Paul Surrenders His Rights
1 # ver. 19 Am I not free? #Acts 14:14; 2 Cor. 12:12; 1 Thess. 2:6; [2 Cor. 10:7; Rev. 2:2] Am I not an apostle? #ch. 15:8; Acts 9:3, 17; 18:9; 22:14, 18; 23:11 Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? #See ch. 3:6Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are #[2 Cor. 3:2]the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4#ver. 14; 1 Thess. 2:6, 9; 2 Thess. 3:8, 9Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5#[ch. 7:7] Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife,#9:5 Greek a sister as wife as do the other apostles and #See Matt. 12:46 the brothers of the Lord and #Matt. 8:14; See John 1:42Cephas? 6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7#2 Cor. 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:3, 4 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? #[ch. 3:6-8; Deut. 20:6; Prov. 27:18; Song 8:12]Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
8Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, #1 Tim. 5:18; Cited from Deut. 25:4“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written #See Rom. 4:24 for our sake, because #2 Tim. 2:6the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11#[Rom. 15:27; Gal. 6:6]If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?
Nevertheless, #ver. 15, 18; See Acts 20:33 we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything #[2 Cor. 6:3; 11:12]rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13Do you not know that #Lev. 6:16, 26; 7:6; Num. 5:9, 10; 18:8-20; Deut. 18:1those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14In the same way, the Lord commanded that #ver. 4; Matt. 10:10those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
15But #See Acts 18:3 I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone #2 Cor. 11:10deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For #[Acts 4:20; 9:6; Rom. 1:14]necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with #ch. 4:1; Gal. 2:7; [Phil. 1:16]a stewardship. 18What then is my reward? That in my preaching #2 Cor. 11:7; 12:13I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
19For #ver. 1; [ch. 10:29] though I am free from all, #[Gal. 5:13] I have made myself a servant to all, that I might #Matt. 18:15; 1 Pet. 3:1win more of them. 20#Acts 16:3; 21:23-26To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21To #Rom. 2:12, 14 those outside the law I became #[Gal. 2:3; 3:2] as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but #See ch. 7:22under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22#2 Cor. 11:29 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. #ch. 10:33 I have become all things to all people, that #ch. 7:16; Rom. 11:14by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, #[ch. 10:24]that I may share with them in its blessings.
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives #Phil. 3:14; Col. 2:18 the prize? So #Gal. 2:2; 5:7; Phil. 2:16; Heb. 12:1; [2 Tim. 4:7]run that you may obtain it. 25Every #1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:5; 4:7; [Jude 3] athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we #See James 1:12an imperishable. 26So I do not run aimlessly; I #[Heb. 12:4] do not box as one #[ch. 14:9]beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and #[Rom. 6:19] keep it under control,#9:27 Greek I pummel my body and make it a slave lest after preaching to others #[Song 1:6] I myself should be #[Jer. 6:30; Rom. 1:28; Heb. 6:8]disqualified.