CONTEST (Gr. athlēsis, fight). The verb form is used in the NT in the sense of “to strive” or “to labor fervently.” It is associated, for example, with the good fight of faith (1Tim.6.12), consistent intercessory prayer (Col.4.12), and the struggle to overcome (1Cor.9.25). As do athletes, so Timothy was exhorted to “strive for masteries” (2Tim.2.5). Metaphors from the Greek athletic games would appeal particularly to the Corinthians, for games were regularly held in their city. The urgent advice to lay aside “every weight” (Heb.12.1-Heb.12.2 kjv, rsv) is probably taken from the athlete’s shedding of weight during his preparation for a contest. NIV uses the noun once (Heb.10.32) in the context of “those earlier days...when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.”