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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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Rights and Duties of an Apostle
1Am I not a free man? Am I not an apostle? Haven't I seen Jesus our Lord? And aren't you the result of my work for the Lord? 2Even if others do not accept me as an apostle, surely you do! Because of your life in union with the Lord you yourselves are proof of the fact that I am an apostle.
3When people criticize me, this is how I defend myself: 4Haven't I the right to be given food and drink for my work? 5Haven't I the right to follow the example of the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Peter, by taking a Christian wife with me on my travels? 6Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for our living? 7What soldier ever has to pay his own expenses in the army? What farmer does not eat the grapes from his own vineyard? What shepherd does not use the milk from his own sheep?
8I don't have to limit myself to these everyday examples, because the Law says the same thing. 9#Deut 25.4; 1 Tim 5.18We read in the Law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh corn.” Now, is God concerned about oxen? 10Didn't he really mean us when he said that? Of course that was written for us. The one who ploughs and the one who reaps should do their work in the hope of getting a share of the crop. 11#Rom 15.27We have sown spiritual seed among you. Is it too much if we reap material benefits from you? 12If others have the right to expect this from you, haven't we an even greater right?
But we haven't made use of this right. Instead, we have endured everything in order not to put any obstacle in the way of the Good News about Christ. 13#Deut 18.1Surely you know that the men who work in the Temple get their food from the Temple and that those who offer the sacrifices on the altar get a share of the sacrifices. 14#Mt 10.10; Lk 10.7In the same way, the Lord has ordered that those who preach the gospel should get their living from it.
15But I haven't made use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this now in order to claim such rights for myself. I would rather die first! Nobody is going to turn my rightful boast into empty words! 16I have no right to boast just because I preach the gospel. After all, I am under orders to do so. And how terrible it would be for me if I did not preach the gospel! 17If I did my work as a matter of free choice, then I could expect to be paid; but I do it as a matter of duty, because God has entrusted me with this task. 18What pay do I get, then? It is the privilege of preaching the Good News without charging for it, without claiming my rights in my work for the gospel.
19I am a free man, nobody's slave; but I make myself everybody's slave in order to win as many people as possible. 20While working with the Jews, I live like a Jew in order to win them; and even though I myself am not subject to the Law of Moses, I live as though I were when working with those who are, in order to win them. 21In the same way, when working with Gentiles, I live like a Gentile, outside the Jewish Law, in order to win Gentiles. This does not mean that I don't obey God's law; I am really under Christ's law. 22Among the weak in faith I become weak like one of them, in order to win them. So I become all things to all people, that I may save some of them by whatever means are possible.
23All this I do for the gospel's sake, in order to share in its blessings. 24Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. 25Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last for ever. 26That is why I run straight for the finishing line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. 27I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.