Have we not a right to forbear working?
(ouk ecomen exousian mh ergazesqai;
). By h
(or) Paul puts the other side about Barnabas (the only allusion since the dispute in Acts 15:39
, but in good spirit) and himself. Perhaps (Hofmann) Paul has in mind the fact that in the first great mission tour (Ac 13; 14), Barnabas and Paul received no help from the church in Antioch, but were left to work their way along at their own charges. It was not till the Philippian Church took hold that Paul had financial aid ( Philippians 4:15
). Here both negatives have their full force. Literally, Do we not have (ouk ecomen
, expecting the affirmative reply) the right not (mh
, negative of the infinitive ergazesqai
) to do manual labour (usual meaning of ergazomai
as in Philippians 4:12
)?" There was no more compulsion on Paul and Barnabas to support themselves than upon the other workers for Christ. They renounced no rights in being voluntarily independent.