by John Hollmann

Download a PDF of the Word One Bible Study for Epiphany 5 Epistle, option 2.

Text: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany (Baptism of our Lord), Lectionary Series B


Participants will:

  1. Identify how living our spiritual life is like competing in an Olympics.
  2. Realize that ongoing training is essential in our spiritual lives.
  3. Rejoice that Christ has already won the prize for us and all we need to do is reach the finish line.




Form small groups of 4-6 people.  Choose as leader the person who lives farthest from the church.  The leader’s job is to keep the group moving through the study and be sure that everyone has a chance to participate.


  1. What is your favorite Olympic event?  Why?
  2. What is your least favorite Olympic event?  Why?


  1. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
  2. To what two athletic events does Paul compare the Christian life?  (verses 24-26)
  3. How is the Christian life like these two events?
  4. Why was Paul so concerned about his own spiritual training (verse 27)?
  5. What kind of spiritual training do you think Paul did?
  6. What is the prize for those who finish the spiritual olympics?  (Philippians 3:14)
  7. Who guarantees us this prize?  How?  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


  1. What kind of spiritual shape are you in?  Check the answer from those below that best fits you.

____Couldn’t even run 10 meters without stopping to catch my breath.

____I could run a good 100 meters, but that’s it.

____I could run 500 meters, no sweat.

____I could run 2,000 meters and keep on going!

  1. Now, set up a spiritual training schedule.  Include in it. . .
    1. The time each day you’ll do it.                                                                                      
    2. How God’s word will play a part.                                                                                   
    3. How prayer will play a part.                                                                                           


Close with prayer, praying for the person on your right.  Pray that they will look to God for the strength and the guidance to run in the spiritual olympics and win the prize that Christ has waiting for them, and for any special needs that they might have as well.

Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 9, 1996.

Updated for youthESource in February 2015