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.