1 Corinthians 9:27
No, I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
A CastawayR. M, McCheyne, M. A.1 Corinthians 9:27
Hell After PreachingD. Thomas, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:27
Keeping Under the BodyJ. Vaughan, M. A.1 Corinthians 9:27
Lest I be a CastawayJ. Stratten.1 Corinthians 9:27
Physical ConditionsS. S. Mitchell, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:27
Self-GovernmentPreacher's Promptuary.1 Corinthians 9:27
Self-MasteryW. Hay Aitken, M. A.1 Corinthians 9:27
Self-Mastery1 Corinthians 9:27
Spiritual CautionHomilist1 Corinthians 9:27
The Relation of Personal Consistency to Public LaborsR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 9:27
Wrecked for Two WorldsT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:27
Running and FightingJ. Waite 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Self Denial Urged in View of the Heavenly CrownC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Spiritual AthleticsE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
The Laws of the Christian RaceR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
The Race for the PrizeH. Bremner 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
A Good Servant of Jesus ChristD. Fraser 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27

The expression used by the apostle here, and translated, "I keep under my body," is literally, "I strike under the eve; I beat black and blue" (comp. Luke 18:5). Mastery of the body, repression of the lusts and indulgences and evil inclinations of the body, a strong hand upon the "self," are necessary to ensure "consistency;" yet what is the worth of a Christian teacher whose life tells one story and his lips another? St. Paul contemplates with horror the possibility of his preaching the gospel to others, and, by reason of his personal inconsistencies, proving at last a "castaway." No amount of religious profession, no fervent in religious work, no mere utterance of religious sentiment, can avail without personal and practical consistency of life. On this point we dwell further.

I. THE SENSES IN WHICH PERSONAL CONSISTENCY AND PUBLIC LABOR ARE DISTINCT THINGS. It may be urged that the question is one of gifts for a particular work, and not of personal character. It may be said that we do work with the skill and power entrusted to us, and the good. workman may be personally of good or bad character. However true that may be in common life - and we should be prepared to contest its truth even there - it cannot possibly be true in the religious spheres, because all Christian work is the impress of the man himself, is inseparable from the force which his character gives to it. Exactly what we ask for in religious spheres is not mere truth, but truth with some stamp of personal conviction upon it; not mere duty, but duty pressed on us by the force of some holy example. The true preacher is the man who bears in on us the force of his own life and feeling. The true teacher is the man who can win our confidence in himself. The true visitor benefits and blesses the poor and the sick by the restings and comfortings of his own quick sympathies, that come from sanctified character. So in the religious spheres there can be no separation between holy character and faithful labour. Show that, just here, serious mistake is made, and much seeming service is unacceptable to God and of no real value to men.

II. THE POSSIBILITY OF THE INCONSISTENT MAN DOING GOOD WORK. In view of what has been said in the previous division, it would seem to be an impossibility, but those remarks may be limited to the higher forms of Christian work and the exertion of spiritual influence. Scripture teaches us, by its examples, that God. claims the service of even ungodly men, and deigns to work by them. Of Cyrus God says, "I girded thee, though thou hast not known me," etc. But perhaps there is no distress in life like that which we feel on finding that those who have helped us in our religious life fail morally. When such distress comes to us, we are almost ready to make shipwreck of our faith.

III. THE FORCE ADDED TO ALL GOOD WORK BY THE CONSISTENT CHARACTER OF THE WORKER. Reviewing the influences for good which have rested upon our life, we can but feel that the holiest and mightiest and best have come from consistent and holy men and women, who bore upon us the force of saintly character, and whose memories still keep us true and faithful. When McCheyne died, a note was found unopened on his study table. It was from some one who had recently been brought to God through his preaching, but the note said it was not so much the truth that had impressed, as the sincerity and holy fervour of the preacher. It is the great secret of the highest work. What a man is tells more for the honour of God and. the blessing of men than merely what a man does. So we may be warned by the apostle, and take heed lest, while working for others, we ourselves should prove "castaways." - R.T.

I keep under my body... lest... I myself should be a castaway.
The body is a bad master though it may be a good servant. St. Paul does not wish to be rid of it, but he desires to put it in its proper place.

I. IT IS QUITE ESSENTIAL TO A HIGH MORALITY TO HAVE A RESPECTFUL SENSE OF THE DIGNITY OF THE BODY. What our Lord Himself was pleased to wear, and wears flow, must, on that very account, be honourable, and His teaching and His wonder-works were addressed as much to the body as to the soul. There are times when it is as right to attend to the body as to the soul. Are they not equally the subjects of God's creation and redemption, of the Father's care and love? Never look upon it as a pious thing to depreciate the body. We are not depreciating the body when we say, "I keep under the body, and bring it into subjection." The very connection does away with that thought. For does the racer, the wrestler, the boxer, despise his body? Is not it rather his glory? Is not it because he values it very highly that he so treats it?

II. WITH THIS CAUTION, WE MAY NOW OBSERVE WHAT PLACE THE BODY OCCUPIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SPIRIT. Originally the whole man was made in the image and after the likeness of God. Then came the fall. It was equally through the body as through the mind. In due time, Christ came, and equally redeemed both. But now here comes in the important distinction which determines everything. In the renewed man a change immediately takes place in his soul, but his body is not changed. That will take place at the resurrection. We all of us have felt the trouble of our bodies. One moment they incite us by their too much strength to pride and self-indulgence, and the next they drag us down to the dust. They are always carrying us too far, or preventing us from going far enough. To every physical temperament there is its own special danger — one to youth, another to age — one to health, another to sickness — to each according to his circumstances and constitution; but to all it is little better than "the body of this death." But, remember, there is not a member or a nerve in the body but it is capable of being a great sin or a high virtue. Every part admits of sanctification. All are given for a purpose, and that purpose is to glorify God. What we have to do is not to destroy anything, but to guide it — not to despise, but to elevate — not to cast off as an enemy, but to employ as a servant. Let me take an instance or two.

1. There is the love of dress. It is a natural instinct, and is in itself a perfectly innocent thing, And some attention as to personal appearance is inseparable from every rightly-constituted mind. Yet every one knows that the love of dress is one of the greatest temptations of the age — to selfishness, vanity, extravagance, and sin. What shall we do, then, with it? Crush it? No. Employ it, control it, subject it. Always act upon a principle, and lay down for yourselves certain rules which your own judgment and conscience approve: Settle with yourself how much your dress ought to cost in the year, and be faithful to your estimate. Dress in the way that will please those whom you most ought to please, and not to please yourself. Make it a school of refinement and thought. So you will turn a dangerous thing into a good discipline, and a positive grace.

2. In like manner, as to food. Guide your conscience in this matter by the Bible; then live by your conscience. Take care that you live unselfishly. Remember whom you follow; and among whom, in this world of want and suffering, you are living.

3. The same consideration will apply to all worldly pleasures and amusements, and all corporeal gratifications. What is meant for pure and holy uses, keep for pure and holy uses.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

This language suggests —


1. One end of a bar of magnetized iron will attract what the other repels. Now break the bar in the middle; and of either half the same will be true. And so you may keep on breaking, until you come to an atom, and even in it the two poles will be found to exist.

2. As wonderful is the polarity of truth. Take this, "Hath not the potter power over the clay," &c., and place it alongside of the text. Bring the latter near to a Calvinist, and it repels and is repelled. Bring it near to an Arminian, and it attracts and is itself attracted. And so, vice versa, of the former text. But as in the magnet there is but one force manifesting itself in duality, so with God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. God cannot be disappointed; yet man is free.

3. Let the theologian, then, follow the example of the philosopher who does not say, as he looks upon the needle, "There must be some mistake in the matter"; but "This is a great mystery: yet there are the two poles, and one is as deserving of my attention as the other."

II. RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LOWER OR PHYSICAL CONDITIONS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. As a plant has its enemies which crawl upon the ground, and others which fly in the air, so the spiritual life has its antagonists who meet it on every level. There is the danger from intellectualism, imagination, and the affections. Then also, on the lowest and widest level, in the physical region, there is often the marshalling of forces to oppose all growth in grace. And these are what the apostle alludes to. There is —

1. The excessive development of physical appetite and passion. That this has the fearful power implied in the text is very evident. Its first and most patent effect is upon the religious life. Take the professor who is given to intemperance. Before you can trace it upon the countenance, or in the domestic sphere, you will be able to note its influence upon the pulse of the man's religion. The man dies like some trees, from the heart outward. First and foremost dies that within him which is the very core of his manhood — his spiritual sense. There is much. with which the indulged vice may make some sort of terms for a time, love of family, desire for a good name, many of the higher tastes, ambitions, and activities. But vice and spiritual life cannot exist together. The life of the one is the death of the other.

2. Too great absorption in the cares of this world. The Bible tells us to be "Not slothful in business." But there must be subordination of the temporal interests to the eternal. A man is like a vessel. He can hold so much, and no more. The cares of this world may be poured into his soul in such quantity as to leave room for nothing else. Many a man has no taste, capacity, strength, time, for anything but business. How can the spiritual hold its own in such? Where will you find place for religion? The good seed is choked. And the result is the same if honour instead of wealth fills the man. The condition of danger is, that a man be filled with the cares of this world. And these may be generated by poverty as by affluence. How can a man grow in Christian life who cannot forget his worldly cares long enough to say the Lord's Prayer? And but one result is possible; the religious life must die of starvation, and the man become a castaway.

3. The atmosphere of selfish indolence. Work is ordained of God as the one condition of healthful development. "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do." It is the very ruin of thousands that they have nothing to do. And that which was made the condition of human development at first Christ has lifted up and sanctified to the end of Christian growth and safety. "Son, go work in My vineyard." "If any man will come after Me, let him take up his cross," &c.

4. The predominance of irreligious association, or, what is the same thing, living in a bad moral atmosphere. Good air, God's sunshine — these are more to the body than all else. Let a man breathe in noxious gases day by day, and it makes no difference what other special precautions he may take, his health will be gradually undermined. So is it of moral and spiritual health. "Evil communications corrupt good manners." Hence the importance which is laid upon the separation of Christians from the world, and upon the Christian communion which has been prepared for them. No man is strong enough to stand by himself. And it was never intended that the greater part of any Christian life should be spent outside of all religious association. Conclusion: In view of all that has been said it follows —

1. That Christian cultivation covers a much wider sphere than many seem to think. First in order, as a means of grace, stands the Church. And then, secondly, outside of the means of grace, there are others none the less needful, and whose places cannot be supplied by the Church and her ordinances. What matters it how much a man prays, if he is living in intemperance or impurity? What good will the communion do her who has sunken down into the depths of a perfectly selfish and indolent life? And take the man whose heart is eaten up with the cares of this world. Can the Word of God dwell richly in such a one?

2. That there is no point in the Christian's progress at which he can afford to relax in vigilant watch and care of the physical surroundings of his life.

3. That there is a very wide sphere in which human activity may co-operate with the saving power of God. Many Christian hands are idle because they do not know what to do. To such I say, look at Paul. Hear his words, "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection."

(S. S. Mitchell, D. D.)

1. The simple etymological sense of the term is "I strike under the eye." The figure is that of a pugilistic encounter. Paul imagines to himself his body as rising up against his higher nature; and against this foe he directs his well-aimed blows; not to destroy or even mutilate it, but to render it what it always ought to be — the obedient slave of the inner nature.

2. But, it may be asked, does the apostle teach us that the body is the source of all inward evil? On the contrary, no man exalts the human body more. He represents it as the temple of the Holy Ghost. "Members of Christ." He prays that our body, as well as our spirit and soul, may be preserved faultless. How, then, are we to understand the phrase? — whence this mysterious collision?

3. St. Paul is here speaking of his life's work, in pursuing which he makes a discovery which all of us have to make sooner or later — that he who would conquer a world must be ready to conquer himself. In vers. 4-6 St. Paul indicates three special respects in which he had turned aside from the reasonable demands of nature for his work's sake. "Have we not power to eat and to drink?" — that is to say, he might have secured for himself a comfortable competence. "Have we not power to lead about a sister?" &c. He might have surrounded himself with all the pleasures of domestic life. "Have not Barnabas and I power to forbear working?" It certainly did seem reasonable that one who worked so hard for souls should be saved from the weariness of physical toil. And what had he to say to these natural and reasonable demands? Nothing but his work, and the will of God in that work. And when he found nature urging, as nature will, her demands for some degree of consideration, just as our Lord discovered Satan in the person of the disciple who dissuaded Him from the Cross; so the apostle discovered a foe in his own flesh, when that flesh shrank from the path of self-denial, and, smiting his antagonist down, he consigned it to its own proper place; from henceforth thou art to dictate thy terms no longer; thou art slave, and not master!

4. And now for our practical lesson. We, too, are striving for the mastery in a world which has been devastated by evil. Do we not also find that our bodies rise up and resist the claims made on them by the work which has to be done?(1) It may be perhaps, with us, rather in little things that the conflict has to be waged. You know that there are sick and poor to be visited. Love for souls, and for God, would prompt you to set forth; but it is a cold wintry day. How the body pleads, Sit still; another day will do as well. Or perhaps it is so small a matter as rising from your bed in the morning sufficiently early to give yourself time for prayer and the study of God's Word; or it is your time for prayer in the evening, after the busy day of toil; or it is that you have a call to visit the haunts of wretchedness and misery, where everything is repulsive. These are occasions on which we too have to arm our right hand with spiritual power, and to smite our body down, forcibly reminding it of its true position.(2) Or perhaps the body asserts itself not so much in forbidding the painful as suggesting the pleasant — now appealing to our lower appetites with suggestions of indulgences. The mind that is taken up in any degree with the thought, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? &c., is making provision for the flesh, and in doing so is unconsciously resigning its true supremacy. The same thing is true of those higher forms of gratification which none the less have the body as their subject. There is no harm in enjoying the pleasures of the eye, or of the ear, but as soon as we give ourselves over to it, it becomes guilty. If God throws an innocent pleasure in our way, we are not called upon to suspect the gift; but when we go out of our way to pursue the pleasurable, the higher part of our nature is yielding itself as the slave of the lower.

5. How did St. Paul smite his body down, and reduce it into the condition of a slave? This much surely is obvious — a man is no match for himself! He lets us into the secret by giving us a practical direction: "If ye," he says, "through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." All turns upon this. "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh."

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

Look at the chariot-drivers. Do you not see how exceedingly careful and strict they are with themselves in their training-practice, their labours, their diet, and all the rest, that they may not be thrown down from their chariots; and be dragged along by the reins? See what a thing art is! Often even a strong man cannot master a single horse; but a mere boy, who has learnt the art, shall often take the pair in hand, and with ease lead them and drive them where he will. Nay, in India, it is said that a huge monster of an elephant will yield to a stripling of fifteen, who manages him with the utmost ease. To what purpose have I said all this? To show that, if by dint of study and practice we can train into submission even elephants and wild horses, much more the passions within us.

( Chrysostom.)

— A friend once asked an aged man what caused him so often to complain of pain and weariness in the evening. "Alas!" said he, "I have every day so much to do; for I have two falcons to tame, two hares to keep from running away, two hawks to manage, a serpent to confine, a lion to chain, and a sick man to tend and wait upon." "Why, you must be joking," said his friend; "surely no man can have all these things to do at once." "Indeed, I am not joking," said the old man; "but what I have told you is the sad and sober truth; for the two falcons are my two eyes, which I must diligently guard, lest something should please them which may be hurtful to my salvation; the two hares are my feet, which I must hold back lest they should run after evil objects, and walk in the ways of sin; the two hawks are my two hands, which I must train and keep to Work in order that I may be able to provide for myself and for my brethren who are in need; the serpent is my tongue, which I must always keep in with a bridle, lest it should speak anything unseemly; the lion is my heart, with which I have to maintain a continual fight in order that vanity and pride may not fill it, but that the grace of God may dwell and work there; the sick man is my whole body, which is always needing my watchfulness and care. All this daily wears out my strength."

(Preacher's Promptuary.)

Observe this was penned towards the close of the apostle's career. Full of years, and laden with trophies, he still thinks it necessary to keep war with the flesh. View him —

I. AS AN AGED MAN. There is no period in which the spiritual warrior may relax his training. Each season of life has its appropriate and dominant passion.

II. AS AN ADVANCED CHRISTIAN. Men may make great advances in religious knowledge, but be imperfect. Consider Paul's attainments in theology — yet still he struggles; he is still imperfect.

III. AS AN EXPERIENCED MINISTER. A minister may eloquently preach, and people be delighted to listen — to real blessings to which both he and they be strangers. Again, people may be converted, and yet their minister be a castaway. So parents, masters, teachers, may help others to Christ, yet never find Him themselves. Personal religion, including persevering conflict, essential to final salvation.


I. WHAT IS IT TO BE A "CASTAWAY"? One who had been pronounced by the judges to be disqualified for the Greek games, or one who, having been permitted to enter into the contest, fails. Or the expression may have reference to metals, which, when the mass has been "proved" to be dross, is rejected. Thus we read of "reprobate silver." The theological idea of reprobation does not belong to this word, it is simply intrinsic worthlessness, brought to light by the scrutiny of God's eye, the searching efficacy of His Word, or a providential dispensation.

1. From whom may we be castaway.(1) God. God "drove out the man" Adam; and Cain "went out from the presence of the Lord"; and David says, "Cast me not away from Thy presence," &c.(2) Christ, who said, "Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out." Yet He drove the buyers and sellers out of the Temple; ejected demons; denounced the scribes and Pharisees, and foretold to them their doom.(3) The Spirit of God, who "will not always strive with men." "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost," said Stephen to the Jewish nation; and at length the Jewish nation was cast away. A man may sin till the Spirit of God will let him alone.(4) Good men; rejected of the Church, excommunicated. The salt having lost its savour is good for nothing but to be cast away.(5) Certain societies. You are blackballed, and your rejection may involve shame and infamy.(6) The angels of God. Did they not turn their backs upon Sodom? Did they not smite Egypt?(7) Yourselves; and this in the case of an apostate is not that salutary self-loathing which is associated with hope and pardon, but that of darkness and despair.

2. When? In part now; as when a man is excluded from the fellowship of the wise and good. Yet very often this may not be carried into effect; just as in the case of the tares, Christ told His disciples to let them grow together until harvest. The time of final discrimination, then, is the end of the man's earthly probation. When he departs from this world, he is rejected of heaven. We read of those who were "without," of the virgins who were cast away; of those to whom Christ will say, "Depart from Me, I never knew you, ye workers of iniquity." The most affecting thing in the universe is to be "a castaway," finally and for ever rejected.

II. THE MEANS WHICH THE APOSTLE TOOK TO PREVENT THIS. The text is only one among many.

1. He abjured confidence in himself, and his own virtue and excellence (Philippians 3.). He grounds his hope of eternal life on the atonement of Christ, and resting as he did in Christ, it was impossible for him to be "a castaway."

2. He lived, and loved, and laboured by faith (Galatians 2:20). It is when the love of Christ is not present in a man's heart and mind, that he is in danger of being a castaway. "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha."

3. He kept near to God in prayer. If you cast off prayer, you will be in peril; if you continue in prayer and supplication, you will not.

4. Taking these points antecedently to the one suggested in the text, our course becomes clear. "But I keep under my body," &c. Now the apostle does not mean anything ascetical; but that the body was subjected to the reason; and if any one of you has acquired a mastery over the animal appetites and instincts, he is on his way not to be a castaway, but to be approved and glorified of God.

5. What comes after this is sweet and sacred resignation to the Divine will "I am ready, not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."

6. The final thing is that Paul laid aside every weight. "This one thing I do," &c.

III. THE TRIUMPHANT ISSUE. I know not anyone name which surpasses that of Paul. He is no castaway as respects the honour done to his name in the Church. And then in the world how has his character been appreciated even by those who have rejected his doctrine! What an immense effect have his writings had on the condition of society and on human affairs! Then as respects his admission to heaven, one moment there is the axe of Nero, the next he hears, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

(J. Stratten.)

Observe —

1. How earnestly Paul sought the kingdom of heaven (ver. 26). It was long after his conversion that Paul writes in this manner.

2. One particular in which he was very earnest. "I keep under my body," &c. (ver. 25).

3. His reason for all this earnestness — "Lest when," &c. What is it to be cast away? Wicked men shall be cast away —

I. FROM GOD (Matthew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:9). From —

1. The fruition of God.

2. The favour of God — "In Thy favour is life."

3. The blessing of God. God is the fountain of all blessing. Separate a man from God finally, and no creature can give him joy.

II. FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit is now dealing and striving with natural men. When the day of grace is done the Spirit will strive no more —

1. Through ordinances. There will be no family worship in hell — no Bible, no Sabbath, no preached gospel.

2. Through providences. There will be no more poverty or riches — no more sickness or bereavements.

3. Through conscience it will condemn, but it will not restrain.


1. The angels will no longer take any interest in you.

2. The redeemed will no longer pray for you, nor shed another tear for you.

3. Ministers will no more desire your salvation. It will no more be their work.

4. Even devils will cast you off. As long as you remain on earth, the devil keeps you in his train; then you will be a part of his torment, and he will hate you and torment you, because you deceived him, and he deceived you.


1. The understanding will be clear and full to apprehend the real nature of your misery.

2. The will in you will be all contrary to God's will.

3. Your conscience, God's viceregent, will accuse you of all your sins.

4. Your memory will be very clear.

5. Your anticipations — everlasting despair. Conclusion: Let believers learn Paul's earnest diligence. A wicked life will end in being a castaway. These two are linked together, and no man can sunder them,

(R. M, McCheyne, M. A.)

Ministers of religion may finally be lost, The apostle indicates that possibility. Cardinal Wolsey, after having been petted by kings, died in darkness. There have been cases of shipwreck where all on board escaped excepting the captain. You all understand the figure. There are men who, by their sins and temptations, are thrown helpless! Driven before the gale, wrecked, cast away. Among the causes of this calamity are —

I. FALSE LIGHTS ON THE BEACH. This was often so in olden times. There are all kinds of lanterns swung on the beach — philosophical, educational, humanitarian. Men look at them, and are deceived, when there is nothing but the lighthouse of the gospel that can keep them from becoming castaways. Once, on Wolf Crag lighthouse, they tried to build a copper figure of a wolf with its mouth open, so that the storms beating into it the wolf would howl. Of course it was a failure. And so all new inventions for the saving of a man's soul are unavailing. You might better destroy all the great lighthouses on the dangerous coasts than to put out God's great ocean-lamp — the gospel.

II. THE SUDDEN SWOOP OF A TEMPEST. A vessel is sailing along in the East Indies; suddenly the breeze freshens; but before they can square the booms the vessel is in the grip of a tornado, and falls over into the trough of the sea, and broadside rolls on to the beach and keels over, leaving the crew to struggle in the merciless surf. And so there are thousands destroyed through the sudden swoop of temptations. Some great inducement to worldliness, or temper, or dissipation comes upon them. If they had time to deliberate, they could stand it; but the temptation came so suddenly, and they perish. It is the first step that costs; the second is easier; and the third; and on to the last. Once having broken loose from the anchor, it is not so easy to tie the parted strands.

III. SHEER RECKLESSNESS. The average of human life on the sea is less than twelve years. This comes from the fact that men by familiarity with danger become reckless, and in nine out of ten shipwrecks it is found out that some one was awfully to blame. So men lose their souls. There are thousands who do not care where they are in spiritual things. Drifting in their theology, in their habits, in regard to all the future; but all the time coming nearer and nearer to a dangerous coast. They do not deliberately choose to be ruined;' neither did the French frigate Medusa aim for the Arguin Banks, but there it went to pieces.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

These terrible words teach —


I. strike under the eye so as to make it black and blue, a boxing phrase, indicative of strenuous efforts at mortification, as who should say, "I subdue the flesh by violent and reiterated blows." "And bring it into subjection"; "I lead it along as a slave," having subjugated it, I treat it as a bondsman, as boxers in the Palaestra used to drag off their conquered opponents. And the reason for this mortification of the flesh is, "lest I should be a castaway." Self-discipline consists of two things.

1. The entire subjugation of the body to the mind. The body was intended to be the organ, servant, and instrument of the mind, but it has become the master. The supremacy of the body is the curse of the world and the ruin of man.

2. The subjugation of the mind to the spirit of Christ. Though the mind govern the body, if the mind is false, selfish, unloyal to Christ, there is no discipline. The mind must be the servant of Christ in order to be the legitimate sovereign of the body.

II. THAT THE NECESSITY OF THIS SELF-DISCIPLINE CANNOT RE SUPERSEDED BY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PREACHING. Paul had preached as no one else had ever preached; yet his preaching, he felt, did not do the work of self-discipline. Indeed, there is much in the work of preaching that has a tendency to operate against personal spiritual culture.

1. Familiarity with sacred truths destroys for us their charm of freshness,

2. A professional handling of God's Word interferes with its personal application.

3. The opinions of audiences, favourable or otherwise, exert an influence unfavourable to the life of the soul.

4. Satan is especially active in opposing the growth of spiritual piety in the preacher's soul. So that there is a terrible danger that whilst the preacher is cultivating the vineyards of others he is neglecting his own.

III. THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PREACHING MAY BE FOLLOWED BY ULTIMATE RUIN. A "castaway"! Who shall fathom the meaning of this word? A successful preacher "a castaway"! The Tophet of him who has offered mercy to others which he has despised, urged truths on the credence of others that he has disbelieved, enforced laws on others which he has transgressed, will burn with severer fires and peal with more awful thunders.

(D. Thomas, D. D.).

Barnabas, Cephas, Christians, Corinthians, Paul, Peter
Approval, Beat, Blows, Body, Bondage, Bring, Buffet, Captive, Castaway, Cast-away, Chastise, Control, Disapproved, Discipline, Disqualified, Fear, God's, Herald, Hit, Lead, Lest, Myself, News, Pommel, Possibly, Preached, Preaching, Prize, Rejected, Servitude, Slave, Slavery, Straight, Subdue, Subjection, Submission
1. He shows his liberty;
7. and that the minister ought to receive a living by the Gospel;
15. yet that himself has of his own accord abstained,
18. to be neither chargeable unto them,
22. nor offensive unto any, in matters indifferent.
24. Our life is like unto a race.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Corinthians 9:27

     5136   body
     5794   asceticism
     6106   addiction
     8451   mortification
     8476   self-discipline
     8777   lust

1 Corinthians 9:19-27

     5773   abstinence, discipline

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

     5178   running
     5787   ambition, positive
     8110   athletics

1 Corinthians 9:25-27

     5856   extravagance

1 Corinthians 9:26-27

     5500   reward, God's people

Third Sunday Before Lent
Text: First Corinthians 9, 24-27; 10, 1-5. 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,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

How the victor Runs
So run, that ye may obtain.'--1 COR. ix. 24. 'So run.' Does that mean 'Run so that ye obtain?' Most people, I suppose, superficially reading the words, attach that significance to them, but the 'so' here carries a much greater weight of meaning than that. It is a word of comparison. The Apostle would have the Corinthians recall the picture which he has been putting before them--a picture of a scene that was very familiar to them; for, as most of us know, one of the most important of the Grecian
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

'Concerning the Crown'
'They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we are incorruptible.'--1 COR. ix. 25. One of the most famous of the Greek athletic festivals was held close by Corinth. Its prize was a pine-wreath from the neighbouring sacred grove. The painful abstinence and training of ten months, and the fierce struggle of ten minutes, had for their result a twist of green leaves, that withered in a week, and a little fading fame that was worth scarcely more, and lasted scarcely longer. The struggle and the discipline
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

The Sin of Silence
'For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel! 17. For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward.'--1 COR. ix. 16, 17. The original reference of these words is to the Apostle's principle and practice of not receiving for his support money from the churches. Gifts he did accept; pay he did not. The exposition of his reason is interesting, ingenuous, and chivalrous. He strongly asserts his right, even
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

A Servant of Men
'For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Preach the Gospel
Now, these words of Paul, I trust, are applicable to many ministers in the present day; to all those who are especially called, who are directed by the inward impulse of the Holy Spirit to occupy the position of gospel ministers. In trying to consider this verse, we shall have three inquiries this morning:--First, What is it to preach the gospel? Secondly, Why is it that a minister has nothing to glorify of? And thirdly, What is that necessity and that woe, of which it is written, "Necessity is laid
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

The Heavenly Race
And now, in entering upon the text, I shall have to notice what it is we are to run for: "So run that ye may obtain;" secondly, the mode of running, to which we must attend--"So run that ye may obtain;" and then I shall give a few practical exhortations to stir those onward in the heavenly race who are flagging and negligent, in order that they may at last "obtain." I. In the first place, then, WHAT IS IT THAT WE OUGHT TO SEEK TO OBTAIN? Some people think they must be religious, in order to be respectable.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

"Now the God of Hope Fill You with all Joy and Peace in Believing," &C.
Rom. xv. 13.--"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing," &c. It is usual for the Lord in his word to turn his precepts unto promises, which shows us, that the commandments of God do not so much import an ability in us, or suppose strength to fulfil them, as declare that obligation which lies upon us, and his purpose and intention to accomplish in some, what he requires of all: and therefore we should accordingly convert all his precepts unto prayers, seeing he hath made
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Bunyan -- the Heavenly Footman
John Bunyan was born in the village of Elstow, near Bedford, England, in 1628. Because of his fearless preaching he was imprisoned in Bedford jail from 1660 to 1672, and again for six months in 1675, during which latter time it is said his wonderful "Pilgrim's Progress" was written. While his sermons in their tedious prolixity share the fault of his time, they are characterized by vividness, epigrammatic wit, and dramatic fervor. The purity and simplicity of his style have been highly praised, and
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Vol. 2

Against Vain Judgments of Men
"My Son, anchor thy soul firmly upon God, and fear not man's judgment, when conscience pronounceth thee pious and innocent. It is good and blessed thus to suffer; nor will it be grievous to the heart which is humble, and which trusteth in God more than in itself. Many men have many opinions, and therefore little trust is to be placed in them. But moreover it is impossible to please all. Although Paul studied to please all men in the Lord, and to become all things to all men,(1) yet nevertheless
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Apostles To-Day?
"Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are ye not my work in the Lord?"--1 Cor. ix. 1. We may not take leave of the apostolate without a last look at the circle of its members. It is a closed circle; and every effort to reopen it tends to efface a characteristic of the New Covenant. And yet the effort is being made again and again. We see it in Rome's apostolic succession; in the Ethical view gradually effacing the boundary-line between the apostles and believers;
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Though in Order to Establish this Suitable Difference Between the Fruits or Effects of virtue and vice,
so reasonable in itself, and so absolutely necessary for the vindication of the honour of God, the nature of things, and the constitution and order of God's creation, was originally such, that the observance of the eternal rules of justice, equity, and goodness, does indeed of itself tend by direct and natural consequence to make all creatures happy, and the contrary practice to make them miserable; yet since, through some great and general corruption and depravation, (whencesoever that may have
Samuel Clarke—A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God

An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality
AN ESSAY ON THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF IMMORTALITY BY THE REV. JAMES CHALLIS, M.A., F.R.S., F.R.A.S. PLUMIAN PROFESSOR OF ASTRONOMY AND EXPERIMENTAL PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, AND FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE. Anagke gar moi epikeitai ouai gar moi estin, ean me euaggelzumai --1 Cor. ix. 16 RIVINGTONS London, Oxford, and Cambridge MDCCCLXXX RIVINGTONS London . . . . . . Waterloo Place Oxford . . . . . . Magdalen Street Cambridge . . . . Trinity Street [All rights reserved]
James Challis—An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality

Concerning Christian Liberty
CHRISTIAN faith has appeared to many an easy thing; nay, not a few even reckon it among the social virtues, as it were; and this they do, because they have not made proof of it experimentally, and have never tasted of what efficacy it is. For it is not possible for any man to write well about it, or to understand well what is rightly written, who has not at some time tasted of its spirit, under the pressure of tribulation. While he who has tasted of it, even to a very small extent, can never write,
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

The Edict of Banishment, 1729-1736.
But Zinzendorf was not long allowed to tread the primrose path of peace. As the news of his proceedings spread in Germany, many orthodox Lutherans began to regard him as a nuisance, a heretic, and a disturber of the peace; and one critic made the elegant remark: "When Count Zinzendorf flies up into the air, anyone who pulls him down by the legs will do him a great service." He was accused of many crimes, and had many charges to answer. He was accused of founding a new sect, a society for laziness;
J. E. Hutton—History of the Moravian Church

But He Speaks More Openly in the Rest which He Subjoins...
9. But he speaks more openly in the rest which he subjoins, and altogether removes all causes of doubting. "If we unto you," saith he, "have sown spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" What are the spiritual things which he sowed, but the word and mystery of the sacrament of the kingdom of heaven? And what the carnal things which he saith he had a right to reap, but these temporal things which are indulged to the life and indigency of the flesh? These however
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Hence Arises Another Question; for Peradventure one May Say...
23. Hence arises another question; for peradventure one may say, "What then? did the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas, sin, in that they did not work? Or did they occasion an hindrance to the Gospel, because blessed Paul saith that he had not used this power on purpose that he might not cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ? For if they sinned because they wrought not, then had they not received power not to work, but to live instead by the Gospel. But if they had received
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

We are not Binding Heavy Burdens and Laying them Upon Your Shoulders...
37. We are not binding heavy burdens and laying them upon your shoulders, while we with a finger will not touch them. Seek out, and acknowledge the labor of our occupations, and in some of us the infirmities of our bodies also, and in the Churches which we serve, that custom now grown up, that they do not suffer us to have time ourselves for those works to which we exhort you. For though we might say, "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

And He Comes Back Again, and in all Ways...
10. And he comes back again, and in all ways, over and over again, enforceth what he hath the right to do, yet doeth not. "Do ye not know," saith he, "that they which work in the temple, eat of the things which are in the temple? they which serve the altar, have their share with the altar? So hath the Lord ordained for them which preach the Gospel, to live of the Gospel. But I have used none of these things." [2500] What more open than this? what more clear? I fear lest haply, while I discourse wishing
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

But Now, that as Bearing with the Infirmity of Men He did This...
12. But now, that as bearing with the infirmity of men he did this, let us hear what follows: "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. To them that are under the law, I became as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law." [2505] Which thing he did, not with craftiness
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

There Resulteth Then from all These this Sentence...
41. There resulteth then from all these this sentence, that a lie which doth not violate the doctrine of piety, nor piety itself, nor innocence, nor benevolence, may on behalf of pudicity of body be admitted. And yet if any man should propose to himself so to love truth, not only that which consists in contemplation, but also in uttering the true thing, which each in its own kind of things is true, and no otherwise to bring forth with the mouth of the body his thought than in the mind it is conceived
St. Augustine—On Lying

The Great Synod Has Stringently Forbidden any Bishop, Presbyter...
The great Synod has stringently forbidden any bishop, presbyter, deacon, or any one of the clergy whatever, to have a subintroducta dwelling with him, except only a mother, or sister, or aunt, or such persons only as are beyond all suspicion. Notes. Ancient Epitome of Canon III. No one shall have a woman in his house except his mother, and sister, and persons altogether beyond suspicion. Justellus. Who these mulieres subintroductæ were does not sufficiently appear...but they were neither wives
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

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