Five Kinds of Crowns
Some people will receive crowns in heaven as a special kind of reward for their sacrificial living while on earth. The twenty-four elders seated around God’s throne wear golden crowns and white garments (Revelation 4:4). While we don’t know the identity of these individuals or even exactly what the crowns represent, we do know these people overcame intense difficulties. The Greek word used for "crown" in this passage is stephanos: a victor’s crown.
Five different crowns are mentioned in Scripture:
The imperishable crown for those who exhibit disciplined lives (1 Corinthians 9:25–27).
The crown of rejoicing for those who lead others to Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19–20, Philippians 4:1).
The crown of righteousness for those who love his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).
The crown of glory for those who faithfully shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:2–4).
The crown of life for those who overcome spiritual battles (James 1:12, Revelation 2:10).
The above list is probably more suggestive than it is exhaustive. God may hand out crowns to many other faithful believers and for many other purposes. These crowns won’t be awarded so we can show off our earthly accomplishments. Nor will they be for the purpose of making a fashion statement. I believe that these crowns signify different positions and assignments throughout eternity.
[Excerpt from Kent Crockett’s forthcoming book, Making Today Count for Eternity, Multnomah Publishers, June 2001 release date]