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Verse 26. I therefore so run. In the Christian race; in my effort to obtain the prize, the crown of immortality. I exert myself to the utmost, that I may not fail of securing the crown.

Not as uncertainly; ouk adhlwv. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It usually means, in the classic writers, obscurely. Here it means that he did not run as not knowing to what object he aimed. "I do not run at hap-hazard; I do not exert myself for naught; I know at what I aim, and I keep my eye fixed on the object; I have the goal and the crown in view." Probably also the apostle intended to convey this idea, "I so live and act that I am sure of obtaining the crown. I make it a great and grand point of my life so to live that there may be no room for doubt or hesitancy about this matter. I believe it may be obtained; and that by a proper course there may be a constant certainty of securing it; and I so LIVE." Oh, how happy and blessed would it be if all Christians thus lived! How much doubt, and hesitancy, and despondency would it remove from many a Christian's mind! And yet it is morally certain that if every Christian were to be only as anxious and careful as were the ancient Grecian wrestlers and racers in the games, they would have the undoubted assurance of gaining the prize. Doddridge and Macknight, however, render this, "as not out of view;" or as not distinguished; meaning that the apostle was not unseen, but that he regarded himself as constantly in the view of the judge, the Lord Jesus Christ. I prefer the other interpretation, however, as best according with the connexion and with the proper meaning of the word.

So fight I. outw pukteuw. This word is applied to the boxers, or the pugilists, in the Grecian games. The exercise of boxing, or fighting with the fist, was a part of the entertainment with which the enlightened nations of Greece delighted to amuse themselves.

Not as one that beateth the air. The phrase here is taken from the habits of the pugilists or boxers, who were accustomed, before entering the lists, to exercise their limbs with the gauntlet, in order to acquire greater skill and dexterity. There was also, before the real contest commenced, a play with their fists and weapons, by way of show or bravado, which was called skiamacia, a mock-battle, or a fighting the air. The phrase also is applicable to a missing the aim, when a blow was struck in a real struggle, and when the adversary would elude the blow, so that it would be spent in the empty air. This last is the idea which Paul means to present. He did not miss his aim; he did not exert himself and spend his strength for naught. Every blow that he struck told; and he did not waste his energies on that which would produce no result. He did not strive with rash, ill-advised, or uncertain blows; but all his efforts were directed, with good account, to the grand purpose of subjugating his enemy—sin, and the corrupt desires of the flesh—and bringing everything into captivity to God. Much may be learned from this. Many an effort of Christians is merely beating the air. The energy is expended for naught. There is a want of wisdom, or skill, or perseverance; there is a failure of plan; or there is a mistake in regard to what is to be done, and what should be done. There is often among Christians very little aim or object; there is no plan; and the efforts are wasted, scattered, inefficient efforts; so that, at the close of life, many a man may say that he has spent his ministry or his Christian course mainly, or entirely, in beating the air. Besides, many a one sets up a man of straw, and fights that. He fancies error and heresy in others, and opposes that. He becomes a heresy-hunter; or he opposes some irregularity in religion that, if left alone, would die of itself; or he fixes all his attention on some minor evil, and devotes his life to the destruction of that alone. When death comes, he may have never struck a blow at one of the real and dangerous enemies of the gospel; and the simple record on the tombstone of many a minister and many a private Christian might be, "Here lies one who spent his life in beating the air."

{a} "beateth" "striketh"

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