There are two types of crowns mentioned in the NT, στέφανος [stephanos] and διάδημα [diadēma] . Most discussions of these two words indicate that the stephanos is a victors crown, whereas the diadēma is a royal crown. The stephanos was the usual crown of exaltation for victors of games, achievements in war, and places of honor at feasts (AV 1Cor. 1Cor. 9:25; RSV, NEB wreath).1 Probably the widest NT use of the word [stephanos ] is in conjunction with the Greek games as parallels to the Christian life (cf. 1Cor. 1Cor. 9:24, 1Cor. 9:25; Gal. Gal. 2:2; Php. Php. 3:14; 2Ti. 2Ti. 2:5; 1Pe. 1Pe. 5:4).2 In each biblical use the diadem is a badge of royalty.3 However, when one analyzes the context within which these two terms appear, it appears that they are not as clearly distinguished as these definitions would imply.
1 W. E. Raffety, Crown, in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 1:831.
2 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), 172-173.
3 Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Diadem, in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 941.