Re: Ethics and the Bible
this passage is Paul speaking on freedom in Christ, being all things to all people so that he may take the Gospel to them. The verses you picked out are saying though runners race for a perishable prize, we race for an imperishable one. That Christ and heaven is the prize and our lives are the race which we proclaim the gospel during it.
1 Cor 9:24-27
24 Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain.
25 And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they (do it) to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air:
27 but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.
That’s true that it’s not specifically about sports… but it’s also a great verse about being a christian athlete (or musician).
We struggle and give the best of our ability… just as non-christians do. We show that we understand “where they are”. We work right along side them, and take some of the same risks. But we also realize that there is a greater reason behind what we do. Where they seek temporary glory, we seek an eternal prize – and glory for God.
That passage (the next chapter) also goes on to talk about how people forgot the eternal prize and got caught up with the same goals as the secular people – and ended up having the same behavior. Again, this is an important lesson for christian atheletes (I could tell you horror stories of christian softball players cussing out the other team).
While that’s a bit out of context, it’s funny that Bible would use sports as an analogy that can be applied to good sportsman-like conduct for Christians.