Exit Parallel Mode
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 I am not an apostle to others, yet at any rate I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
3My defence to those who examine me is this: 4Have we not a right to eat and to drink? 5have we not a right to take round a sister as wife, as also the other apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6Or I alone and Barnabas, have we not a right not to work? 7Who ever carries on war at his own charges? who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? or who herds a flock and does not eat of the milk of the flock? 8Do I speak these things as a man, or does not the law also say these things? 9For in the law of Moses it is written, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that is treading out corn. Is God occupied about the oxen, 10or does he say it altogether for our sakes? For for our sakes it has been written, that the plougher should plough in hope, and he that treads out corn, in hope of partaking of it. 11If we have sown to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12If others partake of this right over you, should not rather we? But we have not used this right, but we bear all things, that we may put no hindrance in the way of the glad tidings of the Christ. 13Do ye not know that they who labour at sacred things eat of the offerings offered in the temple; they that attend at the altar partake with the altar? 14So also the Lord has ordained to those that announce the glad tidings to live of the glad tidings.
15But I have used none of these things. Now I have not written these things that it should be thus in my case; for it were good for me rather to die than that any one should make vain my boast. 16For if I announce the glad tidings, I have nothing to boast of; for a necessity is laid upon me; for it is woe to me if I should not announce the glad tidings. 17For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with an administration. 18What is the reward then that I have? That in announcing the glad tidings I make the glad tidings costless to others, so as not to have made use, as belonging to me, of my right in announcing the glad tidings.
19For being free from all, I have made myself bondman to all, that I might gain the most possible. 20And I became to the Jews as a Jew, in order that I might gain the Jews: to those under law, as under law, not being myself under law, in order that I might gain those under law: 21to those without law, as without law, (not as without law to God, but as legitimately subject to Christ,) in order that I might gain those without law. 22I became to the weak, as weak, in order that I might gain the weak. To all I have become all things, in order that at all events I might save some. 23And I do all things for the sake of the glad tidings, that I may be fellow-partaker with them.
24Know ye not that they who run in the race-course run all, but one receives the prize? Thus run in order that ye may obtain. 25But every one that contends for a prize is temperate in all things: they then indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore thus run, as not uncertainly; so I combat, as not beating the air. 27But I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest after having preached to others I should be myself rejected.
Paul’s Rights as an Apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas#9:5 That is, Peter? 6Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”#9:9 Deut. 25:4 Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
13Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
15But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Paul’s Use of His Freedom
19Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
The Need for Self-Discipline
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.