11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
but you (v.11) = but as for you in contradistinction to others
flee (v.11) — tense indicates continuous action — be constantly fleeing
these things (v.11) — the love of money and all it brings
pursue (v.11) = run after swiftly, endeavor to acquire — tense indicates continuous action — be constantly eagerly seeking
righteousness (v.11) — here, moral rectitude
love (v.11) = agape
patience (v.11) = lit. “abiding under” — endurance under trials, steadfastness
gentleness (v.11) — having a meek disposition, gentleness of spirit
fight (v.12) = contend for a prize — tense indicates continuous action — be constantly fighting
of faith (v.12) = “of THE faith” — a particular body of doctrine — Paul was exhorting Timothy to fight for his doctrine
lay hold (v.12) = seize upon, take possession of — tense indicates a definite, decisive act
lay hold of eternal life (v.12) — Timothy was saved and already had eternal life. Paul was telling him to experience it more in his life now, to live in light of his eternal life — “Life” has a definite article before it — a particular life.
Does this not imply that one who does not get into the battle for truth as failed to “lay hold on eternal life,” to really get out of his life in Christ what it has for him? Paul surely sought to “lay hold” on that for which Christ had “laid hold” on him. (In Philippians 3:12 this term “lay hold” is rendered “apprehend.”) To the Ephesians themselves, Paul had but recently written: “... be strong in the Lord … Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11). And, putting “the Sword of the Spirit” in one hand and “the shield of faith” in the other, he challenges them four times to “stand … withstand … stand … stand!” And by God’s grace we can: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [physical] but [they are] mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Thus in these letters to Timothy the apostle’s charge is: “War a good warfare … Fight the good fight of the faith … Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 1:18; 6:12; and 2 Timothy 2:3). And at the close of his own mighty ministry he himself could say: “I have fought a good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7). — Stam, page 137.
good (v.12) = excellent, noble — good as seen from the outside by another observer
confession (v.12) = lit. “to say the same” — agree with what someone else says — In this case, Timothy’s agreement with Paul’s teaching.
Wuest’s translation — Be constantly engaging in the contest of the Faith, which contest is marked by its beauty of technique. Take possession of the eternal life, into a participation of which you were called and concerning which you gave testimony to your agreement with the good profession in the presence of many witnesses. — Wuest, page 99