1 Corinthians 9

The Rights of an Apostle

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you [yourselves] not my workmanship in [the] Lord? Even if I am not an apostle to others, surely I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in [the] Lord. This is my defense to those who scrutinize me: Have we no right to food and to drink? Have we no right to take along a believing wife, as [do] the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?
That is, Peter
Or {are} Barnabas and I the only [ apostles ] who must work for a living?
Literal Or is it only Barnabas and I who do not have authority not to work
Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Who tends a flock and does not drink of [its] milk? Do I say this from a human perspective? Doesn’t [the] Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “vvv Do not muzzle an ox [while it is] treading out the grain.”
Deuteronomy 25:4
[Is it] about oxen [that] God is concerned?
10  Isn’t He actually speaking on our behalf? Indeed, this was written for us, because [when] the plowman plows and the thresher [ threshes ] , [they] should [also] expect to share in the harvest. 11  If we have sown spiritual [seed] among you, [is it] too much for us to reap a material [harvest] from you? 12  If others have [this] right to your [support] , shouldn’t we [have it] all the more? But we did not exercise this right. Instead, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13  Do you not know that those who work in the temple eat of [its food] , [and] those who serve at the altar partake of [its] [offerings] ? 14  In the same way, the Lord has prescribed that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. 15  But I have not used [any] of these [rights] . And I am not writing this to suggest that something be done for me. Indeed, I would rather die than for anyone to nullify my boast. 16  Yet when I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because I am obligated [to preach] . Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17  If my [preaching] [is] voluntary, I have a reward. But if [it is] not voluntary, I am [still] entrusted with [a] responsibility. 18  What then is my reward? That in preaching the gospel I may offer [it] free of charge, and so not use up my rights in [preaching] [it] .

Paul the Servant to All

19  Though I am free of obligation to anyone, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20  To 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) , to win those under [the] Law. 21  To those without [the] Law [I became like one] without [the] Law ([though I] am not outside [the] law of God but [am] under [the] law of Christ) , to win those without [the] Law. 22  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all [men] , so that by all possible means I might save some. 23  I do all [this] for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its [blessings] .

Run Your Race to Win

24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take [the prize] . 25  Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They [do it] [for] a crown [that is] perishable, but we [ do it for a crown ] [that is] imperishable. 26  Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating [the] air. 27  No, I discipline my body and make it my slave, [so that] after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
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