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The Christadelphian | August 2012

In the magazine this month:

  • Editorial Pressing on
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Sunday morning “The horns of the altar” | Stephen Hole
  • “Sing forth the honour of His Name” Ten years of worship from the 2002 hymn book | John Morris
  • The two kinds of goodness | Paul Wasson
  • Olympic imagery in the Epistles | John Morris
  • The message to the seven churches 8 – To Laodicea | James Andrews
  • Leah and Rachel | Paul Cresswell
  • Questions Jesus asks “Can ye drink of the cup …?” | Paul Aston
  • The character of God 6 – Immutable | Mark Buckler
  • Visions from a high mountain | Geoff & Jenny Henstock
  • Signs of the times The Eastern Mediterranean
  • Israel and their land Olympic fears
  • The brotherhood near and far

A sample article from this edition:

Olympic imagery in the Epistles

THE 2012 Olympic Games in London have their origins in the Games that were held in ancient Greece. Those events were still popular in the first century AD and it is not surprising that we find a number of allusions to the Games in the New Testament, especially in the Epistles of Paul. Here are some of the passages where athletic imagery is to be found (quotations are from various versions and paraphrases where the wording is particularly helpful in capturing the athletic idiom):

“You know very well, of course, that all the competitors in a foot-race (race-course, stadion) run, but only one gains the prize. You must run your race, therefore, in such a way as to win. Everyone who participates in an athletic contest disciplines his whole course of life ... And that is why I run an undeviating course with my eye fixed on the tape; my boxing is no shadow boxing. I discipline my body strictly and keep it under, in case I myself should be disqualified after I have acted as a herald, proclaiming the rules to others.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, F. F. Bruce’s Expanded Paraphrase of the Epistles of Paul)

“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7; see also 2:2)

“Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13,14, RV)

“Exercise (gumnazo) yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things.” (1 Timothy 4:7,8, NKJV)

“Run (agonizo) the great race of faith and take hold of eternal life.” (6:12, Revised English Bible)

“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes (athleo) according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:5, ESV)

“I have run the great race, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. And now there awaits me the garland (crown, stephanos) of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on the great day.” (4:7,8, REB)

“Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race (agona) that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1,2, J. B. Phillips)

These passages contain valuable exhortations for the spiritual athlete. The self-discipline and training required for success in the Games are, of course, also essential in the race for eternal life. For those who compete, the prize is more lasting than a gold medal – an imperishable crown, won not in their own strength but by God’s grace through the Lord Jesus Christ.

JOHN MORRIS

 

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