24 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. 25 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. 26 I therefore thus run, as not uncertainly; so I combat, as not beating the air. 27 But I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest [after] having preached to others I should be myself rejected.
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.