1 Corinthians 9

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to food and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who at any time 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 the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Does not the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Or is he speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others share this right of support from you, do not we all the more? Nevertheless, we did not make use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living from the gospel.

15 But 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. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion. For woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if it is not of my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my preaching I may offer the gospel free of charge, and so not make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law—though not being myself under the law—so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those who are without law, I became as one without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I do not run aimlessly. I do not box as a man beating the air. 27 But 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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