1 Corinthians 9:18
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

King James Bible
What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

Darby Bible Translation
What is the reward then that I have? That in announcing the glad tidings I make the glad tidings costless to others, so as not to have made use, as belonging to me, of my right in announcing the glad tidings.

World English Bible
What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News.

Young's Literal Translation
What, then, is my reward? -- that proclaiming good news, without charge I shall make the good news of the Christ, not to abuse my authority in the good news;

1 Corinthians 9:18 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

What is my reward then? - What is the source of my reward? or what is there in my conduct that will show that I am entitled to reward What is there that will demonstrate that my heart is in the work of the ministry; that I am free and voluntary, and that I am not urged by mere necessity? Though I have been called by miracle, and though necessity is laid upon me, so that I cannot but preach the gospel, yet how shall I so do it as to make it proper for God to reward me as a voluntary agent? Paul immediately states the circumstance that showed that he was entitled to the reward, and that was, that he denied himself, and was willing to forego his lawful enjoyments, and even his rights, that he might make the gospel without charge.

I may make the gospel of Christ without charge - Without expense to those who hear it. I will support myself by my own labor, and will thus show that I am not urged to preaching by mere "necessity," but that I love it. Observe here:

(1) That Paul did not give up a support because he was not entitled to it.

(2) he does not say that it would be well or advisable for others to do it.

(3) it is right, and well for a man if he chooses and can do it, to make the gospel without charge, and to support himself.

(4) all that This case proves is, that it would be proper only where a "necessity" was laid on a man, as it was on Paul; when he could not otherwise show that his heart was in the work, and that he was voluntary and loved it.

(5) this passage cannot be urged "by a people" to prove that ministers ought not to have a support. Paul says they have a right to it. A man may forego a right if he pleases. He may choose not to urge it; but no one can demand of him that he should not urge it; much less have they a right to demand that he should give up his rights.

(6) it is best in general that those who hear the gospel should contribute to its support. It is not only equal and right, but it is best for them, We generally set very little value on that which costs us nothing; and the very way to make the gospel contemptible is, to have it preached by those who are supported by the state, or by their own labor in some other department; or by people who neither by their talents, their learning, nor their industry have any claim to a support. All ministers are not like Paul. They have neither been called as he was; nor have they his talent, his zeal, or his eloquence. Paul's example then should not be urged as an authority for a people to withhold from their pastor what is his due; nor, because Paul chose to forego his rights, should people now demand that a minister should devote his time, and health, and life to their welfare for nothing.

That I abuse not my power in the gospel - Paul had a right to a support. This power he might urge. But to urge it in his circumstances would be a hinderance of the gospel. And to do that would be to abuse his power, or to pervert it to purposes for which it was never designed.

1 Corinthians 9:18 Parallel Commentaries

Library
'Concerning the Crown'
'They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we are incorruptible.'--1 COR. ix. 25. One of the most famous of the Greek athletic festivals was held close by Corinth. Its prize was a pine-wreath from the neighbouring sacred grove. The painful abstinence and training of ten months, and the fierce struggle of ten minutes, had for their result a twist of green leaves, that withered in a week, and a little fading fame that was worth scarcely more, and lasted scarcely longer. The struggle and the discipline
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Preach the Gospel
Now, these words of Paul, I trust, are applicable to many ministers in the present day; to all those who are especially called, who are directed by the inward impulse of the Holy Spirit to occupy the position of gospel ministers. In trying to consider this verse, we shall have three inquiries this morning:--First, What is it to preach the gospel? Secondly, Why is it that a minister has nothing to glorify of? And thirdly, What is that necessity and that woe, of which it is written, "Necessity is laid
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

But He Speaks More Openly in the Rest which He Subjoins...
9. But he speaks more openly in the rest which he subjoins, and altogether removes all causes of doubting. "If we unto you," saith he, "have sown spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" What are the spiritual things which he sowed, but the word and mystery of the sacrament of the kingdom of heaven? And what the carnal things which he saith he had a right to reap, but these temporal things which are indulged to the life and indigency of the flesh? These however
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Hence Arises Another Question; for Peradventure one May Say...
23. Hence arises another question; for peradventure one may say, "What then? did the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas, sin, in that they did not work? Or did they occasion an hindrance to the Gospel, because blessed Paul saith that he had not used this power on purpose that he might not cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ? For if they sinned because they wrought not, then had they not received power not to work, but to live instead by the Gospel. But if they had received
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Cross References
John 4:36
"Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

Acts 18:3
and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers.

1 Corinthians 3:8
Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

1 Corinthians 7:31
and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

1 Corinthians 9:12
If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:15
But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.

1 Corinthians 9:17
For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

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