Motivational Bible Verses for Athletes

The Bible is full of inspiration and comfort on top of a rich theology that has guided believers for thousands of years. As we navigate the Scriptures we find verses that speak to every corner of human existence. When we are going through a trial, we look to the Bible for wisdom and comfort. Other times we are simply reading a daily portion in search of truth that we can apply to our walk. We find that Scripture has the ability to reach people all across the globe, but it can also speak to a certain audience. When it comes to motivational Bible verses for athletes, you might be surprised by just how much the Bible can have to say.

We want to remember that context is vital to truly understanding the Bible. A verse can often be taken at face value, but we can confuse ourselves sometimes when we don’t take into account the full counsel of God’s word. These motivational Bible verses for athletes have a lot to say and we want to give them the respect they deserve. With that being said, let’s take a look at what God’s Word has to say.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 - Motivational Bible Verses for Athletes

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Like the other verses that we’ll discuss in this post, the wisdom of these verses applies to everybody. What Paul is saying here is that we must always discipline ourselves. If LeBron James, who is considered one of the best basketball players of all time, still needs to watch game film, lift weights, participate in shootarounds, and practice with his team, then we know that we must always be working to improve ourselves.

You will never reach a point where you are enough like Jesus that you can stop pursuing the calling God gave you. Even Paul says here that he continues to challenge himself so that he will not be spewing empty words. Just like the Christian, the athlete must push forward at every turn. Don’t hit the snooze button. Skip the fast food. It’s okay to rest, but don’t neglect your discipline.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18

“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”

When athletes experience success, it is often rewarded with money, fame, and/or other special privileges. Everyone is telling you how great you are, so of course that can run to your head. It’s easy to think “I’m the one hitting the gym, taking the shots, and putting in the hours. I deserve this.” Remember that it is only by the grace of God that you are even breathing, let alone enjoying the fruits of your labor.

This may not seem like the best choice for motivational Bible verses for athletes, but there is really good news in these verses. All of your victories, money, and whatever else has been given to you as a blessing from God. In these verses, the Israelites are being told that the blessings God has given them are meant as signs of his love for them as well as a means to fulfill their calling. If you have experienced success on the field, how are you using that platform? What are you going to do with your blessings to point others to Christ?

Motivational Bible Verses for Athletes

Hebrews 12:1-2a - Motivational Bible Verses for Athletes

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Hebrews 12:1 is one of the first verses that people think of when listing motivational Bible verses for athletes and for good reason. In a sports sense, the verse is telling the athlete to clear his head of any distractions and pursue his mission at full speed. When competing in an arena, there can be distractions coming from you at every angle. It’s important to focus on the task at hand. Of course, the athlete can have other things clouding their mind as well. School, family troubles, financial issues, dating life, etc. Life can often get in the way of the thing we are chasing.

For the Christian athlete, there is another sense to the verse. We, as believers, are all pursuing the righteous calling handed down by our Creator. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the things of life and forget what really matters. Instead of getting bogged down by daily routines, prioritize the important tasks over the things that are unnecessary or perhaps even hurtful. Christlikeness is a much higher goal than a medal or championship.

Hebrews 12:11-12

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Every athlete who has had to run stadium steps long before or after the sun has peaked in the sky knows that discipline can be tough. Making the hard decision to work when you want to be lazy is something that is beneficial in pretty much every aspect of life.

The same can be said for the Christian life. While it may seem easier than running a marathon or going to the gym every day, there are daily disciplines that can be hard for Christians to commit to. Holding a consistent quiet time, evangelism, discipleship, and prayer are just some of the areas where Christians have a difficult time being as active as they would like. No matter what discipline you are trying to master as a Christian or an athlete, it’s important to remember that the benefits strongly outweigh the negatives.

Isaiah 40:28-31 - Motivational Bible Verses for Athletes

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Have you ever played on a sports team where everyone was looking at you to make the team better? It can be tough to be the guy who has to take the game-winning shot every game. How great is it to know that our salvation does not ride on our own power?

At the end of the day, God is in control. No matter how strong or fast you are, you will tire eventually. The God of the universe, however, is running on unlimited supply of energy. He does not rest or slumber.

Another truth from this selection of Scripture is that God can also give us strength. When we call on His name in our time of trouble, He will give us the endurance necessary to outlast the attack. We may still be human, but the Lord can give us that second wind that we need to make it through the day.

2 Timothy 4:7

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

We all want to be able to say that we gave it our all at the end of the day. Whether you are a teacher, construction worker, athlete, or doctor, it feels good to put your head on the pillow at night knowing that you didn’t hold back.

Athletes have a certain phrase for this kind of attitude: “I left it all on the field.” There are few things as disappointing as losing a game and knowing that you could have done more. It means that you let down your coach, family, fans, and teammates. How much more painful would that feeling be if it summed up your entire life?

When the day comes where we hang up our cleats, there’s likely going to be one or two achievements that we didn’t get around to. It’s upsetting, but that’s the nature of life. This verse is the anthem of a life well-lived. Paul isn’t saying that he did every little thing that he ever wanted to do in life. He’s saying that he did the important things. He did what God asked of him. We should all hope to do the same.

Psalm 28:7 - Motivational Bible Verses for Athletes

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”

As was touched on before, there is great comfort in knowing that God is in control. Not only is He in control, but He is the source of our strength. The number of pushups or wind sprints you can do are not important. Seek God first and you will have a lasting strength.

Not only should we seek God’s strength, but we should praise Him for delivering on His promises. Too often we only pursue God in times of trouble. Bask in His grace and celebrate the good that He has done.

Psalm 73:26

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

It may be difficult to admit, but every athlete reaches their breaking point. Whether that’s an injury, old age, or just a temporary setback, failure is something we’ll have to face at some time. During these moments, we should reflect on what has happened and how we move forward. If your failure is something simple like the mechanics of your sport, then work to correct your actions. Injuries may sideline you, but you can work to come back even better.

Of course, the game will end one day. All athletes retire. No matter what you are facing, the important thing to remember is that God has your back. Not only that, but your worth is determined by greater standards than how you perform on the field. God is the source of your strength as well as your purpose. Just because you fall short, it doesn’t mean that you are  anything less than a child of God. He is the ultimate prize.

Philippians 4:13 - Motivational Bible Verses for Athletes

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

Often listed as one of the motivational Bible verses for athletes, this verse sometimes gets taken out of context. Philippians 4:13 isn’t about achieving impossible goals. Paul is telling a church about how God has taken care of him during his many journeys. The verse here means that Paul recognizes God’s provision through times that were difficult as well as the good times.

Paul knew what it was like to go hungry, to be beaten, and to be in prison. Through these trials, he learned what it meant to be content. In layman’s terms, Paul is saying “No matter what I have to go through, I have peace because Christ gives me strength.”

As an athlete, you will experience success and failure, glory and pain. If you attach your worth and happiness to success, at some point that’s going to fail you. Instead, base your existence around Christ. He is not only more trustworthy than success, but He is more satisfying as well. We know that the Bible contains important truths from cover to cover, so there are hundreds of other verses that could be called motivational Bible verses for athletes. These few are a good start, though.

Christian athletes have such an opportunity to speak truth into the culture and serve as role models for younger Christians. That’s why the K-LOVE Fan Awards honor the top sports heroes each year that are making an impact on the country. In recent years, we have given our Impact Award to NFL player Benjamin Watson, NBA star Steph Curry, and a variety of other athletes.

The K-LOVE Fan Awards are the ultimate fan experience for fans of Christian music, movies, and more. Find out how you can be a part of the biggest weekend in Christian entertainment by clicking on the link below.


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