1 Corinthians 9:26
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

New Living Translation
So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.

English Standard Version
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

New American Standard Bible
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

King James Bible
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.

International Standard Version
That is the way I run, with a clear goal in mind. That is the way I fight, not like someone shadow boxing.

NET Bible
So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I run therefore in this way, not as if for something unknown, and so I contend, not as one who fights the air,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So I run-but not without a clear goal ahead of me. So I box-but not as if I were just shadow boxing.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I therefore so run, not as unto an uncertain thing; so I fight, not as one that beats the air;

King James 2000 Bible
I therefore so run, not with uncertainty; so fight I, not as one that beats the air:

American King James Version
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air:

American Standard Version
I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air:

Douay-Rheims Bible
I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air:

Darby Bible Translation
*I* therefore thus run, as not uncertainly; so I combat, as not beating the air.

English Revised Version
I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air:

Webster's Bible Translation
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so I fight, not as one that beateth the air:

Weymouth New Testament
That is how I run, not being in any doubt as to my goal. I am a boxer who does not inflict blows on the air,

World English Bible
I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I fight like that, as not beating the air,

Young's Literal Translation
I, therefore, thus run, not as uncertainly, thus I fight, as not beating air;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

9:24-27 The apostle compares himself to the racers and combatants in the Isthmian games, well known by the Corinthians. But in the Christian race all may run so as to obtain. There is the greatest encouragement, therefore, to persevere with all our strength, in this course. Those who ran in these games were kept to a spare diet. They used themselves to hardships. They practised the exercises. And those who pursue the interests of their souls, must combat hard with fleshly lusts. The body must not be suffered to rule. The apostle presses this advice on the Corinthians. He sets before himself and them the danger of yielding to fleshly desires, pampering the body, and its lusts and appetites. Holy fear of himself was needed to keep an apostle faithful: how much more is it needful for our preservation! Let us learn from hence humility and caution, and to watch against dangers which surround us while in the body.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 26. - Not as uncertainly. My eye is fixed on a definite goal (2 Timothy 1:12). So fight I (Romans 7:23; Ephesians 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7); literally, so box 1. Not as one that beateth the air; rather, as not beating the air. Not what the Greeks called "a shadow battle." I strike forthright blows, not feints, or blows at random.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I therefore so run,.... The apostle animates the Corinthians by his own example, telling them that he ran so as he exhorted them; he ran with cheerfulness and swiftness in the way marked out for him, looking to Jesus; continuing steadfast in the profession of his faith, and discharge of his duty as a Christian, and in preaching the Gospel as a minister; and nothing had he more at heart, than to finish his course with joy:

not as uncertainly; as one that knew not, or was in doubt about the way in which he should run, and so ran in and out, sometimes in the way, sometimes out of it; since it was clearly pointed out to him in the word of God: the allusion is to the white line which was drawn from the place the runners set out at to the goal; so that they did not run uncertainly, nor could they be at a loss to steer their course: nor did the apostle run, for what, as the Syriac version renders it, , "is unknown": he knew what he ran for, for the incorruptible crown of glory, he knew the nature of it; nor was he uncertain as to the event and issue of his running; he knew that this crown was laid up safe and secure, that it would be given him, and he should wear it; he had no doubt at all about it; and with this certain knowledge both of the way and prize, and full assurance of faith and hope, he ran:

so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. The allusion is here to fighting with the fist, when, before the combat was entered on, the person used to swagger about, and beat about with his fists, striking the air with them, having no adversary before him; only showing what he could do if he had one, or when he should encounter: so did not the apostle, he did not fight with his own shadow, or a man of straw, or beat the empty air; but gave home blows to real adversaries, Satan, the world, and the flesh; the latter of which is particularly mentioned in the next verse.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

26. I—Paul returns to his main subject, his own self-denial, and his motive in it.

run, not as uncertainly—not as a runner uncertain of the goal. Ye Corinthians gain no end in your entering idol temples or eating idol meats. But I, for my part, in all my acts, whether in my becoming "all things to all men," or in receiving no sustenance from my converts, have a definite end in view, namely, to "gain the more." I know what 1 aim at, and how to aim at it. He who runs with a clear aim, looks straightforward to the goal, makes it his sole aim, casts away every encumbrance (Heb 12:1, 2), is indifferent to what the by-standers say, and sometimes even a fall only serves to rouse him the more [Bengel].

not as one that beateth the air—instead of beating the adversary. Alluding to the sciamachia or sparring in the school in sham-fight (compare 1Co 14:9), wherein they struck out into the air as if at an imaginary adversary. The real adversary is Satan acting on us through the flesh.

1 Corinthians 9:26 Additional Commentaries
Context
Run Your Race to Win
25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Cross References
1 Corinthians 14:9
So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.

Galatians 2:2
I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
Treasury of Scripture

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air:

not.

2 Corinthians 5:1,8 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, …

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am …

2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except …

Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering …

1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and …

2 Peter 1:10 Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and …

so.

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven …

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will …

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, …

Colossians 1:29 Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which …

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