Going For the Gold! -- By: Gordon Franz

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 17:2 (Spring 2004)
Article: Going For the Gold!
Author: Gordon Franz

Going For the Gold!

Gordon Franz

A sport shoe company ran an advertisement during the 1996 Olympics, with the line, “You do not win the silver medal, you lose the gold!” That line caught the essence of Greek athletic competition. The athlete enters the competition with the goal of winning the event, not losing it. The legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, tried to instill this winning attitude in his football players when he said, “Winning is not everything, it is the only thing.”

The epitaph of a boxer named Agathos Daimon found on a funerary monument at Olympia in Greece said:

A funerary monument from Isthmia depicting the various crowns won by the athlete buried here. Isthmia is the site of the Greek Isthmian Games on the Isthmus of Corinth. From 776 BC, the Greeks computed time based on the Olympiad, a period of four years reckoned from one celebration of the Olympic games to the next. The Isthmian Games were held in the second and fourth year of every Olympiad. All of Greece converged on Corinth for the games that were held to honor Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Contests included foot racing, wrestling, boxing, long jumping, discus throwing, javelin hurling, chariot racing, poetry reading and singing. According to inscriptions contemporary with the Apostle Paul, women as well as men competed in these games.

Here he died boxing in the stadium

Having prayed to Zeus for a wreath

or death. Age 35. Farewell.

For this competitor, second place was not an option. He went for the gold and died trying to win it (Milavic 1992:11).

The Apostle Paul described the Christian life in terms of athletic metaphors. His goal was to win the “race” of the Christian life, not to loose it (Phil 3:12–14; 1 Cor 9:24–27; 2 Tim 4:6–8). He died winning the race!

Paul at Corinth

Dr. Luke does not explicitly state why Paul went to Corinth during his second missionary journey (Acts 18). However, the discerning Bible student, knowing the history and geography of the city of Corinth, could surmise three reasons for Paul going to this city. First, Corinth was on the strategic lines of communication. There was the major east-west maritime trade route that went via the Isthmus of Corinth, which was a vital link in trade between Rome and the eastern part of the empire. There we...

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