Explain the “5 Crowns” described in the Bible?

5 crownsDo we receive 5 Crowns in Heaven? Are these “Crowns” our eternal reward for our service to Christ?

(This is part of our series on Eternal Rewards.)


Scripture describes our eternal rewards in terms of inheritance and responsibility. These rewards are symbolized in Scripture as crowns. Since we do not receive our actual rewards, it seems we are awarded crowns as tokens of our reward for the time we spend in the throne room awaiting Christ’s Second Coming to earth to establish His Kingdom. The Bible says these crowns will be our badges of honor reflecting glory upon Christ, Who worked through us to achieve the good works if our life. We will acknowledge His sovereignty by casting our crowns at His feet while we worship Him in Heaven:   5 crowns

Revelation 4:9-11 (NKJV)

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will, they exist and were created.”

Altogether, the Bible mentions five crowns promised to believers for our obedience to Christ while on Earth:

  • The crown of victory (Incorruptible Crown)

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NKJV)

Striving for a Crown

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable  crown.26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

This reward will be given to all believers who run the race to win. Who disciplines the flesh to make it their slave so they will be able to serve the Lord. Again, note that we can only achieve this by the power of the Holy Spirit, so the reward is ultimately accomplished in God’s power, not ours. 5 crowns

  • The crown of rejoicing

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (NKJV)

19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

Philippians 4:1 (NKJV)

Be Anxious for Nothing; Think These Thoughts

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy, and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

This reward will go to those who have witnessed to others and who have built up the church (eg. by teaching, service, etc.).  5 crowns

  • The crown of life

James 1:12 (NKJV)

Loving God Under Trials

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Revelation 2:10 (NKJV)

10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

At first glance, it may appear that the “crown of life” refers to eternal life.  That cannot be the case, however, as that would contradict many other Scriptures that clearly state that eternal life comes by faith alone in Christ alone, and which is given as a gift and not by works (eg. Ephesians 2:8-9).  Instead, this crown is given to those who faithfully persevere trials the Lord will put them through.  Once again, we can only persevere such trials and tribulations by God’s power in us (1 Peter 1:5-7).

  • The crown of righteousness

 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

This verse does not refer to righteousness we achieve by works, as Scripture makes clear that our righteousness is found only in the imputed righteousness of Christ (eg. Romans 5:19).  Rather, this reward is given to those who eagerly await the appearing of the Lord. As believers, we should always be expectantly looking for the return of our Lord.  5 crowns

John Calvin put it this way:

This is a singular mark which he employs in describing believers. And, indeed, wherever faith is strong, it will not permit their minds to fall asleep in this world but will elevate them to the hope of the last resurrection. His meaning, therefore, is, that all who are so much devoted to the world, and who love so much this fleeting life, as not to care about the coming of Christ, and not to be moved by any desire of it, deprive themselves of immortal glory.  Woe to our stupidity, therefore, which exercises such power over us, that we never think seriously about the coming of Christ, to which we ought to give our whole attention.

  • The crown of glory

1 Peter 5:1-4 (NKJV)

Shepherd the Flock

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but  willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

This is a reward for the elders the Lord has placed in authority in His church.  It’s an exhortation as well as an incentive for the elders to rule as the Lord has directed.

These crowns collectively represent our tangible rewards, which we receive in the Kingdom:

  • Treasures in heaven. This was mentioned earlier from Matthew 6. The treasures are not described for us, although they definitely would include the crowns previously mentioned.
  • Ruling with Christ. There will be rewards for our obedience that will include ruling with Christ in some capacity.  Several Scriptures mention this (eg. Luke 19:17-19, Revelation 2:26-27).  Matthew 25 is representative of these passages:

Matthew 25:19-21 (NKJV)

19 After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

We are merely Christ’s slaves, meaning we are to do the will of our Master.  We can only do His will in the power of the Spirit. In doing so, God promises He will reward our obedience of being faithful now, by giving us even greater responsibilities when we rule with Christ later.




“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”


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