I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.1 Corinthians 9:27
So what is the other sport that is buried a little deeper? Have you worked it out? It is all to do with the verb that is used in verse 27. Translated as “discipline my body”. The word has two senses.
This word (ὑπωπιάζω hupōpiazō) occurs in the New Testament only here and in Luke 18:5, “Lest by her continual coming she ‘weary’ me.” The word is derived probably from ὑπώπιον hupōpion, the part of the face “under the eye” [passow], and means give them a black eye. That is, beat into submission.
Or I keep my body under. bring it into submission – This is a reference, not to boxers, but to the wrestlers in the same games. The word also means to press down, keep under; and δουλαγωγω, which means to trip, and make your opponent fall, and then pin him down forcing him to submit and acknowledge he is conquered. The apostle considers his body as an enemy with which he must contend; he must bring it in to submission by self-denial, abstinence, and pressure.[δουλαγωγῶ doulagōgō] This word properly means, to reduce to servitude or slavery; and probably was usually applied to the act of subduing an enemy, and leading him captive from the field of battle; as the captives in war were regarded as slaves. It then means, to totally subdue or conquer, to reduce to submission. As in the example of a wrestler subduing his opponent.
Pauls is not meaning his natural body but his flesh, the body of sin. Making no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts of the flesh. The body must be the slave of the soul, and not the soul the slave of the body, which in carnal men is the case.
Paul has now used the three top sports of the Ithmian Games as illustrations of the Christian life and the degree to which we need to exercise restraint and give our all in the struggle to control ourselves and our inner desires. The sports of course were running (the 100 metre sprint), boxing and wrestling.
We will deal with the second part of the verse tomorrow.
I’m tired of getting called out of my comfort zone… I’ve been known to whine and ask if I can serve God from the safety of my recliner. But that’s not God’s way.Ian Vail
Personal growth is like riding a bicycle; we’re either moving forward or falling off.Bob Gass