1 Corinthians 9:27

27 but I discipline 1my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27 Meaning and Commentary

1 Corinthians 9:27

But I keep under my body
The allusion is still to fighters, who, by cuffing and boxing, give their antagonists black and blue eyes, which is the proper signification of the word here used: so it is said F21 of Menedemus, that in questions or scholastic exercises, he was so vehement and pugnacious, that he never departed without (upwpia ferwn) , "carrying away black and blue eyes". This is not to be understood by the apostle of his natural body, and of his keeping it under by immoderate watchings, fastings, and labours, or by whipping and scourging, and lying upon the bare ground, and other such practices; but of the body of sin, the corruption of nature, and of that being laid under some restraints; of the mortifying the deeds of the body through the Spirit, of crucifying the affections with the lusts, of putting off the old man with his deeds, as concerning the former conversation, and of making no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof: it seems to be the same with what the Jews call F23, (wruy vbwk) , "a subduing of a man's evil concupiscence": who is a strong man? they say F24, (wruy ta vbwkh) , "he that subdues his corruption", according to ( Proverbs 16:32 ) and again F25

``the sons of Ulam were mighty and powerful men, (Nwhyruy Nyvbk) , "subduing their corruptions", as man that draws a bow with wisdom.''

And bring it into subjection;
so as not to serve and obey it in the lusts thereof; but to have the ascendant of it, and government over it, that it does not, and cannot reign as it formerly did: the allusion is still to the combatant, who gets and keeps his antagonist under him, and has the command of him, and throws him on the ground, or drags him about at pleasure:

lest that by any means when I have preached to others;
the Gospel of the grace of God, for their souls' profit and advantage, to gain and save them; and have called upon them so to run, that they might receive and enjoy the incorruptible crown:

I myself should be a castaway,
or rejected, or disapproved of; that is, by men: the apostle's concern is, lest he should do anything that might bring a reproach on the Gospel; lest some corruption of his nature or other should break out, and thereby his ministry be justly blamed, and be brought under contempt; and so he be rejected and disapproved of by men, and become useless as a preacher: not that he feared he should become a reprobate, as the word is opposed to an elect person; or that he should be a castaway eternally, or be everlastingly damned; for he knew in whom he had believed, and was persuaded of his interest in the love of God, and that he was a chosen vessel of salvation, that could not be eternally lost: though supposing that this is his sense, and these his fears and concern, it follows not as neither that he was, so neither that he could be a lost and damned person: the fears of the saints, their godly jealousies of themselves, and pious care that they be not lost, are not at all inconsistent with the firmness of their election, their security in Christ, and the impossibility of their final and total falling away; but on the contrary are overruled, and made use of by the Spirit of God, for their final perseverance in grace and holiness.


F21 Hesychius de Philosophis, p. 48.
F23 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 145. 2, 3. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 69. 2.
F24 Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 1.
F25 Targum in 1 Chron. viii. 40.

1 Corinthians 9:27 In-Context

25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Cross References 1

Footnotes 1

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