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1Am I not an emissary? Am I not free? Have I not seen יהושע Messiah our Master? Are you not my work in the Master?
2If to others I am not an emissary, I certainly am to you. For you are the seal of my office of the emissary in the Master.
3My defence to those who examine me is this:
4Do we not have a right to eat and drink?
5Do we not have a right to take along a sister – a wife – as do also the other emissaries, and the brothers of the Master, and Kĕpha?
6Or do only Barnaḇa and I have no right to refrain from working?
7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not feed on the milk of the flock?
8Do I say this as a man? Or does not the Torah say the same too?
9For it has been written in the Torah of Mosheh, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”# Deu. 25:4 Is it about oxen Elohim is concerned?
10Or does He say it because of us all? For this was written because of us, that he who ploughs should plough in expectation, and the thresher in expectation of sharing.
11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap material goods from you?
12If others share authority over you, should not rather we? But we have not used this authority, but we put up with all, lest we hinder the Good News of Messiah.
13Do you not know that those serving the Set-apart Place eat from the Set-apart Place, and those attending at the slaughter-place have their share of the offerings of the slaughter-place?
14So also the Master instituted that those announcing the Good News should live from the Good News.
15But I have used none of these, nor have I written this that it should be done so to me. For it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting empty.
16For if I bring the Good News, it is no boasting for me, for necessity is laid on me, and it is woe to me if I do not bring the Good News!
17For if I do this voluntarily I have a reward, but if not voluntarily, I am entrusted with a management.
18What then is my reward? That in bringing the Good News, I should offer the Good News of Messiah without cost, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News.
19For though I am free from all, I made myself a servant to all, in order to win more,
20and to the Yehuḏim I became as a Yehuḏi, that I might win Yehuḏim; to those who are under Torah, as under Torah, so as to win those who are under Torah;
21to those without Torah, as without Torah – not being without Torah toward Elohim, but under Torah of Messiah – so as to win those who are without Torah.
22To the weak I became as weak, so as to win the weak. To all men I have become all, so as to save some, by all means.
23And I do this because of the Good News, so as to become a fellow-partaker with it.
24Do you not know that those who run in a race indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to obtain it.
25And everyone who competes controls himself in every way. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible crown.
26Therefore I run accordingly, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight, not as one who beats the air.
27But I treat my body severely and make it my slave, lest having proclaimed to others, I myself might be rejected.
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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: 4Haven't I the right to be given food and drink for my work? 5Haven't I 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 travels? 6Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for our living? 7What soldier ever has to pay his own expenses in the army? What farmer does not eat the grapes from his own vineyard? What shepherd does not use the milk from his own sheep?
8I don't have to limit myself to these everyday examples, because the Law says the same thing. 9#Deut 25.4; 1 Tim 5.18We read in the Law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh corn.” Now, is God concerned about oxen? 10Didn't he really mean us when he said that? Of course that was written for us. The one who ploughs and the one who reaps should do their work in the hope of getting a share of the crop. 11#Rom 15.27We 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, haven't we 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#Deut 18.1Surely 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 10.7In 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. 25Every 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 for ever. 26That is why I run straight for the finishing 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.