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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.
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The Rights of an Apostle
1#1Co 3:6; Ac 9:3Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If I am not an apostle to others, yet indeed I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3This is my answer to those who examine me. 4#1Th 2:6; 2Th 3:8–9Do we have no right to eat and to drink? 5#Mt 8:14; Jn 1:42Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife as do other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6#Ac 4:36Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?
7#Dt 20:6; Pr 27:18Who goes to war at any time at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, but does not eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, but does not drink of the flock’s milk? 8Do I say these things as a man? Or does the law not say the same thing also? 9#Dt 25:4; 1Ti 5:18For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox while it treads out the grain.”#Dt 25:4. Is God concerned about oxen? 10#2Ti 2:6Or does He say it completely for our sake? For our sake, no doubt, this is written so that he who plows should plow in hope, and that he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope. 11#Ro 15:27; Gal 6:6If we have sown for you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your material things? 12#1Co 9:18; 2Co 11:12If others partake of this right over you, should not we instead?
Nevertheless, we have not used this right, but suffer all things, lest we might hinder the gospel of Christ.
13#Lev 6:26; Nu 18:8–20Do you not know that those who minister unto holy things live from the things of the temple? And do you not know that those who wait at the altar partake of the altar? 14#Mt 10:10; 1Co 9:4In the same way, the Lord has ordained that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
15#Ac 18:3; 1Co 9:12But I have used none of these rights, nor have I written these things that it should be so done to me. For it would be better for me to die than allow anyone to make my boasting void. 16#Ro 1:14; Ac 9:15Though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for the requirement is laid upon me. Yes, woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel! 17#Gal 2:7; 1Co 3:8So if I do this willingly, I have a reward, but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a commission. 18#1Co 7:31What is my reward then? Truly that when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, so that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
19#Mt 18:15; 1Co 9:1For though I am free from all men, I have made myself servant to all, that I might win even more. 20#Ac 16:3; 21:20–26To the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might win the Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21#Ro 2:12; 2:14to those who are outside the law, as outside the law (being not without God’s law, but under Christ’s law) that I might win those who are outside the law. 22#Ro 11:14; 1Co 10:33To the weak, I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23This I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might partake of it with you.
24#Gal 2:2; Heb 12:1Do you not know that all those who run in a race run, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain it. 25#Jas 1:12; Rev 2:10; 1Ti 6:12Everyone who strives for the prize exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible one. 26So, therefore, I run, not with uncertainty. So I fight, not as one who beats the air. 27#Ro 8:13; Jer 6:30But I bring and keep my body under subjection, lest when preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.