Whether you’re competing in sports, business, academics or any other field of life, the Bible contains guiding principles on competition that can be applied to every situation.
What the Bible Says about Competition
The Bible includes narratives and teachings that express an understanding and acknowledgement of competition. Nonetheless, it underscores that winning isn’t everything. The Bible emphasizes that reliance on one’s physical and mental strength paired with self-reliance isn’t always enough. Instead, it encourages believers to compete with integrity, honor, and fair-play, revealing the importance of how one competes rather than the end goal, i.e., victory.
Where Love and Competition Intersect
The Bible instructs that competition should never compromise the love we hold for our neighbors. It encourages us not to let rivalry instigate envy, hatred, or any social discord, signifying that healthy competition aligns with an attitude of respect, sportsmanship, and love for one’s opponents.
Who Am I Competing Against?
One of the primary teachings of the Bible about competition is the reminder that one’s real competitor is not another person, but oneself. Bringing a fresh perspective, it encourages us to vie against our weaknesses, shortcomings, and self-imposed limits. Through the lens of the Bible, our journey isn’t about being better than someone else; it’s about being better than we were yesterday.
When Competition Becomes Destructive
Although competition can be productive, fostering motivation and growth, the Bible warns that it can also become destructive. When competitiveness begins to nurture ego, breeds discord, or motivates one to thrive at others’ expense, it stands counter to the teachings of the Bible. It reminds us that unmanaged ambition can lead to harmful outcomes and that one’s stride for success should not jeopardize the well-being and harmony of society.
Why God’s Approval Matters Most
The Bible enlightens us about the ephemeral nature of worldly accolades, reminding readers that divine approval matters more than societal recognition. Even in the realm of competition, striving for God’s approval and acting in accordance with loving kindness should remain at the core of our pursuits. This principle reframes the definition of success significantly, adding spiritual elevation and character-building to the equation, detaching it entirely from winning or losing.
Below is the full list of bible verses on competition (King James Version – KJV). The list is ranked in order of popularity and we hope you find the inspiration you need.
Most Popular Bible Verses About Competition
“3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
1 Corinthians 9:24
“24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”
“23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
2 Timothy 2:5
“5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
“4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
“17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
“3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
“13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
“6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
“31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
“22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
“15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
“9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
1 Corinthians 9:25
“25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
“13 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.”
Related Themes: Victory
“4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.”
“30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”
2 Corinthians 10:12
“12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
“33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
“13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
“37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
“24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
“17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
“1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”
“1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
“1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
“31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
“14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”