24 Do you not see that in a running competition all take part, but only one gets the reward? So let your minds be fixed on the reward. 25 And every man who takes part in the sports has self-control in all things. Now they do it to get a crown which is of this world, but we for an eternal crown. 26 So then I am running, not uncertainly; so I am fighting, not as one who gives blows in the air: 27 But I give blows to my body, and keep it under control, for fear that, after having given the good news to others, I myself might not have God's approval.
Matthew Henry's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
(Read 1 Corinthians 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.