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9
The Rights of Those Who Preach the Gospel
1Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
3Mine answer to them that do examine me is this: 4Have we not power#9.4,5,6 power or right. to eat and to drink? 5Have we not power#9.4,5,6 power or right. to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power#9.4,5,6 power or right. to forbear working? 7Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
8Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9#Deut 25.4. For it is written in the law of Moses,
Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox
that treadeth out the corn.
Doth God take care for oxen? 10or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.#9.10 should be partaker of his hope. Some early manuscripts have of partaking. 11#Rom 15.27. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12If others be partakers of this power#9.12 power or right. over you, are not we rather?
Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13#Deut 18.1. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14#Matt 10.10; Luke 10.7. Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
15But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 18What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
19For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
9
The Rights of an Apostle
1I am free. I am an apostle. I have seen the Lord Jesus and have led you to have faith in him. 2Others may think that I am not an apostle, but you are proof that I am an apostle to you.
3When people question me, I tell them 4that Barnabas and I have the right to our food and drink. 5We each have the right to marry one of the Lord's followers and to take her along with us, just as the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Peter#9.5 Peter: See the note at 1.12. do. 6Are we the only ones who have to support ourselves by working at another job? 7Do soldiers pay their own salaries? Don't people who raise grapes eat some of what they grow? Don't shepherds get milk from their own goats?
8-9 # Dt 25.4; 1 Ti 5.18. I am not saying this on my own authority. The Law of Moses tells us not to muzzle an ox when it is grinding grain. But was God concerned only about an ox? 10No, he wasn't! He was talking about us. This was written in the Scriptures so that all who plow and all who grind the grain will look forward to sharing in the harvest.
11 # Ro 15.27. When we told the message to you, it was like planting spiritual seed. So we have the right to accept material things as our harvest from you. 12If others have the right to do this, we have an even greater right. But we haven't used this right of ours. We are willing to put up with anything to keep from causing trouble for the message about Christ.
13 # Dt 18.1. Don't you know that people who work in the temple make their living from what is brought to the temple? Don't you know that a person who serves at the altar is given part of what is offered? 14#Mt 10.10; Lk 10.7. In the same way, the Lord wants everyone who preaches the good news to make a living from preaching this message.
15But I have never used these privileges of mine, and I am not writing this because I want to start now. I would rather die than have someone rob me of the right to take pride in this. 16I don't have any reason to brag about preaching the good news. Preaching is something God told me to do, and if I don't do it, I am doomed. 17If I preach because I want to, I will be paid. But even if I don't want to, it is still something God has sent me to do. 18What pay am I given? It is the chance to preach the good news free of charge and not to use the privileges that are mine because I am a preacher.
19I am not anyone's slave. But I have become a slave to everyone, so I can win as many people as possible. 20When I am with the Jews, I live like a Jew to win Jews. They are ruled by the Law of Moses, and I am not. But I live by the Law to win them. 21And when I am with people who are not ruled by the Law, I forget about the Law to win them. Of course, I never really forget about the law of God. In fact, I am ruled by the law of Christ. 22When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can. 23I do all this for the good news, because I want to share in its blessings.
A Race and a Fight
24 # 4 Macc 6.10. You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! 25#Ws 4.2; 5.16. Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. 26I don't run without a goal. And I don't box by beating my fists in the air. 27I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won't lose out after telling the good news to others.