1 Corinthians 9:26

26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

1 Corinthians 9:26 in Other Translations

KJV
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
ESV
26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
NLT
26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.
MSG
26 I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me!
CSB
26 Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly, or box like one who beats the air.

1 Corinthians 9:26 Meaning and Commentary

1 Corinthians 9:26

I therefore so run
The apostle animates the Corinthians by his own example, telling them that he ran so as he exhorted them; he ran with cheerfulness and swiftness in the way marked out for him, looking to Jesus; continuing steadfast in the profession of his faith, and discharge of his duty as a Christian, and in preaching the Gospel as a minister; and nothing had he more at heart, than to finish his course with joy:

not as uncertainly;
as one that knew not, or was in doubt about the way in which he should run, and so ran in and out, sometimes in the way, sometimes out of it; since it was clearly pointed out to him in the word of God: the allusion is to the white line which was drawn from the place the runners set out at to the goal; so that they did not run uncertainly, nor could they be at a loss to steer their course: nor did the apostle run, for what, as the Syriac version renders it, (ewdy am) , "is unknown": he knew what he ran for, for the incorruptible crown of glory, he knew the nature of it; nor was he uncertain as to the event and issue of his running; he knew that this crown was laid up safe and secure, that it would be given him, and he should wear it; he had no doubt at all about it; and with this certain knowledge both of the way and prize, and full assurance of faith and hope, he ran:

so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.
The allusion is here to fighting with the fist, when, before the combat was entered on, the person used to swagger about, and beat about with his fists, striking the air with them, having no adversary before him; only showing what he could do if he had one, or when he should encounter: so did not the apostle, he did not fight with his own shadow, or a man of straw, or beat the empty air; but gave home blows to real adversaries, Satan, the world, and the flesh; the latter of which is particularly mentioned in the next verse.

1 Corinthians 9:26 In-Context

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Cross References 2