|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-14 It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services among them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as to set forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good of others. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.
Verse 10. - Altogether. It is probable that St. Paul only meant the word to be taken argumentatively, and not au pied de la lettre. This application (he says) is so obviously the right application, that the other may be set aside as far as our purpose is concerned. In the margin of the Revised Version it is rendered "Saith he it, as he doubtless doth, for our sake?" In hope. St. Paul's large experience of life, and his insight into character, sufficed to show him that despairing work must be ineffectual work. The spring and elasticity of cheerful spirits is indispensable to success in any arduous undertaking.
"Life without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Or saith he it altogether for our sakes,.... That is, God says this, or delivers out this law, forbidding the muzzling the ox, while it treads out the corn; not merely for the sake of the ox, but chiefly for the sake of men; and so Jarchi upon the place says, that the ox is mentioned, , "to express man"; and so another of the Jewish writers (m) interprets the law in Deuteronomy 22:6. "Thou shalt not take the dam with the young";
"the intention of the command is, not to have mercy on birds, "but for the sake of men", he (God) says this, whom he would accustom to meekness and compassion:''
and particularly this is here said, for the sake of ministers of the Gospel, who for their spiritual strength, and labours in their work, may be compared to oxen; see Ezekiel 1:10. This law is elsewhere produced by the apostle, and urged in favour of the maintenance of ministers, as here, 1 Timothy 5:17 and therefore
for our sakes no doubt it is written; to teach men, that as any workmen are not to be deprived of proper sustenance, so neither they that labour in the word and doctrine:
that he that ploweth should plow in hope; of enjoying the fruit of his labours:
and that he that thresheth in hope, should be partaker of his hope; of having a supply out of that he is threshing.
(m) R. Menuachcm apud Ainsworth on Deuteronomy 22.7. & Drusium in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. altogether—Join this with "saith." "Does he (the divine lawgiver) by all means say it for our sakes?" It would be untrue, that God saith it altogether (in the sense of solely) for our sakes. But it is true, that He by all means saith it for our sakes as the ultimate object in the lower world. Grotius, however, translates, "mainly" or "especially," instead of altogether.
that—"meaning that" [Alford]; literally, "because."
should plough—ought to plough in hope. The obligation rests with the people not to let their minister labor without remuneration.
he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope—The oldest manuscript versions and Fathers read, "He that thresheth (should or ought to thresh) in the hope of partaking" (namely, of the fruit of his threshing). "He that plougheth," spiritually, is the first planter of a church in a place (compare 1Co 3:6, 9); "he that thresheth," the minister who tends a church already planted.
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