1 Corinthians 9:20

20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:20 in Other Translations

KJV
20 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;
ESV
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
NLT
20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.
MSG
20 religious, nonreligious,
CSB
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law-though I myself am not under the law-to win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:20 Meaning and Commentary

1 Corinthians 9:20

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew
That is, in religion; or with respect to some religious observances peculiar to the Jews, for he himself was really a Jew by nature; who became as one unto them in this sense, when he for their sakes circumcised Timothy at Derbe, or Lystra, purified himself at Jerusalem, shaved his head at Cenchrea, observed their sabbath, and abstained from some sorts of food forbidden in the law; and his end in so doing was, not to confirm them in such usages, but that he might hereby have the greater influence over them, and by little and little bring them off of these things, or, as he says,

that I might gain the Jews;
bring them over to Christ, and off of a dependence on their own righteousness, for justification before God:

to them that are under the law, as under the law;
the Vulgate Latin version adds, "when I was not under the law", and so the Alexandrian copy and some others; by whom seem to be meant the same persons as before; though some have thought that the Samaritans are intended, and others the Sadducees: but if any as distinct from the former are designed, they should rather seem to be the converted Jews; who though they believed in Christ, looked upon themselves to be still under the law, and therefore observed it; with whom the apostle on certain occasions complied, as if he was under it too, that he might have the greater share in their affections and credit; hoping in time that by such means he might be able to prevail upon them to relinquish these things, and wholly attend to the Gospel and ordinances of Christ, or, as he says,

that I might gain them that are under the law;
meaning the Jews, who were observers of the law of Moses.

1 Corinthians 9:20 In-Context

18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Acts 16:3; Acts 21:20-26; Romans 11:14
  • 2. S Romans 2:12