Sport: A Biblical Perspective

The Bible does not provide a manual for the playing of sports but it does provide a framework for sportspeople to guide them in their preparations and in the realisation that a win-at-all-costs approach to sports is far from healthy. Sporting analogies are frequently used in the writings of St. Paul, in particular his letters to Timothy and to the Corinthians.

Paul is very much aware of the role that the Isthmian Games plays in the lives of the people of Corinth. One of the most famous quotes of Paul relates to sport: I have run the good race, I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith (11Tim4:7). Earlier in his second letter to Timothy, Paul speaks about the importance of fair play and playing by the rules: take an athlete, he cannot win any crown unless he has kept all the rules (11Tim2.)

Paul reminds the people of Corinth that the body is a temple of The Holy Spirit(1Cor. 6.19). Later on in his first letter to the Corinthians he speaks from his own experience of being an athlete and directs people to run the race of glory that will never fade (1Cor 9:24-27).

Even in the scriptures passages that do not have a clear reference to sport scripture can still be used a guide to prayer. An example could be a line taken from the psalms:

‘Give success to the work of our hands’ (Ps90). This is a prayer that could be offered by anyone playing handball, road-bowls or indeed everyone who plays sports.

The scriptures offer a guide to sports people that sport is used for the benefit of all and leads us in the direction of promoting common good.