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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’s rights as an apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3This is my defence to those who sit in judgment on me. 4Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas#9:5 That is, Peter? 6Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses: ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.’#9:9 Deut. 25:4 Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever ploughs and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
13Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
15But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Paul’s use of his freedom
19Though I am free and belong to no-one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
The need for self-discipline
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. 26Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.