The English word "sport" originated as an abbreviation of the word "disport," which meant to divert the thoughts. From that, it came to mean "a pastime or amusement in which a person engages." Later still, a "sport" came to mean a specific game or activity of some sort, usually involving competition, or at least physical exertion. The modern-day definition includes watching others involved in competition or physical exertion (which ancient people also did in great numbers e.g. in the Coliseum in Rome or the Olympic Games in Athens), which is still very close to the actual original definition of to divert the thoughts.
The King James Version uses "sport" or "sporting" to translate a number of different Hebrew and Greek words of the Holy Scriptures (see also Translation Of Translations), all of which mean some form of laughing, or even "cheering," which means cheerful.
- the Hebrew word, pronounced saw-khawk, which means to laugh or to play
- the Hebrew word, pronounced sek-oke, which means mocking laughter
- the Hebrew word, pronounced aw-nawg, which means effeminate or delicate
- the Greek word, pronounced en-troo-fah-oh, which means to revel
"I do for the Gospel's sake ... Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?"
The Holy Bible (see also 1 Year Holy Bible Reading Plan) uses "sporting" according to the definition of laughter, or playing at something. When Isaac and Rebekah entered Philistine territory to escape a famine, Isaac (as his parents Abraham and Sarah had done years earlier i.e. Genesis 20:1-18) claimed that Rebekah was his sister "lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah" (apparently, adultery was a crime to the Philistines, whereas murder was not). Isaac was found out when the king happened to see "Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife."
"26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham [see also The Famines Of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob]. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar." (Genesis 26:1 KJV)
26:7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
26:8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.
26:9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister?
And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
26:10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.
26:11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him." (Genesis 26:7-12 KJV)
The Philistines were however great "sports fans." When they captured Samson (see Samson's Fatal Attraction), and blinded him, they brought him out into their arena so that "when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport" i.e. they laughed at a blinded man stumbling around in their arena, likely while being struck and prodded by "opponents" that he couldn't see. They might even have gotten away with it, except while doing so "they praised their god" over the LORD. In response, the LORD gave Samson the strength to bring down their stadium, for their "house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein."
"16:21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. 16:22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
16:23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. 16:24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.
16:25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
16:26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. 16:27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. 16:28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. 16:29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 16:30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life." (Judges 16:21-30 KJV)
While there is nothing wrong with righteous joy and laughter (e.g. "15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" John 15:11 KJV), "sport" is used in the Proverbs to describe making other sorts of merriment, from strife (see Striving For Strife) and mischief (see Missing A Head).
"10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief [see also How To Answer A Fool]: but a man of understanding hath wisdom." (Proverbs 10:23 KJV)
"26:17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. 26:18 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
26:19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?" (Proverbs 26:17-19 KJV)
The Messiah frequently encountered unbelievers who laughed Him to scorn i.e. they made "sport" of Him.
"5:40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
5:41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 5:42 And straightway the damsel arose [see also Resurrections], and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment." (Mark 5:40-42 KJV)
There is nothing wrong with righteous "sport," including the "race" to the deadline that all Christians participate in ("9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 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" 1 Corinthians 9:23-24 KJV), however if people make "sport" of God's Law, the result will be disqualification, not be a winning game (see Works Means Obedience).
"57:3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore [see also Lethal Lust]. 57:4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?" (Isaiah 57:3-5 KJV)
The apostle Peter (see Peter's Ministry; also Peter's Prophecy) used the word "sport" to describe how end-time false prophets will make "sport" of those who believe them, rather than the Word of God, "sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you." For false teachers, the "game" means their prey.
"2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you [see Many Antichrists?], who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [see Where Is Hell?; also Through The Gates Of Hell], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly [see The Floods Brought By Christ];
2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly [see The Day That Christ Incinerated Sodom];
2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 2:8 For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds; 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.
Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption [see Convictions Of Conscience];
2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls [see Where Is Your Soul?]: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them [see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?].
2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:1-22 KJV)
Fact Finder: Will the time just prior to Christ's return be the greatest time of making "sport" of God's Law?
See Instructions To The End-Time Church