It Was a Beautiful Fight

My father loved St. Paul, so all my life people have been quoting to me the apostle’s remark, “I have fought the good fight,” and his advice to the young Timothy, who stands for each one of us, to follow his example.

It sounded starched and churchy.  I wasn’t impressed.

Blame the translation.  The Greek phrase translated “good fight” is kalon agona.  Thayer’s Lexicon translates the underlying word kalos as “beautiful,” applied to “everything so distinguished in form, excellence, goodness, usefulness, as to be pleasing.”

So think of Paul as a champion prize fighter, climbing down from the ring after victory, gleaming with sweat, blood streaming from his nose, staggering but still on his feet.  All at once, with broken lips and a mouth of loose teeth, he stops, looks at Timothy, grins and cries cheerfully, “It was a beautiful fight.”