1 Corinthians 9:8
Say I these things as a man? or said not the law the same also?
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(8) Say I these thing as a man?—He proceeds to show that his appeal is not to a human principle, but to the recognition by men of a principle which is itself divine. The divinely given Law also says these things.

1 Corinthians 9:8-10. Say I these things as a man — Have I only human authority and reasons for what I say? or saith not the law — The revealed will of God; the same? For it is written Deuteronomy 25:4, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox, &c. — But shalt allow the poor animal to feed while it is labouring for thee, in the midst of food; a circumstance in which its hunger would be peculiarly painful. It is well known, that the people of the East did not thresh their corn as we do; but they pressed out the grain, by causing oxen to tread on the ears, a custom which is still retained in several of the eastern nations. “And, at this day,” as Bengelius observes, “horses tread out the corn in some parts of Germany.” Doth God take care for oxen — Was this precept given merely for their sakes? had he not a further meaning in it? did he not intend to show hereby what equity should be used in rewarding those that labour for us? For our sakes no doubt this is written — Not to oblige us to obey those laws, but to teach us to exercise humanity and equity toward those we employ or deal with. This precept, concerning oxen, being introduced in the law, immediately after precepts enjoining justice and mercy in punishments, it was certainly intended to impress the Israelites with a sense of the obligations of justice and humanity toward rational creatures, as the apostle here affirms. That he that plougheth should plough in hope — Of reaping; and he that thresheth in hope — Should not be disappointed of the fruit of his labour; that is, any one that is employed to work for us, should do it in hope of receiving a meet reward for his pains, whereby he may be encouraged in his work, and should be partaker of his hope — Should afterward receive the reward hoped for. And so ought they who labour faithfully in God’s husbandry.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.Say I these things as a man? - Do I speak this on my own authority, or without the sanction of God? Is not this, which appears to be so reasonable and equitable, also supported by the authority of God?

Or saith not the law the same also? - The Law of Moses, to which the "Jewish" part of the church at Corinth - which probably had mainly urged these objections - professed to bow with deference. Paul was accustomed, especially in arguing with the Jews, to derive his proofs from the Old Testament. In the previous verse he had shown that it was equitable that ministers of the gospel should be supported. In this and the following verses he shows that the same principle was recognized and acted on under the Jewish dispensation. He does not mean to say, by this example of the ox treading out the grain, that the law as given by Moses referred to the Christian ministry; but that the principle there was settled that the laborer should have a support, and that a suitable provision should not be withheld even from an ox; and if God so regarded the welfare of a brute when laboring, it was much more reasonable to suppose that he would require a suitable provision to be made for the ministers of religion.

8. as a man—I speak thus not merely according to human judgment, but with the sanction of the divine law also. That is, I do not speak this only rationally, or by a fallible spirit, nor do I build this assertion alone upon instances known and familiar amongst men. As this is highly reasonable, and conformable to what the very light of nature showeth, and the law of nature obligeth men to in other cases, where men take others off their own work to attend theirs; so it is according to the will of God, which is the highest reason. Say I these things as a man?.... After the manner of men, reasoning from things common among men, and obvious to everyone's observation:

or saith not the law the same also? As the subject the apostle is upon was capable of being illustrated and confirmed by instances common unto, and easy of observation among men; so it might be supported by divine authority; it was not only a clear point from the reason of things, but was certain by the law of God.

{6} Say I these things {h} as a man? or saith not the law the same also?

(6) Secondly, he brings forth the authority of God's institution by an argument of comparison.

(h) Have I not better ground than the common custom of men?

1 Corinthians 9:8. Transition to the proof from Scripture of the above ἐξουσία.

It is not supposed surely that I speak this (namely, what I say of that apostolic prerogative in applying to it the rule of these ordinary analogies) after the manner of a man (according to mere human judgment, as a purely human rule, and not a divinely given one)? or the law too, does it not say this? Is it silent concerning this principle? Does it contain no statement of it?

κατὰ ἄνθρ.] The opposite of this is κατὰ τὸν νόμον τοῦ Θεοῦ. Comp on Romans 3:5; Galatians 3:15. Theodoret gives the idea correctly: ΕἸ ΔΈ ΤΙΝΙ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΙΝΟς ΕἾΝΑΙ ΤΑῦΤΑ ΔΟΚΕῖ ΛΟΓΙΣΜῸς, ἈΚΟΥΈΤΩ ΤΟῦ ΝΌΜΟΥ ΔΙΑῤῬΉΔΗΝ ΔΙΑΓΟΡΕΎΟΝΤΟς.

] as in 1 Corinthians 9:6. “I should not speak this after man’s way of thinking, if it were the case that the law contained nothing of it.” This is the affirmative sense of the interrogative phrase.

καί] too; the law is conceived of as the higher authority coming in over and above the individual λαλῶ.

οὐ] negatives the ΛΈΓΕΙ; see the critical remarks. Comp 1 Corinthians 9:7.

As to the difference to be noticed between ΛΑΛῶ and ΛΈΓΩ, see on Romans 3:19; John 8:43.1 Corinthians 9:8-10 a. μὴ κατὰ ἄνθρωπον κ.τ.λ.; “Am I saying these things as any man might do”—in accordance with human practice (as just seen in 7)?—κατὰ ἄνθρ., in contrast with what ὁ νόμος λέγει; cf. Galatians 3:15 ff. This dialectic use of μή, or ἢ καί, in a train of questions, is very Pauline; ἢ καὶ recommends the second alternative; cf. Romans 4:9, Luke 12:41.—“The law” is abolished as a means of obtaining salvation (Romans 3:19 ff., etc.); it remains a revelation of truth and right (Romans 7:12 ff.), and P. draws from it guidance for Christian conduct; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:34, Romans 13:8 ff., and (comprehensively) Romans 8:4. The ethics of the N.T. are those of the Old, enhanced by Christ (see Matthew 5:17 ff.). Paul speaks however here, somewhat distantly, of the “law of Moses” (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20 f., 1 Corinthians 10:2); but of “the law of Christ” in Galatians 6:2 (cf. John 1:17; John 8:17; John 10:34; John 15:25).—Οὐ φιμώσεις κ.τ.λ., “Thou shalt not muzzle a threshing ox,” cited to the same effect in 1 Timothy 5:18,—οὐ with fut[1305] reproducing the Heb. lo’ with impf[1306] of emphatic prohibition. Deuteronomy 25:4, detached where it stands, belongs to a series of Mosaic commands enjoining humane treatment of animals, regarded as being in some sense a part of the sacred community: cf. Exodus 20:10; Exodus 23:12; Exodus 23:19, Deuteronomy 22:4; Deuteronomy 22:6 f., Deuteronomy 22:10. Corn was threshed either by the feet of cattle (Micah 4:12 f.), or by a sledge driven over the threshing-floor (2 Samuel 24:22).—μὴ τῶν βοῶν μέλει τῷ Θεῷ κ.τ.λ.; “Is it for the oxen that God cares, or on our account, by all means, does He say (it)?” The argumentative πάντως (cf. Romans 3:9, Luke 4:23), “on every ground”—slightly diff[1307] in 1 Corinthians 9:22, more so in 1 Corinthians 5:10 : not that “God is concerned wholly (exclusively) for us” in this rule; but on every account a provision made for the beasts in man’s service must hold good, à fortiori, for God’s proper servants; cf. Matthew 6:26 ff., also 1 Corinthians 10:31, 1 Corinthians 12:12. διʼ ἡμᾶς, emphatically repeated, signifies not men as against oxen, but nos evangelii ministros (Est.) in analogy to oxen; the right of Christ’s ministers “to eat and drink” is safeguarded by the principle that gives the ox his provender out of the corn he treads. Paul’s method in such interpretations is radically diff[1308] from that of Philo, who says, Οὐ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλόγων ὁ νόμος, ἀλλʼ ὑπὲρ τῶν νοῦν κ. λόγον ἐχόντων, De Victim. offer., § 1: Philo destroys the historical sense; Paul extracts its moral principle.

[1305] future tense.

[1306]mpf. imperfect tense.

[1307] difference, different, differently.

[1308] difference, different, differently.

1 Corinthians 9:10 b. διʼ ἡμᾶς γάρ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:20, for γὰρ in affirm. reply) κ.τ.λ.: “Yes, it was written on our account (cf. Romans 4:23 f.)—(to wit), that the ploughing (ox) ought to plough in hope, and the threshing (ox) in hope of partaking” (ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι τοῦ μετέχειν). The explanatory ὅτι clause (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:26, 1 Corinthians 4:9 and note) restates and amplifies the previous quotation. The Ap. is not explaining how the command came to be given (“because,” E.V[1309]), but unfolding the principle that lies in it.—The right of the ox in threshing also belongs in equity to the ox at the plough; all contributors to the harvest are included, whether at an earlier or later stage.—ὀφείλει, emphatic—debet (Vg[1310]): the hope of participation in the fruit is due to the labourer—beast or man. The moral, as applied to Christian teachers, is obvious; it embraces the successive stages of the common work (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9, John 4:36).—ἀροτριᾷν (sometimes “to sow”; so El. and some others here) contains the root of the Lat. aro and older Eng. ear.

[1309] English Version.

[1310] Latin Vulgate Translation.8. Say I these things as a man?] i.e. from a purely human point of view. Cf. Romans 3:5 and Galatians 3:15. This second argument is drawn from the law of Moses, and its force would be admitted by the Judaizing section of St Paul’s opponents.1 Corinthians 9:8. Καὶ) also. Not only do I not speak this as a man [according to mere human modes of thought], but with the approbation of the law itself.Verse 8. - Say I these things as a man? Am I relying exclusively on mere human analogies? The same phrase occurs in Romans 3:5; Galatians 3:13. Saith not the Law. The verbs used for "say" (λαλῶ) and "saith" (λέγει) are different: "Do I speak [general word] these things as a man? or saith [a more dignified word] not the Law," etc.? As a man (κατὰ ἄνθρωπον)

Rev., after the manner of men. See on Romans 3:5. The formula occurs six times in Paul's epistles. The question introduces another kind of evidence - that from Scripture. I will not confine myself to illustrations from human affairs. I will appeal to Scripture.

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