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9
A Pattern of Self-Denial
1Am #Acts 9:15; 2 Cor. 12:12I not an apostle? Am I not free? #Acts 9:3, 17; 18:9; 22:14, 18; 23:11; 1 Cor. 15:8Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? #1 Cor. 3:6; 4:15Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are #2 Cor. 12:12the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3My defense to those who examine me is this: 4#1 Cor. 9:14; (1 Thess. 2:6, 9); 2 Thess. 3:8Do we have no right to eat and drink? 5Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, #Matt. 13:55the brothers of the Lord, and #Matt. 8:14; John 1:42Cephas? 6Or is it only Barnabas and I #Acts 4:36; (2 Thess. 3:8)who have no right to refrain from working? 7Who ever #2 Cor. 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:3goes to war at his own expense? Who #Deut. 20:6; Prov. 27:18; 1 Cor. 3:6, 8plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who #John 21:15tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
8Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9For it is written in the law of Moses, #Deut. 25:4; 1 Tim. 5:18“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that #2 Tim. 2:6he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11#Rom. 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:14If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?
#(Acts 18:3; 20:33); 1 Cor. 9:15, 18Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things #2 Cor. 11:12lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. 13#Lev. 6:16, 26; 7:6, 31Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the #Num. 18:8–31; Deut. 18:1temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14Even so #Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7, 8; 1 Tim. 5:18the Lord has commanded #Rom. 10:15that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
15But #Acts 18:3; 20:33; 1 Cor. 9:12, 18I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for #2 Cor. 11:10it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for #Acts 9:15; (Rom. 1:14)necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17For if I do this willingly, #John 4:36; 1 Cor. 3:8, 14; 9:18I have a reward; but if against my will, #1 Cor. 4:1; Gal. 2:7; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18What is my reward then? That #1 Cor. 10:33when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I #1 Cor. 7:31; 9:12may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
Serving All Men
19For though I am #1 Cor. 9:1free from all men, #2 Cor. 4:5; Gal. 5:13I have made myself a servant to all, #Matt. 18:15; 1 Pet. 3:1that I might win the more; 20and #Acts 16:3; 21:23–26; Rom. 11:14to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21#(Gal. 2:3; 3:2)to #(Rom. 2:12, 14)those who are without law, as without law #(1 Cor. 7:22; Gal. 6:2)(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22#Rom. 14:1; 15:1; 2 Cor. 11:29to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. #1 Cor. 10:33I have become all things to all men, #Rom. 11:14that I might by all means save some. 23Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
Striving for a Crown
24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? #Gal. 2:2; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for #2 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12; (1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 2:10; 3:11)an imperishable crown. 26Therefore I run thus: #2 Tim. 2:5not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27#(Rom. 8:13)But I discipline my body and #(Rom. 6:18)bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become #Jer. 6:30; 2 Cor. 13:5disqualified.
9
Paul’s Rights as an Apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas#9:5 That is, Peter? 6Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”#9:9 Deut. 25:4 Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
13Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
15But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Paul’s Use of His Freedom
19Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
The Need for Self-Discipline
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.