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9
Paul does not exercise his right to be paid
1And in relation to all these questions let that be your first thought. Do not think only of the freedom that your faith and knowledge give you. Remember that knowledge may make a man self-sufficient and self-important. It is love that builds. I for instance am free — I am an apostle. I have seen the Lord Jesus myself. 2-5At Corinth, at any rate, my apostleship is unquestioned, because I have there a very certain witness to, and evidence of, the authenticity of my credentials; you yourselves are my credentials. I am the founder of your faith, your church. I repeat then that I have all the rights of this position. 6I have the right to live on the gospel, yes, and to support a wife, if I so choose, on the gospel, to take her with me, as do the other apostles, and our Lord's brethren in the flesh, and Cephas also. 7-8The vinedresser, the shepherd, the soldier earn their living by what they do. We have the same right ourselves. 9“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.” (Deut xxv. 4) These ideas are not my own — they are laid down in scripture. 10Moses' words have a spiritual meaning, they refer to us and our faith. Do you think that anything in that law merely refers to cattle, and has not some moral or spiritual significance? This text means the law of supply whereby the worker lives through his work and is glad and hopeful thereby, partakes in the blessing he bestows. 11And such rights have I, they are mine according to the scriptures — I have a right to be paid by you, and to exercise authority over you. 12Others already do this, but I have more right than anyone, since it is I who am the founder of your spiritual good fortunes, and that includes also material well-being. But I have never exercised this right, my own idea has been that the gospel of Christ should not bind any burden upon men, however small, that is to say, so far as I was concerned. 13And yet you know that the priests who serve the altars and sacrifices make a living out of it, 14and similarly the Lord expressly declared that those who teach the gospel should live by it. 15But you know that I do not exercise the right and never have.
The reason for his unwillingness to receive pay
And why not? Well, that is my affair! At any rate, I am not writing this now preparatory to claiming any compensation in the future. Far from it — I would rather anything than that my special reason for satisfaction and self-congratulation should be taken away. What is that? you ask. 16The gospel? Oh no, that does not affect me in a personal sense — I have to preach the gospel, woe unto me, if I preach it not. 17If I enjoy it, and do it willingly, I am well paid. If it is distressful to me, still I have my stewardship to fulfil, and must be faithful to it. 18But what is my special reward, what is the peculiar compensation which accrues to me out of the pains I take in spreading this teaching? Why, just the doing it for nothing, — preaching the gospel at no man's charges — that is my special privilege. In other words, the privilege and the right which I most relish and cling to most earnestly, is just this — to make no use of my rights and privileges!
What it means to be all things to all men
19And I declare I carry that principle through all that I do. I absolutely neglect my own point of view. 20Other people's opinions, other people's beliefs and creeds and traditions, other people's weaknesses — these all become my own. The freer I am myself, the more I seem to become the slave of others! And though this is past a joke, yet I do it willingly, because thereby I win people. At one time the Jewish tradition and the law are everything to me — that is because I am with Jews. 21And now they are nothing to me — because I am with Gentiles. Oh yes, the law is something to me, the divine law, Christ's laws I mean, but not the law of the Jews. 22But with the weak I become weak myself — all things to all men in fact, if only I can win a few. 23And why do I do all this? Why do I take everybody else's point of view except my own? For the sake of the Gospel, because I wish to have a share in it myself — on just the same principle as the athlete trains for a contest. 24He sacrifices everything to the one end, if he can only carry off those much coveted laurels. 25And so a man must sacrifice himself, his own prejudices and predilections, and self-esteem, if he is to gain that immortal chaplet. 26That is the secret of my life. I do not hit out at random, but I go to work in a scientific manner, like one who trains for a boxing match. My blows are well and cunningly directed. 27They are aimed at myself, my physical being, my physical ego; otherwise what guarantee is there that I shall be saved myself, even though I have preached to others.
9
1Am I not an emissary? Am I not free? Have I not seen יהושע Messiah our Master? Are you not my work in the Master?
2If to others I am not an emissary, I certainly am to you. For you are the seal of my office of the emissary in the Master.
3My defence to those who examine me is this:
4Do we not have a right to eat and drink?
5Do we not have a right to take along a sister – a wife – as do also the other emissaries, and the brothers of the Master, and Kĕpha?
6Or do only Barnaḇa and I have no right to refrain from working?
7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not feed on the milk of the flock?
8Do I say this as a man? Or does not the Torah say the same too?
9For it has been written in the Torah of Mosheh, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”# Deu. 25:4 Is it about oxen Elohim is concerned?
10Or does He say it because of us all? For this was written because of us, that he who ploughs should plough in expectation, and the thresher in expectation of sharing.
11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap material goods from you?
12If others share authority over you, should not rather we? But we have not used this authority, but we put up with all, lest we hinder the Good News of Messiah.
13Do you not know that those serving the Set-apart Place eat from the Set-apart Place, and those attending at the slaughter-place have their share of the offerings of the slaughter-place?
14So also the Master instituted that those announcing the Good News should live from the Good News.
15But I have used none of these, nor have I written this that it should be done so to me. For it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting empty.
16For if I bring the Good News, it is no boasting for me, for necessity is laid on me, and it is woe to me if I do not bring the Good News!
17For if I do this voluntarily I have a reward, but if not voluntarily, I am entrusted with a management.
18What then is my reward? That in bringing the Good News, I should offer the Good News of Messiah without cost, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News.
19For though I am free from all, I made myself a servant to all, in order to win more,
20and to the Yehuḏim I became as a Yehuḏi, that I might win Yehuḏim; to those who are under Torah, as under Torah, so as to win those who are under Torah;
21to those without Torah, as without Torah – not being without Torah toward Elohim, but under Torah of Messiah – so as to win those who are without Torah.
22To the weak I became as weak, so as to win the weak. To all men I have become all, so as to save some, by all means.
23And I do this because of the Good News, so as to become a fellow-partaker with it.
24Do you not know that those who run in a race indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to obtain it.
25And everyone who competes controls himself in every way. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible crown.
26Therefore I run accordingly, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight, not as one who beats the air.
27But I treat my body severely and make it my slave, lest having proclaimed to others, I myself might be rejected.