of trusting God while running from evil looks like, I would say that it looks like what we see here in The Bible In Basic English. We are living a life where we go after the things of righteousness.
Let me be clear; righteousness is NOT following religious rules. It is the perpetual act of following after Jesus and His Word. In short, if He says it, do it.
On that note, let’s look at the CEV once again. Halfway through the sentence, it says, “Try your best to please God and be like Him.” This is precisely what following after Jesus looks like.
Ah, now this is where the fighting begins.
1 Timothy 6:12 NASB Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Here we are instructed to fight the good fight of faith.
Fight is the Greek word agōnizomai and means to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary.)
The “good” is the Greek word kalos and means beautiful (figuratively), good (literally or morally).
The second usage of the word fight is different from the first that we find 1 Timothy 6:12. Here, fight is the Greek word agōn and means a place of assembly (as if led), that is, (by implication) a contest (held there); figuratively an effort or anxiety…
End, page two.
So what do we get if we place the alternate words into 1 Timothy 6:12?
We frequently struggle as if we are contending with an adversary, as we speak forth the Word from the Bible of from our spirits through the Holy Spirit, in our places of assembly. In these assemblies, we often exert an effort as though we were in a contest. (Me)
If we are struggling or exerting an effort, much like an athlete, the question is, why?
We all have an adversary, and occasionally that adversary convinces well-meaning people, who call themselves followers of Christ, when in reality they are actively following after Satan’s advice, to open their mouths and give him their tongues for the purpose of creating strife.
My Pastor, Jack Hibbs, talks openly, since the Covid shut down of churches, about how people have come so that they could attend an open church. The problem is, they have come, and they bring whatever beliefs they have learned from their collection of churches, with them; this would not be a problem if they kept those twisted beliefs to themselves, but several of these recent attendees have stood in opposition to the Pastor, challenging and intending to bring strife and contention.
When we do this, bring strife and contention, ignoring the witness of scripture, what then are we relying on as a witness for our ramblings? Nothing more than tradition and false teachings.