In first century Greece, the Apostle Paul ministered to a culture that competed athletically for patriotic pride in a religious festival. Athletes from the different Greek cities and territories gathered in Olympia every four years until the fourth century.
Despite the decline of Greek culture and the rise of the Roman Empire, the fact that the Apostle Paul referenced the competitions in at least two of his letters testifies to their continuing influence. It is obvious that the Apostle Paul witnessed athletes training for the games and competitions between athletes.
He used the cultural interest in athletic competitions to illustrate his appeal to the Corinthians to be self-disciplined and goal oriented in their own pursuit of prize.
During the modern Olympic Summer Games in Rio this summer, we will be inspired by the Apostle Paul's words in reference to the games in his letter to the Corinthians, one of the competing superpowers.
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