Bible Verses For Athletes: 20 Motivational Scriptures

by Daryl Evans on July 9, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

There are a number of verses in the Bible that clearly paint a picture using athletic terminology or sporting images.  Some of these passages use boxing or running illustrations that seem to make us think of Olympic images.  The original Olympic Games are usually dated back to around 776 BC.  This date informs us that at the very least, the New Testament writers would have been very familiar with sporting events that are described in the New Testament.  The verses listed below are not only motivational but give us a sense about competition, training, winning, losing, and being prepared.

Motivational Bible Verses

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

2Samuel 23:12 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory.

Psalm 3:6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

Psalm 37:23-24   The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (from the Apostle Paul)

Bible Verses For Athletes

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Sports Bible Scriptures From the Apostle Paul

1Corinthians 9:24-27  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we van imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

1Timothy 4:8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

2Timothy 2:5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Sports Themed Verses from Hebrews

The book of Hebrews has many sports related verses and in fact, seem to give us a picture of early Olympic games images.  Some have concluded that the Apostle Paul wrote Hebrews because of the similar wording between the verses listed in Hebrews and the other letters that we know Paul wrote.  I think it is possible that Paul wrote Hebrews but am inclined to think that someone else wrote this book.  Because of this, I have made a separate category for the Hebrews sports verses.

Hebrews 12:1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:12  Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

Hebrews 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

Bible Quotes on Sportsmanship

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Note that this is also from the Apostle Paul)

Proverbs 25:27  It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.

The Bible is God’s words to us and often gives us a broader perspective on things pertaining to living and even sporting events.  Maybe you have an upcoming sporting event or endurance event that is in your near future.  Consider these verses and commit some of them to memory and meditate on them during your training.  May God bless you and keep you focused on your training and may you please him even through your sporting interests.

Looking for some more Bible verse studies?

Take a look at these other similar type articles:

Resources

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

 

 



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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert July 9, 2012 at 8:45 am

Thank you Daryl,
True motivation from our Creator. I especially like Isaiah 40:31. How can you read that on not be encouraged. Almost makes me want to workout…almost.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Pamela Rose Williams July 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi Daryl — great collection. My fav is Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

I wrote a little about the amour over on my site here: http://christianeveryday.com/index.php/weapons-for-the-wrestling-match/ Thank you for this!

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Jack Wellman July 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I am so impressed by this collection and the Heb 12:11 reminds me that the race is painful but the finish line will make it all worth while. Well done Daryl my friend. Your church is so blessed I am certain to have a godly, biblically wise pastor such as you.

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Cyrus Phiri July 14, 2012 at 8:06 am

powerful and couragous

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Fr. yesudas January 2, 2013 at 7:00 am

It helped me find some quotation and helped to meditate. it also inspired to read the scripture. thank you very much. God bless you. I will pray for your ministry

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James January 10, 2013 at 9:41 am

Great quotes! Could you possibly do some research and put up more Bible verses for Athletes?

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stacie February 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

I am struggeling after my 5th grade sons basketball tourny this weekend. In two out of three games three boys did not play at all and in the third game they only played after we were losing by a great amount. Of course one of the boys was my son. The team is part of our school which is a Lutheran school. The coach did apalogize but also made the statement that he did not violate any rules. That broke my heart considering we are Christians and I do not believe this is the attitude we should have. If you have any verses that could help I would be greatful. Thank you.

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stacie February 4, 2013 at 8:05 am

Thank you for posting these wonderful verses. I am struggeling after my 5th grade sons basketball tourny this weekend. In two out of three games three boys did not play at all and in the third game they only played after we were losing by a great amount. Of course one of the boys was my son. The team is part of our school which is a Lutheran school. The coach did apalogize but also made the statement that he did not violate any rules. That broke my heart considering we are Christians and I do not believe this is the attitude we should have. If you have any verses that could help I would be greatful. Thank you.

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Daryl Evans February 5, 2013 at 9:31 am

Thanks Stacie for the comment. Many times, people in life will disappoint us and let us down. It may not even be intentional but it happens. I encourage you to look at Hebrews 13:6 and 1 Peter 5:7. God cares about you and wants you to be encouraged to know that He is with you in every day things in life. He wants to hear our prayers and concerns. Tell God how you feel and ask for His healing touch. I encourage you to talk to the coach and tell him your feelings too.
Blessings,
Daryl

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Joji brown February 22, 2013 at 12:05 am

Im doing a sport,karate is my passion,and is trging to be a world champion in the future and the only person that can help me in this is GOD!

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britt February 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Im laying in bed right now trying to calm/prepare myself for our last basketball playoff game before state. Im freaking out. These verses definitely helped. Thank you so much. Please keep my team in your prayers.

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Nick July 12, 2013 at 9:40 am

I am well conscious that all athletes including well-beloved for their accomplishments and character (Kurt Angle of pro wrestling) and locally known small-league participants such as “Travo” my friend need Jesus just as much as I do! Humans are human and therefore, need Jesus no matter what type of picture I paint or look at (from another who made it–of how to see life.) The hardest part about trusting in a God who is said to exist through the centuries is admitting that we are sinful, need to change and then what to do to change-trust in John 3:16 from the Christian Bible-ONLY. Jesus was sent from heaven by Father to break us from sin so that we can live rightly and then perfectly right in heaven. I was given a CHOICE when I was eight and I told my ma that I was READY to be saved–from hell that is. Since then I have been on a biblical journey which escalates in good and evil ways. If I were to end up in hell that would be because I made *myself out to be my own worst because I make the choices to lust for things that are foolish. I thank Jesus for EMPOWERING me and giving me so many people to help me—that I need the help to be good because I naturally want things selfishly.

I respect all beliefs of others and their gods as Christ first loved me. I have proofs…my life was spared dozens of times like when in 2002 my snowmobile would not cross the road which a car was using to pass me by on. In a few seconds it did go and I thanked God for erasing my fear. THANK YOU, Jesus. One thing remains: your love. -John 3:16.

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Tim July 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV11) “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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Emil Posavac September 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

Some sports focus on dominating the opponent–boxing, football, and roller derby, come to mind. Others focus on meeting a standard–gymnastics, figure skating, and mountain climbing come to mind. Do you really believe that sports based on physically dominating the opponent are endorsed by these passages? Really?

It seems that the Beatitudes say something different.

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Stephane October 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Thanks so much. God bless you!:-)
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Stephanie October 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Thanks! God bless! :-)

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melvintamundong@rocketmail.com December 6, 2013 at 7:14 am

What a great bible verses!

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