1 Corinthians 9

Paul's Use of Liberty

1 Am I not 1free? Am I not an 2apostle? Have I not 3seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not 4my work in the Lord?
2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least * I am to you; for you are the 5seal of my 6apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defense to those who examine me is this:
4 7Do we not have a right to eat and drink?
5 8Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the 9brothers of the Lord and 10Cephas?
6 Or do only 11Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?
7 Who at any time serves 12as a soldier at his own expense? Who 13plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?
8 I am not speaking these things 14according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things?
9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, "15YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING." God is not concerned about 16oxen, is He?
10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, 17for our sake it was written, because 18the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.
11 19If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we 20did not use this right, but we endure all things 21so that we will cause no * hindrance to the 22gospel of Christ.
13 23Do you not know that those who 24perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?
14 So also 25the Lord directed those who proclaim the 26gospel to 27get their living from the gospel.
15 But I have 28used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better * for me to die than have any man make 29my boast an empty one.
16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for 30I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach 31the gospel.
17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a 32reward; but if against my will, I have a 33stewardship entrusted to me.
18 What then is my 34reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel 35without charge, so as 36not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
19 For though I am 37free from all men, I have made myself 38a slave to all, so that I may 39win more.
20 40To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though 41not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;
21 to those who are 42without law, 43as without law, though not being without the law of God but 44under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
22 To the 45weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become 46all things to all men, 47so that I may by all means save some.
23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
24 48Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives 49the prize? 50Run in such a way that you may win.
26 Therefore I 53run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not 54beating the air;
27 but I discipline 55my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
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