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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
Paul Gives Up His Rights
1Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord? 2Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle.
3This is my answer to those who question my authority.#9:3 Greek those who examine me. 4Don’t we have the right to live in your homes and share your meals? 5Don’t we have the right to bring a believing wife#9:5a Greek a sister a wife. with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter#9:5b Greek Cephas. does? 6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves?
7What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? 8Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing? 9For the law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.”#9:9 Deut 25:4. Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this? 10Wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest.
11Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink? 12If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.
13Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. 14In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. 15Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. 16Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!
17If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.
19Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law,#9:21 Greek those without the law. I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
24Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.