Vol.II No.VII Pg.1
August 1965

"So Run ---"

Robert F. Turner

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all; but one receiveth the prize?" (Read 1 Cor.9:24 27) Paul calls attention to the fact that all runners put forth great effort, first in their training program, and then in the race itself. Yet, only one may win -- only one receives the prize.

Some exegetes seem to think Paul wishes to emphasize that all Christians could win the Christian race - as opposed to the limited opportunity in the Grecian races. But I believe the context calls for another thought.

"SO RUN ---" (24b) That is, you run the Christian race as though only one could win. ("Thus" or "So" meaning "after this manner.") The thought is not to make Christianity a competition between Christians, but to urge each to run as though only one would finally be saved; hence, to do away with complacency, and make each of us aware of the need for greater effort.

In the following verses Paul notes the self restraint necessary in training, and the singleness of purpose the athlete must manifest if he is to be successful: "So fight, I, not as one that beateth the air." We must know what the fight is all about; we must have a target, a purpose, and strive meaningfully for the crown.

Paul said, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to other, I myself should be a castaway." (vs. 27) If Paul could say this about himself, how can we coast along the Christian race track as though all are going to win anyway, so what's the use of pushing?

But Paul said to run as though ONE and ONE ONLY would win. This is the proper attitude to have -- and how it would change our lives. I believe we would begin to raise some dust on the track. There would be no more of this "let someone else do it" talk. We would realize that each must fill his own place, or suffer loss.

And it might help to remember that we shall be judged severally, as individuals. (Rom. 2:6) Those who win the prize will be those who pressed hard, every step of the way.