ICC New Testament Commentary
Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?9:1-27. THE GREAT PRINCIPLE OF FORBEARANCE
I have not asked you to forego more rights than I forego myself. For the sake of others I surrender, not only what any Christian may claim, but what I can claim as an Apostle.
1 Can it be denied that I am a free agent, that I have the authority and independence of an Apostle? I have seen our Lord face to face and He made me His Apostle, and you who were won over to Him through me are a standing proof of my Apostleship. 2 It may be possible for other Christians to question whether I am an Apostle or not, but you at least cannot do so, for your very existence as a Christian Church is the seal which authenticates my Apostleship. 3 There you have my answer to those who challenge my claim.
4 Surely we are free to do as we think best about eating and drinking at the cost of the Churches, 5 to do as we think best about taking with us on our journey a Christian sister as a wife, as also the rest of the Apostles do, and the brethren of the Lord, and Peter. 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas that are not free to do as we think best about working no longer for a living? 7 No soldier on service finds his own outfit and rations. If you plant a vineyard, you expect to partake of the produce, and if you tend cattle, you expect to get a share of the milk.
8 I am not saying all this merely from a worldly point of view. 9 The Divine Law assumes just the same principle. In the Law of Moses it stands written, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain. Do you think that it was merely out of consideration for the oxen that God caused that to be written? 10 Surely He was looking beyond them, and it is really for us preachers that He says this. No doubt it was in our interest that this law was enacted; because thus the principle is laid down that the plougher ought not to plough, and the thresher ought not to thresh, without a good prospect of sharing in the profit. 11 Well then, if it is we who in your hearts sowed the seeds of spiritual life, is it a very outrageous thing that we out of your purses shall reap some worldly benefit? 12 If others get their share of this right of maintenance from you, have not we who taught you first a still better right? Nevertheless, we did not avail ourselves of this right. On the contrary, we put up with every kind of privation, rather than cause the spread of the Glad-tidings of Christ to be in any way hampered. 13 Of course you know that those who are engaged in the temple-services are maintained out of the temple-funds; those who serve at the altar share the sacrifices with the altar. 14 On the same principle the Lord directed that those who proclaim the Glad-tidings should out of this work get enough to live on. 15 But I have availed myself of none of these pleas.
Now do not think that I write all this in order that the maintenance due to preachers should henceforth be granted in my case. Indeed not; for it would be better for me by far to die than submit to that: no one shall make void my glorying in taking nothing for my work. 16 It is quite true that I do preach the Glad-tidings; but there is no glorying about that: it is a duty which I must perform,—must, because it will be the worse for me if I do not perform it. 17 If I did this spontaneously, I should have my pay: but seeing that I do it because I must, it is a stewardship which has been entrusted to me. 18 What pay then do I get? Why, the pleasure of being a preacher who gives the Glad-tidings free of charge, so as not to use to the full a preacher’s right to maintenance.
19 So far from claiming my full rights, I submit to great curtailments. For, free and independent though I am from all men, yet I made myself all men’s slave, in order that I might win more of them. 20 Thus to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews. That means that to those under the Mosaic Law I became like one of themselves (although, of course, I am nothing of the kind), that I might win those under the Law. 21 To the Gentiles who are free from the Law I became like one of them (although, of course, I am not free from God’s law; on the contrary, I am under Christ’s law), that I might win those who are free from the Law. 22 To the men of tender scruples I became like one of them, that I might win such people as these. In short, to all kinds of men I have assumed all kinds of characters, in order at all costs to save some. 23 But all this variety I practise for one and the same reason, that I may not keep the Gospel to myself but share its blessings with others.
24 You know that the competitors in a race all run, but only one gets the prize. 25 You must run like him, so as to secure it. Now, every one that competes in the games is in all directions temperate. They verily aim at winning a perishable crown, but we one that is imperishable. 26 I accordingly so run as being in no doubt about my aim; I so fight as not wasting blows on the air. 27 Far from it; I direct heavy blows against my body, and force it to be my slave, lest my preaching to others should end in my own rejection.
It is a mistake to regard this chapter as an independent section in defence of the writer’s claim to be an Apostle. It is part of the discussion of the question as to eating food that has been offered to idols, in the midst of which it is inserted. Christians may eat such food, without fear of pollution; but in doing so they may harm other Christians: therefore, where there is risk of harming others, they should forbear. To show that this forbearance ought not to seem hard, he points out that his habitual forbearance is greater than that which he would occasionally claim from them. As in 6:1, he begins with animated questions. The conjecture that 9:1-10:22 is part of the letter mentioned in 5:9 is not probable.
1. Οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐλεύθεροσ; οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος; This is the order of the questions in the best texts (see below). ‘Have I not the freedom of a Christian? Have I not the rights of an Apostle?’ Logically, this is the better order; but even if it were not, the evidence for it is too strong to be set aside on such grounds. It is the thought that he forbears to claim, not only what any Christian may claim, but also the exceptional claims of an Apostle, that makes him digress on an explanation of what an Apostle may claim. In v. 19 he glances back at his general independence. Cf. Galatians 2:4, Galatians 2:5.
οὐχὶ Ἱ. τ. Κ. ἡμῶν ἑώρακα; This question and the next vindicate the claim made in the second question. He is certainly an Apostle, for he has the essential qualification of having seen the Risen Lord (Acts 1:22, Acts 2:32, Acts 3:15, Acts 4:33, etc.), and his preaching has had the power of an Apostle (2 Corinthians 3:1 f., 2 Corinthians 12:12). The reference is to the Lord’s appearance to him on the way to Damascus,—ὤφθη κἀμοί (15:8); an appearance which he regarded as similar in kind to the appearances to the Eleven on the Easter Day and afterwards. Whether he is also referring to the experiences mentioned in Acts 18:9, Acts 22:17, and 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 is uncertain. It is a mistake to say that we are not told that he saw the Lord who spoke to him on the way to Damascus. This is expressly stated, Acts 9:17 (ὀφθείς), 27 (εἶδεν), 22:14 (ἰδεῖν).* Note that in this important question we have the stronger form of the negative, which is specially frequent in this argumentative Epistle (1:20, 3:3, 5:12, 6:7, 8:10, 10:16, 18). In the N.T. Epistles it is almost confined to this group of the Pauline Epistles.
Nowhere else does St Paul use the expression ‘I have seen Jesus the Lord’, and he seldom uses the name ‘Jesus’ without ‘Christ’ either before or after. See notes on Romans 1:1, pp. 3 f. When he does use the name ‘Jesus’ he commonly refers to our Lord’s life on earth, especially in connexion with His Death or Resurrection (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 1:4:14; 2 Corinthians 4:10-14). In Romans 4:24 we have ‘Jesus our Lord’ as here, and in both cases the reference is to the risen Jesus. The use of ‘Jesus’ without ‘Christ’ is very rare in the later Epistles: once in Philippians (2:10), once in Ephesians (4:21), and not at all in Colossians or the Pastoral Epistles. See J. A. Robinson, Ephesians, pp. 23, 107; Milligan, Thessalonians, p. 135; Selbie, Aspects of Christ, pp. 71 f., a careful discussion of the question whether it is possible to separate the Christ of St Paul from the Jesus of history. See also the lectures of Dr. Moffatt and Dr. Milligan in Religion and the Modern World, Hodder, 1909, pp. 205-253. The Christ who appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus declared Himself to be the historic Jesus whom Saul was persecuting, and he thus not merely saw Jesus our Lord, but received a ‘voice from His mouth’ (Acts 22:14). That rested on his own testimony; but the fact of his conversion and the work that he had done since that day was known to all (4:15; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
τὸ ἔργον μου. The founding of the Corinthian Church was a work worthy of an Apostle: ab effectu jam secundo loco probat suum Apostolatum (Calv.). Edwards quotes meum opus es (Seneca, Ep. 34). Lest he should seem to be claiming what he disclaims in 3:5-7, he adds ‘in the Lord’: only in that power could such a work have been accomplished (3:9, 4:15).
The order of the first two questions adopted above (ἐλεύθερος before ἀπόστολος) is that of א A B P, Vulg. Copt. Arm. Aeth., Orig. Tert. The other is that of D E F G K L, Goth., which with P, Arm. insert Χριστόν either before or after Ἱησοῦν. א A B, Am. and other versions omit Χριστόν.
2. εἰ ἄλλοις οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος. The emphatic ὑμεῖς of the previous clause leads to an argumentum ad hominem. The Corinthians are the very last people who could reasonably question his claim to be an Apostle: at any rate to them he must be one.*. ‘For my certificate of Apostleship are ye’ (2 Corinthians 3:2). They themselves are a certificate of the fact, a certificate the validity of which lies in the same sphere as the success of his work; it is ‘in the Lord.’ Authentication is the idea which is specially indicated by the figurative σφραγίς. Nowhere in N.T. does σφραγίς seem to be used, as often in later writings, with reference to baptism. See notes on Romans 4:11, p. 107; Lightfoot, Epp. of Clem. ii. p. 226; Hastings, DB. Art. ‘Seal.’ Preachers who were not Apostles might convert many, but the remarkable spiritual gifts which Corinthians possessed were a guarantee that one who was more than a mere preacher had been sent to them. Paulus a fructu colligit se divinitus missum esse (Calv.). The ἄλλοις may allude to the Galatians.
μου τῆς ἀποστολῆς with א B P 17, Orig., rather than τῆς ἐμῆς ἀπ. with D E F G K L. A few inferior witnesses have ἐπιστολῆς.
3. ἡ ἐμὴ ἀπολογία … ἐστιν αὕτη. WH. follow Chrysostom and Ambrose in making this verse refer to what follows; so also AV. and the Revisers. RV. leaves it doubtful. But it is more probable that it refers to what precedes. ‘That I have seen the Risen Lord, and that you are such a Church as you are,—there you have my defence when people ask me for the evidence of my Apostleship.’ What follows tells us that he refrained from making his converts maintain him, and no one disputed his right to do that: but the Judaizers did dispute his right to be accounted an Apostle. The ἐμή and ἐμέ look back to σφραγίς μου τῆς ἀποστολῆς. ‘My reply to those who examine me is this’; ἐμέ, not με. Moreover vv. 4-11 are not so much a defence as a statement of claims. Defence begins in the middle of v. 12; but a superfluous defence. People blamed him for maintaining his independence, but they could not deny his right to do it. See Alford, Findlay, Edwards, and B. Weiss: for the other view see Bachmann.
Both ἀπολογία and ἀνακρίνουσιν are forensic expressions, perhaps purposely chosen to indicate the high hand which the Judaizers assumed in challenging St Paul’s claim. But in its strictly forensic sense, of a judicial investigation, ἀνακρίνω is peculiar to Luke in N.T. See on Luke 23:14, and cf. Acts 4:9, Acts 12:19, etc. It does not much matter whether we take αὕτη as predicate (so better), or subject: in either case it means ‘just what I have stated.’ Cf. τοῦτο in 7:6 and 11:17, and αὕτη in John 1:19, John 17:3. For the dative cf. Acts 19:33; 2 Corinthians 12:19.
4. Μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσιαν; The μή is the interrogative num; the οὐκ belongs to the verb. ‘Do you mean to say that we have no right?’ Numquid non habemus potestatem (Vulg.): cf. 11:22; Romans 10:19. Here, as often in the Pauline Epistles, we are in doubt whether the plur. includes others with the Apostle: he may mean himself and Barnabas. Where he means himself exclusively he commonly uses the singular: but it is more certain that the singular is always personal than that the plural commonly includes some one else. See Lightfoot on 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν. ‘To eat and drink what those to whom we preach provide for us.’ He is not now thinking of eating idol-meats: that subject is for the moment quite in abeyance. Still less is he contending that preachers are not bound to be ascetics. He says that although he personally refuses entertainment at the cost of those to whom he ministers, yet he has a right to it. He can do as he likes (ἔξεστί μοι) about it; he has the privilege of being maintained. See Clem. Hom. iii. 71; Luke 10:7.
πεῖν (or πῖν) as 2nd aor. inf. of πίνω is well supported here and 10:7 (א B* D* F G) against πιεῖν (A B3 D3 E K L P), and appears everywhere as a variant, except Matthew 20:22. It is frequent in MSS. of LXX. See WH. 11. Notes, p. 170.
5. ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιάγειν. ‘Do you mean to say that we have no right to take about (with us on our missionary journeys) a Christian person as a wife?’ ‘A sister (= Christian woman) as wife’ is right. Even if γυναῖκα in this construction could mean ‘woman’, it would be superfluous. The Vulgate encourages the mistranslation ‘woman’ with mulierem sororem. The Apostle is not contending that a missionary had a right to take about with him a woman who was not his wife. The fact that a group of women ministered to Christ could not be supposed to justify such indiscretion. But there is an early tradition that very few of the Apostles were married, and hence the temptation to make γυναῖκα mean ‘woman’ rather than ‘wife.’ Tertullian (Exhort. Cast. 8) translates rightly, licebat et apostolis nubere et uxores circumducere, and again (Monogam. 8), potestatem uxores circumducendi; but in the latter passage he suggests that only mulieres, such as ministered to the Lord, may be meant. This misinterpretation is followed by Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, and others. It led to a great abuse, not confined to the clergy, in the early ages of the Church. Some Christians contracted a sort of spiritual union with unmarried persons, and the two lived together, without marriage, for mutual spiritual benefit. The women in such cases were known as ἀδελφαί, ἀγαπηταί, and συνείσακτοι. Under the last name they are strictly forbidden, in the case of any cleric, by the third Canon of the first Council of Nicaea (Hefele, Councils, p. 379; Suicer, Thesaurus, under all three words and under γυνή).
St Paul is not here claiming that Apostles had a right to marry; no one in that age would be likely to dispute that. He is claiming that they have a right to maintenance at the cost of the Church, and that, if they are married, the wife who travels with them shares this privilege. The whole of this passage (5-18) is concerned with the privilege (of which he refused to make use in his own case) of being maintained at the charges of the congregations. But here, as in Galatians 1:19 and elsewhere, we are left in doubt as to the exact meaning of ἀπόστολοι: see on 15:5, 7.
The Sophists blamed Socrates and Plato for teaching gratuitously, thus confessing that their teaching was worth nothing (Xen. Mem. i. 6; Plat. Gorg. 520, Rev_20; Arist. Eth. Nic. ix. i. 5). This kind of charge may have been made by the Judaizers at Corinth. Other Apostles accepted maintenance. Why did Paul refuse it? Because he knew that he was no true Apostle; or, because he set up for being better than the Twelve; or, because he was too proud to accept hospitality.*
For περιάγειν transitive see 2 Mac. 6:10.
ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι. It is probably on this that the interpolator of the Ignatian Epistles (Philad. 4) bases his statement that Peter and Paul and οἱ ἀλλοι ἁπόστολοι were married; where the words et Paulus are omitted in some Latin texts. See on 7:8. The only Apostles of whose marriage we have direct evidence on good authority are Peter and Philip (Papias in Eus. H.E. iii. 39): see Lightfoot, Colossians, p. 45. This passage would certainly lead us to suppose that most of the Apostles were married men; it contends that all had the privilege of having themselves and their wives maintained by the Church, and it implies that some used the privilege, and therefore were married. The exact meaning of λοιποί is not clear: it may distinguish those who are included from ‘the brethren of the Lord and Kephas,’ or from Paul and Barnabas (v. 6). In the former case ‘the brethren of the Lord’ are Apostles, for the Apostolic body is divided into three parts; ‘Kephas,’ ‘the brethren, of the Lord,’ and ‘the rest of the Apostles.’* But it is possible that, without any strictly logical arrangement, he is mentioning persons in high position in the Church who availed themselves of the privilege of having their wives maintained as well as themselves, when they were engaged in missionary work. See Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 95. In dictating, he mentions Peter, by himself, at the end, as a specially telling instance; but we cannot safely infer from this that Peter had been in Corinth with his wife. 1:12 does not prove it. See Harnack, Mission and Expansion, i. p. 323, ii. 99.
οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ Κυρίου. Here only does St Paul mention them, though he tells us (Galatians 1:19) that James was one. The question of their exact relation to Christ has produced endless discussion, and the question remains undecided. There is nothing in Scripture which forbids the natural interpretation, that they were the children of Joseph and Mary born after the birth of Christ. To some students of the problem, Matthew 1:25 seems to be decisive for this interpretation: see Plummer, S. Matthew, pp. 9, 10, and the literature there cited. There is wide agreement that Jerome’s theory, that they were our Lord’s first cousins, children of a Mary who was sister to His Mother, cannot be maintained. But see Chapman, JTS. April 1906, pp. 412 f. The choice lies between the Helvidian and the Epiphanian theories. The decision does not affect the argument here. In any case they were persons whose close relationship to the Lord gave them distinction in the primitive Church: what they did constituted a precedent. Κηφᾶς, as almost always in Paul (1:12, 3:22, 15:5).
6. ἢ μόνος ἐγὼ καί . The ἤ, as in 6:2, 9, puts the question from the other point of view; that it adds “some degree of emotion” is not so clear. ‘Or is it only I and Barnabas that have not a right to forbear working with our hands for a living?’ The reason for including Barnabas is uncertain, and it seems to be an afterthought; hence the singular μόνος. It implies that Barnabas, like Paul, had refused maintenance; and it is possible that there had been an agreement between them that on their missionary journey (Acts 13:3) they would not cost the Churches anything. It seems also to imply that the practice of Barnabas was well known.
ἐργάζεσθαι. Manual labour, to earn a livelihood, is commonly meant by the word, with (4:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:11) or without (Matthew 21:28; Luke 13:14; Acts 18:3) ταῖς χερσίν added. Here again Greek sentiment would be against the Apostle’s practice. That a teacher who claimed to lead and to rule should work with his hands for a living would be thought most unbecoming: nothing but the direst necessity excused labour in a free citizen (Arist. Pol. 3:5). Contrast 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12.
7. Three illustrations add force to the argument, and they are such as are analogous to the Christian minister, who wages war upon evil, plants churches, and is a shepherd to congregations.* It is perhaps accidental that in each case the status of the worker is different; but this strengthens the argument. The soldier works for pay; the vine-planter is a proprietor; the shepherd is a slave. But to all alike the principle is applicable that labour may claim some kind of return. Cf. 2 Timothy 2:6.
ὀψωνίοις. Though applying primarily to the soldier’s food, it may cover his pay and his outfit generally. Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:8; Romans 6:23; Luke 3:14, where see note. The word is late (1 Esdr. 4:56; 1 Mac. 3:28; 14:32), and is sometimes extended to mean the supplies of an army. See Lightfoot on Romans 6:23; Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 266.
τὸν καρπόν … ἐκ τοῦ γάλακτος. The change of construction is perhaps intentional. A proprietor disposes of the whole of the produce; a slave gets only a portion of it. Cf. Tobit 1:10. In some texts τὸν καρπόν has been corrected to ἐκ τοῦ καρποῦ (E K L, Latt. Syrr. Copt. Arm.). See Proverbs 27:18.
8. Μὴ κατὰ ἂνθρωπον. ‘Do you think that I am speaking these things by man’s rule?’ It is not merely in accordance with human judgment of what is fitting that he lays down the principle that labour has a right to a living wage. There is higher authority than that. The expression κατὰ ἂνθρωπον occurs thrice in this Epistle (3:3, 15:32) and thrice in the same group (Romans 3:5; Galatians 1:11, Galatians 3:15), with slightly different shades of meaning: ‘from a human point of view’ is the leading idea.
ἢ καὶ ὁ νόμος ‘Or (v. 6) does the Law also not say these things?’ Perhaps some one had urged that ὁ νόμος ταῦτα οὐ λέγει ‘is silent on the subject’: it is not laid down that congregations must maintain Apostles. The change from λαλῶ to λέγει is perhaps intentional, the one referring to mere human expression, the other to the substance of what is said. As in οὐκ ἕχομεν (v. 4), the negative belongs to the verb.
Neither Vulg. (dico … dicit) nor AV. distinguishes the verbs: they apparently follow D E F G in reading λέγω for λαλῶ. K L P have ἢ οὐχὶ και ὁ νόμος ταῦτα λέγει : F G have ἢ εὶ καὶ ὁ ν.τ.λ. Doubtless ἢ καὶ ὁ ν.τ. οὐ λ. א A B C D E, Vulg. Copt.) is right.
9. Philo (De Humanitate) quotes this prohibition as evidence of the benevolence of the Law; and Driver (on Deuteronomy 25:4) says that it is “another example of the humanity which is characteristic of Dt.” Cf. Exodus 20:10, Exodus 20:23:12; Proverbs 12:10. Oxen still, as a rule, thresh unmuzzled in the East. Conder says that exceptions are rare. Near Jericho, Robinson saw the oxen of Christians muzzled, while those belonging to Mahometans were not. Driver quotes these and other instances. Cf. 2 Samuel 24:22; Isaiah 28:27 f.; Micah 4:12. Elsewhere (De Spec. Leg.) Philo says, οὐ γὰρ ὑπὲρ ἀλόγων ὁ νόμος, ἀλλὰ τῶν θυόντων.
It is not easy to decide between φιμώσεις (א A B3 C D 3 E K L P) and κημώσεις (B* D* F G). There is the same difference of reading 1 Timothy 5:18, but there φιμώσεις is unquestionably right, as in LXX of Deuteronomy 25:4. How could κημώσεις be so well attested, if it were not original? If it were original it would readily be corrected to the LXX, esp. as κημόω is rare: κημός is found in LXX (Psalm 31:9; Ezekiel 19:4, Ezekiel 19:9), but not κημόω. Here Chrys. and Thdrt. support κημώσεις.
10. μὴ τῶν βοῶν μέλει τῷ Θεῷ; ‘Do you suppose that it is for the oxen that God cares?’ St Paul does not mean that God has no care for the brutes (Psalm 104:14, Psalm 104:21, Psalm 104:27, 145:9, Psalm 104:15; Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:30). Nor does he mean that in forbidding the muzzling, God was not thinking of the oxen at all. He means that the prohibition had a higher significance, in comparison with which the literal purport of it was of small moment. Jewish interpreters sometimes abandoned the literal meaning of Scripture, and turned it entirely into allegory. They not merely allegorized the words, but said that the literal meaning was untrue. In some cases they urged that the literal meaning was incredible, and that therefore the words were intended to be understood symbolically and in no other way. Thus Philo (De Somn. i. 16) says that Exodus 22:27 cannot be supposed to be meant literally, for the Creator would not be interested about such a trifle as a garment: and elsewhere (De Sacrif. 1) he says that the Law was not given for the sake of irrational animals, but for the sake of those who have mind and reason. Cf. Ep. Barn. x. 1, 2, xi. 1. St Paul elsewhere allegorizes the O.T., as Hagar and Sarah (Galatians 4:24), and the fading of the light on Moses’ face (2 Corinthians 3:13), but in neither case does he reject the literal meaning. It is not probable that he does so here; even if πάντως be rendered ‘entirely,’ it need not be pressed to mean that the oxen were not cared for at all. Weinel, St Paul, p. 59.
ἢ διʼ ἡμᾶς πάντως λέγει; ‘Or is it for our sakes, as doubtless it is, that He saith it?’ See RV. marg. For πάντως Vulg. has utique; Beza, omnino: utique is probably right. It emphasizes the truth of this second suggestion ‘assuredly’; cf. Luke 4:23; Acts 18:21, Acts 21:22, Acts 28:4. In Romans 3:9, οὐ πάντως means ‘entirely not,’ ‘not at all,’ rather than ‘not entirely,’ ‘not altogether.’ See Thackeray, pp. 193 f. The ἡμᾶς probably means Christians;* but it may mean the Jewish nation, or mankind, to teach them to be just and humane. Origen prefers the former interpretation; οὐκοῦν διʼ ἡμᾶς τοὺς τὴν καινὴν διαθήκην παρειληφότας εἴρηται ταῦτα, καὶ περὶ ἀνθρώπων γέγραπται, πνευματικῶς τοῦ ῥητοῦ νοουμένου κατὰ τὸν θεῖον ἀπόστολον. Among Christians, Christian missionaries are specially meant. We might expect οὐ λέγει, as in v. 8. B. Weiss makes the sentence categorical; ‘Rather for our sakes absolutely (5:10) He says it.’
δἰ ἡμᾶς γὰρ ἐγράφη. The γάρ, asin1 Thess. 2:20, implies an affirmative answer to the previous question. ‘Yes indeed for our sakes it was written.’ It was with an eye to men rather than to oxen that this prohibition was laid down. Weinel, St Paul, P. 53; Resch, Agrapha, pp. 30, 152, 336.
ὅτι ὀφείλει ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι. The ὅτι is explanatory: ‘to show that it is in hope that the plougher ought to plough and the thresher (ought to thresh) in the hope of having a share (of the produce).’ The sentence is condensed, but quite intelligible: ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι is emphatic by position, and is then repeated for emphasis when the thing hoped for is stated. RV. renders ὅτι ‘because,’ as if the meaning were that the prohibition must have an eye to men, because it is in accordance with common notions of what is fair: which is unlikely. The ‘that’ of AV. is too indefinite. “Few particles in the N.T. give greater difficulty to the interpreter than ὅτι” (Ellicott). Retaining ‘Christian teachers’ or ‘Apostles’ as the meaning of ἡμᾶς, we must understand the ploughing and threshing as metaphors for different stages of missionary work. Such work, and indeed teaching of any kind, is often compared to agriculture. Some of the processes of agriculture represent mission-work better than others, and St Paul would perhaps have taken reaping rather than threshing, had not the quotation about threshing preceded. But threshing may represent the separation of the true converts from the rest.* To take ἐγράφη as referring to what follows, and introducing another quotation, is a most improbable construction: there is no such Scripture.
ὀφείλει ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ὁ ἀρ. ἀρ. (א A B C P 17, Vulg., Orig. Eus.) is to be preferred to ἐπʼ έλπίδι ὀφ. ὁ ἀρ. ἀρ. (א 3 D 2 K L, Chrys. Thdrt.), where the desire to make ἐπʼ έλπίσι still more emphatic has influenced the order. Other texts are much confused.
καὶ ὁ ἀλοῶν ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι τοῦ μετέχειν (א* A B C P 17, Syrr. Copt. Arm. Aeth., Orig. Eus.) is to be preferred to κ. ὁ ἀλ. τῆς ἐλπίδος αὐτοῦ μετέχειν ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι (א 3 D 3 E K L, Chrys. Thdrt.) and to κ. ὁ ἀλ. τῆς ἐλπίδος αὐτοῦ μετέχειν (D* F G, Ambst.). Some scribe did not see that ἀλοᾷν must be understood, and thus took μετέχειν to be the verb after ὀφείλει, making alterations to suit this construction.
11. Εἰ ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν … εἰ ἡμεῖς ὑμῶν. The ἡμεῖς in both places is emphatic and by juxtaposition is brought into contrast with the pronoun which follows. Cf. σύ μου νίπτεις τοὺς πόδας (John 13:6). There is possibly a slight vein of banter in the question. ‘If it is we who in your hearts sowed spiritual blessings, is it an exorbitant thing that we out of your possessions shall reap material blessings?’ What the Apostle gave was incalculable in its richness, what he might have claimed but never took, was a trivial advantage: was it worth disputing about? Was a little bodily sustenance to be compared with the blessings of the Gospel? With μέγα εἰ cf. 2 Corinthians 11:15: with τὰ σαρκικά cf. τὰ βιωτικά (6:3); ‘all that is necessary for our bodily sustenance.’
θερισομεν (א A B K) seems preferable to θερίσωμεν (C D E F G L P). The future indicative marks the reaping as more certain to follow, for which reason Evans prefers the subjunctive. The Apostle refused to reap. See Lightfoot on Php 3:11: he thinks that there is only one decisive instance of εἰ with subj. in N.T.
12. εἰ ἄλλοι τῆς ὑμῶν ἐξουσίας μετέχουσιν. ‘If others (the Judaizing teachers) have a share of the privilege which you bestow,’ viz. the privilege of being maintained by the congregation. It seems better to make ὑμῶν the subjective genitive. Yet most commentators make it the objective genitive; ‘have a share of the right exercised over you’ (Mark 6:7). But throughout the passage the ἐξουσία is looked at from the Apostles’ side, the advantage which rightly belongs to them. This implies power over the Corinthians to make them supply the maintenance; but that is not the side under consideration. And ‘to have a share in power over people’ is a somewhat strange expression ‘to have a share of a privilege which people allow’ is natural enough. But the sense is the same, however the genitive is interpreted. ‘We have a better claim than others to the right of maintenance.’ Some conjecture ἡμῶν for ὑμῶν.
ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐχρησάμεθα τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τ. ‘Nevertheless,’ he triumphantly exclaims, ‘we never availed ourselves of this privilege’; after elaborately demonstrating his right to the privilege, as if he were about to say, ‘Therefore I hope that you will recognize the right and give the necessary maintenance for us in future,’ he declares that he has never accepted it and never means to do so.* and he seems to include Silvanus and Timothy.
ἀλλὰ πάντα στέγομεν. ‘On the contrary, we endure all things;’ ‘we bear up under all kinds of privations and deprivations, sooner than make use of this privilege.’ The verb may mean ‘we are proof against,’ but it may be doubted whether πάντα means “all pressure of temptation” to avail ourselves of maintenance. See on 13:7, and Milligan on 1 Thessalonians 3:1. Beza needlessly conjectures στέργομεν.
ἵνα μή τινα ἐνκοπὴν δῶμεν. ‘In order that we may not furnish any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ.’ Neither in LXX nor elsewhere in N.T. does ἐνκοπή occur, and the word is rare in class. Grk. It is literally ‘an incision,’ and hence an ‘interruption’ or ‘violent break,’ as τῆς ἁρμονίας. It is perhaps a metaphor from breaking bridges or roads to stop the march of an enemy. The English ‘hamper’ had a similar origin, of impeding by means of cutting. ‘That we may not in any way hamper the progress of the Gospel’ is therefore the meaning. Obviously, if he took maintenance, he might be suspected of preaching merely for the sake of what he got by it. Moreover, those who had to maintain him might resent the burden, and be unwilling to listen to him. Chrysostom uses ἀναβολή, ‘a mound thrown up to stop progress,’ as equivalent to ἐνκοπή. St Paul’s passionate determination to keep himself independent, especially at Corinth, appears in various places; 2 Corinthians 11:9, 2 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8. He must be free to rebuke, and his praise must be above the suspicion of being bought. While labouring at Corinth, he could accept help from Macedonians, but not from Corinthians. When Ignatius (Philad. 6) says that no one can accuse him of having been oppressive (ἐβάρησα), he probably refers to the suppression of opinion rather than the enforcing of maintenance. Cf. ἐνέκοψεν, 1 Thessalonians 2:18.
The MSS. vary between ὑμῶν ἐξουσίας (א A B C D E F G P) and ἐξ. ῦμῶν: between τινα ἐγκ. (א A B C) and ἐγκ. τινα: between ἐγκοπήν(A C D 3 F G K P), ἐνκοπήν (B* F G) and ἐκκοπήν (א D* L). There is no authority for ἡμῶν ἐξουσίας.
13. He has reminded them that he has never in the past taken maintenance. Before stating what he means to do in the future, he strengthens the proof that he has a right to it. There is a higher and closer analogy than that of the soldier or of the different kinds of husbandmen. The other analogies may have escaped their notice, but surely they must be aware of the usages of the Temple, which in this matter did not differ from heathen usage. See Gray on Numbers 28:8-20.
οὐκ οἲδατε; ‘Do you not know that those who perform the temple-rites eat the food that comes out of the temple, those who constantly attend on the altar share with the altar’ what is offered thereon? The second half is not an additional fact; it repeats the first half in a more definite form. See Numbers 18:8-20 of the priest’s portions, and 21-24 of the Levite’s tithe, and contrast Deuteronomy 14:23 (see Driver, p. 169). Nowhere else in N.T. does συνμερίζομαι occur.
τὰ ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ (א B D* F G, Copt.) is preferable to ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ, without τά (A C D 3 E K L P, Syrr. Arm.): and παρεδρεύοντες (א* A B C D E F G P) to προσεδρεύοντες (א 3 K L). Neither verb occurs elsewhere in N.T., and there is little difference of meaning between them. See LXX of Proverbs 1:21, Proverbs 8:3.
14. Just as God appointed that the priests and Levites should be supported out of what the people offered to Him, so did Christ also appoint that missionaries should be supported out of the proceeds of missions. For the parallel between Christian preachers and Jewish priests see Romans 15:16. It is clear that ὁ Κύριος. means Christ; ‘the Lord also, ’ just as Jehovah had done. St Paul was familiar with what is recorded Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7, Luke 10:8. See on 7:10 and 11:23.
15. οὐ κέχρημαι οὐδενὶ τούτων. He repeats, in a stronger form, the statement of v. 12. The change of tense brings it down to the present moment: ‘I did not avail myself,’ οὐκ ἐχρησάμην, and ‘I have not availed myself,’ οὐ κέχρημαι. Moreover the addition of the pronoun makes the statement more emphatic; ‘I, however, have not availed myself of any of these advantages.’ Others may have done so, but he has not. He now thinks no longer of Silvanus and Timothy, who were perhaps included in οὐκ ἐχρησάμεθα. (v. 12), and speaks only of himself. Even the close analogy of the maintenance of the priests has not induced him to do that. He has now completely justified the plea that he is not asking them to forego more than he foregoes himself. Si ego propter aliorum salutem a debitis sumptibus abstinui, saltem vos ab immolatis carnibus abstinete, ne multos fratrum praecipitetis in interitum (Herv.). But v. 13 may possibly have been introduced for the sake of another parallel. ‘Like the priests who partake of what has been sacrificed, I have a right to partake of offerings, but for the sake of others I forbear. Then may I not ask you, although you have a right to partake of what has been sacrificed, for the sake of others to forbear?’
Having emphatically reminded them of his practice in the past, he now declares that he means to make no change. All this argument is not a prelude to requiring maintenance from them in future.
οὐκ ἔγραψα δὲ ταῦτα. ‘Now I did not write all this,’ viz. all the pleas which he has been urging (vv. 4-14). Or δέ may be ‘yet,’ ‘however,’ and ἒγραψα may be the epistolary aorist, like ἡγησάμην and ἒπεμψα (Php 2:25, Php 2:28), ἀνέπεμψα and ἒγραψα (Philemon 1:11, Philemon 1:19, Philemon 1:21); ‘Yet I am not writing all this’ Winer, P. 347. Deissmann gives examples from papyri, Light, pp. 157, 164.
ἵνα οὕτως γένηται ἐν ἐμοί. ‘That it may be so done (for the future) in my case’: not ‘unto me’ as A.V. Vulg. has in me rightly, and in eo, Matthew 17:12, where both AV. and RV. have ‘unto him.’
καλὸν γάρ μοι … οὐδεὶς κενώσει. Both reading and construction are doubtful. WH. make a rather violent aposiopesis after μᾶλλον ἀποθανεῖν ἢ: ‘For a happy thing (it were) for me rather to die than—No one shall make void my glorying,’ i.e. his repeated declaration that he has never used his privilege of free maintenance. Lachmann’s punctuation is still more violent; ‘For a happy thing it were for me rather to die than that my glorying should do so: no one shall make it void.’* The alternative is mentally to supply ἵνα, which with the fut. indic. is unusual, but not impossible (see v. 18). This difficulty led to the reading ἵνα τις κενώσῃ. It is impossible to get a satisfactory construction out of what seems to be the true text.
οὐ κέχρημαι οὐδενί (א* A B C D* E F G P 17) may safely be adopted: other texts vary the order, and some have ἑχρησάμην from v. 12. And οὐδεις κενώσει (א* B D* 17) is to be preferred to ἵνα τις κενώσῃ or κενώσει (א 3 C D 2 K L P). But whatever text or construction we adopt the sense remains the same; ‘I would rather die than be deprived of my independence.’ But ‘rather die of hunger than accept food’ is not the meaning. For καλὸν … ἤ see Swete on Mark 9:43; Winer, p. 302: the construction is not rare in LXX.
16. There must be no misunderstanding as to what he considers a matter for glorying. There can be no glory in doing what one is forced to do; and he is forced to preach the Gospel, because if he refused to do so, God would punish him. But he is not forced to preach the Gospel gratis; and he does preach gratis. In this there is room for glorying. See Chadwick, Pastoral Teaching, pp. 306 f.
ἀνάγκη γάρ μοι ἐπίκειται. He refers to the special commission which he had received on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:6). He was ‘a chosen vessel to bear Christ’s name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel’ (Acts 9:15); he was separated for the work to which the Holy Spirit had called him (Acts 13:2); and this commission had been repeated in the Temple (Acts 22:21). It was impossible for him to reject it: Romans 1:14; Galatians 1:15f.; Ezekiel 3:17 f. ‘Is laid’ (AV., RV.) is not accurate for ἐπίκειται: ‘lies’ or presses upon me’ is the meaning (Luke 5:1, Luke 5:23:23; Acts 27:20) ἐπίκειται ἡμῖν τὰ τῆς βασιλείας (1 Mae. 6:57); κρατερὴ δʼ ἐπεκείσετʼ ἀνάγκη (Hom. Il. vi. 458). But St Paul’s ἀνάγκη is the call of God, not the Greek’s driving of blind fate.
17, 18. Various explanations have been given of these rather obscure verses, and it is not worth while to discuss them all. The following is close to the Greek and fits the context. ‘For if by my own choice I make a business of this (as other teachers do), I get a reward (as they do).’ As a matter of fact the Apostle does not do this; he preaches because he must, and does not make a business of it or take any reward. But in order to make the argument complete, he states an alternative which might be a fact. He then states what is a fact. ‘If, however, it is not of my own choice, then it is a stewardship that has been entrusted to me. What, then, is the reward that comes to me? Why, that in preaching the Gospel I shall render the Gospel free of charge, so as not to use to the uttermost my privilege in the Gospel.’ Or we may explain thus: (1) St Paul had a μισθός (v. 18); therefore εἰ γὰρ ἑκών … is not a rejected alternative; (2) his μισθός is practically the same as his καύχημα (v. 15). Thus the alternatives of v. 17 are both true. He preached of obligation, but also in a way he was not obliged to adopt, i.e. without pay. The latter, not the former, secured him a reward. If he wished to exercise his privilege as an Apostle for all that it was worth (καταχρήσασθαι), he would insist upon full maintenance as his μισθός. But the μισθός which he prefers and gets is the delight of preaching without pay, of giving the Glad-tidings for nought, and taking no money for them. The idea of his μισθός being the commendation which he will receive at the Day of Judgment is quite foreign to the passage. Some editors carry the interrogation on to εὐαγγελίῳ. This makes a question of awkward length, and leaves the question to answer itself. To put the question at ὁ μισθός, and make what follows the answer to it, is more pointed. ‘What is the pay that I get? Why, the pleasure of refusing pay.’ An οἰκονόμος was often a slave (Luke 12:42). With πεπίστευμαι compare Galatians 2:7 and Lukyn Williams’ note there; also 1 Timothy 1:11; Titus 1:3; and see Deissmann, Light, P. 379. Nowhere else in the Bible does ἀδάπανον occur, and nowhere else in N.T. does ἄκων occur. See on 7:31 for καταχρήσασθαι.
μοι ἐστίν (א 3 B L P) rather than ἐστίν μοι (D3 E), or μου ἐστίν (א A C K), or ἔσται μοι (D* F G). After τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, D 2 E F G K L P, Syrr. add τοῦ Χριστοῦ: א A B C D*, Vulg. Copt. Arm. Aeth. omit.
19.Ἐλεύθερος γὰρ ὤν. ‘For although I am free from all, yet I made myself a bondservant to all, in order that I might gain the more.’* He is about to show other ways in which he, waives his rights, in order to serve others and help the spread of the Gospel. Others take these verses (19-23) as explaining the ways in which he gets his recompense by refusing recompense. But ἐλεύθερος ὤν seems to look back to v. 1 and to prepare the way for further instances of his forgoing his ἐλευθερία. Note the emphatic juxtaposition of πάντων πᾶσιν by chiasmus. Both πάντων and πᾶσιν are ambiguous as regards gender; but πᾶσιν is almost certainly masculine, and that makes it almost certain that πάντων is masculine; ‘all men’ (AV., RV.); jedermann (Luther); so also Calvin, though he regards the neuter as possible. Origen adopts the neuter as if it were certain. “To be free ἐκ πάντων,” he says, “is the mark of a perfect Apostle. A man may be free from unchastity but be a slave to anger, free from avarice but a slave to vanity; he may be free from one sin but a slave to another sin. But to say, ‘Although I am free from all,’ is the mark of a perfect Apostle and such was Paul.” Strange that Origen should suppose that the Apostle would make any such claim. He rightly points out that there was no harm in Paul’s going to Jewish synagogues and observing Jewish customs, for he did not do this deceitfully, ἀλλὰ θηρεύων τινὰς ἐξ αὐτῶν. In interpreting, Origen inserts the article before νόμον, and each time writes οἱ ὑπὸ τὸν νόμον. He says that people asked what was the difference between οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι and οἱ ὑπὸ τὸν νόμον, and he thinks that the latter refers to such people as the Samaritans. But, in quoting, he omits the article. He points out that St Paul does not say μὴ ὢν Ἰουδαῖος, for he was a Jew, although οὐκέτι ἐν τῷ φανερῷ: but he does say μὴ ὢν ὑπό νόμον, for he was not a Samaritan. The meaning of it all is, that he could find in all men something with which he could sympathize, and he used this to win them. This was hard work for one with so strong and pronounced an individuality as he had.
τοὺς πλείονας. He could not expect to win all; but τούς πλείονας does not mean ‘the majority of mankind,’ nor ‘more than any other Apostle,’ but ‘more than I should have gained if I had not made myself a slave to all.’ This is best expressed by ‘the more’ (AV., RV.). With κερδήσω Cf. Matthew 18:15; 1 Peter 3:1.*
20. He now gives examples of his becoming a slave to all. He is the slave of Christ, and becomes a slave to others, in order, like a faithful οἰκονόμος, to make gains for his Master. An οἰκονόμος (see above) might be a slave. ‘And (καί epexegetic) I behaved to the Jews as a Jew,’ e.g. in circumcising Timothy at Lystra (Acts 16:3.). Cf. Acts 21:26.
τοῖς ὑπὸ νόμον ὡς ὑπὸ νόμον. ‘To them that are under Law I behaved as one under Law.’ The context shows clearly that νόμος here means the Mosaic Law as a whole: but the sentence is not a mere explication of the preceding one. The one refers to nationality, the other to religion; and there were some who were under the Mosaic Law who were not Jews by race. The Apostle includes all who are not heathen.
μὴ ὤν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νόμον. ‘Though I knew that I was not myself under Law.’ He does not say οὐκ ὤν, which might refer to a fact of which he was not aware: but οὐ with participles is rare in N.T. The parenthesis is remarkable as showing how completely St Paul had broken with Judaism. See Dobschüitz, Probleme, p. 82. In commenting on this verse Origen indicates that he was not the first to do so; τινὲς ἐξήτησαν τίς ἡ διαφορὰ τῶν ὑπὸ τὸν νόμον παρὰ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους. See on 1:24.
This parenthesis is omitted in D3 K, Copt. Aeth. AV., but is clearly to be inserted with א A B C D* E F G P, Vulg. Arm. RV. The omission is probably due to homoeoteleuton, νόμον to νόμον.
21. τοῖς ἀνόμοις. He goes a good deal further, and says that he was willing to behave as a heathen to heathen (cf. Galatians 2:19). He did this, as Origen remarks, when he quoted heathen poets, and took as a text the inscription on a heathen altar, ἀνγώστῳ Θεῶ. See also Acts 14:15, Acts 24:25, where his arguments are such as a heathen would appreciate. Here ἄνομος does not mean ‘lawless’ in the sense of disregarding and transgressing law (Luke 22:37; Acts 2:23; 1 Timothy 1:9), but = οἱ μὴ ὑπὸ νόμον, ‘those who were outside Law’; Romans 2:14. Evans (following Estius, exlex, inlex) translates, ‘To God’s outlaws I behaved as an outlaw, not being (as I well knew) an outlaw of God, but an inlaw of Christ’; and Origen explains the latter as meaning τηρῶν τὴν πολιτείαν τὴν κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. But even ‘outlaw’ has too much of the idea of lawlessness to be quite satisfactory. The genitives, Θεοῦ and Χριστοῦ mean ‘in relation to.’ Qui est ἄνομος Θεῷ est etiam ἄνομος Χριστῷ: qui est ἔννομος Χριστῷ est ἔννομος Θεῷ: and (on Galatians 6:2) lex Christi, lex amoris (Beng.). It was the lex amoris, as followed by himself, that the Apostle would enforce on the Corinthians with regard to eating idol-meats; and this thought brings him to the last illustration of his forbearing conformity, τοῖς ἀσθενέσιν ἀσθενής. The Law of Christ, while freeing him from the Law of Moses, did not leave him free to do as he pleased: it restrained him, and kept him from wandering to other objects than the service of God and man (2 Corinthians 5:14).
θεοῦ and Χριστοῦ (א A B C D* F G P, Latt. Copt., Orig. Chrys.) rather than θεῷ and Χρισῷ (D3 K L, Arm. Thdrt.): see Blass, § 36. II. κερδάνω or κερδανῶ (א* A B C F G P 17) rather than κερδήσω (א* D E K L Orig. Chrys. Thdrt.), which is from vv. 19, 20. τοὺς άνόμους (א A B C D E P 17, Orig.) rather than ἀνόμους(א3 F G K L, Chrys. Thdrt.), perhaps to conform with Ἰουδαίους,
22. τοῖς ἀσθενέσιν ἀσθενής. ‘To the weaklings I became a weakling’ (no ὡς). When he had to deal with the over-scrupulous, he sympathized with their scruples, abstaining from things which seemed to them (though not to him) to be wrong. Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:29; Romans 14:1, Romans 15:1. Certainly this is the meaning, not “those who had not strength to believe the Gospel.” Origen says that he was weak to the weak when he allowed those who burn to marry. He points out that Paul does not say μὴ ὢν αὐτὸς ἀσθενής, which would have been ἀλαζονικόν and ὑπερήφανον: Yet surely not so much so as Origen’s own interpretation of ἐλεύθερος ἐκ πάντων (see on v. 19). See Resch, Agrapha, p. 132.
τοῖς πᾶσιν γέγονα πάντα. ‘To them all I am become all things’. The change from aorist to perfect is significant; this is the permanent result of his past action; he is always all-sided in all relations. His accommodation has no limit excepting the one just stated, that he is ἔννομος Χριστοῦ. See Lightfoot on Galatians 2:5, where we see this limit operating; also On Revision, p. 92. Tarsus taught him to be many-sided. (Ramsay, Pictures of the Apostolic Church, pp. 346 f.)
ἵνα πάντως τινὰς σώσω. Another significant change; from κερδήσω to σώσω. When he sums up the various conciliations and accommodations he states the ultimate aim;—not merely to win this or that class to his side, but, by every method that was admissible, to save their souls. Peter sacrificed a Christian principle to save himself from Jewish criticism (Galatians 2:12-14). Cf. for the πάντως Tobit 14:8; 2 Malachi 3:13. See the remarkable comment on vv. 20-22 in Cassian, Conf. xvi. 20.
Before ἀσθενής, א3 C D F G K L P, Syrr. Copt. Arm. Aeth. insert ὡς from vv. 20, 21: א* A B, Latt. Orig. omit. Before πάντα, D2 K L P, Orig. Thdrt. insert τά: א A B C D* F G omit. For πάντως τινάς some texts (D E F G, Latt.) have πάντας, or (17, Clem-Alex.) τοὺς πάντας. Clem. Alex. (Strom. v. 3) has three variations from the true text; πάντα ἐγενόμην ἵνα τοὺς πάντας κερδήσω. Orig, varies between τοὺς πάντας, πάντας ἢ τινάς, and πάντα. Calv., rejecting ut omnes facerem salvos (Vulg.) for ut omnino aliquos servem, remarks; quia successu interdum caret indulgentia cujus Paulus meminit, optime convenit haec restrictio: quamvis non proficeret apud omnes, non tamen destitisse, quin paucorum saltem utilitati consuleret.
23. πάντα δὲ ποιῶ διὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. ‘Yet all that I do, I do because of the Gospel.’* Not, ‘for the Gospel’s sake’, in order to help its progress, but because the Gospel is so precious to himself. He has just been stating how much he does for the salvation of others; he now adds that he is also careful of his own salvation, and thus anticipates the conclusion of v. 27. What follows shows that this is the meaning; he must secure his share in that eternal life which the Gospel offers.
ἵνα συνκοινωνὸς αὐτοῦ γένωμαι. ‘In order that I may prove to be a fellow-partaker thereof,’ i.e. not lose his share in the salvation which he tries to bring to others.† Even in speaking of his own salvation he does not regard it as the main thing, or as something apart by itself. Salvation is offered by the Gospel to all; and he must strive to be one of those who receive it. The prize is not yet won: σύν et γίγνομαι magnam habent modestiam (Beng.).
24. The thought of possible failure, where failure would be so disastrous, suggests an exhortation to great exertion, which is illustrated by the practice of runners and boxers in the Isthmian games. These were held once in three years close to Corinth. See Hastings, DB. art. ‘Games’; Smith, D. of Grk, and Rom. Ant. art. ‘Isthmia’. The reference to the games is certain; such contests were common everywhere. The reference to the Isthmian games is much less certain. See Ramsay, Pauline Studies, p. 332, Pictures of the Apostolic Church, p. 363.
οἱ ἑν σταδίῳ τρέχοντες … βραβεῖον. ‘The runners in a race-course all of them run, but one taketh the prize.’* Does that mean, asks Origen, that only one Christian is saved, while the rest of us are lost? Not so, for all who are in the way of salvation are one, ‘one body.’ It is the Christian Church that runs, and there is a prize for each of its members. But the prize is not in all cases the same: God gives to each according to his merit. The derivation of βραβεῖον (brabeum, brabium, bravium) is unknown. It occurs Php 3:14; Clem. Rom. Cor. 5; Tatian, Ad Graec. 33.
25. οὕτως τρέχετε, ἵνα καταλάβητε. ‘So run, that ye may secure it.’ The οὕτωςmay look back to the successful competitor; ‘run as he does’: or it may simply anticipate the ἵνα.† The change from λαμβάνει to καταλάβητε marks the difference between mere receiving and securing as one’s own possession, and this play on words cannot be reproduced in English. Evans suggests ‘take’ and ‘overtake.’ This would be excellent, if we had οὕτως διώκετε, ἱνα καταλάβητε, for διώκειν and καταλαμβάνειν are common correlatives for ‘pursue’ and ‘overtake.’ But here the idea of one Christian overtaking another is alien to the context, and ‘to overtake a prize’ is not a natural expression. In Php 3:12 we have the same play on words, but there we have διώκω, as also in Romans 9:30.
πᾶς δὲ ὁ ἀλωνιζόμενος. It is easy to talk about securing the prize, ‘but every one who enters for a contest, in everything practises self-control’; he goes into strict training, which for a Greek athlete lasted ten months. Ἐγκρατ. occurs 7:9, and nowhere else in N.T. Cf. Hor. Ars Poet. 412 f. AV. puts a colon, RV. a full stop, here, so that what follows is an independent sentence. More probably, ἐκεῖνοι μέν and ἡμεῖς δέ are two classes which make up the whole company of athletes, πᾶς ὁ ἀγωνιζόμενος. With WH. put only a comma after ἐγκρατεύεται. Emphasis on πᾶς and πάντα.
φθαρτὸν στέφανον. In the Isthmian games a pine-wreath: cf. 1 Peter 5:4; Wisd. 4:2. Philo (De Migr. Abr. 6), “Thou hast proved thyself to me a perfect athlete, and hast been deemed worthy of prizes and wreaths (βραβείων καὶ στεφάνων), while Virtue presides over the games and holds forth to thee rewards of victory.” Even Pindar has not succeeded in making the wreath of glory ἄφθαρτος: the victors in the games are not those who are remembered in history. Non solum corona, sed etiam memoria ejus perit (Beng.). The οὖν is independent of the μέν, which anticipates the following δέ (contrast 5:4, 7); ‘they verily,’ or ‘they of course, in order to receive a perishable crown.’
ἡμεῖς δὲ ἄφθαρτον. The exact expression is not found elsewhere in N.T., but we have ἀμαράντινον τῆς δόξης στέφανον (1 Peter 5:4), where ‘made of immortelles’ is perhaps the meaning rather than ‘which fadeth not away’: see Bigg ad loc. But ‘amaranth’ and ‘immortelles’ are flowers that do not fade, so that the meaning is much the same. Elsewhere we have τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς (Jam 1:12; Revelation 2:10), ὁ τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος (2 Timothy 4:8). In all these places, as here, it is a crown of victory that is meant, rather than a royal crown, διάδημα (Revelation 12:3, 19:12; 62:3, 1 Esdr. 4:30, 1Mac. 8:13, 8:32). The contrast between φθαρτός and ἄφθαρτος occurs in 1 Peter 1:23. In LXX of Zechariah 6:14 we have ὁ δὲ στέφανος ἔσται τοῖς ὑπομένουσιν: but more to the point is the description of Virtue in Wisd. 4:2, ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι στεφανηφοροῦσα πομπεύει, τὸν τῶν ἀμιάντων ἄθλων ἀγῶνα νικήσασα. The figure is frequent in 4 Mac.
Lightfoot (St Paul and Seneca) quotes from Seneca (Ep. Mor. lxxviii. 16) a remarkable parallel; “What blows do athletes receive in their face, what blows all over their body. Yet they bear all the torture from thirst of glory. Let us also overcome all things, for our reward is not a crown or a palm branch or the trumpeter proclaiming silence for the announcement of our name, but virtue and strength of mind and peace acquired ever after.”
Epictetus also (Dis. iii. 21) has a fine passage on the qualifications and responsibilities of teachers; “The thing is great, it is mystical, not a common thing, nor is it given to every man. But not even wisdom perhaps is enough to enables a man to take care of youths: a man must have a certain readiness and fitness for this purpose; and above all things he must have God to advise him to occupy this office (vv. 16, 17; 7:40), as God advised Socrates to occupy the place of one who confutes error. Why then do you act at hazard in things of the greatest importance? Leave it to those who are able to do it, and to do it well.” And again (3:22), “He who without God attempts so great a matter, is hateful to God.”
26. ἐγὼ τοίνυν. Instead of going on with his exhortation to others, he looks to himself. He cannot dispense with painful effort. ‘I for my part, therefore, am so running, as one with no uncertain course.’ He knew the goal quite well, and he knew the road which led to it (Galatians 2:2). Here οὕτως anticipates ὡς (4:1), which adds weight to the view that in v. 24 οὕτως anticipates ἵνα. But οὕτως τρέχω does not make it probable that οὕτως τρέχετε is indicative. To render οὐκ ἀδήλως ‘not without certainty of reaching the goal’ makes it almost contradict the fear expressed in μή πως ἀδόκιμος γένωμαι. Scio quod petam et quomodo (Beng.) is better. In N.T., τοίνυν generally begins a sentence (see on Luke 20:25 and cf. Hebrews 8:13): St Paul has the usual classical order (cf. Wisd. 1:11, 8:9). Nowhere else in the Bible is ἀδήλως found: but see 2 Mac. 7:34; Php 3:14.
οὕτως πυκτεύω. ‘I so box as smiting not the air.’ It is unlikely that he means ‘I do not smite the air, but I beat my body,’ in which case μου τὸ σῶμα would have preceded ὑπωπιάζω, and it is rash to say that οὐκ negatives ἀέρα, because the negative of δέρων would have been μή. We may regard οὐκ ἀέρα δέρων as one term, ‘no air-smiter’: he uses his fists as one in deadly earnest, and does not miss: he plants his blow. And οὐ with participles still survives in N.T., where the writer feels “that the proper negative for a statement of downright fact is οὐ.”
There are eleven other instances in Paul: four in 2 Corinthians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 4:9; two in a quotation in Galatians 4:27; one each in Romans 9:25; Galatians 4:8; Php 3:3; Colossians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:4. See also Matthew 22:11; Luke 6:42; John 10:12; Acts 7:5, Acts 7:26:22, Acts 7:28:17, Acts 7:19; Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews 11:35; Heb_1 Pet, 1:8 (see Hort), and a quotation in 2:10. J. H. Moulton (Gr. i. p. 231) gives numerous illustrations from papyri, and concludes with a remark which applies to this passage. “The closeness of the participle to the indicative in the kinds of sentence found in this list makes the survival of οὐ natural.” See Blass, § 75.5.
‘Beating the air,’ whether literally or metaphorically, is common in literature. Virgil’s Dares (Aen, v. 377), verberat ictibus auras, and Entellus vices in ventum effudit (446) may occur to any one; also ventosque lacessit ictibus (12:105; Geor. iii. 233). Ovid, Met. vii. 786, vacuos exercet in aera morsus. Valerious Flaccus, Arg. iv. 302, vacuas agit inconsulta per auras brachia. Hom. Il. xx. 446, τρὶς δ—ἠέρα τύψε βαθεῖαν. Cf. also εἰς ἀέρα λαλεῖν (14:9). But we are not to understand the Apostle as speaking of practising boxing: both τρέχω and πυκτεύω refer to the actual contest. We see the close of it in 2 Timothy 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:8.
27. ἀλλʼ ὑπωπιάζω … δουλαγωγῶ. ‘But I bruise my body black and blue and lead it along as a bond-servant.’ The renderings of ὑπωπιάζω (lit. give a black eye by hitting τὸ ὑπώπιον) are various; castigo (Vulg.), lividum facio (d), contundo (Beza), subigo (Calv.). See on Luke 18:5, where Vulg. has sugillo.* It is perhaps too much to say that St Paul regards his body as an antagonist. Rather, it is something which becomes a bad master, if it is not made to be a good servant. It is like the horses in a chariot race, which must be kept well in hand by whip and rein if the prize is to be secured. The Apostle was no Gnostic, regarding the body as incurably evil, and here he says σῶμα not σάρξ. But the body must be made the δοῦλος of the spirit. Nowhere else in the Bible does δουλαγωγῶ occur: cf. δουλόω in Romans 6:18, Romans 6:22. The purpose of δουλαγωγῶ is τοῦ μηκέτι δουλεύειν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ (Romans 6:6). Ignatius recalls what follows (Trall. 12). See Lietzmann, Greek Papyri, p. 6.
μή πως ἄλλοις κηρύζας αὐτὸς ἀδόκιμος γένωμαι. The thought of possible failure, which is just discernible in v. 23, is here expressed with full distinctness, and the metaphor of contests in the games perhaps still continues. There was a κῆρυξ at the games who announced the coming contest and called out the competitors: “Then our herald, in accordance with the prevailing practice, will first summon the runner” (Plat. Laws, viii. p. 833). This the Apostle had done in preaching the Gospel; he had proclaimed, οὕτως τρέχετε, ἵνα καταλάβητε. But he was not only the herald to summon competitors and teach them the conditions of the contest; he was a competitor himself. How tragic, therefore, if one who had instructed others as to the rules to be observed for winning the prize, should himself be rejected for having transgressed them!† Excepting Hebrews 6:8, ἀδόκιμος is found only in Paul: 2 Corinthians 13:5-7; Romans 1:28; Titus 1:16, 2 Timothy 3:8: δόκιμος also (11:19) is mainly Pauline. Manifestly exclusion from the contest, as not being qualified, is not the meaning; he represents himself as running and fighting: it is exclusion from the prize that is meant.‡ He might prove to be disqualified. His effective preaching and his miracles (10:9-11, 14:18, 19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 15:18, Romans 15:19; Galatians 3:5) will avail nothing if he has broken the rules of the course (see on Matthew 7:22, Matthew 7:23). In quo monentur omnes, ut timendo sperent et sperando timeant, quatenus spes foveat laborantes et timor incitet negligentes (Atto). Ita certus est de praemio, ut timeat illud amittere; et ita metuit amittere, ut certus sit de eo (Herv.). Potest etiam conjungi cum superiore dicto, in hunc modum; Ne Evangelio defrauder, cujus alii mea opera fiunt participes (Calv.).
ν̔πωπιάζω(אA B C D* 17) is to be preferred to ὑποπιάζω(F G K L P), ὑπωπιὲζω(D3), or ὑποπιέζω(22). “Keep under’ (AV.) is from ὑποπιάζω. For σῶμα F has στόμα. For ἁδόκιμος, reprobus (Vulg.), rejectaneus (Beza). Schmiedel suspects vv. 24-27 as an interpolation.
* See Weinel, St Paul, pp. 79 f.; A. T. Robertson, Epochs in the Life of St Paul, pp. 39 f., a valuable chapter.
אԠא (Fourth century.) The Sinaitic MS., now at St Petersburg, the only MS. containing the whole N.T.
A A (Fifth century.) The Codex Alexandrinus; now at the British Museum.
B B (Fourth century.) The Vatican MS.
P P (Ninth century). Porfirianus Chiovensis. A palimpsest acquired in the East by Porphyrius Bishop of Kiew. Lacks 7:15 ὑμᾶς ὁ θεός-17 περιπάτει: 12:23 τοῦ σώματος-13:5 οὐ λογί-: 14:23 τὸ λαλεῖν μή. A good type of text in St Paul’s Epistles.
D D (Sixth century.) Codex Clarmontanus; now at Paris. A Graeco-Latin MS. 14:13 διο͂ ὁ λαλῶν-22 σημεῖον ἐστίν is supplied by a later but ancient hand. Many subsequent hands (sixth to ninth centuries) have corrected the MS. (See Gregory, Prolegomena , pp. 418-422).
E E (Ninth century). At Petrograd. A copy of D, and unimportant
F F (Late ninth century). Codex Augiensis (from Reichenau); now at Trin. Coll. Cambr. Probably a copy of G in any case, secondary to G, from which it very rarely varies (see Gregory, p. 429).
G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). Lacks 1 Corinthians 3:8-16, 1 Corinthians 6:7-14 (F).
K K (Ninth century). Codex S. Synod. xcviii. Lacks 1:1-6:13 ταύτην καί: 8:7 τινὲς δὲ—8:11 ἀπέθανεν.
L L (Ninth century). Codex Angelicus; At Rome.
* ἀλλά γε occurs nowhere else in N.T., except Luke 24:21, where see footnote, p. 553. He could not prove to any one that he had seen the Lord; but Corinthians at any rate had no need of such evidence to convince them that he was an Apostle. He seems to be glancing at the rival teachers who questioned his claim to the title. See Dobschütz, Probleme des Ap. Zeitalters, p. 105; Fletcher, The Conversion of St Paul, pp. 63 f.; Ramsay, Pictures of the Apostolic Age, pp. 102 f.
17 17. (Ev. 33, Act_13. Ninth century.) At Paris (Nat. Gr. 14). See Westcott and Hort., Introd. §§ 211, 212.
* There was, of course, another reason. Owing to the influence of St Paul, a good deal of money that had previously supported Judaism now went. elsewhere. The Jews said that he was making a fortune out of his new religion. Hence his protests that he never took maintenance.
Here, as in 12:13 and Luke 24:10, AV. ignores the article; ‘other apostles,’ ‘other churches,’ ‘ other women.’
With ὡς καί compare καθώς καί, 1 Thessalonians 2:14: it introduces and argument from induction; v. 7 is an argument from analogy; v 8 is an appeal to authority.
* Origen points out that it is as a disciple of the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for the sheep, that the Apostle uses this illustration.
C C (Fifth century). The Codex Ephraem, a Palimpsest; now at Paris. Lacks 7:18 ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ-9:6 τοῦ μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι: 13:8 παύσονται-14:40 ἀλλὰ ἕτερα.
* The record of what was preparatory to the Gospel was made for the sake of those who received the Gospel.
* Cf. the separation of the fruit of the Spirit from the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-23.
* Dix fois il revient avec fierté sur ce détail, en apparence puéril, qui’l n’a rien coult à personne, quoique’ il eût bien pu faire comme les autres et vivre de l’ autel. Le mobile de son zèle étail un amour des ames en quelque sorte infini (Renan, S. Paul, 237).
* Lachmann conjectures νὴ τὸ καύχημά μου: cf. 15:31. Michelsen conjectures νὴ τὸ κ. μου ὃ οὐδεὶς κενώσει.
* The ἐκ expresses more strongly than ἀπό (Romans 7:3) that he is freed out of all dependence on others; he is extricated from entangling ties.
* It is just possible that there is an allusion to the charge of making a gain (2 Corinthians 11:12, 2 Corinthians 12:17): his only gain was winning souls.
* ‘This I do’ (AV.) comes from a wrong reading; τοῦτο (K L, Syrr.), instead of πάντα.
† This gives some support to the view that, in 3:9, θεοῦ συνεργοί means ‘sharers in work for God,’ but it does not make that view probable.
* Compare the contrast between πάντες and οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν (x. I. 5).
† In any case it means perseveranter nec respicientes retro.—Recte dictum est, Deum adverbia, non verba remunerare; nempe eos qui fortiter et juste, non autem qui fortia et justa operatur (Salmeron in Denton).
* Cf. Cic. Tusc. ii. 17, Inde pugiles caestibus contusi ne ingemiscunt quidem, gladiatores quas plagas perferunt, accipere plagam malunt quam turpiter vitare.
† ‘There is one that is wise and teacheth many, and yet is unprofitable to his own soul’ (Ecclus. 37:19), μισῶ σοφιστὴν ὅστις οὐχ αὑτῷ σοφός (Menander).
‡ There was a herald who proclaimed the victors, and was himself crowned for his services. Nero proclaimed his own success at the games, and thus compected with the heralds. Victorem se ipse pronunciabat: qua de causa et praeconio ubique contendit (Suet. Nero, 24).
If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,
Have we not power to eat and to drink?
Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
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.
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.