|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:15-23 It is the glory of a minister to deny himself, that he may serve Christ and save souls. But when a minister gives up his right for the sake of the gospel, he does more than his charge and office demands. By preaching the gospel, freely, the apostle showed that he acted from principles of zeal and love, and thus enjoyed much comfort and hope in his soul. And though he looked on the ceremonial law as a yoke taken off by Christ, yet he submitted to it, that he might work upon the Jews, do away their prejudices, prevail with them to hear the gospel, and win them over to Christ. Though he would transgress no laws of Christ, to please any man, yet he would accommodate himself to all men, where he might do it lawfully, to gain some. Doing good was the study and business of his life; and, that he might reach this end, he did not stand on privileges. We must carefully watch against extremes, and against relying on any thing but trust in Christ alone. We must not allow errors or faults, so as to hurt others, or disgrace the gospel.
Verse 18. - What is my reward then? The answer is that it was not such "wages" as would ordinarily be considered such, but it was the happiness of preaching the gospel without cost to any. I abuse not; rather, I use not to the full, as in 1 Corinthians 7:31. It may be said that this was a ground of boasting, not a reward. It was, however, a point to which St. Paul attached the highest importance (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 11:7-12; Acts 20:33, 34), and he might therefore speak of it, though almost with a touch of half unconscious irony, as his "fee." There is no need to adopt the construction suggested by Meyer: "What is my reward? [none] that I may preach gratuitously;" or that of Afford, who finds the reward in the next verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What is my reward then?.... None at all, I have none to expect, hope for, or claim, in a way of debt; I am a servant intrusted by my Lord with the Gospel, and an unprofitable one I am; I do, at most and best, but what is my duty, and for that I can claim no reward: all the reward that remains is only this,
verily, that when I preach the Gospel, which I am obliged to do,
I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge; to them that hear it, as he did to the Corinthians, which was his glorying in 1 Corinthians 9:15 and is the same with his reward here; for this means not any reward from God, but his glorying among men, and against the false teachers; that when he preached the word at Corinth, he was not chargeable to any, nor would he ever be: his reason for it is,
that I abuse not my power in the Gospel; his right of having a maintenance, whilst he was preaching the Gospel; to have made use of which would have been an abuse of it, since it would have given occasion to the false apostles to reproach and calumniate, and might have been an hinderance to the Gospel of Christ, and a stumbling to some weak minds.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. What is my reward?—The answer is in 1Co 9:19; namely, that by making the Gospel without charge, where I might have rightfully claimed maintenance, I might "win the more."
of Christ—The oldest manuscripts and versions omit these words.
abuse—rather "that I use not to the full my power." This is his matter for "glorying"; the "reward" ultimately aimed at is the gaining of the more (1Co 9:19). The former, as involving the latter, is verbally made the answer to the question, "What is my reward?" But really the "reward" is that which is the ultimate aim of his preaching without charge, namely, that he may gain the more; it was for this end, not to have matter of glorying, that he did so.
1 Corinthians 9:18 Parallel Commentaries
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