top of page

Pursuing the Imperishable: The Five Crowns - 1 Corinthians 9:25-27


1 Cor 9:25-27 “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”


Opening: In 1896, an American track and field athlete named James Connolly ascended the victor’s podium at the first modern Olympic games. He was the first Olympic champion in 1,400 years. Connolly embodied the Olympic motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” That may be a great summary of the thoughts that were flooding the Apostle Pauls mind and ours in these verses we have been looking at.


Today we are taking a topical excursion as we launch out of our exposition of this text. Paul is talking about the disciples pursuit and striving for an imperishable crown. We all understand the metaphor of athleticism. In 1 Cor 9:25 Paul speaks of the contrast between the perishable wreath and an imperishable. This is going to lead us to look at the imperishable crowns described in the scripture…


  • One subject to decay, and destruction, disintegration, and death.

  • One is impervious to death and destruction - imperishable, incorruptible, immortal.

How am I pursuing this in my life? Paul said, I’m running, Im boxing, I discipline myself.


What for? “The Prize”. an award for exceptional performance, yes, and award. Commentaries note that the prizes in the games … like in Corinth… they resulted in not only crowns, but money, oil, barley, and certain rights . Some might win citizenship, or land.... So the crown represented the actual victory and more…besides this: the victors were viewed as having acquired divine status. "The victors were placed on the same level as the gods and entered into communion with them. When the victors were honored they wore the same mark of distinction as the god."


Phil 3:14 “I press on toward the goal for the prize