1 Corinthians 9:24
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

King James Bible
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Darby Bible Translation
Know ye not that they who run in the race-course run all, but one receives the prize? Thus run in order that ye may obtain.

World English Bible
Don't you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win.

Young's Literal Translation
have ye not known that those running in a race -- all indeed run, but one doth receive the prize? so run ye, that ye may obtain;

1 Corinthians 9:24 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Know ye not ... - In the remainder of this chapter, Paul illustrates the general sentiment on which he had been dwelling - the duty of practicing self-denial for the salvation of others - by a reference to the well known games which were celebrated near Corinth. Throughout the chapter, his object had been to show that in declining to receive a support for preaching, he had done it, not because he was conscious that he had no claim to it, but because by doing it he could better advance the salvation of people, the furtherance of the gospel, and in his special case 1 Corinthians 9:16-17 could obtain better evidence, and furnish to others better evidence that he was actuated by a sincere desire to honor God in the gospel. He had denied himself. He had voluntarily submitted to great privations. He had had a great object in view in doing it. And he now says, that in the well known athletic games at Corinth, the same thing was done by the "racers" 1 Corinthians 9:24, and by "wrestlers, or boxers"; 1 Corinthians 9:25.

If they had done it, for objects so comparatively unimportant as the attainment of an "earthly" garland, assuredly it was proper for him to do it to obtain a crown which should never fade away. This is one of the most beautiful, appropriate, vigorous, and bold illustrations that can anywhere be found; and is a striking instance of the force with which the most vigorous and self-denying efforts of Christians can be vindicated, and can be urgeD by a reference to the conduct of people in the affairs of this life. By the phrase "know ye not," Paul intimates that those games to which he alludes were well known to them, and that they must be famillar with their design, and with the manner in which they were conducted. The games to which the apostle alludes were celebrated with extraordinary pomp and splendor, every fourth year, on the isthmus which joined the Peloponnesus to the main land, and on a part of which the city of Corinth stood.

There were in Greece four species of games, the Pythian, or Delphic; the Isthmian, or Corinthian; the Nemean, and the Olympic. On these occasions persons were assembled from all parts of Greece, and the time during which they continued was devoted to extraordinary festivity and amusement. The Isthmian or Corinthian games were celebrated in the narrow part of the Isthmus of Corinth, to the north of the city, and were doubtless the games to which the apostle more particularly alluded, though the games in each of the places were substantially of the same nature, and the same illustration would in the main apply to all. The Nemean game were celebrated at "Nemaea," a town of Argolis, and were instituted by the Argives in honor of Archemorus, who died by the bite of a serpent, but were renewed by Hercules, They consisted of horse races and foot races, of boxing, leaping, running, etc. The conqueror was at first rewarded with a crown of olive, afterward of green parsley.

They were celebrated every third, or, according to others, every fifth year. The "Pythian" games were celebrated every four years at Delphi, in Phocis, at the foot of Mount Parnassus, where was the seat of the celebrated Delphic oracle. These games were of the same character substantially as those celebrated in other places, and attracted persons not only from other parts of Greece, but from distant countries; see Travels of Anacharsis, vol. ii, pp. 375-418. The "Olympic" games were celebrated in Olympia, a town of Elis, on the southern bank of the Alphias river, on the western part of the Peloponnesus. They were on many accounts the most celebrated of any games in Greece. They were said to have been instituted by Hercules, who planted a grove called "Altis," which he dedicated to Jupiter. They were attended not only from all parts of Greece, but, from the most distant countries. These were celebrated every fourth year; and hence, in Grecian chronology, a period of four years was called an Olympiad; see Anacharsis, vol. iii, p. 434ff. It thus happened that in one or more of these places there were games celebrated every year, to which no small part of the inhabitants of Greece were attracted. Though the apostle probably had particular reference to the "Isthmian" games celebrated in the vicinity of Corinth, yet his illustration is applicable to them all; for in all the exercises were nearly the same. They consisted chiefly in leaping, running, throwing the discus or quoit, boxing, wrestling, and were expressed in the following line:

Ἀλυά, ποδωκείην, δίσκον, ἀκοντα, τάλην Alua, podōkeiēn, diskon, akonta, talēn

, "Leaping, running, throwing the quoit, darting, wrestling." Connected with these were also, sometimes, other exercises, as races of chariots, horses, etc. The apostle refers to but two of these exercises in his illustration.

They which run - This was one of the principal exercises at the games. Fleetness or swiftness was regarded as an extraordinary virtue; and great pains were taken in order to excel in this. Indeed they regarded it so highly that those who prepared themselves for it thought it worth while to use means to burn their spleen, because it was believed to be a hinderance to them, and to retard them in the race. Rob. Cal. Homer tells us that swiftness was one of the most excellent endowments with which a man can be blessed.

"No greater honor e'er has been attain'd,

Than what strong hands or nimble feet have gain'd."

"One reason" why this was deemed so valuable an attainment among the Greeks, was, that it suited people eminently for war as it was then conducted. It enabled them to make a sudden and unexpected onset, or a rapid retreat. Hence, the character which Homer constantly gives of Achilles is that he was swift of foot. And thus David, in his poetical lamentations over Saul and Jonathan, takes special notice of this qualification of theirs, as preparing them for war.

"They were swifter than eagles,

Stronger than lions." 2 Samuel 1:23.

For these races they prepared themselves by a long course of previous discipline and exercise; and nothing was left undone that might contribute to secure the victory.

In a race - (ἐν σταδίῳ en stadiō). In the "stadium." The "stadium," or running ground, or place in which the boxers contended, and where races were run. At Olympia the stadium was a causeway 604 feet in length, and of proportionable width. Herod. lib. 2. c. 149. It was surrounded by a terrace, and by the seats of the judges of the games. At one end was fixed the boundary or goal to which they ran.

continued...

1 Corinthians 9:24 Parallel Commentaries

Library
'Concerning the Crown'
'They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we are incorruptible.'--1 COR. ix. 25. One of the most famous of the Greek athletic festivals was held close by Corinth. Its prize was a pine-wreath from the neighbouring sacred grove. The painful abstinence and training of ten months, and the fierce struggle of ten minutes, had for their result a twist of green leaves, that withered in a week, and a little fading fame that was worth scarcely more, and lasted scarcely longer. The struggle and the discipline
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Preach the Gospel
Now, these words of Paul, I trust, are applicable to many ministers in the present day; to all those who are especially called, who are directed by the inward impulse of the Holy Spirit to occupy the position of gospel ministers. In trying to consider this verse, we shall have three inquiries this morning:--First, What is it to preach the gospel? Secondly, Why is it that a minister has nothing to glorify of? And thirdly, What is that necessity and that woe, of which it is written, "Necessity is laid
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

But He Speaks More Openly in the Rest which He Subjoins...
9. But he speaks more openly in the rest which he subjoins, and altogether removes all causes of doubting. "If we unto you," saith he, "have sown spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" What are the spiritual things which he sowed, but the word and mystery of the sacrament of the kingdom of heaven? And what the carnal things which he saith he had a right to reap, but these temporal things which are indulged to the life and indigency of the flesh? These however
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Hence Arises Another Question; for Peradventure one May Say...
23. Hence arises another question; for peradventure one may say, "What then? did the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas, sin, in that they did not work? Or did they occasion an hindrance to the Gospel, because blessed Paul saith that he had not used this power on purpose that he might not cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ? For if they sinned because they wrought not, then had they not received power not to work, but to live instead by the Gospel. But if they had received
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Cross References
Romans 6:16
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

1 Corinthians 9:13
Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?

1 Corinthians 9:23
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Galatians 2:2
It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:18
Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

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