1 Corinthians 9
NET Bible

The Rights of an Apostle

1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the confirming sign of my apostleship in the Lord. 3This is my defense to those who examine me. 4Do we not have the right to financial support? 5Do we not have the right to the company of a believing wife, like the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6Or do only Barnabas and I lack the right not to work? 7Who ever serves in the army at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Who tends a flock and does not consume its milk? 8Am I saying these things only on the basis of common sense, or does the law not say this as well? 9For it is written in the law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” God is not concerned here about oxen, is he? 10Or is he not surely speaking for our benefit? It was written for us, because the one plowing and threshing ought to work in hope of enjoying the harvest. 11If we sowed spiritual blessings among you, is it too much to reap material things from you? 12If others receive this right from you, are we not more deserving?

But we have not made use of this right. Instead we endure everything so that we may not be a hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple eat food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar receive a part of the offerings? 14In the same way the Lord commanded those who proclaim the gospel to receive their living by the gospel. 15But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing these things so that something will be done for me. In fact, it would be better for me to die than – no one will deprive me of my reason for boasting! 16For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason for boasting, because I am compelled to do this. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward. But if I do it unwillingly, I am entrusted with a responsibility. 18What then is my reward? That when I preach the gospel I may offer the gospel free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights in the gospel.

19For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) to gain those under the law. 21To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 22To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.

23I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.

24Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. 25Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.

26So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. 27Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 8
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