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9
The Rights of an Apostle
1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the confirming sign#tn Grk “the seal.” of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 This is my defense to those who examine me. 4 Do we not have the right to financial support?#tn Grk “the right to eat and drink.” In the context this is a figurative reference to financial support. 5 Do we not have the right to the company of a believing wife, like the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or do only Barnabas and I lack the right not to work? 7 Who ever serves in the army at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Who tends a flock and does not consume its milk? 8 Am I saying these things only on the basis of common sense,#tn Or “only according to human authority”; Grk “saying these things according to men.” or does the law not say this as well? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”#sn A quotation from Deut 25:4. God is not concerned here about oxen, is he? 10 Or is he not surely speaking for our benefit? It was written for us, because the one plowing and threshing ought to work in hope of enjoying the harvest. 11 If we sowed spiritual blessings among you, is it too much to reap material things from you? 12 If others receive this right from you, are we not more deserving?
But we have not made use of this right. Instead we endure everything so that we may not be a hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple#tn Grk “working the sacred things.” eat food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar receive a part of the offerings? 14 In the same way the Lord commanded those who proclaim the gospel to receive their living by the gospel. 15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing these things so that something will be done for me.#tn Grk “so that it will happen in this way in my case.” In fact, it would be better for me to die than – no one will deprive me of my reason for boasting!#tc The reading ἤ – τὸ καύχημά μου οὐδεὶς κενώσει (h – to kauchma mou oudei" kenwsei, “than – no one will deprive me of my reason for boasting!”) is syntactically abrupt, but fully in keeping with Pauline style. It is supported by Ì46 א* B D*,c 33 1739 1881 as well as early patristic authors. Most witnesses, especially the later ones (א2 C D2 Ψ Ï lat), have a significantly smoother reading than this: ἢ τὸ καύχημά μου ἵνα τις κενώσῃ (or κενώσει); h to kauchma mou {ina ti" kenwsh (or kenwsei), “than that anyone should deprive me of my boasting.” The simple replacement of οὐδείς with ἵνα essentially accomplishes the smoothing out of the text, and as such the ἵνα reading is suspect. Not only is the harder reading in keeping with Pauline style, but it is also found in the earlier and better witnesses.sn Paul breaks off his thought at mid-sentence (indicated by the dash in the translation) and it is somewhat difficult to determine his reason for boasting. Most likely Paul would rather die than be deprived of the boast that he had offered the gospel free of charge even though as an apostle he had the right to such support (9:14). Did he say this as a way of criticizing his opponents? Perhaps only indirectly. His focus has more to do with not hindering the gospel than what his opponents were doing (9:12). 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason for boasting, because I am compelled to do this. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward. But if I do it unwillingly, I am entrusted with a responsibility. 18 What then is my reward? That when I preach the gospel I may offer the gospel free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights in the gospel.
19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people.#tn Or “more converts.” The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. It has been supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law)#tc The Byzantine text, as well as a few other witnesses (D2 [L] Ψ 1881 Ï) lack this parenthetical material, while geographically widespread, early, and diverse witnesses have the words (so א A B C D* F G P 33 104 365 1175 1505 1739 al latt). The phrase may have dropped out accidentally through homoioteleuton (note that both the preceding phrase and the parenthesis end in ὑπὸ νόμον [Jupo nomon, “under the law”]), or intentionally by overscrupulous scribes who felt that the statement “I myself am not under the law” could have led to license. to gain those under the law. 21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.
23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.
24 Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. 25 Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
26 So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. 27 Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified.
9
Rights and Duties of an Apostle
1Am I not a free man? Am I not an apostle? Haven't I seen Jesus our Lord? And aren't you the result of my work for the Lord? 2Even if others do not accept me as an apostle, surely you do! Because of your life in union with the Lord you yourselves are proof of the fact that I am an apostle.
3When people criticize me, this is how I defend myself: 4Haven't I the right to be given food and drink for my work? 5Haven't I the right to follow the example of the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Peter, by taking a Christian wife with me on my travels? 6Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for our living? 7What soldier ever has to pay his own expenses in the army? What farmer does not eat the grapes from his own vineyard? What shepherd does not use the milk from his own sheep?
8I don't have to limit myself to these everyday examples, because the Law says the same thing. 9#Deut 25.4; 1 Tim 5.18We read in the Law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh corn.” Now, is God concerned about oxen? 10Didn't he really mean us when he said that? Of course that was written for us. The one who ploughs and the one who reaps should do their work in the hope of getting a share of the crop. 11#Rom 15.27We have sown spiritual seed among you. Is it too much if we reap material benefits from you? 12If others have the right to expect this from you, haven't we an even greater right?
But we haven't made use of this right. Instead, we have endured everything in order not to put any obstacle in the way of the Good News about Christ. 13#Deut 18.1Surely you know that the men who work in the Temple get their food from the Temple and that those who offer the sacrifices on the altar get a share of the sacrifices. 14#Mt 10.10; Lk 10.7In the same way, the Lord has ordered that those who preach the gospel should get their living from it.
15But I haven't made use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this now in order to claim such rights for myself. I would rather die first! Nobody is going to turn my rightful boast into empty words! 16I have no right to boast just because I preach the gospel. After all, I am under orders to do so. And how terrible it would be for me if I did not preach the gospel! 17If I did my work as a matter of free choice, then I could expect to be paid; but I do it as a matter of duty, because God has entrusted me with this task. 18What pay do I get, then? It is the privilege of preaching the Good News without charging for it, without claiming my rights in my work for the gospel.
19I am a free man, nobody's slave; but I make myself everybody's slave in order to win as many people as possible. 20While working with the Jews, I live like a Jew in order to win them; and even though I myself am not subject to the Law of Moses, I live as though I were when working with those who are, in order to win them. 21In the same way, when working with Gentiles, I live like a Gentile, outside the Jewish Law, in order to win Gentiles. This does not mean that I don't obey God's law; I am really under Christ's law. 22Among the weak in faith I become weak like one of them, in order to win them. So I become all things to all people, that I may save some of them by whatever means are possible.
23All this I do for the gospel's sake, in order to share in its blessings. 24Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. 25Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last for ever. 26That is why I run straight for the finishing line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. 27I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.