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 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.
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: 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.