1 Corinthians 9:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24, ESV: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

1 Corinthians 9:24, KJV: Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

1 Corinthians 9:24, NASB: 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.

1 Corinthians 9:24, NLT: Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

1 Corinthians 9:24, CSB: Don't you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.

What does 1 Corinthians 9:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul launches into a new metaphor in this verse, but his theme is still willingness to set aside personal rights and freedoms for the good of others. This text continues to argue the Christians in Corinth should be willing to give up eating meat offered to idols, even though they are free to do so, if it will cause those who are weaker in faith to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:1–7).

Paul's new metaphor compares living in service to Christ to athletic competition. He likely had in mind the Olympic games, as well as the Isthmian games which took place every other year in Corinth. Foot races were a common event in such competitions. Corinthian society was highly competitive.

In that context, Paul's readers would agree that in any race, only one runner wins. Why participate if you're not going to try to win? Paul urges them to do what it takes to win. His point is not that only one Christian can succeed, spiritually speaking. Or that we are in a contest against brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul is referring only to the effort and dedication exhibited by the athletes: that is what the believer should duplicate in their pursuit of Christ.

The following verses will explore what it takes for runners to win races and for Christians to be successful in living for Christ.