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12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

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12. Fight the good fightBirks thinks this Epistle was written from Corinth, where contests in the national games recurred at stated seasons, which will account for the allusion here as in 1Co 9:24-26. Contrast "strifes of words" (1Ti 6:4). Compare 1Ti 1:18; 2Ti 4:7. The "good profession" is connected with the good fight (Ps 60:4).

lay hold on eternal life—the crown, or garland, the prize of victory, laid hold of by the winner in the "good fight" (2Ti 4:7, 8; Php 3:12-14). "Fight (literally, 'strive') with such striving earnestness as to lay hold on the prize, eternal life."

also—not in the oldest manuscripts.

professed a good professionGreek, "didst confess THE good confession," namely, the Christian confession (as the Greek word is the same in this verse as that for "confession" in 1Ti 6:13, probably the profession here is the confession that Christ's kingdom is the kingdom of the truth, Joh 18:36, 37), at thy being set apart to thy ministerial function (whether in general, or as overseer at Ephesus): the same occasion as is referred to in 1Ti 1:18; 4:14; 2Ti 1:4.

before many witnesses—who would testify against thee if thou shouldest fall away [Bengel].