Amplified: And if anyone enters competitive games, he is not crowned unless he competes lawfully (fairly, according to the rules laid down). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ICB: If an athlete is running a race, he must obey all the rules in order to win. (ICB: Nelson)
KJV: And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
NJB: or again someone who enters an athletic contest wins only by competing in the sports—a prize can be won only by competing according to the rules; (NJB)
NLT: Follow the Lord's rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: A man who enters an athletic contest wins no prize unless he keeps the rules laid down. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: And if any one takes part in an athletic contest, he gets no prize unless he obeys the rules.
Wuest: And if a person contends in the athletic games, he is not crowned as the victor unless he engages in the athletic contest according to the prescribed rules. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and if also any one may strive, he is not crowned, except he may strive lawfully
|AND ALSO IF ANYONE COMPETES AS AN ATHLETE: ean de kai athle (3SPAS) tis: (Lk 13:24; 1Co 9:25, 26, 27; Php 1:15, 3:14; Col 1:29; 1Ti4:7, 4:8 Heb12:1, 2, 3, 4)
Competes as an athlete (118) (athleo from áthlos = contest in war or sport especially for a prize) means to strive or contend, to engage in competition or conflict, to compete in an athletic contest in the arena. To be a champion in public games. The picture conveyed by athleo is one of a struggle requiring great exertion, readiness for sacrifice, discipline, determination and perseverance to win. Athleo is used only in this verse in the NT. In the LXX athleo is found only in later writings such as 4 Maccabees, where it denotes the conflict of martyrs.
McGee has a pithy comment regarding many Christian "athletes" - "The only exercise some Christians get is jumping to conclusions, running down their friends, sidestepping responsibility, and pushing their luck.” That is not the kind of exercise Paul is talking about." (Bolding added)
Paul frequently used the athletic metaphor for he knew that the Romans considered sports a good source of entertainment and the Greeks saw athletics as a means of personal enrichment, reasoning that a healthy body was associated with a healthy mind. Furthermore, gymnasiums (where the athletes trained) and stadiums (where they competed) were conspicuous in most major Greco-Roman cities. Paul also knew that whereas in modern day America, sports are like a religion, in ancient Greece they were distinctly a religious event that even including sacrifices to the patron gods (e.g., Zeus at the Olympic games). The games were so esteemed in ancient times that states involved in wars would call a cessation of war to allow the games to go on unhindered. In fact many of the competing Greek athletes were also soldiers. At a young age most Greek boys were enrolled in the gymnasium which was found in virtually every town of substantial size. And so writes these words in the background or context of a culture well acquainted with and seriously committed to their "Olympic" games (in addition to the most famous, the Olympics, there were biennial Isthmian games at Corinth, et al).
Successful secular athletes like "successful Christian athletes" exerted self-denial, self-control and self-discipline, in order that they might put forth maximum effort. Note well that We do not have the right to give up our freedom, for that was purchased by Christ, but we do have the freedom to give up our rights.
They did so with a specific goal in mind and an eye on the prize in the future. They would train and compete according to the rules lest they be disqualified. As an aside and I am sure you will agree that it is a relatively easy matter to deny things, but it is painful to deny self. In fact, many of us deny things as a substitute for the real sacrifice God wants, denying ourselves! Do not be deceived.
Every athlete has a specific goal - to win the prize. This was no small matter in ancient Greece as victorious athletes not just a perishable wreath but also received great benefits from their home city for the rest of their lives, including such perks as free meals, invitations to banquets, and specially reserved places in the theatre. It is said that in some cases when a victorious athlete returned to their home cities, their compatriots would pull down part of the walls to allow them to enter. In the ancient Olympic games every athlete had to meet three basic rules including being a true-born Greek, swearing an oath before Zeus that he had prepared for ten months before the games (thus giving Zeus liberty to take his life if he lied) and abiding by the rules that applied to his specific event (for example, in wrestling kicking your opponent in the stomach was allowed but gouging one's eyes out was not!). Failure to comply with these rules resulted in immediate disqualification.
It is interesting to note that Greek athletes competing in the games were often coached by past victors, which makes a good parallel with Christian discipleship, Paul the soon to be "past victor" (2Ti 4:7-8) coaching (discipling) the younger Timothy, who was now running the race. Who "coached" you? When I was born again 30 years ago, I went to the leadership of a local Bible church (the largest one in Austin at that time) and appealed to them to give me the name of an older man to disciple me. Instead they gave me a book on how to grow in Christ! Did you even have a "coach" in this spiritual race? The great travesty and tragedy in the modern church is a loss of the sense of value and importance of making disciples. Where are those older men (the "Paul's") who are in the 60's (perhaps even with time on their hands because of retirement), who have walked with and fought for Jesus faithfully for two, three, even four decades? Are they discipling younger men in their 20's and 30's? I fear not (with rare exceptions). Why not? I think the biggest obstacle is time -- it takes time to disciple. Another obstacle is that older men may have been believers for years but they have never really learned how to read and study the living and active Word and therefore cannot pass it on to the younger men. And let's be honest, the most crucial need for younger men is to be fed and fortified with the Word. Let me give you an example -- I approached the young (mid-30's) leaders of a 5000+ member church in Austin, Texas and proposed that I be allowed to gather and train up a group of older (60+) men in their church (men I knew personally and who had been committed to Jesus for several decades) and those equipped men could then each take on 1 or 2 younger disciples in a serious discipleship program, focusing on Bible memorization and in depth study of God's Word. These young leaders did not receive my proposal, because they had plans to disciple in their way -- 30 year olds discipling 30 year olds. I am not saying a 30 year olds cannot be spiritually mature, but I am saying it is a tragedy when a church fails to utilize godly men who have walked with Jesus for decades, most of of them longer than the young leaders have even been alive. So here is my appeal young pastors -- do you have any older men in your church who might make good "Paul's"? If so, I believe the God ordained pattern is 2 Timothy 2:2 - Paul (older) > Timothy (younger) > faithful men.
Corinth was the home of the biennial (every 2 years) Isthmian games (and also the picture of ruins of bema at Corinth), so it seems quite likely that Paul would have been present in Corinth at the time of these celebrated athletic contests, because Dr. Luke records that Paul...
This describes the kind of self-discipline necessary in order to be a winning spiritual athlete. We must bring our bodies into subjection so that our flesh, with its evil desires, does not dominate us and lead us into sin that will divert us from the goal of godliness and Christ-likeness and winning others to Christ. When we honor the Lord Jesus Christ and focus on the eternal reward that awaits those who run with faith, this eternal perspective will bring out our best efforts - and make no mistake - it will require effort, but as Paul has already emphasized it is possible ONLY by being continually strengthened with the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2Ti 2:1-note).
It's as true in our spiritual life as it is in Olympic running: Only the determined achieve their goals. Olympic medals don't go to the out of shape athlete who has neglected his or her training. Eric Liddell, as portrayed in the excellent film "Chariots of Fire," illustrates this principle. Just before the first turn in a 400-meter race, Liddell was shoved off balance, and he stumbled onto the infield grass. As he looked up, he saw the field pulling away, but with intense determination, Eric jumped to his feet, and with his back cocked and his arms flailing he flew like the wind. He was determined not only to catch up with the pack, but to win, which is exactly what he did! This is the kind of spiritual determination that the apostle Paul brought to his ministry and desires all believers. Dear believer, have you determined not just to compete but like an Olympic athlete competing for the perishable crown or medal and so straining every muscle, nerve, and sinew to get to the finish line and win the imperishable crown? It's just as true in the spiritual race as in the Olympics that winners never quit, and quitters never win. It's always too soon to quit, dear Christian runner.
Commenting on this warning to the Corinthians (and to all believers of all ages) John MacArthur writes that...
Paul was saying that if the Olympic and Isthmian athletes exercised such great discipline (giving up the good and the better for the best) and self–control in all things, why can't you Corinthian Christians? In this same line of thought we need to remember that Jesus didn’t say, “Follow Me and life will be easy.” He said, “Follow Me, and life will be tough, but your prize will be worth it in the end.” The Christian life is not a race to see who comes in first, but an endurance run to see who finishes faithfully. Remaining faithful to the finish makes us true winners. We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.
In the first epistle to Timothy Paul had also utilized an athletic metaphor, exhorting his young disciple to...
In short Paul is commanding Timothy to "work out" strenuously that he might develop "spiritual muscles" for godliness!
Timothy would have been very familiar gymnazo because every Greek city had a gymnasium and Ephesus (where Timothy apparently resided at the time of 1Timothy) was no exception. Youths customarily spent much of their time from ages 16-18 in physical training as their culture placed great emphasis on such training and the glory of winning athletic events. Paul plays off this cultural phenomenon and applies gymnazo to the spiritual realm. So just as Greek culture emphasized dedicated training of the body, Paul urged Timothy to strenuous training of his mind, soul and spirit for the purpose of godliness. Timothy was to be a dedicated "Christian athlete" never ceasing to do what it took to train his inner man for godliness. Are you as serious about training yourself for godliness as you are in pumping iron, running 10K's, eating the latest fad diet, all for the "glory" of your body which is fading away anyway?
The Jewish historian Josephus uses gymnazo in his description of the Roman soldier writing that...
Vine comments that discipline like that of a serious athlete involves...
In Hebrews 12 the writer of Hebrews exhorts his readers using the metaphor of a runner declaring...
In every task you consider undertaking in this short life dear believer, always assess the task with the "weight test". As yourself the question:
"Could this task or activity slacken or sidetrack me
It is a question worth soberly pondering with all seriousness, for the answer you give will have eternal impact!
As one has well said "Keep in step with God, for He has planned every step of the way."
How important is it to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus? The following true story illustrates how critical it is that we each run our spiritual race with a proper focus. On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man in history to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Within 2 months, John Landy eclipsed the record by 1.4 seconds. On August 7, 1954, the two met together for a historic race. As they moved into the last lap, Landy held the lead. It looked as if he would win, but as he neared the finish he was haunted by the question, "Where is Bannister?" As he turned to look, Bannister took the lead. Landy later told a Time magazine reporter, "If I hadn't looked back, I would have won!" We cannot make spiritual progress by looking back. (See Paul's advice in section below - Php 3:13-14)
Another "wait" test is found in Isaiah 40:31 - "Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." (see exposition)
Paul himself saw the Christian life as a race, (some feel he was referring to a chariot race in this description) writing to the Philippians
Chrysostom - "He that runs looks not at the spectators, but at the prize. Whether they be rich or poor, if one mock them, applaud them, insult them, throw stones at them — if one plunder their house, if they see children or wife or anything whatsoever — the runner is not turned aside, but is concerned only with his running and winning the prize. He that runneth stoppeth nowhere; since, if he be a little remiss, all is lost. He that runneth relaxeth in no respect before the end, but then, most of all, stretcheth over the course."
Two men walking down a country road decided to take a shortcut home. They passed through a field where a number of cattle were grazing. Deeply engrossed in conversation when they reached the other side of the pasture, they forgot to shut the gate behind them. A few minutes later one of them noticed the oversight and ran back to close the gate. As he did, he remembered the last words of an old friend who summoned all his children to his bedside and gave them this wise counsel:
"As you travel down life's pathway,
The man knew that problems, difficult situations, heartbreaks, and failures were inevitable, but he wanted his children to know that they didn't have to allow those things to follow them through life. This is especially true for believers. Once we have confessed a sin and have done what we can to right the wrong, we must put the incident behind us. When it comes to the failures of the past, we can always close the gate behind us. We invite defeat when we remember what we should forget.
I'm pressing on the upward way,
The spiritually healthy Christian "runner" knows what to remember and what to forget.
Guy King comments that for the Christian "athlete"...
DISQUALIFIED? - The downhill slalom racer was greeted at the bottom of the course by his ski coach: "The good news is that you arrived at the finish marker faster than any of my other students. In fact, your time was the fastest ever on this course, perhaps even faster than the world record! The bad news is that when you miss even one flag, you are disqualified." To which the novice slalom skier replied, "Flags? What flags?" A good slalom racer understands that the route taken to get downhill is more important than just reaching the goal. Any basketball player understands that making a basket is not as important as making sure he is aiming toward the right basket. In most sports, both the goal and the manner of attaining the goal are vital. Yet what is often remembered in sports is too often forgotten in the Christian walk. We have lost sight of which of our acts will be rewarded in heaven and which will be disqualified as missing the flags of proper motivations, godly direction, and willful obedience. We have lost a sense of heaven and therefore have lost a sense of how this life is to be lived for eternal impact. (Howard Hendricks in the Foreword of "Reward and Loss at the Judgment of Believers" by Joe Wall)
A wise pastor once said that whenever he begin to feel discouraged he would bring to mind the awe and wonder he sensed when God first saved him. But he added that he deliberately avoided thinking about two men who did him a great wrong in his first pastorate and never made it right. Why? Because when he recalled that time in his life, it aroused old feelings of resentment and hurt that would always destroy his peace.
David wrote, "Forget not all His benefits." It's good to remember God's past mercies, including how He forgave our sins, healed us, sustained us, and lavished His blessings upon us. Thinking these thoughts will help us become more thankful and trustful. In this passage from Philippians 3 if Paul had continually dwelt upon his sins of persecuting Christians it may well have depressed or discouraged him. On the other side, if he were to glory in his successes as a Pharisee of Pharisees, it would have kindled feelings of pride. It is wrong to live in the sagging spirit of regret over past failures; but we can also make the mistake of resting on the laurels of yesterday's spiritual victories to the point that we think we have arrived at the finish line. Paul's exhortation to the Philippians and to all who would run the race set before them with endurance is to be selective in what we remember. We should cherish the memories that make Jesus and His salvation more precious, but we should forget those that hinder us as we run the race.
We invite defeat in our race
Run the straight race through God's good grace,
In Paul's closing words to Timothy he wrote
Christ showed His love by dying for us. We show our love by living for Him.
In light of the truth that those who love His appearing will be awarded the crown of righteousness, assay every thought, word and deed with the question
"Will I be ashamed
HE DOES NOT WIN THE PRIZE UNLESS HE COMPETES ACCORDING TO THE RULES: ou stephanoutai (3SPPI) ean me nomimos athlese (3SAAS): (2Ti 4:7;4:8 Jas 1:12; 1Pe 5:4; Rev 2:10; 3:11; 4:4, 4:10)
Does not (ou) - This signifies absolute negation. Let every Christian runner ponder the seriousness of this qualifying statement lest we end up in heaven "smelling like smoke" (1Co 3:15)! And don't forget to check your motivation - why do you do the Christian work you do? (1Co 4:5, Jn 15:5).
Win the prize (4737) (stephanoo [word study] from stephanos [word study] = crown) literally means to be crowned or to have a wreath placed around (encircling) one's head, as was the custom in ancient Greece when one won an athletic contest.
Stephanoo - 3x in 3v - 2 Tim 2:5; Heb 2:7, 9
Friberg says that the figurative use speaks "of the dignity and exaltation accorded to Jesus for victoriously achieving the atonement -- honor, reward (Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker Academic)
Stephanos is derived from stepho meaning to encircle and in classic Greek referred not to the crown of a king but to the crown of victory in public (athletic) games and also was conveyed to those who demonstrated civic worth, military valor, nuptial joy or festival gladness. The stephanos was woven of oak, ivy, myrtle, olive leaves or flowers and used as a wreath or garland on one's head.
Paul is giving a serious warning! Break the rules and you will not be crowned as a victor in the public games! This should be a divine deterrent to our natural inclination to "take a short cut" when the road of discipleship becomes difficult to run. It is shorter and easier to run across the track, but taking the "easy way out" will disqualify us from the victor's exaltation. The reward once again far outweighs the responsibility.
Guzik adds that "Too many Christians think they are “competing” for God, but they make up their own rules, thinking they have a special arrangement with God. For some people, their special arrangement goes something like this: “I know this is sin, but God understands, so I’ll just keep going in this sin.
They don't understand the maxim that our present choices determine our future reward. Remember too that we will be judged by how we finished the race, not by how we started. You can't lose if you stay with God's game plan.
See Related Resource:
According to the rules - The adverb nomimos (from nómos = law) means legitimately, in accordance with to the rules, according to law and custom. Lawfully. Agreeably to the law. Properly. Correctly. Fairly.
In the Greco-Roman world these rules included requirements for training as well as for the competition itself. Every participant had to meet three qualifications:
Should the athlete break any of these rules, he would be barred from engaging in the athletic contest and have no opportunity for the highly sought after "stephanos". One begins to get a picture of the seriousness of Paul's warning to Timothy and to all believers. By analogy, all who would run in God's race, must be spiritually re-born of God, must exercise self-control and endurance, and must always act in conformity with the regulations (the word of God).
Spurgeon - There were rules in the Grecian games. When they struck each other, the blow was not to be given except upon a certain part of the body, and if a man fought unlawfully, he could not get the prize. So there are laws, too, for the Christian ministry, and also .holy regulations for the ;great wrestling of Christians.
Epictetus - "Would you be a victor in the Olympic games? So in good truth would I, for it is a glorious thing; but pray consider what must go before and what may follow, and so precede to the attempt. You must then live by rule, eat what will be disagreeable, refrain from delicacies; you must oblige yourself to constant exercise at the appointed hour, in heat and cold. You must abstain from wine and cold liquor; in a word, you must be as submissive to all the directions of your master as to those of a physician."
Although Paul's main point is clearly that if we do not compete according to God's rules, we will not win the prize. But the metaphor of an athlete also speaks of the need for the "Christian athlete" to be disciplined, committed and controlled. Becoming an Olympic champion does not come easy but when that athlete receives the Olympic gold, he or she quickly forgets all the years of difficult training. How much more will this be true of us as Christian athletes when we see Jesus and hear "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
We thank Thee for the crown
It is now common knowledge that in the past five Olympics women athletes, notably swimmers from the former East Germany used steroids and probably other performance-enhancing drugs to gain tremendous strength advantages over the competition. The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta revealed that many athletes from Mainland China had engaged in similar rules violations. And there was the famous albeit tragic case of the great Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who violated the rules at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He completed a brilliant Gold-Medal performance in the 100-meter dash, setting a new Olympic and World record and shocking the sporting world by beating America's leading contender, Carl Lewis. After the race, the judges learned that Johnson had tested positive for an illegal substance, so they stripped him of his Olympic gold medal and all of the fame and fortune associated with the title of "fastest man in the world"! Though Ben Johnson had run faster than any man had ever run and made an incredible impression on all who witnessed the race, he failed to "compete according to the rules" and thus did not win the prize. Dear saint run the only race that has eternal significance according to the rules!
Barclay - One thing remains in all three pictures. The soldier is upheld by the thought of final victory. The athlete is upheld by the vision of the crown. The husbandman is upheld by the hope of the harvest. Each submits to the discipline and the toil for the sake of the glory which shall be. It is so with the Christian. The Christian struggle is not without a goal; it is always going somewhere. The Christian can be certain that after the effort of the Christian life, there comes the joy of heaven; and the greater the struggle, the greater the joy.
As Jesus Himself clearly declared...
1Corinthians 3:8, 12-15
What (who) are you investing your life in, beloved?
Barnes adds that
Edwards writes that
If an athlete in the ancient Olympic or Isthmian games (at Corinth) won an event but was later found to have broken the rules, he had to forfeit his crown. A tragic modern illustration occurred in the 1912 Olympics when the talented American athlete Jim Thorpe won not only the decathlon but also the pentathlon (a total of 15 grueling events!) The following year Thorpe was forced to return his gold medals (he did "not win the prize") because it was discovered he had played professional baseball in 1911 and at that time professional athletes were barred from Olympic competition. He had won the events but had broken the rules and so he forfeited "the prize". As an aside, at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles the Olympic committee restored Thorpe's "prize" but that is where the illustration does not parallel Paul's teaching, where no restoration of the "prize" is implied for a Christian athlete who breaks the rules.
J Vernon McGee has some excellent insights reminding us that
Winners never quit and quitters never win.
A part-time Christian is a contradiction in terms.
A man’s or woman's whole life should be one strenuous endeavor to live out their Christianity in every moment and in every sphere. Like the ancient Olympic athletes who were wholly absorbed in their pursuit in order to be win the coveted prize at the games, the Christian "athlete" cannot afford engage in their task in a listless, lazy or indifferent manner but must focus intently on their goal.
William Barclay on the Christian athlete - Paul has just used the picture of the soldier to represent the Christian, and now he uses two other pictures--those of the athlete and of the toiling husbandman. He uses the same three pictures close together in 1 Corinthians 9:6-7; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Paul says that the athlete does not win the crown of victory unless he observes the rules of the contest. There is a very interesting point in the Greek here which is difficult to bring out in translation. The King James Version speaks of striving lawfully. The Greek is athlein (Greek #118) nomimos (Greek #3545). In fact that is the Greek phrase which was used by the later writers to describe a professional as opposed to an amateur athlete. The man who strove nomimos (Greek #3545) was the man who concentrated everything on his struggle. His struggle was not just a spare-time thing, as it might be for an amateur; it was a whole-time dedication of his life to excellence in the contest which he had chosen. Here then we have the same idea as in Paul's picture of the Christian as a soldier. A Christian's life must be concentrated upon his Christianity just as a professional athlete's life is concentrated upon his chosen contest. The spare-time Christian is a contradiction in terms; a man's whole life should be an endeavor to live out his Christianity. What then are the characteristics of the athlete which are in Paul's mind?
(i) The athlete is a man under discipline and self-denial. He must keep to his schedule of training and let nothing interfere with it. There will be days when he would like to drop his training and relax his discipline; but he must not do so. There will be pleasures and indulgences he would like to allow himself; but he must refuse them. The athlete who would excel knows that he must let nothing interfere with that standard of physical fitness which he has set himself. There must be discipline in the Christian life. There are times when the easy way is very attractive; there are times when the right thing is the hard thing; there are times when we are tempted to relax our standards. The Christian must train himself never to relax in the life-long attempt to make his soul pure and strong.
(ii) The athlete is a man who observes the rules. After the discipline and the rules of the training, there come the contest and the rules of the contest. An athlete cannot win unless he plays the game. The Christian, too, is often brought into contest with his fellow-men. He must defend his faith; he must seek to convince and to persuade; he will have to argue and to debate. He must do so by the Christian rules. No matter how hot the argument, he must never forget his courtesy. He must never be anything else but honest about his own position and fair to that of his opponent. The odium theologicum, the hatred of theologians, has become a byword. There is often no bitterness like religious bitterness. But the real Christian knows that the supreme rule of the Christian life is love, and he will carry that love into every debate in which he is engaged. (2 Timothy 2 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible) (Bolding added)
Ray Stedman writes that the athletic metaphor presents us with what ...
Hiebert comments that...
Wiersbe sums this section up with the observation that
In the soldier metaphor the motivation was a desire to be pleasing to the Commander and in the athletic (and farmer) metaphor the motive was the reward.
Steven Cole writes...
OF AN ATHLETE
Warren Wiersbe quips that
Isaac Watts’ great hymn says the same thing:
C. T. Studd the great British athlete turned missionary wrote that
A. W. Pink writes in "An Exposition of Hebrews" on running the race:
William MacDonald writes that
Jerry Hullinger discusses the Historical Background of Paul's Athletic Allusions...
Warren Wiersbe commenting on Romans 15:30 writes that
Commenting on 1Cor 9:15 Wiersbe writes
Commenting on Gal 5:7 Wiersbe writes
Commenting on Phil 3:13 Wiersbe writes
George Washington wrote to the Virginia regiments in 1759 that
Samson is an example of a believer who did not practice discipline (Judges 13, 14, 15, 16). Instead of keeping his body under control, Samson lived to please himself, and the consequences were tragic. His sad career has been duplicated more than once by naive people who defend their sins and lack of self-control as “enjoying freedom in Christ.” Such “freedom” is the worst kind of bondage.
The great Puritan Richard Baxter wrote of the Christian's race that...
The Christian athlete must compete according to the rules. One of the most tragic examples in sports history occurred in 1912 when the American athlete Jim Thorpe won the decathlon and the pentathlon at the Olympic Games in Stockholm. But the next year he had to give back his gold medals because it was discovered he had played professional baseball in 1911. He had won the events but had broken the rules, so he lost his prizes. At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles the committee restored his awards. But even this did not alter that fact that Thorpe had broken the rules.
According to the rules...
William Barclay writes that
We often go back to our ancient history and think about the original Olympic games in Greece. In the ancient Olympic games the stadium was an ellipse or circle, and the starting point was also the goal; instead of running from one end of the racecourse to the other in a straight line, the athlete ran around the curve at its far end and returned to the point where he started. The Christian life has Jesus as Author and Finisher because we begin with Him on earth as Savior, we finish with Him as Lord and Rewarder in heaven.
As the victorious Grecian athlete appeared before the bema receive his perishable award, so the Christian will appear before Christ’s bema to receive his imperishable award. The judge at the bema bestowed rewards to the victors. He did not whip the losers .
Finishing the race...
Remember: We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start and that triumph is just umph added to try.
C. H. Spurgeon reminds us that...
Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that
The late president of Moody Bible Institute, Dr. William Culbertson, often prayed,
Among ancient Greeks the runner who won the race was not the man who crossed the line in the shortest time, but the man who crossed it in the least time with his torch still burning. We are so often so busy with life’s activities that we are in danger of allowing the torch of our spiritual life to become extinguished. A good woman once said that in the rush and hurry of her life she felt in danger of being “jostled out of her spirituality.” There is a real danger of being too busy to be good, of running too fast to keep our torch burning.
Joseph Stowell president of Moody Bible Institute also alluding to the torch race wrote that...
The well-known British Bible teacher, Dr. F. B. Meyer, was greatly concerned that his life “not end in a swamp.”
Someone has defined a football game as an event in which thousands of people who need exercise pay for the privilege of cheering for twenty-two healthy men who need no exercise.
Guy King asks...