Christians receive different opinions and teachings about sports in different churches and denominations. I assume that this made the readers of the portal to ask me this question, wanting to know what the Bible says in this regard. In the New Testament there are several references to sports and professional athletes. I will review some of these texts to see what God wants to teach us about professional sports.
Professional sport is an image that reflects spiritual truths
When he wrote to Corinthians that he did not take a payment from them for the job he had done, not to put an obstacle to the Gospel and that he had to suffer many straits and restraints to be able to serve them, Apostle Paul wrote:
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)(NASB)
In ancient rich city Corinth, every four years were held pan–Corinthians sports games where everybody came to watch the athletes and follow the competitions.Because Corinthians knew so much about professional sports, Apostle Paul decided to use their knowledge about sports to teach them the spiritual truths:
To run for the heavenly prize
As sportsmen must do the greatest possible effort to gain the prize, we, Christians must do a maximal effort to spread the Gospel so that we may get our prize in heaven.
To refrain from any barriers to achieve the goal
To achieve that goal and to receive the trophy, sportsmen are forced to refrain from many things, namely to refrain from things that are common for other people and that do not necessary include something sinful.So we, Christians, must refrain from things that hinder us in one way or another one to be effective in the ministry of spreading the Gospel.
To work for an eternal glory
All effort of the professional sportsmen is directed to receive a crown that dries up. That was in those days, sportsmen did not receive medals as nowadays, but only a wreath of laurel and only the champion received it. There were not the second or the third places. The one who received the crown, that is the champion, received a great honor that lasted until another became a champion, and then it was forgotten little by little. The Christian’s effort in the Gospel will be rewarded with an eternal glory in heaven. Here’s why the professional sports, if it’s an aim in itself, is as ineffectual as other earthly purposes to which people dedicate themselves. No more, no less.
vTo fight according to the rules
Another truth from the life of the professional athletes is told by the apostle Paul said, when he said:
Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5)(NASB)
As there are set rules at the competition, and anyone who violates them is disqualified, so is the Christian life, when God has established rules that are written on the pages of Holy Scriptures, and who violates them will be disqualified and will not receive the crown that doesn’t dry up.
Sports is an effective tool to spread the Gospel to people
I am a sportsman and I used professional sports to spread the Gospel to people. I founded the Taekwon-Do “Stolas Leukas” club, where many boys and girls have known the Lord Jesus and eternal life by studying the Holy Scriptures and today they spread the message of the Gospel in the same way in Moldova and other countries. By God’s mercy, I was offered the opportunity to teach, to encourage and help other professional athletes, that now use their sports such as basketball, soccer, boxing to share the Gospel. Considering this, we started a Mission through sports faculty at the Inductive Bible Study Institute from Moldova and I published some articles on the portal Moldova Creștinăone of them being the 10 basic principles to achieve success in evangelization and discipleship through sports ministry.
Translated by Felicia Djugostran