1 Corinthians 9:25
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

King James Bible
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Darby Bible Translation
But every one that contends for a prize is temperate in all things: they then indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.

World English Bible
Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.

Young's Literal Translation
and every one who is striving, is in all things temperate; these, indeed, then, that a corruptible crown they may receive, but we an incorruptible;

1 Corinthians 9:25 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And every man that striveth for the mastery - (ὁ ἀγωνιζόμενος ho agōnizomenos). That "agonizes;" that is, that is engaged in the exercise of "wrestling, boxing," or pitching the bar or quoit; compare the note at Luke 13:24. The sense is, everyone who endeavors to obtain a victory in these athletic exercises.

Is temperate in all things - The word which is rendered "is temperate" (ἐγκρατευεται egkrateuetai) denotes "abstinence" from all that would excite, stimulate, and ultimately enfeeble; from wine, from exciting and luxurious living, and from licentious indulgences. It means that they did all they could to make the body vigorous, active, and supple. They pursued a course of entire temperate living; compare Acts 24:25; 1 Corinthians 7:9; Galatians 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6. It relates not only to indulgences unlawful in themselves, but to abstinence from many things that were regarded as "lawful," but which were believed to render the body weak and effeminate. The phrase "in all things" means that this course of temperance or abstinence was not confined to one thing, or to one class of things, but to every kind of food and drink, and every indulgence that had a tendency to render the body weak and effeminate. The preparations which those who propose to contend in these games made is well known; and is often referred to by the Classic writers. Epictetus, as quoted by Grotius (in loco), thus speaks of these preparations. "Do you wish to gain the prize at the Olympic games? consider the requisite preparations and the consequence You must observe a strict regimen; must live on food which is unpleasant; must abstain from all delicacies; must exercise yourself at the prescribed times in heat and in cold; you must drink nothing cool (ψυχρὸν psuchron); must take no wine as usual; you must put yourself under a "pugilist," as you would under a physician, and afterward enter the lists." Epict. chapter 35: Horace has described the preparations necessary in the same way.

Qui studet optatam cursn contingere metam.

Multa tulit fecitque puer; sudavit, et alsit,

Abstinuit venere et Baccho.

De Arte Poet. 412

A youth who hopes the Olympic prize to gain,

All arts must try, and every toil sustain;

The extremes of heat and cold must often prove,

And shun the weakening joys of wine and love.


To obtain a corruptible crown - A garland, diadem, or civic wreath, that must soon fade away. The garland bestowed on the victor was made of olive, pine, apple, laurel, or parsley. That would soon lose its beauty and fade; of course, it could be of little value. Yet we see how eagerly they sought it; how much self-denial those who entered the lists would practice to obtain it; how long they would deny themselves of the common pleasures of life that they might be successful. So much "temperance" would pagans practice to obtain a fading wreath of laurel, pine, or parsley. Hence, learn:

(1) The duty of denying ourselves to obtain a far more valuable reward, the incorruptible crown of heaven.

(2) the duty of all Christians who strive for that crown to be temperate in all things. If the pagans practiced temperance to obtain a fading laurel, should not we to obtain one that never fades?


1 Corinthians 9:25 Parallel Commentaries

'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
Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Timothy 2:5
Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

2 Timothy 4:8
in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

James 1:12
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

1 Peter 5:4
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

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