3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.
7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
endure hardship (v.3) = in Greek, it’s “endure hardship together with someone else” — the same word is translated “share with me in the sufferings” in 2 Timothy 1:8.
good (v.3) = kalos = noble
Jesus Christ (v.3) — should be “Christ Jesus”
engaged in warfare (v.4) = be on active service
entangles (v.4) = be involved in, inweaved
affairs (v.4) = the doing of any affair, business, occupation — pursuits and occupations pertaining to civil life
please (v.4) = be of use to
competes in athletics (v.5) = contend in the Greek games — from the word from which we get “athlete” — To qualify, an athlete had to show a certificate of Greek birth, undergo a strict, prescribed course of training and conform to precise rules of play.
hardworking (v.6) = grow weary, exhausted, toil — emphasized in the Greek — “it is the farmer that labors that must be first”
farmer (v.6) = tiller of the soil
must (v.6) = it is necessary in the nature of the case
consider (v.7) = understand, think upon, ponder
The three illustrations are taken from everyday life and each is indicative of patient, self-sacrificing and enduring toil. There are three respective incentives. The first is that of pleasing the Lord. The second is the obtaining of the reward in the day to come. The third is that of partaking of the fruits of labor. — Vine, page 212.
From the soldier, single-minded dedication to the task. From the athlete, conformity to the rules. From the farmer, toil to the point of exhaustion.