But I have not used any of these rights.1 And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast.216
Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach.3 Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward;4 if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.518
What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge,6 and so not make use of my rights7 in preaching it.
Though I am free8 and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone,9 to win as many as possible.1020
To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.11 To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law),12 so as to win those under the law.
To those not having the law I became like one not having the law13 (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law),14 so as to win those not having the law.
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.15 I have become all things to all men16 so that by all possible means I might save some.1723
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?18 Run19 in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown20 that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.21