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60+ Bible Verses for Athletes: Empower Your Game

By Teresa Trumbly Lamsam, Ph.D.

In a time of waning tolerance, sports remain tethered to Christian values. Despite the growing movement to remove Christian prayers and symbols from sports, athletes and coaches persist in maintaining the presence of the faith.

Offering these Bible Verses for Athletes is our way of helping those athletes, coaches, fans, and families keep those values front and center in sports. 

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • If you are a fan, be respectful as you cheer your team to victory. Support the athletes even when they’re are losing. Speak out against negative behavior in sports. Pray for your team and its players. 
  • If you are a coach, model Christian values in how you coach and live your life. Teach your players the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship. Use your influence to promote positive change in sports. Pray for your athletes – for their growth and success in life. Recruit others to join you in praying for the team.
  • If you are an athlete, be a Christian role model for other players and your fans. Find ways to demonstrate your faith. Publicly acknowledge the presence of God in your life. Use your platform to share your faith. Ask God to guide you in your athletics. 
  • If you are a family member, help your athletes keep their priorities straight. Be their biggest fan. Live out your daily life as a role model of Christian values. Teach Christian values to your athletes. Pray with them. Read the Bible with them. 
  • For all of us, support Christian organizations that support athletes.

Role of Faith in Athletics

As someone who lives in a household of athletes, I’ve learned that faith is a cornerstone in the life of an athlete. It’s not just about religious conviction; it’s about a deep-seated belief in oneself, one’s team, and the journey ahead.

The Foundation of Mental Toughness

For an athlete, mental toughness is as critical as physical strength. Faith instills this toughness. It’s the steady belief that keeps us grounded when the stakes are high and the pressure mounts. In moments of doubt or adversity, faith acts as our anchor to remind us of our capabilities and the importance of perseverance.

Quote about mental toughness

Guiding Ethical Conduct

Sportsmanship and integrity are the heartbeats of fair play. Faith shapes these values, teaching us to compete with honor and respect our opponents. It’s about understanding that every decision we make, on and off the court, reflects who we are. As athletes, faith sets the standard of what it means to be a role model.

Cultivating Team Spirit and Community

In team sports, faith plays an important role in building a sense of unity and brotherhood. It’s about more than just playing together; it’s about sharing a belief in each other and our collective goals. This shared faith builds trust, encourages communication, and creates a sense of family among teammates.

Balancing Life and Sport

Athletics is demanding, often requiring sacrifices in personal and family life. Faith helps maintain this delicate balance. It provides a perspective that there’s more to life than the game. This holistic view is crucial for mental and emotional health, ensuring we don’t lose ourselves in the pursuit of success.

Driving Force for Personal Excellence

Finally, faith is a powerful motivator. It fuels our passion and drives us to achieve excellence, not just in sports but in all aspects of life. It’s about setting high standards, constantly seeking improvement, and understanding that every challenge is an opportunity for growth.

Note: The version of the Bible we are using, unless otherwise stated, is NIV. You can find your preferred translation at Bible Gateway.

Best Bible Verses for Athletes

In the journey of an athlete, discipline, resilience, and focus are key. These verses speak to the heart of what it means to be an athlete: the pursuit of excellence, the strength in facing challenges, and the humility in both victory and defeat.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

This verse is a powerful reminder of the limitless potential within us when we’re anchored in faith. Yes, for an athlete, strength comes from physical training, but the deeper strength comes from spiritual fortitude.

Isaiah 40:31 – 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.

Athletes often face physical and mental exhaustion. In Isaiah, we’re promised renewal and endurance through the Lord. It encourages us to look beyond our perceived limits. 

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 – 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.

Here lies the essence of athletic discipline and purpose. It’s not just about the temporary glory of victory, but about striving for something enduring and meaningful. This verse underscores the importance of dedication and the pursuit of excellence.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

This is one of my most-often quoted Bible verses when I’m encouraging a young person. An athlete’s journey is often riddled with fears and doubts. This verse is a powerful anecdote to those fears, reminding us that we’re equipped with strength, passion, and mental clarity — essential qualities for any athlete.

James 1:12 – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Athletic pursuits are filled with trials and tests for which athletes need perseverance. James highlights that the true reward comes from overcoming challenges and remaining steadfast in our goals.

You may also enjoy: 36 Powerful Bible Verses for Runners

Bible Verses by Sport

Although these scriptures are relevant for any sport, athletes in different sports may encounter unique challenges. This section offers specific Bible verses that may resonate with players in baseball, football, soccer, and basketball.

Bible Verses for Baseball Players

Hebrews 12:1b – And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

In baseball, perseverance is key. This verse encourages players to remain steadfast and patient.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 – The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong … time and chance happen to them all. 

Baseball often hinges on moments of opportunity and chance, and this verse speaks to the importance of being ready and resilient.

bible verse for football players
Bible verse for baseball players

Football Bible Verses

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous … for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Strength and courage are vital on the football field. This verse offers encouragement and reassurance of God’s presence.

Psalm 18:32 – It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

This verse speaks to the physical and strategic demands of football, emphasizing reliance on God for strength and guidance.

Bible Verses for Soccer Players

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Teamwork and unity are at the core of soccer, and this verse underscores the importance of kindness and forgiveness among teammates.

1 Corinthians 12:12 – Just as a body, though one, has many parts… so it is with Christ.

Reflecting the essence of a soccer team, this verse illustrates how individual roles contribute to the success of the whole.

Bible Verses for Basketball Players

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart… he will make your paths straight.

Trust and clarity are crucial in basketball’s fast-paced environment, and this verse encourages players to seek guidance through faith before the game ever begins.

Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Focus and mental stability are key in basketball, and this verse offers peace and steadfastness through trust in God.

bible verse for soccer player

Short Bible Verses for Athletes

Brief words of inspiration can powerfully motivate athletes who persevere through the rigorous training and dedication required for athletic excellence. 

Philippians 4:13 — I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Joshua 1:9 — Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Proverbs 3:6 — In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

1 Corinthians 9:24 — Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Isaiah 40:29 — He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

James 1:12 — Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.

Proverbs 18:10 — The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Isaiah 41:10 — So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

2 Timothy 1:7 — For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Psalm 28:7 — The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

Psalm 46:1 — God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Matthew 19:26 — Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

short bible verse for athletes

Inspirational and Motivational Bible Verses

These Bible verses offer athletes a deeper source of inspiration and motivation to uplift them on difficult days when its tough to keep to goals. 

Psalm 18:39 — You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.

Deuteronomy 31:6 — Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Proverbs 4:25-26 — Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Isaiah 52:7 — How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Psalm 119:32 — I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.

Romans 15:13 — May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 16:8 — I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Isaiah 40:28-29 — 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.

Hebrews 12:2 — Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Ephesians 6:10 — Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

Philippians 1:6 — Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

motivational bible verse for athletes

Game Day Focus: Bible Verses for Athletes

On the day of a big game or competition, athletes often need words of encouragement and focus. Here are some Bible verses that can serve as a source of strength and concentration for athletes on Game Day. 

Psalm 27:1 — The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 20:4 — May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Proverbs 21:31 — The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Isaiah 12:2 — Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

2 Chronicles 15:7 — But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

Philippians 3:14 — I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 118:6 — The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

1 Corinthians 15:58 — Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Psalm 44:5 — Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.

Psalm 108:13 — With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

bible verse for game day

KJV Bible Verses for Athletes

For those of you who prefer the King James Version of the Bible, we have repeated some of the verses here for your convenience. 

Philippians 4:13 — I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Joshua 1:9 — Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Proverbs 3:6 — In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

1 Corinthians 9:24 — Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Isaiah 40:29 — He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

James 1:12 — Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

2 Timothy 1:7 — For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Psalm 18:32 — It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Hebrews 12:1 — 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.

Isaiah 41:10 — Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalm 27:1 — The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Ephesians 6:10 — Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Psalm 46:1 — God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Matthew 19:26 — But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Psalm 119:105 — Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

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Final Thoughts on Bible Verses for Athletes

As we reflect on these Bible verses, we find a common thread: the unyielding spirit of perseverance, courage, and faith. These are not mere words; they are life lessons, relevant as much today as they were when first written.

These scriptures encourage athletes to not only pursue excellence in their sport but also to embody the values that define true champions: resilience, integrity, and heart.

Let them guide you, uplift you, and remind you that in the realm of sports, the greatest victories are often those won within.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a good Bible verse for sports?

A popular choice is Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” This verse is often cited for its empowering message of finding strength through faith.

2. What to read in the Bible for athletes?

Athletes can find inspiration in passages like 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, which talks about running a race with discipline, and Isaiah 40:31, which speaks of renewing strength.

3. What does the Bible say about an athlete?

The Bible often uses athletic metaphors to discuss perseverance and discipline. 2 Timothy 2:5, for instance, talks about the need to compete according to the rules to be crowned.

4. What is the Bible verse for strength and training?

A verse that resonates in this context is 1 Timothy 4:8 – “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

5. Are there specific Bible verses recommended for young athletes?

Yes, young athletes might find verses like Joshua 1:9 – “Be strong and courageous” and Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” particularly inspiring.

6. How can Bible verses help in overcoming sports-related challenges?

Bible verses can provide mental and emotional support, offering perspectives on resilience, perseverance, and inner strength that are essential in overcoming challenges in sports.

7. How can athletes incorporate Bible verses into their training routine?

Athletes can incorporate Bible verses into their routines by meditating on them during warm-ups, using them as mantras during training, or reflecting on them post-competition for motivation and guidance.

8. What are some comforting Bible verses for athletes facing injuries?

Athletes dealing with injuries might find comfort in verses like Psalm 147:3 – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” and Jeremiah 17:14 – “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed.”

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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