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9
The Rights of an Apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven't I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren't you the result of my work for the Lord? 2Even though others may not think of me as an apostle, I am certainly one to you! You are the proof that I am the Lord's apostle. 3That is what I say to stand up for myself when people judge me.
4Don't we have the right to eat and drink? 5Don't we have the right to take a believing wife with us when we travel? The other apostles do. The Lord's brothers do. Peter does. 6Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for a living?
7Who serves as a soldier but doesn't get paid? Who plants a vineyard but doesn't eat any of its grapes? Who takes care of a flock but doesn't drink any of the milk? 8Do I say that from only a human point of view? The Law says the same thing.
9Here is what is written in the Law of Moses. "Do not stop an ox from eating while it helps separate the grain from the straw." (Deuteronomy 25:4) Is it oxen that God is concerned about? 10Doesn't he say that for us? Yes, it was written for us. When a farmer plows and separates the grain, he does it because he hopes to share in the crop.
11We have planted spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask that we receive from you some of the things we need? 12Others have the right to receive help from you. Don't we have even more right to do so?
But we didn't use that right. No, we have put up with everything. We didn't want to keep the good news of Christ from spreading.
13Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple? Don't you know that those who serve at the altar eat from what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, those who preach the good news should receive their living from their work. That is what the Lord has commanded.
15But I haven't used any of those rights. And I'm not writing because I hope you will do things like that for me. I would rather die than have anyone take away my pride in my work. 16But when I preach the good news, I can't brag. I have to preach it. How terrible it will be for me if I do not preach the good news!
17If I preach because I want to, I get a reward. If I preach because I have to, I'm only doing my duty. 18Then what reward do I get? Here is what it is. I am able to preach the good news free of charge. And I can do it without making use of my rights when I preach it.
19I am free. I don't belong to anyone. But I make myself a slave to everyone. I do it to win as many as I can to Christ.
20To the Jews I became like a Jew. That was to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one who was under the law, even though I myself am not under the law. That was to win those under the law. 21To those who don't have the law I became like one who doesn't have the law. I am not free from God's law. I am under Christ's law. Now I can win those who don't have the law. 22To those who are weak I became weak. That was to win the weak.
I have become all things to all people so that in all possible ways I might save some. 23I do all of that because of the good news. And I want to share in its blessings.
24In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don't you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. 25All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
26So I do not run like someone who doesn't run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. 27No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules and fail to win the prize.
9
1Am I not free? Am I not an emissary? Haven’t I seen Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord? Aren’t you my work in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an emissary, yet at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my office of emissary in the Lord. 3My defense to those who examine me is this: 4Have we no right to eat and to drink? 5Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the emissaries, and the brothers of the Lord, and Kefa? 6Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? 7What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and doesn’t eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and doesn’t drink from the flock’s milk? 8Do I speak these things according to the ways of men? Or doesn’t the Torah also say the same thing? 9For it is written in the Torah of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”#Deuteronomy 25:4 Is it for the oxen that God cares, 10or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope. 11If we sowed to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your fleshly things? 12If others partake of this right over you, don’t we yet more? Nevertheless we didn’t use this right, but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Messiah. 13Don’t you know that those who serve around sacred things eat from the things of the temple, and those who wait on the altar have their portion with the altar? 14Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News. 15But I have used none of these things, and I don’t write these things that it may be done so in my case; for I would rather die, than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16For if I proclaim the Good News, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me if I don’t proclaim the Good News. 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18What then is my reward? That when I proclaim the Good News, I may present the Good News of Messiah without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News. 19For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; 21to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Messiah), that I might win those who are without law. 22To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 23Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of it. 24Don’t you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. 25Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, 27but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.