24 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 . 25 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 . 26 Therefore I run in such a way , as not without aim ; I box in such a way , as not beating the air ; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave , so that, after I have preached to others , I myself will not be disqualified .

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.