Three commands directed to Timothy by Paul . . . the Greek forms of these commands affirm both that they had become part of Timothy's life-style and that he was to continue in them (I Timothy 6:11,12). Remembering that the Lord gave His instructions through Paul for the Church both then and now, it is important for us to understand:
From what was Timothy (and are we) to flee?
In context, false teachers: ". . . men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness. . ." (v.5) and those who are not content with a simple life (v.7). Instead, there are those ". . . that will be rich . . ." and, as such, are men who ". . . fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition" (v.9). From such teachers/leaders Timothy was to flee—as are we!
What, then, was Timothy (and are we) to follow?
". . . righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, [and] meekness" (v.11).
For, or against, what was Timothy (and are we) to fight?
"Fight the good fight of faith (standing against false teachers and their fruit and for the godly qualities noted in verse 11), lay hold on eternal life. . ." (v.12). Lay hold on eternal life? How can this be, I've asked myself, since reconciliation with the Father and, thus, eternal life is "by grace . . . through faith . . . not of works . . ." (Ephesians 2:8,9)? Isn't "laying hold" a "work"? An insight gleaned from William MacDonald's commentary helped me in this regard. "The thought is to live out in daily practice the eternal life which was already (the believers)."
This brings to mind a passage in Romans 6:6 in which Paul reminds us ". . . that our old man is crucified with Him [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (v.6), and (v.4) just "as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
To flee, to follow, and to fight—the opportunity and responsibility of those who will walk in newness of life . . . to the glory of their Lord!