Jesus and archery

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Do you know the link between the sport of archery and faith? Read on. The Bible is full of archery stories. From numerous battles with archers off leashing their terror on enemies through to Jonathan shooting a warning arrow to his friend David, the archer has had special place in the Bible. However, archery has a deeper meaning that underlies the gospel message.


The Gospel can be summarised in four parts. Firstly, a loving Creator made us because He wants a dynamic relationship with us. He created us for relationships, both with Himself and others.

Secondly, however we rebel (sin) against God's loving will and this brings consequences: spiritual death. Thirdly, while we were still sinners Jesus took this death upon Himself wiping away our penalty. Fourthly, as a result, we can be restored to this loving relationship as we acknowledge Jesus and follow Him.

Missing the mark

Did you see how this good news is founded on the sport of archery? In the Bible the call is to acknowledge our sin, turn back to God and receive this free gracious gift. And when the Bible uses this term "sin" it finds its origin in archery.

An archer aims to hit the target. However, the Bible describes sin as the arrow falling short. That is, our lives should hit the target of God's perfect standard of loving Him and others. However, we fall short missing the mark. The Bible uses this archery term, "sin," to describe the deep spiritual reality of humanity. This is the foundation of the good news offered through Jesus: rescue from sin's penalty.

Archer and faith

Several years ago I was talking to the Head Coach of the Australian Institute of Sport Archery Unit. I asked him what makes a good archer. He responded saying it was the same as being a good Christian.

He said a good archer must have a firm foundation: The stance and footwear of the archer are the foundation of the shot. They require steadiness with firm shoes and the correct posture to brace and shoot at the target. He said it is the same for the Christian that needs a firm understanding of the Bible and the core concepts of sin and salvation.

Sport can help us to understand so many Biblical lessons. Archery is just one that offers us insight into the good news from falling short of what God demands yet what Jesus graciously achieves for us.