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1 Corinthians 9:24 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— 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.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Know ye not, that they who run in a race, all run, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— 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.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Know ye not that, they who, in a racecourse, run, all, indeed, run,—but, one, receiveth the prize? So, be running, that ye may lay hold.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— 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;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize. So run that you may obtain.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Know yee not that they which runne in a race, runne all, but one receiueth the price? So runne, that yee may obtaine.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— Know you not, that they who run in the course, run all, but one taketh to him the victory? So run, that you may take hold.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Know ye not that they who run in the stadium, run all of them; yet it is one who gaineth the victory. Run ye, so as to attain.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Know x1492
(1492) Complement
A primary verb; used only in certain past tenses, the others being borrowed from the equivalent, G3700 and G3708; properly to see (literally or figuratively); by implication (in the perfect only) to know.
ye y1492
[1492] Standard
A primary verb; used only in certain past tenses, the others being borrowed from the equivalent, G3700 and G3708; properly to see (literally or figuratively); by implication (in the perfect only) to know.
<5758> Grammar
Tense - Perfect (See G5778)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 516
not 3756
{3756} Prime
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
that 3754
{3754} Prime
Neuter of G3748 as conjugation; demonstrative that (sometimes redundant); causatively because.
they which run 5143
{5143} Prime
Apparently a primary verb (properly θρέχω [[threcho]]; compare G2359); which uses δρέμω [[dremo]], {drem'-o} (the base of G1408) as an alternate in certain tenses; to run or walk hastily (literally or figuratively).
<5723> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 2549
in 1722
{1722} Prime
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
a race 4712
{4712} Prime
From the base of G2476 (as fixed); a stade or certain measure of distance; by implication a stadium or race course.
run 5143
{5143} Prime
Apparently a primary verb (properly θρέχω [[threcho]]; compare G2359); which uses δρέμω [[dremo]], {drem'-o} (the base of G1408) as an alternate in certain tenses; to run or walk hastily (literally or figuratively).
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
all, 3956
{3956} Prime
Including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole.
{3303} Prime
A primary particle; properly indicative of affirmation or concession (in fact); usually followed by a contrasted clause with G1161 (this one, the former, etc.
but 1161
{1161} Prime
A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.
one 1520
{1520} Prime
(Including the neuter [etc.] ἕν [[hen]]); a primary numeral; one.
receiveth 2983
{2983} Prime
A prolonged form of a primary verb, which is used only as an alternate in certain tenses; to take (in very many applications, literally and figuratively [probably objective or active, to get hold of; whereas G1209 is rather subjective or passive, to have offered to one; while G0138 is more violent, to seize or remove]).
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
prize? 1017
{1017} Prime
From βραβεύς [[brabeus]] (an umpire; of uncertain derivation); an award (of arbitration), that is, (specifically) a prize in the public games.
So 3779
{3779} Prime
From G3778; in this way (referring to what precedes or follows).
run, 5143
{5143} Prime
Apparently a primary verb (properly θρέχω [[threcho]]; compare G2359); which uses δρέμω [[dremo]], {drem'-o} (the base of G1408) as an alternate in certain tenses; to run or walk hastily (literally or figuratively).
<5720> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Imperative (See G5794)
Count - 592
that 2443
{2443} Prime
Probably from the same as the former part of G1438 (through the demonstrative idea; compare G3588); in order that (denoting the purpose or the result).
ye may obtain. 2638
{2638} Prime
From G2596 and G1983; to take eagerly, that is, seize, possess, etc. (literally or figuratively).
<5632> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Subjunctive (See G5792)
Count - 449
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Corinthians 9:24

_ _ Know ye not — The Isthmian games, in which the foot race was a leading one, were of course well known, and a subject of patriotic pride to the Corinthians, who lived in the immediate neighborhood. These periodical games were to the Greeks rather a passion than a mere amusement: hence their suitableness as an image of Christian earnestness.

_ _ in a raceGreek, “in a race course.”

_ _ all ... one — Although we knew that one alone could be saved, still it Would be well worth our while to run [Bengel]. Even in the Christian race not “all” who enter on the race win (1 Corinthians 10:1-5).

_ _ So run, that ye may obtain — said parenthetically. These are the words in which the instructors of the young in the exercise schools (gymnasia) and the spectators on the race course exhorted their pupils to stimulate them to put forth all exertions. The gymnasium was a prominent feature in every Greek city. Every candidate had to take an oath that he had been ten months in training, and that he would violate none of the regulations (2 Timothy 2:5; compare 1 Timothy 4:7, 1 Timothy 4:8). He lived on a strict self-denying diet, refraining from wine and pleasant foods, and enduring cold and heat and most laborious discipline. The “prize” awarded by the judge or umpire was a chaplet of green leaves; at the Isthmus, those of the indigenous pine, for which parsley leaves were temporarily substituted (1 Corinthians 9:25). The Greek for “obtain” is fully obtain. It is in vain to begin, unless we persevere to the end (Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13; Revelation 2:10). The “so” expresses, Run with such perseverance in the heavenly course, as “all” the runners exhibit in the earthly “race” just spoken of: to the end that ye may attain the prize.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

_ _ In these verses the apostle hints at the great encouragement he had to act in this manner. He had a glorious prize, an incorruptible crown, in view. Upon this head he compares himself to the racers and combatants in the Isthmian games, an allusion well known to the Corinthians, because they were celebrated in their neighbourhood: “Know you not that those who run in a race run all, but one obtaineth the prize? 1 Corinthians 9:24. All run at your games, but only one gets the race and wins the crown.” And here,

_ _ I. He excites them to their duty: “So run that you may obtain. It is quite otherwise in the Christian race than in your races; only one wins the prize in them. You may all run so as to obtain. You have great encouragement, therefore, to persist constantly, and diligently, and vigorously, in your course. There is room for all to get the prize. You cannot fail if you run well. Yet there should be a noble emulation; you should endeavour to outdo one another. And it is a glorious contest who shall get first to heaven, or have the best rewards in that blessed world. I make it my endeavour to run; so do you, as you see me go before you.” Note, It is the duty of Christians to follow their ministers closely in the chase of eternal glory, and the honour and duty of ministers to lead them in the way.

_ _ II. He directs them in their course, by setting more fully to view his own example, still carrying on the allusion. 1. Those that ran in their games were kept to a set diet: “Every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things, 1 Corinthians 9:23. The fighters and wrestlers in your exercises are kept to strict diet and discipline; nay, they keep themselves to it. They do not indulge themselves, but restrain themselves from the food they eat and so from the liberties they use on other occasions. And should not Christians much more abridge themselves of their liberty, for so glorious an end as winning the race, and obtaining the prize set before them? They used a very spare diet, and course food, and denied themselves much, to prepare for their race and combat; so do I; so should you, after my example. It is hard if, for the heavenly crown, you cannot abstain from heathen sacrifices.” 2. They were not only temperate, but inured themselves to hardships. Those who fought with one another in these exercises prepared themselves by beating the air, as the apostle calls it, or by throwing out their arms, and thereby inuring themselves, beforehand, to deal about their blows in close combat, or brandish them by way of flourish. There is no room for any such exercise in the Christian warfare. Christians are ever in close combat. There enemies make fierce and hearty opposition, and are ever at hand; and for this reason they must lay about them in earnest, and never drop the contest, nor flag and faint in it. They must fight, not as those that beat the air, but must strive against their enemies with all their might. One enemy the apostle here mentions, namely, the body; this must be kept under, beaten black and blue, as the combatants were in these Grecian games, and thereby brought into subjection. By the body we are to understand fleshly appetites and inclinations. These the apostle set himself to curb and conquer, and in this the Corinthians were bound to imitate him. Note, Those who would aright pursue the interests of their souls must beat down their bodies, and keep them under. They must combat hard with fleshly lusts, and not indulge a wanton appetite, and long for heathenish sacrifices, nor eat them, to please their flesh, at the hazard of their brethren's souls. The body must be made to serve the mind, not suffered to lord over it.

_ _ III. The apostle presses this advice on the Corinthians by proper arguments drawn from the same contenders. 1. They take pains, and undergo all those hardships, to obtain a corruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25), but we an incorruptible. Those who conquered in these games were crowned only with the withering leaves or boughs of trees, of olive, bays, or laurel. But Christians have an incorruptible crown in view, a crown of glory that never fadeth away, an inheritance incorruptible, reserved in heaven for them. And would they yet suffer themselves to be outdone by these racers or wrestlers? Can they use abstinence in diet, exert themselves in racing, expose their bodies to so much hardship in a combat, who have no more in view than the trifling huzzas of a giddy multitude, or a crown of leaves? And shall not Christians, who hope for the approbation of the sovereign Judge, and a crown of glory from his hands, stretch forward in the heavenly race, and exert themselves in beating down their fleshly inclinations, and the strong-holds of sin? 2. The racers in these games run at uncertainty. All run, but one receives the prize, 1 Corinthians 9:24. Every racer, therefore, is at a great uncertainty whether he shall win it or no. But the Christian racer is at no such uncertainty. Every one may run here so as to obtain; but then he must run within the lines, he must keep to the path of duty prescribed, which, some think, is the meaning of running not as uncertainly, 1 Corinthians 9:26. He who keeps within the limits prescribed, and keeps on in his race, will never miss his crown, though others may get theirs before him. And would the Grecian racers keep within their bounds, and exert themselves to the very last, when one only could win, and all must be uncertain which that one would be? And shall not Christians be much more exact and vigorous when all are sure of a crown when they come to the end of their race? 3. He sets before himself and them the danger of yielding to fleshly inclinations, and pampering the body and its lusts and appetites: I keep my body under, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away (1 Corinthians 9:27), rejected, disapproved, adokimos, one to whom the brabeutsthe judge or umpire of the race, will not decree the crown. The allusion to the games runs through the whole sentence. Note, A preacher of salvation may yet miss it. He may show others the way to heaven, and never get thither himself. To prevent this, Paul took so much pains in subduing and keeping under bodily inclinations, lest by any means he himself, who had preached to others, should yet miss the crown, be disapproved and rejected by his sovereign Judge. A holy fear of himself was necessary to preserve the fidelity of an apostle; and how much more necessary is it to our preservation? Note, Holy fear of ourselves, and not presumptuous confidence, is the best security against apostasy from God, and final rejection by him.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Corinthians 9:24

Know ye not that — In those famous games which are kept at the isthmus, near your city. They who run in the foot race all run, though but one receiveth the prize — How much greater encouragement have you to run; since ye may all receive the prize of your high calling!

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Corinthians 9:24

(11) Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

(11) He brings in another reason for this wrong, that is, that they were given to gluttony, for there were solemn banquets of sacrifices, and the loose living of the priests was always too much celebrated and kept. Therefore it was hard for those who were accustomed to loose living, especially when they pretended the liberty of the Gospel, to be restrained in these banquets. But on the other hand, the apostle calls them by a pleasant similitude, and also by his own example, to sobriety and mortification of the flesh, showing that they cannot be fit to run or wrestle (as then the games of Isthmies were) who pamper up their bodies. And therefore affirming that they can have no reward unless they take another course and manner of life.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.

run in:

Psalms 19:5 Which [is] as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, [and] rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Jeremiah 12:5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and [if] in the land of peace, [wherein] thou trustedst, [they wearied thee], then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

so run:

1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: ... Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
James 1:12 Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
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Ps 19:5. Ec 9:11. Jr 12:5. Ho 12:10. 1Co 9:26. Ga 2:2; 5:7. Php 2:16; 3:14. 2Ti 4:7. He 12:1. Jm 1:12. Rv 3:11.

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