Paul’s emphasis on self-control is expressed by G. G. Findlay: “Entering the race is not winning it; do not be satisfied with running, but make sure of winning — so run that you may secure (the prize)!” (Exp. Gk. Test.). So, Paul’s focus was on the word egkrateuetai (is temperate). These athletes trained for ten months prior to the Great Games, and under oath followed a prescribed diet and a vigorous control of passions. They did all they could “to make their bodies vigorous, active, and supple” (Barnes). This included abstaining from both unlawful and lawful indulgences.
If an athlete can do this just to win a wreath that will wither after one day, what should the Christian do to win an eternal crown?
Discussion: To what lengths should the Christian go to win life's race?
Source: Biblical Family Values, Adult Teacher's Insights, page 28.