Psalms 19:5 Ecclesiastes 9:11. Various games were instituted among the Greeks and Romans, in honor of their gods, and with the design of training young men to personal vigor and activity, and to intrepidity and skill in war. These games were celebrated at stated places and times, with great pomp; renowned statesmen, legislators, and kings engaged in them; and it was deemed the highest of all honors to be crowned with a simple chaplet of laurel, olive, pine, or parsley, in the presence of the vast assemblage of witnesses who delighted to honor the victor.
The preparatory training was very severe, and every weakening indulgence was forbidden. Among the most famous games were those celebrated on the isthmus of Corinth, hence called the Isthmian games; and to these Paul alludes in his letters to Corinth, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. The foot race was a game of the first rank; other games were the chariot-race, wrestling, boxing, leaping, and throwing the quoit or the javelin. The foot-race well illustrates the Christian warfare, the sacrifices to be made, the diligent bringing the body under subjection, the laying aside every weight, the myriads of spectators lining the course, and among them those previously crowned victors, the exhausting efforts required, (from which the word agonize is derived,) and the glorious prize, Philippians 3:13 2 Timothy 4:7,8 Hebrews 12:1.