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9
Paul Gives Up His Rights as an Apostle
1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an apostle, yet indeed I am to you, for you are my seal of apostleship in the Lord. 3My defense to those who examine me is this: 4Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5Do we not have the right to take along a sister as wife, like the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6Or do only I and Barnabas not have the right to refrain from working#Literally “not to work”? 7Who ever serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Who#Some manuscripts have “Or who” shepherds a flock and does not drink#Literally “eat” from the milk of the flock? 8I am not saying these things according to a human perspective. Or does the law not also say these things? 9For in the law of Moses it is written, “You must not muzzle an ox while it#*Here “while” is supplied as a component of the participle (“threshing”) which is understood as temporal is threshing.”#A quotation from Deut 25:4 It is not about oxen God is concerned, is it?#*The negative construction in Greek anticipates a negative answer here 10Or doubtless does he speak for our sake#Literally “for the sake of us”? For it is written for our sake#Literally “for the sake of us”, because the one who plows ought to plow in hope and the one who threshes ought to do so in hope of a share. 11If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too great a thing if we reap material things from you? 12If others share this right over you, do we not do so even more? Yet we have not made use of this right, but we endure all things, in order that we may not cause any hindrance to the gospel of Christ.
13Do you not know that those performing the holy services eat the things from the temple, and those attending to the altar have a share with the altar? 14In the same way also the Lord ordered those who proclaim the gospel to live from the gospel. 15But I have not made use of any of these rights. And I am not writing these things in order that it may be thus with me. For it would be better to me rather to die than for anyone to deprive me of my reason for boasting. 16For if I proclaim the gospel, it is not to me a reason for boasting, for necessity is imposed on me. For woe is to me if I do not proclaim the gospel. 17For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward, but if I do so unwillingly, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18What then is my reward? That when I#*Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“proclaim the gospel”) which is understood as temporal proclaim the gospel, I may offer the gospel free of charge, in order not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
19For although I#*Here “although” is supplied as a component of the participle (“am”) which is understood as concessive am free from all people, I have enslaved myself to all, in order that I may gain more. 20I have become like a Jew to the Jews, in order that I may gain the Jews. To those under the law I became as under the law (although I#*Here “although” is supplied as a component of the participle (“am”) which is understood as concessive myself am not under the law) in order that I may gain those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as outside the law (although I#*Here “although” is supplied as a component of the participle (“am”) which is understood as concessive am not outside the law of God, but subject to the law of Christ) in order that I may gain those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, in order that I may gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, in order that by all means I may save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, in order that I may become a participant with it.
24Do you not know that those who run in the stadium all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25And everyone who competes exercises self-control in all things. Thus those do so in order that they may receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. 26Therefore I run in this way, not as running aimlessly; I box in this way, not as beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and subjugate it, lest somehow after#*Here “after” is supplied as a component of the participle (“preaching”) which is understood as temporal preaching to others, I myself should become disqualified.
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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.