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Discipline, Sport, and the Religion of Winners: Paul on Running to Win the Prize, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

In 1 Cor. 9:25 Paul exhorts the Corinthian believers to strive like athletes for an eternal prize. This paper elucidates the communal horizon of the self-disciplining he enjoins, which overturns popular modern conceptions of individual fitness and performance training. Paul likewise defines the rewards of spiritual labour as aspects of participation in the communion of saints gathered by the gospel, disallowing a wholly post-temporal construal of the eternal reward which motivates Christian discipline. The paper concludes by raising questions about the theological status of modern sport, of theologies of sport, and of competition as a form of social organisation.