doctrine of Christ, Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, Kingdom of God, Ministry

Fight the good fight of faith…


11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight (ἀγωνίζου) the good fight (ἀγῶνα) of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

1st. Timothy 6:11-12

At first sight, by the use of the word ‘fight’, the expression coined by the Apostle Paul and addressed to Timothy could well be considered as a personal exhortation to raise the level of faith and ministerial authority of Timothy, who, according to the wording of the epistle, seems to be facing difficult times in Ephesus.[1]  We say that at first sight, because when we consider the expression in light of other Gospel teachings, there is no evidence that faith is a weapon of attack, Paul even defines it in his epistle to the Ephesians as a weapon of defense;[2] So, ‘fight the good fight of faith‘ is not a word of advice and/or encouragement from Paul to Timothy, Paul does not intend Timothy to fight anyone, not even against darkness; ‘fight the good fight of faith‘ is rather the exhortation to strive to walk faster than those who are working in tune with darkness, it is to fulfill the ministry for which he was reached.[3]


fight the good fight of faith is the exhortation to strive to walk faster than those who are working in tune with darkness, it is to fulfill the ministry for which he was reached.


Fight, ἀγωνίζου (agonizu) in Greek, was in the time of the New Testament an expression of popular use, and its meaning denotes the action of entering into competition against other runners with the commitment to give the highest performance, is to enter the race willingly with the awareness that it will achieve a winning result; So, in that sense fight, ἀγωνίζου (agonizu), is not to enter the fight against temptations, against sin, or against darkness, it is to acquire the consciousness that it must accelerate the pace, if the city is not to be wrapped up in false doctrine. Paul wants Timothy to see that some people are teaching different doctrine; the demand for Timothy is to strive even more, without truce, to correct those who do such a thing; thence comes a second instruction, Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrineMeditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.[4]

Fight, ἀγωνίζου (agonizu), is the command not to abandon the task of proclaiming the message of the cross, it is vital to bring people out of ignorance and bring them to Christ Jesus;[5]fight the good fight of faith’ is the race to reach Eternal Life.[6]


Fight, is the command not to abandon the task of proclaiming the message of the cross, it is vital to bring people out of ignorance and bring them to Christ Jesus;


Thus, fight, ἀγωνίζου (agonizu), in general terms, means the conscious ‘effort’ to do according to the Will of God. Fight’ means ‘strive’ to establish the Will of God. The expression used by the apostle reflects an ‘agonizing’ effort, that is to say, an effort carried to the last consequences.  The good fight of faith, then, means the strength born of the knowledge of God’s call that is imposed on all spiritual resistance that seeks to stop the work of faith.

The good fight of faith is the personal decision for the work of God,[7] it is the maximum effort even beyond the limits of self-sacrifice in order to complete the work that was demanded of us by the Spirit.[8]  The good fight of faith overcomes all resistance put up by the kingdom of darkness; the good fight of faith is to understand that nothing and no one can stop the work of the Lord, but understanding, above all, that we are charged with watching over its fulfillment. The good fight of faith demands active participation in the work of God. In the epistle to the Hebrews we find this same exhortation in almost the same words.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sinAnd ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Hebrews 12:3-5

The good fight of faith is the personal decision for the work of God, it is the maximum effort even beyond the limits of self-sacrifice in order to complete the work that was demanded of us by the Spirit.


The apostle Paul’s exhortation to Timothy can be paraphrased as follows: “Sacrifice yourself to the point of agony in order to win this spiritual battle of faith; on it depends the Eternal Life for which you were called, having borne witness before many witnesses.”


Sacrifice yourself to the point of agony in order to win this spiritual battle of faith; on it depends the Eternal Life for which you were called, having borne witness before many witnesses.


Although the word is the root of the English term ‘agonizing’, in its time, the word was not used to indicate a tragic event, but on the contrary, to reflect determination, firmness, security and commitment to put all the effort into what one does. In the writings of the New Testament it appears a good number of times, and all of them showing this same character of competitive effort:

  • Luke 13:24: Strive (ἀγωνίζεσθε) to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
  • John 18:36: Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight (ἠγωνίζοντο), that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
  • 1st. Corinthians 9:25:  And every man that striveth (ἀγωνιζόμενος),  for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
  • Colossians 1:29:  whereunto I also labour, striving (ἀγωνιζόμενος) according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
  • Colossians 4:12: Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring (ἀγωνιζόμενος) fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
  • 1st. Timothy 4:10: For therefore we both labour and suffer (ἀγωνιζόμεθα) reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
  • 1st. Timothy 6:11-12: Fight (ἀγωνίζου) the good fight (ἀγῶνα) of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
  • 2nd. Timothy 4:7: I have fought (ἠγώνισμαι) a good fight (ἀγῶνα), I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.


Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya


[1]     1st. Timothy 1:3:As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

[2]     Ephesians 6:16: above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

[3]     2nd. Timothy 4:5:But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

[4]     1st. Timothy 4:13-15

[5]     Ephesians 4:18:having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

[6]     2nd. Timothy 4:7: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

[7]     Luke 10:42: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

[8]     2nd. Timothy 4:2:preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.