1 Corinthians 9:1-23 Reading the Passage

Give Up My Rights? – 1 Corinthians 9:1-23

9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the fruit of my work in the Lord? (2) If I am not an apostle to others, nevertheless I am an apostle to you; for by the Lord you are the proof of my apostleship.

(3) This is my defense to those who judge me. (4) Do we not have the right to eat and drink? (5) Do we not have the right to take with us a wife who is a sister in the Lord, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? (6) Or do only I and Barnabas not have the right to refrain from working to support ourselves?

(7) When did anyone ever serve as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, but does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock, but does not drink of its milk? (8) I do not say these things from merely a human standpoint. Does not the Law also say the same thing? (9) In the Law of Moses it is written, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is threshing the grain.” God is not concerned about oxen. (10) On the contrary, without doubt he says this for our sake. It was written for our sake, because, when the plowman plows and when the thresher threshes, they ought to do so with the hope of sharing in the harvest. (11) If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? (12) If others have the right to receive financial support from you, do we not have a greater right to do so? But we did not make use of this right; on the contrary, we endure all things so that we may not in any way cause a hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

(13) Do you not know that those who perform the duties of the temple eat of the sacrifices offered at the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings sacrificed on the altar? (14) In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by their gospel ministry.

(15) But I have not used any of these rights, and I have not written these things so that this might be done for me; for I would rather die—no one shall deprive me of my grounds for boasting! (16) My preaching of the gospel is not any grounds for boasting, because there has been laid upon me a compulsion to preach the gospel. Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. (17) If I preach of my own free will, I have a reward; but if it is not of my own will, then it is a stewardship entrusted to me. (18) What then is my reward? It is this: When I preach the gospel I present it free of charge, so that I do not make use of my right as a preacher of the gospel.

(19) Although I am free from all men, I make myself a slave to all, so that I might win the most I can. (20) Indeed, among the Jews I became like a Jew, in order that I might win the Jews. To those who are under the Law, I became like one who is under the Law—though I am not under the Law myself—in order that I might win those who are under the Law. (21) To those who are without the Law I became like one who is without the Law—although I am not without the law of God, I am subject to the law of Christ—so that I might win those who are without the Law. (22) Among the weak I became weak, in order that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, in order that I might by all means save some. (23) I do all these things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may have a share in it.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.