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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 1 CORINTHIANS 9\\

The principal things in this chapter are the proof of the apostle's
office and authority; arguments for his own maintenance, and the
maintenance of Gospel ministers; reasons why he did not make use of
his right and privilege in this respect: and the whole is concluded
with an exhortation to diligence and perseverance in the Christian
course of life, of which he himself was an example. He begins with
his office, as an apostle, and proves it; partly by his independency
on men, not having his call and mission from them; and partly by his
corporeal sight of Christ, and the authority which he in person
received from him; and also by the success of his ministry among the
Corinthians, \\#1Co 9:1\\, wherefore, whatever might be objected to
him by other persons, they had no reason to object to his
apostleship, seeing they, being converted under his ministry, were so
many seals of it, \\#1Co 9:2\\, and since his call to the ministry was
firm and valid, he had a right, as other ministers, to a maintenance
of himself and family, should he have any, from the churches, without
labouring with his own hands, \\#1Co 9:3-6\\, which he proves from
the law of nature and nations, exemplified in the cases of soldiers,
planters of vineyards, and keepers of flocks, who by virtue of their
calling and service have a right to a livelihood, between whom, and
ministers of the Gospel, there is some resemblance, \\#1Co 9:7\\, and
also from the law of Moses, particularly the law respecting the ox,
which was not to be muzzled when it tread out the corn; and which he
observes is to be understood, not only and barely in the letter of
oxen, but of ministers of the word, who are as husbandmen that plough
and thresh in hope, and therefore should be partakers of their hope,
\\#1Co 9:8-10\\. Moreover, the apostle argues the right of the
maintenance of the ministers of the Gospel, from the justice and
equity of the thing, that seeing they minister spiritual things, it
is but reasonable that they should receive temporal ones, \\#1Co 9:11\\,
and which the apostle argues for himself, and Barnabas, as from the
instances of other apostles, \\#1Co 9:5,6\\, so from the examples of
those that succeeded him in Corinth, who were maintained by that
church; though he did not think fit, when among them, to claim his
right, and make use of his power, lest any check should be put to the
progress of the Gospel, \\#1Co 9:12\\. And he goes on to make this
point clear and manifest from the case of, the priests and Levites
under the former dispensation, who ministering in holy things, had a
provision made for them, \\#1Co 9:13\\. And lastly, from the
constitution and appointment of Christ himself, who has ordained it
as a law of his, that the preachers of the Gospel should live of it,
\\#1Co 9:14\\, though the apostle himself did not make use of this
his privilege; nor would he ever make use of it, especially at
Corinth, for which he gives his reasons; and his principal one was,
that his glorying might not be made void, \\#1Co 9:15\\ which did not
lie in preaching the Gospel, for that he was obliged to do, \\#1Co 9:16\\,
for if he had engaged in it of his own accord, he would have had his
reward; but since it was through necessity, he could not claim any,
\\#1Co 9:17\\, or if any, it could be no other than to preach the
Gospel "gratis", and without charge, which was the thing he gloried
in, \\#1Co 9:18\\, and thus, though he lived independent of men, both
with respect to his office and his maintenance, yet in order to gain
souls to Christ, and be the instrument of their salvation, he became
a servant to all, \\#1Co 9:19\\, who are distributed into three sorts,
the Jews that were under the law, \\#1Co 9:20\\, the Gentiles that
were without the law, \\#1Co 9:21\\, and weak Christians, \\#1Co 9:22\\,
all which he did, not with any lucrative view to himself, but for the
sake of the Gospel, that he might partake of that, and of the glory
he was called unto by it, \\#1Co 9:23\\ which, and not temporal
things, he was looking unto, and pressing after; and which he
illustrates by a metaphor taken from the Grecian games, well known to
the Corinthians, particularly that of running races, in which all
ran, but one only had the prize: wherefore he exhorts the Corinthians
to run in like manner, that they may obtain the prize which he
mentions, and describes as an incorruptible crown, in opposition to a
corruptible one, which others strove for, \\#1Co 9:24,25\\, and to
this he animates by his own example and conduct, which he expresses
in terms borrowed from racers and wrestlers, expressive of his
humility, sobriety, and temperance; which things he exercised, that
whilst he was a preacher to others, he might not be worthy of reproof
and disapprobation himself, \\#1Co 9:26,27\\.