I've Kept The Faith


by: Rev. Dale R. Gaver

2 Tim 4: 6-8
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
(KJV)

The first statement that Paul makes is, "I've fought the good fight." In the Greek, it isn't "a good fight", it's "the good fight." Now the word fought comes from the Greek word agonizomai, which means, "to struggle." In other words, it means to compete for a prize or to endeavor to accomplish something. The fact that it is more correct to translate this passage as the good fight instead of a good fight proves that it is referring to a specific fight, not just any fight. The Greek word for good is kalos, which means beautiful, valuable, virtuous. The Greek word for fight is agon, which means a contest, effort, conflict, contention, fight, or race. So, we can see that this passage is not referring to quality of performance. It doesn't necessarily mean that one is victorious. It means, "I've struggled in the beautiful race!"

1 Cor 9:25-27
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
(KJV)

Next, Paul says, "I've finished the course." The Greek word for finished is teleo, which means completed, executed, concluded, or discharged. The Greek word for course is dromos, which means race, career, or course.

What is this race?

Acts 20:24 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
(NIV)

How do we finish it?

1 Cor 9:24 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
(KJV)

Paul says, "I've completed my race!"

Then, the last proclamation that Paul makes is, "I've kept the faith." The Greek word for kept is tereo, which means to guard (from loss or injury), to hold fast, to keep, to serve, and to watch. The Greek word for faith is pistis, which means truth, assurance, belief, faith, and fidelity. So, Paul is saying, "I've guarded the truth or assurance!"

In conclusion, we could retranslate Paul's statement as: "I've struggled in the beautiful race! I've completed my race! I've guarded the truth and assurance!"

We need to maintain the same testimony. We don't have to become some world famous evangelist or teacher. We need to just be steadfast in what we are doing for Christ. We as GLBT people have a particular responsibility to maintain a successful, stable Christian life so that we can present Jesus to others. When we finally are living together, we will show other GLBT people how wonderful it is to live for Jesus together as He wants all of us to do.

Copyright © 2001 by the author
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Also In This Issue:

United Methodist Clergywoman
Fights for Job After
Coming Out as Lesbian

An Urban Pilgrimage:
Thoughts on Race,
Sexuality, and Spiritual Violence


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