Exit Parallel Mode
 
9
1Am I not free? am I not an apostle? have I not seen Jesus our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you; for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 3My defence to them that examine me is this. 4Have we no right to eat and to drink? 5Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6Or I only and Barnabas, have we not a right to forbear working? 7What soldier ever serveth at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8Do I speak these things after the manner of men? or saith not the law also the same? 9For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. Is it for the oxen that God careth, 10or saith he it assuredly for our sake? Yea, for our sake it was written: because he that ploweth ought to plow in hope, and he that thresheth, to thresh in hope of partaking. 11If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things? 12If others partake of this right over you, do not we yet more? Nevertheless we did not use this right; but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13Know ye not that they that minister about sacred things eat of the things of the temple, and they that wait upon the altar have their portion with the altar? 14Even so did the Lord ordain that they that proclaim the gospel should live of the gospel. 15But I have used none of these things: and I write not these things that it may be so done in my case; for it were good for me rather to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel. 17For if I do this of mine own will, I have a reward: but if not of mine own will, I have a stewardship intrusted to me. 18What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel without charge, so as not to use to the full my right in the gospel. 19For though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 20And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 23And I do all things for the gospel’s sake, that I may be a joint partaker thereof. 24Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain. 25And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air: 27but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.
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: 4Don't I have the right to be given food and drink for my work? 5Don't I have 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 trips? 6Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for our living? 7What soldiers ever have to pay their own expenses in the army? What farmers do not eat the grapes from their own vineyard? What shepherds do not use the milk from their own sheep?
8I don't have to limit myself to these everyday examples, because the Law says the same thing. 9#Dt 25.4; 1 Ti 5.18 We read in the Law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh grain.” Now, is God concerned about oxen? 10Didn't he really mean us when he said that? Of course that was written for us. Anyone who plows and anyone who reaps should do their work in the hope of getting a share of the crop. 11#Ro 15.27 We 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, don't we have 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#Dt 18.1 Surely 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 10.7 In 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. 25#Ws 4.2; 5.16 Every 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 forever. 26That is why I run straight for the finish 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.