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1Am not I an apostle? am not I free? Jesus Christ our Lord have I not seen? my work are not ye in the Lord?
2if to others I am not an apostle — yet doubtless to you I am; for the seal of my apostleship are ye in the Lord.
3My defence to those who examine me in this;
4have we not authority to eat and to drink?
5have we not authority a sister — a wife — to lead about, as also the other apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
6or only I and Barnabas, have we not authority — not to work?
7who doth serve as a soldier at his own charges at any time? who doth plant a vineyard, and of its fruit doth not eat? or who doth feed a flock, and of the milk of the flock doth not eat?
8According to man do I speak these things? or doth not also the law say these things?
9for in the law of Moses it hath been written, ‘thou shalt not muzzle an ox treading out corn;’ for the oxen doth God care?
10or because of us by all means doth He say [it]? yes, because of us it was written, because in hope ought the plower to plow, and he who is treading [ought] of his hope to partake in hope.
11If we to you the spiritual things did sow — great [is it] if we your fleshly things do reap?
12if others do partake of the authority over you — not we more? but we did not use this authority, but all things we bear, that we may give no hindrance to the good news of the Christ.
13Have ye not known that those working about the things of the temple — of the temple do eat, and those waiting at the altar — with the altar are partakers?
14so also did the Lord direct to those proclaiming the good news: of the good news to live.
15And I have used none of these things; neither did I write these things that it may be so done in my case, for [it is] good for me rather to die, than that any one may make my glorying void;
16for if I may proclaim good news, it is no glorying for me, for necessity is laid upon me, and woe is to me if I may not proclaim good news;
17for if willing I do this, I have a reward; and if unwillingly — with a stewardship I have been entrusted!
18What, then, is my reward? — that proclaiming good news, without charge I shall make the good news of the Christ, not to abuse my authority in the good news;
19for being free from all men, to all men I made myself servant, that the more I might gain;
20and I became to the Jews as a Jew, that Jews I might gain; to those under law as under law, that those under law I might gain;
21to those without law, as without law — (not being without law to God, but within law to Christ) — that I might gain those without law;
22I became to the infirm as infirm, that the infirm I might gain; to all men I have become all things, that by all means I may save some.
23And this I do because of the good news, that a fellow-partaker of it I may become;
24have ye not known that those running in a race — all indeed run, but one doth receive the prize? so run ye, that ye may obtain;
25and every one who is striving, is in all things temperate; these, indeed, then, that a corruptible crown they may receive, but we an incorruptible;
26I, therefore, thus run, not as uncertainly, thus I fight, as not beating air;
27but I chastise my body, and bring [it] into servitude, lest by any means, having preached to others — I myself may become disapproved.
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Paul does not exercise his right to be paid
1And in relation to all these questions let that be your first thought. Do not think only of the freedom that your faith and knowledge give you. Remember that knowledge may make a man self-sufficient and self-important. It is love that builds. I for instance am free — I am an apostle. I have seen the Lord Jesus myself. 2-5At Corinth, at any rate, my apostleship is unquestioned, because I have there a very certain witness to, and evidence of, the authenticity of my credentials; you yourselves are my credentials. I am the founder of your faith, your church. I repeat then that I have all the rights of this position. 6I have the right to live on the gospel, yes, and to support a wife, if I so choose, on the gospel, to take her with me, as do the other apostles, and our Lord's brethren in the flesh, and Cephas also. 7-8The vinedresser, the shepherd, the soldier earn their living by what they do. We have the same right ourselves. 9“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.” (Deut xxv. 4) These ideas are not my own — they are laid down in scripture. 10Moses' words have a spiritual meaning, they refer to us and our faith. Do you think that anything in that law merely refers to cattle, and has not some moral or spiritual significance? This text means the law of supply whereby the worker lives through his work and is glad and hopeful thereby, partakes in the blessing he bestows. 11And such rights have I, they are mine according to the scriptures — I have a right to be paid by you, and to exercise authority over you. 12Others already do this, but I have more right than anyone, since it is I who am the founder of your spiritual good fortunes, and that includes also material well-being. But I have never exercised this right, my own idea has been that the gospel of Christ should not bind any burden upon men, however small, that is to say, so far as I was concerned. 13And yet you know that the priests who serve the altars and sacrifices make a living out of it, 14and similarly the Lord expressly declared that those who teach the gospel should live by it. 15But you know that I do not exercise the right and never have.
The reason for his unwillingness to receive pay
And why not? Well, that is my affair! At any rate, I am not writing this now preparatory to claiming any compensation in the future. Far from it — I would rather anything than that my special reason for satisfaction and self-congratulation should be taken away. What is that? you ask. 16The gospel? Oh no, that does not affect me in a personal sense — I have to preach the gospel, woe unto me, if I preach it not. 17If I enjoy it, and do it willingly, I am well paid. If it is distressful to me, still I have my stewardship to fulfil, and must be faithful to it. 18But what is my special reward, what is the peculiar compensation which accrues to me out of the pains I take in spreading this teaching? Why, just the doing it for nothing, — preaching the gospel at no man's charges — that is my special privilege. In other words, the privilege and the right which I most relish and cling to most earnestly, is just this — to make no use of my rights and privileges!
What it means to be all things to all men
19And I declare I carry that principle through all that I do. I absolutely neglect my own point of view. 20Other people's opinions, other people's beliefs and creeds and traditions, other people's weaknesses — these all become my own. The freer I am myself, the more I seem to become the slave of others! And though this is past a joke, yet I do it willingly, because thereby I win people. At one time the Jewish tradition and the law are everything to me — that is because I am with Jews. 21And now they are nothing to me — because I am with Gentiles. Oh yes, the law is something to me, the divine law, Christ's laws I mean, but not the law of the Jews. 22But with the weak I become weak myself — all things to all men in fact, if only I can win a few. 23And why do I do all this? Why do I take everybody else's point of view except my own? For the sake of the Gospel, because I wish to have a share in it myself — on just the same principle as the athlete trains for a contest. 24He sacrifices everything to the one end, if he can only carry off those much coveted laurels. 25And so a man must sacrifice himself, his own prejudices and predilections, and self-esteem, if he is to gain that immortal chaplet. 26That is the secret of my life. I do not hit out at random, but I go to work in a scientific manner, like one who trains for a boxing match. My blows are well and cunningly directed. 27They are aimed at myself, my physical being, my physical ego; otherwise what guarantee is there that I shall be saved myself, even though I have preached to others.