Tuesday, January 17, 2012


7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who loved His appearing. 
(Read: 2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8).

7 There are two ways of interpreting this verse. One is to assume that we have here three figures of speech: the first military, the second athletic, the third religious. But the three clauses of the verse may all be taken as related to athletics. The verb translated "fought" can have a military meaning (cf. Jn 18:36), but it can just as clearly relate to athletics (1 Cor 9:25). All in all, it seems more natural to understand Paul as speaking in the athletic sense in all of them (cf. especially 1 Tim 6:12). If so, the we can paraphrase the verse like this: "I have competed well in the athletic contest [of life], I have finished the race, I have kept the rules"-not "fouled out" and so been disqualified from winning.

8 One of the main reasons for preferring the athletic interpretation in v.7 is that it fits in perfectly with v.8, where Paul says a "crown" awaits him. The word for "crown" is not the one used for a royal crown but for the laurel wreath that was given to the winner of the Marathon race (cf. 1 Cor 9:25). The Lord, the righteous Judge (of the contest) was ready to "award" this prize to Paul at the end of the race, his victorious life. The same reward awaits all who run the Christian race successfully to the finish and long for "his appearing" (the Second Coming). 
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament].



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