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.
5. lead about a sister, a wife—that is, "a sister as a wife"; "a sister" by faith, which makes all believers brethren and sisters in the one family of God: "a wife" by marriage covenant. Paul implies he did not exercise his undoubted right to marry and "lead about" a believer, for the sake of Christian expediency, as well to save the Church the expense of maintaining her in his wide circuits, as also that he might give himself more undistractedly to building up the Church of Christ (1Co 7:26, 32, 35). Contrast the Corinthians' want of self-sacrifice in the exercise of their "liberty" at the cost of destroying, instead of edifying, the Church (1Co 8:9, Margin; 1Co 8:10-13).
as other apostles—implying that some of them had availed themselves of the power which they all had, of marrying. We know from Mt 8:14, that Cephas (Peter) was a married man. A confutation of Peter's self-styled followers, the Romanists, who exclude the clergy from marriage. Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 7.63] records a tradition that he encouraged his wife when being led to death by saying, "Remember, my dear one, the Lord." Compare Eusebius [Eccleiastical History, 3.30].
brethren of the Lord—held in especial esteem on account of their relationship to Jesus (Ac 1:14; Ga 1:9). James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Probably cousins of Jesus: as cousins were termed by the Jews "brethren." Alford makes them literally brothers of Jesus by Joseph and Mary.
Cephas—probably singled out as being a name carrying weight with one partisan section at Corinth. "If your favorite leader does so, surely so may I" (1Co 1:12; 3:22).