1 Corinthians 9:25

That striveth in the games (o agwnizomeno). Common verb for contest in the athletic games (agwn), sometimes with the cognate accusative, agwna agwnizomai as in 1 Timothy 6:12 ; 2 Timothy 4:7 . Probably Paul often saw these athletic games. Is temperate in all things (panta egkrateuetai). Rare verb, once in Aristotle and in a late Christian inscription, and 1 Corinthians 7:9 and here, from egkrath, common adjective for one who controls himself. The athlete then and now has to control himself (direct middle) in all things (accusative of general reference). This is stated by Paul as an athletic axiom. Training for ten months was required under the direction of trained judges. Abstinence from wine was required and a rigid diet and regimen of habits.

A corruptible crown (pqarton stepanon). Stepano (crown) is from stepw, to put around the head, like the Latin corona, wreath or garland, badge of victory in the games. In the Isthmian games it was of pine leaves, earlier of parsley, in the Olympian games of the wild olive. "Yet these were the most coveted honours in the whole Greek world" (Findlay). For the crown of thorns on Christ's head see Matthew 27:29 ; Mark 15:17 ; John 19:2 John 19:5 . Diadhma (diadem) was for kings ( Revelation 12:3 ). Favourite metaphor in N.T., the crown of righteousness ( 2 Timothy 4:8 ), the crown of life ( James 1:12 ), the crown of glory ( 1 Peter 5:4 ), the crown of rejoicing ( 1 Thessalonians 2:9 ), description of the Philippians ( Philippians 4:1 ). Note contrast between pqarton (verbal adjective from pqeirw, to corrupt) like the garland of pine leaves, wild olive, or laurel, and apqarton (same form with a privative) like the crown of victory offered the Christian, the amaranthine (unfading rose) crown of glory ( 1 Peter 5:4 ).