Exit Parallel Mode
 
9
1 Am I not free? Am I not an Apostle? Have I not seen Christ Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
2 And if I am not an Apostle to others, yet still I am to you. For you are the seal of my Apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defense with those who question me is this:
4 Do we not have the authority to eat and to drink?
5 Do we not have the authority to travel around with a woman who is a sister, just as do the other Apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
6 Or is it only myself and Barnabas who do not have the authority to act in this way?
7 Who has ever served as a soldier and paid his own stipend? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat from its produce? Who pastures a flock and does not drink from the milk of the flock?
8 Am I saying these things according to man? Or does the law not also say these things?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses: "You shall not bind the mouth of an ox, while it is treading out the grain." Is God here concerned with the oxen?
10 Or is he saying this, indeed, for our sake? These things were written specifically for us, because he who plows, ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes, too, in hope of receiving the produce.
11 If we have sown spiritual things in you, is it important if we harvest from your worldly things?
12 If others are sharers in this authority over you, why are we not more entitled? And yet we have not used this authority. Instead, we bear all things, lest we give any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those who work in the holy place eat the things that are for the holy place, and that those who serve at the altar also share with the altar?
14 So, too, has the Lord ordained that those who announce the Gospel should live by the Gospel.
15 Yet I have used none of these things. And I have not written so that these things may be done for me. For it is better for me to die, rather than to let anyone empty out my glory.
16 For if I preach the Gospel, it is not glory for me. For an obligation has been laid upon me. And woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel.
17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward. But if I do this reluctantly, a dispensation is granted to me.
18 And what, then, would be my reward? So, when preaching the Gospel, I should give the Gospel without taking, so that I may not misuse my authority in the Gospel.
19 For when I was a free man to all, I made myself the servant of all, so that I might gain all the more.
20 And so, to the Jews, I became like a Jew, so that I might gain the Jews.
21 To those who are under the law, I became as if I were under the law, (though I was not under the law) so that I might gain those who were under the law. To those who were without the law, I became as if I were without the law, (though I was not without the law of God, being in the law of Christ) so that I might gain those who were without the law.
22 To the weak, I became weak, so that I might gain the weak. To all, I became all, so that I might save all.
23 And I do everything for the sake of the Gospel, so that I may become its partner.
24 Do you not know that, of those who run in a race, all of them, certainly, are runners, but only one achieves the prize. Similarly, you must run, so that you may achieve.
25 And one who competes in a contest abstains from all things. And they do this, of course, so that they may achieve a corruptible crown. But we do this, so that we may achieve what is incorruptible.
26 And so I run, but not with uncertainty. And so I fight, but not by flailing in the air.
27 Instead, I chastise my body, so as to redirect it into servitude. Otherwise, I might preach to others, but become myself an outcast.
9
Paul does not exercise his right to be paid
1And in relation to all these questions let that be your first thought. Do not think only of the freedom that your faith and knowledge give you. Remember that knowledge may make a man self-sufficient and self-important. It is love that builds. I for instance am free — I am an apostle. I have seen the Lord Jesus myself. 2-5At Corinth, at any rate, my apostleship is unquestioned, because I have there a very certain witness to, and evidence of, the authenticity of my credentials; you yourselves are my credentials. I am the founder of your faith, your church. I repeat then that I have all the rights of this position. 6I have the right to live on the gospel, yes, and to support a wife, if I so choose, on the gospel, to take her with me, as do the other apostles, and our Lord's brethren in the flesh, and Cephas also. 7-8The vinedresser, the shepherd, the soldier earn their living by what they do. We have the same right ourselves. 9“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.” (Deut xxv. 4) These ideas are not my own — they are laid down in scripture. 10Moses' words have a spiritual meaning, they refer to us and our faith. Do you think that anything in that law merely refers to cattle, and has not some moral or spiritual significance? This text means the law of supply whereby the worker lives through his work and is glad and hopeful thereby, partakes in the blessing he bestows. 11And such rights have I, they are mine according to the scriptures — I have a right to be paid by you, and to exercise authority over you. 12Others already do this, but I have more right than anyone, since it is I who am the founder of your spiritual good fortunes, and that includes also material well-being. But I have never exercised this right, my own idea has been that the gospel of Christ should not bind any burden upon men, however small, that is to say, so far as I was concerned. 13And yet you know that the priests who serve the altars and sacrifices make a living out of it, 14and similarly the Lord expressly declared that those who teach the gospel should live by it. 15But you know that I do not exercise the right and never have.
The reason for his unwillingness to receive pay
And why not? Well, that is my affair! At any rate, I am not writing this now preparatory to claiming any compensation in the future. Far from it — I would rather anything than that my special reason for satisfaction and self-congratulation should be taken away. What is that? you ask. 16The gospel? Oh no, that does not affect me in a personal sense — I have to preach the gospel, woe unto me, if I preach it not. 17If I enjoy it, and do it willingly, I am well paid. If it is distressful to me, still I have my stewardship to fulfil, and must be faithful to it. 18But what is my special reward, what is the peculiar compensation which accrues to me out of the pains I take in spreading this teaching? Why, just the doing it for nothing, — preaching the gospel at no man's charges — that is my special privilege. In other words, the privilege and the right which I most relish and cling to most earnestly, is just this — to make no use of my rights and privileges!
What it means to be all things to all men
19And I declare I carry that principle through all that I do. I absolutely neglect my own point of view. 20Other people's opinions, other people's beliefs and creeds and traditions, other people's weaknesses — these all become my own. The freer I am myself, the more I seem to become the slave of others! And though this is past a joke, yet I do it willingly, because thereby I win people. At one time the Jewish tradition and the law are everything to me — that is because I am with Jews. 21And now they are nothing to me — because I am with Gentiles. Oh yes, the law is something to me, the divine law, Christ's laws I mean, but not the law of the Jews. 22But with the weak I become weak myself — all things to all men in fact, if only I can win a few. 23And why do I do all this? Why do I take everybody else's point of view except my own? For the sake of the Gospel, because I wish to have a share in it myself — on just the same principle as the athlete trains for a contest. 24He sacrifices everything to the one end, if he can only carry off those much coveted laurels. 25And so a man must sacrifice himself, his own prejudices and predilections, and self-esteem, if he is to gain that immortal chaplet. 26That is the secret of my life. I do not hit out at random, but I go to work in a scientific manner, like one who trains for a boxing match. My blows are well and cunningly directed. 27They are aimed at myself, my physical being, my physical ego; otherwise what guarantee is there that I shall be saved myself, even though I have preached to others.