1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 9

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic  which limits the observer to the content offered by the letter of 1 Corinthians especially the previous chapters. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture utilizing the same normative rules of reading / interpretation.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Manuscript Evidence from The New Testament And Translation Commentary, Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Ill.

****** EXCERPT FROM 1 COR CHAPTER 8 ******

OR MOVE TO FIRST VERSE OF CHAPTER NINE 

In 1 Cor 8:10-13, which follow 1 Cor 8:9, Paul concludes this chapter beginning with verse 10 which follows verse 9:

(1 Cor 8:9 NKJV) "But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

(1 Cor 8:10 HCSB) For if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, [in the sense of a weaker / less mature Christian believer who nevertheless may revert to believing in - having a 'knowledge' of - the 'existence' of pagan gods and sees "you" a believer] dining in an idol’s temple, won’t his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food offered to idols?"

So in 1 Cor 8:9-10, Paul is saying in view of his warning to believers in 1 Cor 8:9 which reads 
"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak," author Paul next writes in verse 10 about someone who knows that you are a believer who sees you dining on meat sacrificed to idols in a temple which displays images of pagan gods - a temple where idol worship is performed. And if that someone who is a Christian / a believer, albeit a weaker believer, has an incorrect "knowledge" that there are actual pagan gods in existence; Paul then asks the question in 1 Cor 8:10, "Won't his weak conscience be encouraged [by your actions] to eat food offered to idols [which he in his immaturity / weaker faith does not believe he is free to eat because he falsely thinks that it is supposedly forbidden by God of Christians?

(1 Cor 8:11 NASB, 
"For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died."

11 The verb ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi) carries not only the meaning "destroy," in the sense of eternal destruction, but also the more qualified meaning of temporal "ruin" or "loss" (cf. Matt 9:17, of wineskins that are ruined; and James 1:11, of a blossom as it withers and its beauty fades, and in that sense is thought of as destroyed).

Whereupon, Paul addresses the more mature believer in 1 Cor 8:11 NASB, 
"For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died." So Paul goes on to conclude that the more "mature" believer who has a somewhat more accurate knowledge of God's Word on the matter of what is acceptable to eat, i.e., he has the liberty to eat anything he chooses as a believer with one proviso: although the more mature believer may understand that he is free to eat what he chooses without liability toward God through that knowledge; nevertheless it is with the proviso that he does not do it in the sight / the presence of a weaker brother who may be caused to stumble on account of the actions of the 'more mature' brother. For though the more 'mature' brother may have a better knowledge of God's Word on this matter relative to his personal freedom, nevertheless if he exercises that liberty in the sight / presence of a believer who is weak on this issue, he may cause that weaker brother in Christ to stumble and be ruined in the sense of losing his faith, being under God's discipline and losing out on eternal rewards.

Note that the verb ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi) carries not only the meaning "destroy," in the sense of eternal destruction, but also the more qualified meaning of temporal "ruin" or "loss" (cf. Matt 9:17, of wineskins that are ruined; and James 1:11, of a blossom as it withers and its beauty fades, and in that sense is thought of as destroyed).

(1 Cor 8:12 HCSB) Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ.

Hence Paul concludes in 1 Cor 8:12 that when a more mature believer acts like this it is a sin against the brothers and it wounds their weak consciences. It is sinning against Christ Himself!

[(1 Cor 8:12) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 8:12]:

(1 Cor 8:12 HCSB) "Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ."

"1 Cor 8:12

TR WH NU "wounding their conscience when it is weak" Sinaiticus, A, B, D, 33, 1739, Maj
variant "wounding their conscience" p46, Clement

The reading supported by p46 is the longer reading [it was] considered an addition to the text, natural in view of the general context, but less effective at this point, where to wound a brother's conscience seems to be regarded as a sin against Christ, whether that conscience is "weak" or not. The NU editors thought the scribe of p46 either made a mistake of omission or modified the text..."

(1 Cor 8:13 HCSB) Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall."

Finally, in 1 Cor 8:13, Paul concludes in a personal way with, "Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat [period], so that I won't cause my brother to fall [again]. Paul is willing to go to an extreme for the sake of a brother in Christ.

Here again Paul uses the first-class condition with εἰ (ei) and the indicative verb. By this construction he stresses the reality of the situation: "If food actually causes my brother to stumble...."


i) [(1 Cor 8:10-13) Expositor's Bible Commentary on 1 Cor 8:10-13]:

(1 Cor 8:10 HCSB) "For if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, [in the sense of a Christian believer who nevertheless may revert to believing in - having a 'knowledge' of - the 'existence' of pagan gods and sees you a believer] dining in an idol’s temple, won’t his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food offered to idols?"

(1 Cor 8:11 NASB)
"For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died."


(1 Cor 8:12 HCSB) Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ.

(1 Cor 8:13 HCSB) Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall."

"[10-13] So Paul depicts for the Corinthians what may well have been an actual scene (v. 10): Suppose, a brother who is weak in conscience sees you, who understand that an idol is nothing, reclining at table to eat (katakeimenon) in an idol temple; won't he also be encouraged to eat and so do what his conscience forbids him to do? When you do such a thing, he continues (v. 11), you are using your freedom and knowledge to bring your weak brother down the path (apollutai, present tense of apollumi, "destroy") toward spiritual weakness and destruction. Paul does not mean ultimate spiritual destruction, for he calls this man a "brother, for whom Christ died." The stress is on weakening the faith and ruining the Christian life of the brother.

Speaking to the "strong" brother (v. 12), Paul is saying, "If you cause the weak brother to stumble into sin, you yourselves are sinning in a twofold way: (1) against your brothers and (2) against Christ in that you are wounding the conscience of those who belong to Christ." The plurals in this verse imply that Paul has in mind a sizeable group at Corinth who were both the offenders and the offended.

13 In closing the discussion, the apostle includes himself. He may be indicating that when he was in Corinth, he had had to face this question and had, for the sake of the Christians there, refrained from eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. So he ends with the personal declaration: "Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall" (v. 13) — a noble resolve that stands as an enduring principle for Christian living."

(1 Cor 8:10-13) Bible Knowledge Commentary on 1 Cor 8:10-13]:

(1 Cor 8:10 HCSB) "For if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, [in the sense of a Christian believer who nevertheless may revert to believing in - having a 'knowledge' of - the 'existence' of pagan gods and sees you a believer] dining in an idol’s temple, won’t his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food offered to idols?"

(1 Cor 8:11 NASB)
"For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died."


(1 Cor 8:12 HCSB) Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ.

(1 Cor 8:13 HCSB) Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall."

"8:10. As an illustration Paul posed a situation in which a weak Christian saw a knowledgeable brother enjoying a meal in an idol's temple and was by this example encouraged to join in, even though he could not do so with the clear conscience before God that the knowledgeable Christian enjoyed.

8:11. As a consequence the conscience of this weak believer was seared (cf. 1 Tim. 4:2), and his capacity to distinguish right from wrong was lost (cf. Titus 1:15) leading to his spiritual ruin and physical death (cf. 1 Cor. 10:9-10; Rom. 14:15). Apollytai, rendered is destroyed, often refers to physical death (e.g., Matt. 2:13; Acts 5:37). The selflessness of Christ was an example for the knowledgeable. If Christ loved this brother so that he was willing to give up His exalted rights and even His life (Phil. 2:6, 8), surely the strong could give up his right to eat such meat.

8:12. To be arrogantly indifferent to the need of weaker Christians results in sin not only against them (for you... wound their weak conscience; cf. v. 7) but also against Christ of whose body they are members (12:26-27; cf. 1:30; Matt. 25:40, 45). Paul experienced this point acutely on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:4-5).

8:13. In summary Paul stressed the priority of brotherly love. He did not demand that the knowledgeable relinquish their right, but he illustrated how he would apply the principle to himself. Paul did not want anybrother to fall (cf. v. 9) but to be "built up" (cf. v. 1), and knowledge governed by love accomplished that.

As a final note to this chapter it should be understood that Paul did not say that a knowledgeable Christian must abandon his freedom to the ignorant prejudice of a "spiritual" bigot. The "weak brother" (v. 11) was one who followed the example of another Christian, not one who carped and coerced that knowledgeable Christian into a particular behavioral pattern. Also it was unlikely that Paul saw this weak brother as permanently shackling the freedom of the knowledgeable Christian. The "weak brother" was no omnipresent phantom but an individual who was to be taught so that he too could enjoy his freedom (Gal. 5:1)."

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM 1 COR CHAPTER 8 ******

I) [1 Cor 9:1-27]:

(1 Cor 9:1 NASB) "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

(1 Cor 9:2 NASB) If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

(1 Cor
9:3 NASB) My defense to those who examine me is this:

(1 Cor 9:4 NASB) Do we not have a right to eat and drink?

(1 Cor 9:5 NASB) Do we not have a right to take along a [lit. sister, as wife] believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

(1 Cor 9:6 NASB) Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?

(1 Cor 9:7 NASB) Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not [lit., eat of] use the milk of the flock?

(1 Cor 9:8 NASB) I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things?

(1 Cor 9:9 NKJV) For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about?

(1 Cor 9:10  NKJV)  Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of His hope.

(1 Cor 9:11 NKJV) If [=since] we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

(1 Cor 9:12 NKJV) If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

(1 Cor 9:13 NASB) Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?


(1 Cor 9:14 NASB) So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

(1 Cor 9:15 NASB) But I have used 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 my boast an empty one.

(1 Cor 9:16 NASB) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

(1 Cor 9:18 NASB) What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

(1 Cor 9:19 NASB) For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

(1 Cor 9:20 NASB) To 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 not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;

(1 Cor 9:21 NASB)
to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.

(1 Cor 9:22 NASB)
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

(1 Cor 9:23 NASB)
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB)
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Cor 9:26 NASB) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

(1 Cor 9:27 NASB) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

A) [(1 Cor 8:9-13 & 9:1-2) Commentary On 1 Cor 9:1-2]:

(1 Cor 8:9 NKJV) "But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block to those who are weak.

(1 Cor 8:10 HCSB) For if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, won’t his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food offered to idols?

(1 Cor 8:12 HCSB) Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ.

(1 Cor 8:13 HCSB) Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall.

(1 Cor 9:1 NASB) Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

(1 Cor 9:2 NASB) If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord."


Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 9:1
(1 Cor 9:1 NASB) "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?"

WH NU p46, Siniaticus, A, B, P, 33, 1739, cop, Tertullian have "Am I not free?
Am I not an apostle?"

variant, TR, D, F, G, Psi, Maj have "Am I not an apostle? Am I not free?"

The inversion of questions in later witneesses is an attempt to make Paul's apostleship the leading motif of this pericope. However, the entire section takes its keynote from Paul's declaration of his freedom to do whatever is necessary to carry out his apostolic functions. Furthermore, the transposition in TR causes a split between the questions "Am I not an apostle?" and "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" These two belong together since it was Paul's vision of the risen Christ that affirmed his apostleship. See 15:3-8.
So with relatively less significant matters in view in 1 Cor chapter 8, such as what to eat, chapter 9 comes into view with a larger more significant context, especially including the authenticity, value and performance of Paul's apostleship - his responsibility toward others given his authority and personal responsibility toward others in the Lord in all matters great and small. Paul begins chapter 9 with four rhetorical questions which demand a "yes" answer: "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you [Corinthian believers] not my work in the Lord?

The first question, "Am I not free?" emphasizes the freedom that apostle Paul and all believers have relative to whatever they think, say and do even beyond simple matters such as what to eat as dealt with in chapter 8 - so long as they follow their Christian conscience, especially relative to fellow believers who might have a weaker faith. The second question, "Am I not an apostle," is evidently to authenticate himself as an apostle with a view to what he has done with the believers in Corinth which proves out his apostleship to them. The third question, "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" affirms his apostleship based on his testimony of having seen Jesus - a requirement in order to be an apostle. And the fourth question, "Are you not my work in the Lord?" personally corroborates Paul's apostleship via the Corinthian believers' personal experiences with Paul in his role as an apostle to them - especially relative to their becoming believers, his instruction of them and their growing in the faith. Certainly their testimony about Paul to others would corroborate Paul's apostleship despite what seems to be a faction against him as stipulated in the next verse:

In 1 Cor 9:2, Paul writes
"If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord." So Paul largely expected the Corinthian believers to accept him as an apostle, because he stated to them in his letter to the believers at Corinth, "at least I am [an apostle] to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord;" though some did not as he wrote, "If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you." It is always amazing to see that some accepted the apostle Paul and some do not, despite his teaching and the miraculous works that he evidently performed (2 Cor 12:12), which Paul no doubt did in Corinth:
1) [Compare 2 Cor 12:10-12]:
(2 Cor 12:10 NASB) "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Cor 12:11 NASB) I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.

(2 Cor 12:12 NASB) The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles."

2) [(1 Cor 9:1-2) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 9:1-2]:

(1 Cor 9:1 NASB) "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

(1 Cor 9:2 NASB) If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord."

'''1, 2 Paul's reference to the spiritual freedom we have in Christ, together with his claim of apostleship, leads him to expand the theme of Christian freedom and apply it in a wider context than that of sacrificial meat. The illustration is particularly pertinent because it involves himself and relates to his important rights as an apostle and Christian worker. The four rhetorical questions in v. 1 relate to two themes: freedom and apostleship, the last three specifically relating to his apostleship. Paul contends that he is an apostle and then states one of the criteria for an apostle: he had seen the Lord (Acts 1:21, 22; 9:3-9). Another evidence of apostleship ... is the working of signs and wonders (2 Cor 12:12), which Paul no doubt did in Corinth. This is followed by the contention that his apostleship had produced spiritual work "in the Lord" - the Corinthians were the fruit of his work. As v. 2 shows, he expected them to accept him as an apostle - though others did not - because they were really the seal that stamped his apostleship in the Lord as genuine.

All four questions in v. 1 are introduced by the Greek negative ou, which implies that the answer expected to each is yes. The "if" condition in v. 2 is a factual one; he assumes the condition that some did not accept him as an apostle, but the Corinthians certainly (ge) did. Sphragis ("seal," "sign," or "stamp of approval") is used here in a figurative sense of that which authenticates: "You certify my apostleship." '''


3) [(1 Cor 9:1-2) Bible Knowledge Commentary on 1 Cor 9:1-2]:
 

(1 Cor 9:1 NASB)
"Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

(1 Cor 9:2 NASB) If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord."


"(1) The positive example of Paul (chap. 9).

Paul ended his warning about exercising freedom if it had detrimental effects on a brother with a statement expressing his willingness to be a vegetarian if it would keep a brother from faltering in his faith (8:13). He then illustrated how he practiced what he preached in this matter of rights when applied to food and drink. It seemed that the rumblings of doubt about his apostleship, which would later call forth an extended defense (esp. 2 Cor. 10-13), had already started. Paul neatly illustrated the principle expressed in 1 Corinthians 8 by relating it to the issue which seems to have been a bone of contention concerning his apostleship. That issue was his steadfast refusal to derive material support from those to whom he was ministering, so no one could say he was motivated by money (cf. 2 Cor. 2:17).

9:1-2. Paul affirmed that his position as an apostle was like that of the knowledgeable Christian in this matter of freedom and rights. The four questions in these verses were rhetorical and expected an affirmative reply, though some among the Corinthians may have denied one or all of them. The third and fourth questions seem directly related to apostolic authority, but apparently Paul believed that the fourth one was more significant than the third. In the course of an extended defense of his apostleship in 2 Corinthians he never mentioned seeing the Lord (cf. Acts 1:21) but he returned repeatedly to the theme of this verse (1 Cor. 9:2) that the Corinthians themselves were his vindication (2 Cor. 3:1-3; 5:12; 7:14-16; 8:24)."

B) [(1 Cor 9:3-6) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:3-6]:

(1 Cor 9:3 NASB) "My defense to those who examine me is this:

(1 Cor 9:4 NASB) Do we not have a right to eat and drink?

(1 Cor 9:5 NASB) Do we not have a right to take along a [lit. sister, as wife] believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

(1 Cor 9:6 NASB) Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?"

Paul's defense which he wrote about in 1 Cor 9:3, as follows, "My defense to those who examine me is this:" looks forward to vv. 4-27; and not back to vv. 1-2. He stipulated in vv. 4-27 that he was guaranteed a number of rights by God as an apostle which he indicated that he had willingly forfeited a number of them in certain circumstances in order to best serve his purpose before the Lord. Considering what Paul writes in the next 24 verses; and in consideration of the Greek words in verse 3, "apologia" rendered "defense;" and the Greek verb  "anakrino" rendered "examine" which verb has potential legal connotations which is used in connection with judicial hearings, the context of verses 4-24 is to be taken in the sense of Paul's defense against charges concerning which some men were judging him as if it were in court. Paul's defense, then, began with an explanation of why he refused to be maintained / provided for relative to food and drink at the local church's expense even though he had a right to such support (vv. 1-2). This served also as a positive example of his counsel to those believers who were concerned about their own rights without consideration for ones weaker brothers in Christ in chapter 8. So in view in 1 Cor chapter 9, Paul had evidently been criticized by some in the congregation at Corinth relative to properly conducting himself amongst them, even to the extent that some concluded that he was not actually an apostle, or that as an apostle he was not conducting himself properly in the sense that he had not exercised all the rights they expected him to exercise.

In 1 Cor 9:4-5 there is a double negative in this order, μὴ οὐ (me ou), which are both rendered "not," (literally, "not not), which introduces the question with me, here used as an interrogative indicator only, and negates the verb with ou, implying a qualified affirmative response, which can be translated here, "Do we fail to have the right to eat and drink?" This anticipates the answer "Of course not" (cf. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pp. 1173, 1174; and Blass and Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, para. 427).

So in 1 Cor 9:4, Paul begins to answer those who have criticized him as follows: (1 Cor 9:4 NASB) "Do we not have a right to eat and drink?" in the sense of obligating the congregation to provide food and drink at their expense for Paul and his fellow workers in Christ.

Notice that the word rendered "right" in this verse is the same word (exousia) translated "freedom" in 1 Cor 8:9, which links the message of chapter 8 to chapter 9 in the sense that Paul had the freedom / the right to choose to exercise or not exercise his rights, in chapter 9's particular case it had to do with exercising his right to be supported financially by the local church in his evangelism and teaching endeavors. This choice then depends upon his personal volition - he was not obligated to choose either way by others. Although Paul's subject here in 1 Cor 9:4 was not sacrificial meat but ordinary food, it nevertheless brings out the emphasis of a believer having the freedom / the right to choose within the grace of God as he conducts his temporal life - in the case of 1 Cor 9:4 to choose to expect to eat and drink at the expense of the local church or not. So Paul's three rhetorical questions in 1 Cor 9:4-6 may be understood to imply the phrase "at the expense [the support] of the local church" which could be added to verses 4-5 (cf. Matt. 10:10-11).

So then in 1 Cor 9:5 which reads, "Do we not have a right to take along a [lit., sister] believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" So in this verse, Paul claims the right to have a wife / sisters / brothers join him in missionary travels as did a number of the apostles - and Jesus Himself with His family members - many of whom were joined by family members in their evangelism / missionary work. Notice that Paul even cited the brothers of the Lord Jesus in the sense of His physical brothers - children of both Joseph and Mary after Jesus was born (Matt 1:18-25; 12:46; 13:55; Acts 1:14; Gal 1:19). And Cephas [Peter] had a wife, (cp Mk 1:30) who joined him in his evangelism / missionary work.

Then in 1 Cor 9:6, which reads, (1 Cor 9:6 NASB) "Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?" author and apostle Paul indicates that he was not alone in refusing this right but had an ally in Barnabas. Commitment to this practice may have marked their first missionary journey together (Acts 13:1-14:28) and apparently continued to characterize their separate ministries. In v. 6 Paul raises the practical question of his and Barnabas's right to be supported financially in the ministry. It was Paul's practice to support himself materially by tentmaking (Acts 18:2, 3; 1 Cor 4:12) in order not to be a burden to the church. Some apparently misunderstood this to mean that he was not on a par with other apostles and Christian workers who depended on the church to support them. In not denying that principle, Paul asserts, by way of a question, that he has a right to be supported.

C) [(1 Cor 9:7-10) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:7-10]:

(1 Cor 9:7 NASB) "Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not [lit., eat of] use the milk of the flock?

(1 Cor 9:8 NASB) I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things?

(1 Cor 9:9 NKJV) For it is written in the law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.' Is it oxen God is concerned about?

(1 Cor 9:10  NKJV)  Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of His hope."

In 1 Cor 9:7-10, Paul provides examples which corroborate that those individuals who serve God have the right to be supported with food and drink and the other necessities of life as they labor in their work that they do in service to God.

In 1 Cor 9:7 Paul provides examples from his contemporary life which reads, "Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not [lit., eat of] use the milk of the flock?" These examples and many others from Paul's contemporary life as well as from all times may be found to support this principle of being supported by the entity for whom one works: So the soldier is to be supported by the people, or government or royalty that he serves. His support is not to be at his own expense. And the one who plants vines in the vineyard may eat of the fruit of that vineyard without being obligated to pay for that fruit. And the one who tends a flock for another is to have the permission of the owner to use / drink of the milk of that flock without recompense.

So in 1 Cor 9:7, Paul saw the right of maintenance / just remuneration as a principle which extended beyond the apostles to others in the church; he illustrated the point along six different lines. The first was customary along the lines of every day life, not limited to the local church. The soldier, farmer, and shepherd are all supported by their work, outside of the church.

In 1 Cor 9:8-10, which read, (1 Cor 9:8 NASB) '''I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? (1 Cor 9:9 NKJV) For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? (1 Cor 9:10 NKJV)  Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of His hope."

In 1 Cor 9:8, which reads '''I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things?''' - the Greek word μή (me) rendered "not" in the question, "I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I" gives the same negative turn as the previous verse, namely, 'I don't speak these things from a human viewpoint, do I?' The answer is 'Of course not.'

So to an additional argument which was presented in 1 Cor 9:8, Paul adds in 1 Cor 9:9 the authority of Scripture in this matter - specifically the Law of Moses, citing Deuteronomy 25:4, which reads "Do not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain." This merciful command covered the practice in ancient times of oxen pulling the threshing sledge over the grain or treading it out with their feet (Isa 28:28; 41:15; Hos 10:11). But the context of Deuteronomy 25:4 which Paul quoted in chapter 25 contains instructions not just about animal husbandry but especially about human relationships as well.

1 Cor 9:9a

(1 Cor 9:9 NKJV) "For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about?"
All three editions (TR WH NU) read "for in the Law of Moses it is written"), with the support of B*,D*, F, G, 1739. All English versions follow. There are two shorter variants on this P46, it(b), omit the Greek word rendered "Moses" yielding the reading, "for in the Law it is written." A few Western manuscripts (D*, F, G) read simply "for it is written." It is not like Paul to introduce a quotation from the Pentateuch with the expression "the Law of Moses." Or is it possible that the Western text in the second variant, as the shorter reading, preserved the original wording which was then expanded in two forms? Certainty eludes us.

[In any case there is hardly anything significant in which the clear meaning of the text eludes the reader]

Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 9:9b

The NU text reads "you shall not muzzle and ox treading grain," (B*, D*, F, G 1739). There is a variant verb ... which also means "muzzle," found in p46, Sinaiticus, A, B(2), C, D(2), Psi, 33, Maj (so TR, WH). The two verbs, which are synonymous, could have been confounded one for the other because there is only a two-letter difference... Or, if a scribe was being meticulous, he could have purposely changed one word for the other in order to make it conform to the Septuagint version of Dt 25:4, the Scripture cited here. However, it seems more likely that the more common word which has a range of meaning from "silence" to "muzzle" was changed to the more text-specific word, which is used only of  muzzling animals. Indeed, the scribe of D made this very same change in 1 Tim 5:18, where Deut 25:4 is also quoted. Thus, the variant reading is more likely original - but not only on internal grounds. In this case, the manuscript evidence, being both early and diverse, also favors the variant reading.

Then Paul goes on to say in 1 Cor 9:10 NKJV, "Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of His hope." Notice that the Old Testament itself substantiated the principle of just remuneration / recompense for mankind and animals. The reason for the command, Paul says, is not just God's care for the cattle (cf. Mt 6:26-29), but because by it he wants to teach us a lesson about God's care for us (v. 10). This is evident, too, in the provision for the farmer: When a plowman and thresher do their work, they do so expecting that through God's blessing they will share in the crop.

Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 9:10.

1Cor 9:10
WH, NU, p46, Sinaiticus*, A, B, C, P, 33, 1739, syr have "the one threshing ought to share his [the plowman's] hope of partaking"

variant #1, D*, F, G - "the one threshing ought to share his [the plowman's] hope of partaking"

variant #2/ TR, Sinaiticus2, D1, Psi, Maj have "the one threshing in hope ought to share his [the plowman's] hope of partaking"

According to WH, NU, which have superior documentation to that of either of the variants, a full  rendering is, 'For it is written for us, 'the one plowing ought to plow in hope, and the one threshing ought [to thresh] in hope of partaking [of the crop].' " From the start, it should be noted that this does not come from any known OT quotation. Thus, we are left with these three variants of some unknown text that Paul was citing. It looks as if the elliptical expression in the WH NU reading was expanded to the way we see it in the first variant, which was then conflated with the text in the majority of manuscripts. In the WH NU reading, the hope is set on partaking of the crop - for both the plowman and the thresher. In the variant readings, the thresher wants to participate in the plowman's hope of partaking in the crop. The WH NU reading suits the context, where Paul is focusing on the rights of a worker to receive his due reward. The variant is seemingly more logical in that it is the plowman who has to have the hope of partaking of the crop because he does not see the mature grain, whereas the thresher, who sees the grain, will soon partake of what the plowman had to hope for. But this is beside the point for Paul, who was not here teaching about hope; rather, he was arguing that all workers do their work anticipating a benefit for their labor.

D) [(1 Cor 9:11) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:11)]:

(1 Cor 9:11 NKJV) "If [= since] we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?"

Note that from the very first chapter of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, Paul indicates that he has been of great spiritual service to the congregation at Corinth:

1) [Compare 1 Cor 1:4-8]:

(1 Cor 1:4 NASB) "I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 

(1 Cor 1:5 NASB) that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,

(1 Cor 1:6 NASB) even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you,

(1 Cor 1:7 NASB) so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

(1 Cor 1:8 NASB) who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."          

So in 1 Cor 9:11 which reads "If [in the sense of since] we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things," the verse follows out of 1 Cor 1:4-8 and 1 Cor 9:7-10, which the latter referenced verses read (1 Cor 9:7 NASB) "Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not [lit., eat of] use the milk of the flock? (1 Cor 9:8 NASB) I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? (1 Cor 9:8 NASB) I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? (1 Cor 9:8 NASB) I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? (1 Cor 9:9 NKJV) For it is written in the law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.' Is it oxen God is concerned about? (1 Cor 9:10, "Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of His hope."

For what was stated in 1 Cor 1:4-8 and 1 Cor 9:7-10 on the matter of Paul's and others' service to the church at Corinth and the recompense / remuneration for that service that might be due; it is thereby concluded and confirmed in 1 Cor 9:11 that remuneration is indeed valid and due to Paul and all who served that congregation for Christ as Paul and any of those who served and so decide to receive it.

2) [(1 Cor 9:11) Bible Knowledge Commentary on 1 Cor 9:11]:

(1 Cor 9:11 NKJV) "If [= since] we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?"

"Paul's third illustration [in 1 Cor 9:11] grew out of verse 10 and his discussion of Deuteronomy 25:4, but it concerned a basic principle of community reciprocity: beneficial service should be rewarded. If Paul had been used to bringing spiritual riches to the Corinthians [And he evidently was:] (1 Cor. 1:5), material recompense was surely not too much to expect."
     
3) [(1 Cor 9:11) Expositor's Bible Commentary on 1 Cor 9:11]:

(1 Cor 9:11 NKJV) "If [= since] we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?"

"In these verses the same principles of the worker's sharing in the results of his crop are applied to God's spiritual work. Those who have sown the spiritual seed at Corinth with its resultant harvest can expect to have their material needs supplied from that harvest."

Note that the Greek word "Σαρκικός" transliterated "sarkikos," and rendered elsewhere as "fleshly" can and does refer to what is weak and sinful, such as in 1 Peter 2:11; but here in 1 Cor 9:11, it is to be taken as that which pertains to or satisfies the needs of the flesh, that is, "material things" as translated, (cf. also Ro 15:27).

4) [(Compare Ro 15:26-27]:

(Ro 15:26 NASB) "For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

(Ro 15:27 NASB) Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things." 

E) [(1 Cor 9:12) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:12)]:

(1 Cor 9:12 NKJV) "If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ."

Paul makes a key point in 1 Cor 9:12: that others are partakers of the right to receive just remuneration / recompense for spiritual services rendered relative to the gospel of Christ and the doctrines of the faith, and Paul indicates that he has this right over the congregation at Corinth even moreso, evidently because of the greater service Paul has given to them. Nevertheless, Paul indicates "we" meaning himself and his entourage have not used this right; but endure all things in the sense of undue hardship by not partaking of this right, lest they hinder the gospel of Christ due to shortsidedness on the part of those who might not listen because they might think that Paul and his entourage were "taking advantage," or somesuch.

1) [(1 Cor 9:12) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:12]:

(1 Cor 9:12 NKJV) "If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ."

"9:12. A fourth line of appeal was made to the precedent of other Christian leaders. Paul had earlier alluded to the ministry of Peter (Cephas) (v. 5). Though unattested, it is probable that Peter ministered in Corinth (cf. 1:12; 3:22; 15:5) and was supported during that time by the church. The same was probably also true of Apollos (1:12; 3:4-6, 22; 4:6; 16:12). If the church supported them, their founding father Paul was surely no less deserving.

Yet Paul did not exercise this right (cf. 8:9) because he did not want to hinder the response of anyone to the gospel. Had he been materially recompensed for his ministry, some might have presumed he was simply another itinerant educator motivated by profits (cf. 2 Cor. 2:17) and would have refused him a hearing. To avoid being a "stumbling block" (1 Cor. 8:9) to any, Paul relinquished his right to receive support from those to whom he ministered."

F) [(1 Cor 9:13) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:13)]:

(1 Cor 9:13 NASB) "Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?"

Paul provides yet another example of individuals being remunerated / given material recompense: namely those who performed sacred services wherein they may eat the food of the temple - the Jewish as well as the pagan temples considering the area of Corinth had pagan temples as well - and those who attended regularly to the altar sacrifices also have their share of food to eat from that altar.

1) [(1 Cor 9:13) Expositor's Bible Commentary on 1 Cor 9:13]:

(NASB) "Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?"

"13 To emphasize further the reason and importance for his self-restraint in exercising this right of support, Paul now turns to a religious illustration, applicable in biblical worship as well as in pagan temples. Observe that Paul does not quote Scripture here. His illustration is much broader. This argument has a particularly telling relation to the Corinthians with their former connections with pagan worship. Paul's language is pointed: When people serve in the temple, they are working (ergazomai), and this is true, too, of those who serve in performing sacrifices at the altar. Both eat of the temple offerings. Although Paul includes in his illustration worship-practices in general, it is noteworthy that he does not use the pagan word bomos for altar, but thysiasterion. Bomos does not occur anywhere in the NT except in Acts 17:23, where an Athenian altar is referred to, and carries too many heathen connotations to be used. (See W. Harold Mare, "The Greek Altar in The New Testament and Inter-Testamental Periods," Grace Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter, 1969.)

NOTE on 13 The question stated in this v. begins with the negative οὐκ (ouk) by which Paul expects an affirmative reply. The participle ἐργαξόμονοι (ergazomenoi, "working") is a general term used here to express temple service, but in the phrase παρεδρεύοντες τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ (paredreuontes to thysiasterio) Paul emphasizes the heart of that service—serving at the altar."

G) [(1 Cor 9:14) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:14)]:

(1 Cor 9:14 NASB) "So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel."

Paul concludes that the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel in the sense that those to whom they proclaimed the gospel were to support them materially.

1) [Compare Mt 10:5-10]:

(Mt 10:5 NASB) "These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 

(Mt 10:6 NASB) but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 

(Mt 10:7 NASB) And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

(Mt 10:8 NASB) Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 

(Mt 10:9NASB) Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,

(Mt 10:10 NASB) or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support."

2) [(1 Cor 9:14) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

(1 Cor 9:14 NASB) "So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel."

"14 Now Paul applies the general religious principle (also practiced in the OT) to the NT, to the ministers of the gospel. The adverb "thus" shows that the principle of giving material support for those who serve in the temple is to be applied also to ministers of the gospel. That the Lord Jesus commanded (diatasso) that those who preach the gospel are to live (be supported) by the gospel - that is, by those who believe the gospel - is shown by Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:8.

NOTE on verse 14: The teaching then is that gospel ministers are also (οὕτως, houtos) serving at the altar (cf. Rev 1:6) in telling of Christ's sacrifice on the cross."

3) [(1 Cor 9:14) Bible Knowledge Commentary on 1 Cor 9:14]:

(1 Cor 9:14 NASB) "So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel."

"9:14. In the sixth place Paul appealed to the weightiest point of all, the instruction of Jesus that those who give out the gospel should derive support from it (Luke 10:7)."

H) [(1 Cor 9:15-16) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:15-16)]:

(1 Cor 9:15 NASB) "But I have used 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 my boast an empty one.

(1 Cor 9:16 NASB) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel."

Manuscript Evidence of 1 Cor 9:16

All three editions (TR, WH, NU) have the word rendered "boast" in the expression, "for when I preach the gospel, there is no boast for me." This has excellent support P46, Sinaiticus(2), A, B, C, D(2), Psi, Maj, syr, cop, and is followed by all the Engilsh versions. A variant reading, found in Sinaiticus*, A, D*, F, G, has "thanks / grace" "for when I preach the gospel, there is no thanks (or grace") "for when I preach the gospel, there is no thanks (or, grace) for me." This variant reading could not have been a scribal error; rather, it was an attempt to anticipate Paul's following expression, "for woe to me if I do not preach the gospel," wherein the expression "woe to me" means "I will be damned." In other words, he would not receive any thanks or grace from God if he failed to fulfill his divinely appointed task of preaching the gospel; rather, he would receive judgment. But Paul's point is that he did not preach the gospel so that he could boast about it; he did in response to an inner compulsion that was directed by the divine will.

Paul reflects upon all of the examples which he provided in this letter to the Corinthians to support his right to be supported materially for his work in preaching the gospel and teaching the doctrines of the faith to those in Corinth beginning with making the all important point that he has "used none of these things" in the sense of receiving or even asking for such support for his work in the ministry of preaching / teaching the gospel and the doctrines of the faith. And he emphasizes the point that he is not even asking now in this letter for such support despite the fact that it is due him. And he stated as follows, (1 Cor 9:16c NASB) "for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. (1 Cor 9:16 NASB) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel;" in the sense of the fact that others in the Corinthian church are ready to pounce on Paul for not being honestly and altruistically dedicated toward benefitting the believers in Corinth with spiritual values; not doing it for godly reasons; and instead of doing it in this manner, they might accuse him of doing this out of ungodly motivation, i.e., doing it for monetary gain. Hence Paul's insistence at not receiving anything material at all in order to not let others accuse him of doing his life's work for any material reward at all.

1) [(1 Cor 9:15-16) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

(1 Cor 9:15 NASB) "But I have used 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 my boast an empty one.

(1 Cor 9:16 NASB) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel."

"15, 16 In spite of all this evidence, Paul again states that he has not used these privileges. He adds that he is not writing this to get them to give to his support, because he wants to be able to face those opposing him at Corinth with the boast that he is unselfishly serving them and the Lord in the gospel. For, he says, if it should be a matter only of his preaching, that gives him no cause to boast, because the Lord has laid on him the necessity of preaching (Acts 26:16-18). In further explanation, he cries out that woe would descend on him through God's judgment if he did not preach.

16 The present tense form of εὐαγγελίζομαι (euangelizomai) suggests Paul's continual preaching all over (v. 16a), but the aorist looks at his entire preaching activity as one total calling from God (v. 16b).

2) [(1 Cor 9:15-16) Bible Knowledge Commentary on 1 Cor 9:15-16]:

(1 Cor 9:15 NASB) "But I have used 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 my boast an empty one.

(1 Cor 9:16 NASB) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel."

"9:15. With this catalog of arguments completed Paul had convincingly established his rights in relation to the Corinthian church. However, he underscored once again (cf. v. 12) his refusal to exercise those rights. He expressed one reason in verse 12, a desire to avoid any hint of mercenary motivation in his ministry. A second and related reason was now stated: the opportunity to affirm the integrity of his commitment to the ministry (cf. 2 Cor. 11:9-12). This was Paul's boast: he ministered willingly and freely from his heart (cf. 2 Cor. 2:17).

There is a grammatical break in v. 15, a figure of speech called aposiopesis. Paul says, "I would rather die than," a reading favored by the better MSS. If he had completed his statement in normal construction, it would have been something like the copyists' attempt at smoothing it out with ἴνα τις (hina tis); "I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast" (NIV). But Paul's shortened expression is more dramatic."

9:16. Of course Paul's "call" to the ministry was unique. Others have responded voluntarily to the call to follow Christ (Mark 3:13; John 1:37-39), but Paul was flattened by it (Acts 22:6-10). Like Jonah, Paul was compelled to preach (cf. 1 Cor. 1:17), and like that prophet, woe to him if he shirked his task."

I) [(1 Cor 9:17) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:17)]:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me."

Saul evidently did not volunteer to serve the Lord when he encountered the resurrected Jesus near Damascus. Instead Saul was entrusted and enabled and empowered and taught by the Lord Who announced to Saul at his conversion that He had appointed him / entrusted him and would enable him to take upon himself the stewardship of preaching the gospel and ministering / teaching the doctrines of the faith especially to the Gentiles, but to the Jews as well - even kings / rulers. Nevertheless Saul willingly conceded and cooperated with the LORD's entrustment of the stewardship of preaching and teaching to all whom he encountered. So Saul might have voluntarily performed his evangelism / teaching tasks so that he would be rewarded. On the other hand, if Paul's performance did not involve his voluntary will, he has in effect a stewardship entrusted to him by the LORD from which blessings come from the LORD for faithful services performed out of this grand stewardship entrusted to him by Jesus Christ. Paul indicated that his reward is the boasting he can make before them that he is preaching to them without charge and not making use of his rights as a gospel minister. Paul wants to prove to the Corinthians the genuineness of his ministry and thereby the great value of what he has been preaching and teaching.

1) [Compare Acts 9:1-22]:

(Acts 9:1 NASB) '''Now Saul, still breathing [threat] and murder against the disciples of the LORD went to the high priest,

(Acts 9:2 NASB) and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to "the Way," both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

(Acts 9:3 YLT) And in the going [present infinitive], [lit., it came to pass for him to come near] to Damascus, and suddenly there shone [about] him a light from ... heaven,

(Acts 9:4 NASB) [and having fallen upon the ground, he] heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

(Acts 9:5 NASB) And he said, 'Who are You, LORD?' And He said, 'I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting,

(Acts 9:6 NASB) but get up and enter the city, and it will be told [to] you what you must do.

[Notice that Jesus commanded Saul to get up and enter the city, and it will be told [to] you what you must do. Note that there is no volunteerism in view here. From the time that Jesus confronted Saul near Damascus, Saul was told what to do which was to accept the stewardship given to him by the Lord. Albeit once Saul got busy performing his duties, he evidenced a devotion to that duty and to the LORD Jesus Christ wholeheartedly - and from that devotion to duty to the LORD came the blessings of a grand / eternal purpose well done which inevitably will be eternally rewarded in heaven for faithful service to Christ]

(Acts 9:7 NKJV) [But] the men [journeying] with him [had] stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.

(Acts 9:8 NKJV) Then Saul arose from the ground, and ... his eyes [having been] opened he [was seeing] no one. But [leading by the hand] they [brought] him [to] Damascus.

(Acts 9:9 YLT) and he was three days without seeing, and he did neither eat nor drink.

(Acts 9:10 YLT) And there was a certain disciple in Damascus, by name Ananias, and the LORD said unto him in a vision, 'Ananias;' and he said, 'Behold me, LORD;' [in the sense of saying, 'Here I am']'

(Acts 9:11 YLT) and the LORD [says] unto him, 'Having risen, go on unto the street that is called Straight, and seek in the house of Judas, one by name Saul of Tarsus, for, [behold], he [is praying].

(Acts 9:12 NKJV) And [in a vision - variant in P47, Sinaiticus, A = three excellent manuscripts as well as two ancient versions: it (old latin) and cop (Coptic) exclude this phrase] he [Saul] [saw] a man named Ananias [having come] and [having placed] his hand on him, so that he might receive ... sight.

(Acts 9:13 NASB) But Ananias answered, 'LORD I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;

(Acts 9:14 NASB) and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.

(Acts 9:15 NASB) But the LORD said to him, 'Go, for he is a chosen instrument [lit., vessel] of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

[Notice that the LORD told Ananias that Saul is a chosen instrument, a vessel, of His, Whose purpose is for Saul to bear the LORD's name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel, i.e., the LORD intended Saul to bear His name before the Gentiles, kings and the sons of Israel in the sense of preaching and teaching the gospel of eternal life and the doctrines of the faith to them]

(Acts 9:16 NASB) for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake.'

[And the LORD indicated that He will show Saul how much he must suffer for His name's sake, in the sense of being persecuted for preaching and teaching to men - Jew, Gentile and kings alike and suffer as a result of their reaction to what he was teaching]

(Acts 9:17 YLT) And Ananias went away, and did enter into the house, and having put upon him his hands, said, 'Saul, brother, the Lord [has] sent me - Jesus Who did appear to you in the way in which [you were] coming - that [you may] see again, and [may] be filled with the Holy Spirit.'

[Notice that the Lord would see to it that Paul has the filling / the control of the Holy Spirit in order to guide Saul as he endeavors to preach and teach the gospel and the doctrines of the faith to whomever he encounters. Recall that Saul was 3 years in the desert learning from the LORD those doctrines of the faith ]

(Acts 9:18 YLT) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales, he saw again also presently, and having risen, was baptized,

(Acts 9:19 ASV) and [having taken] food and [he] was strengthened. And he was certain days with the disciples that were at Damascus;

(Acts 9:20 YLT) and immediately in the synagogues he was preaching [imperfect] the Christ, that He is the Son of God.

(Acts 9:21 NASB) [And] all those hearing him [were being] amazed [imperfect tense], and were saying, 'Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those [calling] on this name, and who had come here for the purpose [that he might bring] them bound before the chief priests?' "

(Acts 9:22 YLT) But Saul [all the more was] increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

2) [Compare 1 Cor 1:17]:

(1 Cor 1:17 NASB) "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void."

3) [(1 Cor 9:17 Expositor's Commentary on 1 Cor 9:17]:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me."

[17] "Now he explains that there is reward or pay (misthos) in preaching. He states the alternatives. If he preaches freely, voluntarily, he has a reward. If not, he is merely fulfilling the commission entrusted to him (Acts 26:16)."

"The perfect passive form πεπίστευμαι (pepisteumai) [rendered "I have a steward entrusted to me"] carries with it the idea of a trust committed and carried on in the present."

4) [(1 Cor 9:17) BKC Commentary on 1 Cor 9:17]:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me."

"9:17. The condition, if I preach voluntarily, was not true of Paul as he had just said, so he had no claim to any special recompense since he was simply discharging the trust committed to him (cf. Luke 17:10)."

J) [(1 Cor 9:18) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:18)]:

(1 Cor 9:18 NASB) "What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel."

Paul then concludes with the question, "What then is my reward?" as if he is looking to see if there is indeed some kind of recompense for his efforts which according to Scripture have been remarkable, even demonstrating God's hand in guiding and enabling Paul in his journey of responding to the LORD's call in such a great manner and authenticating His stewardship which was entrusted to Paul by the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. And 1 Cor 9:18 provides an insight into the answer to this question "What then is my reward?" Paul's answer to this question is contained in the next part of verse 18, namely "That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel," which statement indicates that Paul indeed does have the right to material recompense for his efforts. But to Paul, his reward is in the boasting that he can make before those to whom he is fulfilling his stewardship / his commission, i.e., that he is preaching to them without charge and not making use of his rights as a gospel minister. In the final analysis it is evident that the Apostle Paul wants to prove to the Corinthians and everyone he preaches to the genuineness of his ministry. He is just not doing it for material gain - but for spiritual gain, and for the confirmation that in the minds of those who know of him, they can only commend him for his integrity and forthrightness. His satifaction largely comes from seeing the spiritual progress that those whom he has preached to make - being saved and growing in the faith. He was truly living up to the LORD's stewardship for him.

1) [Compare the previous verse 1 Cor 9:17]:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me."

Saul evidently did not volunteer to serve the Lord when he encountered the resurrected Jesus near Damascus. Instead Saul was entrusted and enabled and empowered and taught by the Lord Who announced to Saul at his conversion that He had appointed him / entrusted him and would enable him to take upon himself the stewardship of preaching the gospel and ministering / teaching the doctrines of the faith especially to the Gentiles, but to the Jews as well - even kings / rulers. Nevertheless Saul willingly conceded and cooperated with the LORD's entrustment of the stewardship of preaching and teaching to all whom he encountered. So Saul might have voluntarily performed his evangelism / teaching tasks so that he would be rewarded. On the other hand, if Paul's performance did not involve his voluntary will, he has in effect a stewardship entrusted to him by the LORD from which blessings come from the LORD for faithful services performed out of this grand stewardship entrusted to him. Paul indicated that his reward is the boasting he can make before them and his critics that he is preaching to them without charge and not making use of his rights as a gospel minister. Paul wants to prove to the Corinthians the genuineness of his ministry - to those who appreciate him for who he really is in Christ and to those who do not.

2) [(1 Cor 9:18) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:18]:

(1 Cor 9:18 NASB) "What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel."

"9:18. Did he then not have any reward? Yes; two, in fact. First, he had his boast (v. 15) that he offered the gospel free of charge, and no one could deny that (cf. 2 Cor. 11:9-10). Second, he had the opportunity to see the gospel at work among those to whom he preached (1 Cor. 9:19, 23), and these results, the believers themselves, were his reward (cf. 2 Cor. 7:3-4). The word translated "reward" (misthos) may also refer to a wage. Paul had shunned material recompense, but he was not without a reward or return for his labor. He had the joy of reaping. To widen that harvest he would gladly give up certain rights, among them the right to material support, in order to enjoy both the integrity of his boast about his ministry and the results of his ministry (cf. John 4:36)."

K) [(1 Cor 9:17-19) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:19)]:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

(1 Cor 9:18 NASB) What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

(1 Cor 9:19 NASB) For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more."

In 1 Cor 9:19 Paul now goes into the specifics of his subjection / his deliberate, self-emposed "enslavement" to others in the sense of setting aside his freedoms, his rights, his time - even accommodate those to whom he is speakng relative to their point of view such as Jewish, Gentile or those who are weak in the sense of making up their mind. This he does for the sake of others in order to benefit them and thus properly fulfill the duties required of him via the stewardship that Jesus Christ entrusted in Paul to fulfill relative to the proclaiming of the gospel and the teaching of doctrines of the faith and thereby meet God's approval to that which he is obligated to fulfill.

1) [(1 Cor 9:19) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 9:19]:

(1 Cor 9:19 NASB) For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more."

"19 Going beyond his right to financial support, the apostle now discusses other areas of life in which he had forfeited his right to freedom in order to win more to Christ. His statement is a strong one: 'I am free from all men, but I have enslaved (edoulosa, aorist) myself to all.'

2) [(1 Cor 9:19) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:19]:

(1 Cor 9:19 NASB) "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more."

"9:19. Paul had not shackled the exercise of his rights in the area of food and drink alone (as he had intimated the knowledgeable Christians should do, 8:9-13), but he had applied it to numerous facets of his ministry so that though he was free (eleutheros; cf. 8:9; 9:1) he voluntarily became a slave (cf. Phil. 2:6-7) for the good of others (1 Cor. 10:33) whom he wanted to win (9:22)."

L) [(1 Cor 9:17-23) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:20-23[:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

(1 Cor 9:18 NASB) What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

(1 Cor 9:19 NASB) For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

(1 Cor 9:20 NASB) To 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 not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; ,

(1 Cor 9:21 NASB)
to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.

(1 Cor 9:22 NASB)
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

(1 Cor 9:23 NASB)
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it."

In 1 Cor 9:20-23 Paul considers three of the myriad of types of individuals which he will encounter in his new life as an apostle for Jesus Christ. In 1 Cor 9:20, Paul first considers how he is to conduct himself with those who are Jewish; especially those who consider themselves under the Mosaic Law as follows, "To 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 not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law."

Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 9:20:

WH NU, P46vid, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D*, F, G, P, 33, 1739 have "to those under law, as [one] under law, not being myself under law."

variant / TR, D(2), (L), Maj, syr(p), have "to those under law, as [one] under law

The WH NU reading has superior testimony including that of p46, which is not listed in either NA27 or UBS(4). However, a reconstruction of the text phrase in the majority of manuscripts probably arose as a scribal error of hapiography (the eye of a scribe passing over the third "upo nomon" rendered "under law" - it appears four times in the verse).

A key part of Paul's role is to focus upon and adapt himself to the background / the makeup of his audience. So Paul wrote in 1 Cor 9:20a, "To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews." Since Paul was of Jewish origin and was trained by Gamaliel, (Acts 22:3), and since he was a pharisee with an extensive knowledge of the Mosaic Law and since he had spent a number of years practicing the keeping of the Law by following its precepts and rituals; then all of this was useful in harmonizing his presence amongst a Jewish audience without violating his new position and responsibilities in Christ. On the other hand his role from the moment of his conversion was to set everything that he was aside, and conform his life to being in Christ. Nevertheless his race and training being and compliance with certain rituals and precepts when they did not contradict his new position in Christ could be useful as a aide in his conveying his message of the gospel of Jesus Christ perhaps in the sense of enhancing rapport and then his audience might pay more careful attention to what he had to say. So you don't emphasize your differences, but point out your similarities.

Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 9:22
WH NU, p46, Sinaiticus(*), A, B, 1739, it have "to the weak I became weak"

variant, TR, Sinaiticus(2), C, D, F, G, Psi, 33, Maj, syr, cop have "to the weak I became as weak"

The WH NU reading has the testimony of the four earliest manuscripts, as well as 1739 and the Old Latin manuscripts. The reading in TR is a scribal carryover from the previous phrases, where Paul used the comparative rendered "as". In this instance, however, Paul chose to declare his solidarity with those experiencing weakness (cf. 2 Cor 11:29.

1) [(Acts 16:1-3]:

(Acts 16:1 NASB) "Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek,

(Acts 16:2 NASB) and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.

(Acts 16:3 NASB) Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek."

So as a new creation in Christ , when Paul encountered Jews, he stipulated that he "became as a Jew," in the sense of drawing upon his past Jewish life experiences, and his knowledge of Jewish things carefully relaying to the Jews what he sees fit to relay - even complying with certain Jewish rituals and practices that do not violate his new life in Christ toward the purpose of getting them to seriously consider what he had to say - to listen to him as he presents the gospel and the doctrines of the faith to them.

Furthermore, Paul declared that another but very similar group of individuals for him to adapt to was those individuals who were Jews as well as others such as proselytes to the Jewish faith or Gentiles who considered themselves under the Law - those who had a serious focus on their particular devotion to the Law of Moses, which he indicated in 1 Cor 9:20b as follows "as under the Law though not being myself under the Law." Notice that Paul stipulated that he was no longer under the Mosaic Law." For he was in Christ and thereby not under the Mosaic Law or any law, i.e., any rules governing human behavior to attain eternal life. Instead Paul was under grace - the grace of God , albeit there are rules / commandments governing the behavior of Christians / believers in Christ, but they were encompassed by the grace of God, not the legalism of the Mosaic Law or any other rules of human behavior outside of those commands. Note that the epistles of the New Testament largely cover such commands under the umbrella of the grace of God. So Paul conducted himself as if he were one of those who considered themselves under the Mosaic Law - his audience - without advocating that devotion for himself so that he might win those who are under the Law" to faith in Christ unto eternal life under the grace of God through the sacrifice of His Son. So whenever he encountered those who considered themselves as under the Law, he attempted to establish a rapport with them based on his experience and education as a Jew under the Law, but he was careful not to digress from or contradict his message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines of the faith which he learned from Jesus Christ Himself . Notice that Paul clarified that he was no longer under the Law, so his message was not to convey that idea to "fellow Jews who considered themselves as under the Law." For those who are "in Christ" are not obligated to keep the Law of Moses as a means of salvation or even as a rule of life - despite the claims of so many Jews who were frequently in his audience, the Judaizers, etc. who insisted on keeping the Mosaic Law for salvation as well as for a rule of life - albeit many Jews figured that being a descendant of Abraham was enough to be saved unto eternal life. So Paul had to be careful not to convey the idea to others that he was under the Mosaic Law, in any way. Despite his careful approaches toward others however, conflict often occurred which was often violent. For the Judaizers and others were very territorial and quick to take offense.

Whereupon, in 1 Cor 9:21, Paul considered another group of people he often encountered as it stipulates in 1 Cor 9:21 NASB which reads "to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law."

Notice the lack of the definite article: "without law" in the sense of a lack of a formal, perhaps written set of rules to live by / obey within their society like the Law of Moses which covered so much ground relative to human behavior. So when it came to the Gentiles, Paul determined to present himself to them who are "without law" in the sense that they did not have a formal written set of laws to obey within their society like the Law of Moses that the Jews had. And Paul wrote that he approached and spoke to "those who are without law," the Gentiles, as if he himself was without law in the sense that he spoke to them as if he himself was not under law for the sake of not creating an unnecessary point of view in order to avoid unnecessary arguments over peripheral subjects so as to win them to Christ - and the truth of the matter is that Paul was no longer under the Law of Moses yet he was under God's Law of grace, moreso the Law of Christ. But note that Paul wrote, "to those who are without law, as if he were without law, though Paul was not being without the law of God more specifically under the law of Christ; but he conducted himself so that he might win those who are without law." So Paul indeed was not one whom was without the law of God - which law demands that man be righteous before God and agape love God and man especially brothers in Christ - yet all is via the grace of God and His agape love for us who simply choose to express a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else unto eternal life. And so much the more, Paul stipulated that he was under the law of Christ - a law of agape, self-sacrificial love, godly mercy and godly compassion toward others - and all again via the incomparable grace of God:

2) [(Gal 6:1-2) Compare Gal 6:1-2)]:

(Gal 6:1 NASB) "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

(Gal 6:2 NASB) Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." 

So Paul indicated that he must present himself in the most amenable manner that he might win those who are without law. This was in order to win them over to Christ via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, which is by the grace of God, not of oneself, but as a gift of God, not by works - any works of any law, so that no one can boast, (cf. Eph 2:8-9):

3) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:66667777

(Eph 2:8 NASB) "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [salvation is] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 

(Eph 2:9 NASB) not as a result of works [such as keeping law / rules of behavior], so that no one may boast,"

In 1 Cor 9:22, Paul describes a third group of individuals as those who are described as "weak" in the sense of being susceptible to a weak capacity to express confidence / express belief, in the sense of having a weak capacity to make such decisions such as believing in Christ for eternal life. Paul states, "To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some." So the characteristic of being weak in the context of this chapter / passage describes a weak ability - a weak conscience, a weak capacity to come to faith in Christ - since the context is salvation unto eternal life, (weak believers are not in view as previously indicated in chapter 8 such as 1 Cor 8:9-12. But those with a weak capacity to believe in Christ for salvation unto eternal life, Paul wants to be sure to win over to salvation (v. 22). So he becomes "weak," in the sense of refraining from being assertive to them about making decisions such as a decision to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. This he will do in subtle fashion instead. For example, Paul might refrain from presenting an authoritative or persuasive point of view on the matter of the gospel or a teaching of doctrine, and instead make suggestions of a number of points on the matter presenting possibilities for the hearer to ponder and make a careful decision. And Paul might include information that makes a particular suggestion well substantiated thus leading the way to a decision to believe in Christ without pressure, only accurate information. This way it might permit the one who is weak to arrive at a beneficial conclusion "on his own" without being subjected to a persuasive argument.

Then in 1 Cor 9:23, which reads, (1 Cor 9:23 NASB) "I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it." Paul voluntarily modified his presentation of the gospel to best suit his audience in order to gain the widest possible hearing for the gospel and so to share in its blessings as God's fellow worker, reaping the joyful harvest of many won to Christ.

Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 9:23

WH NU p46, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D, F, G, P, 33, 1739 "I do all things on account of the gospel"

variant, TR, psi, Maj, syr have "I do this on account of the gospel"

The change in the majority of manuscripts limits Paul's activities to those just previously mentioned, whereas the WH NU reading (with strong documentary support) indicates that Paul listed only some of the exemplary things he did for the sake of proclaiming the gospel.

3) [(1 Cor 9:17-23) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 9:20-23]:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

(1 Cor 9:18 NASB) What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

(1 Cor 9:19 NASB) For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

(1 Cor 9:20 NASB) To 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 not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;

(1 Cor 9:21 NASB)
to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.

(1 Cor 9:22 NASB)
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

(1 Cor 9:23 NASB)
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it."

"20 In discussing his self-sacrificing concern in vv. 20-23, Paul mentions three groups - the Jews, the Gentiles, and those whose consciences are weak. For the Jews' sake Paul became like a Jew. That is, when necessary and regarding indifferent matters, he conformed to the practice of Jewish law (Acts 16:3; 18:18; 21:20-26) to win the Jews. "Those under the law" need not be taken as a separate group such as proselytes to Judaism, but as reference again to Jews - those to whom Paul accommodated himself. In the parenthetical phrase "though I myself am not under the law," Paul means that in his freedom he was not obligated to practice such Jewish laws as their rigorous ceremonial washings.

21 For the Gentiles "without the law," those who did not have any written revelation from God (Rom 2:12), Paul says he became like one not having the law and took his place in their culture in order to reach them (cf. Gal 2:11-21). But he hastens to correct any misunderstanding: he counts himself still under God's law, and even more, under Christ's law.

22 Those with a weak conscience (1 Cor 8:9-12) he also wants to be sure to win (v. 22). He becomes "weak"—that is, he refrains from exercising his Christian freedom, and acts as they do respecting these indifferent things. He has forfeited his freedom for the sake of all, that by all these means some may be saved.

23 Paul does all this for the sake of the gospel that he might be a co-sharer (synkoinomos, "communion," "fellowship") with the gospel, sharing in its blessings personally and in seeing others come to Christ.'''

4) [(1 Cor 9:17-23) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:20-23]:

(1 Cor 9:17 NASB) "For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

(1 Cor 9:18 NASB) What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
     
(1 Cor 9:19 NASB) For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

(1 Cor 9:20 NASB) To 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 not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;

(1 Cor 9:21 NASB)
to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.

(1 Cor 9:22 NASB) To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

(1 Cor 9:23 NASB)
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it."

"9:20. Though Paul was primarily an apostle to the Gentiles (Gal. 2:8), he never lost his concern for the salvation of his own people (Rom. 9:3). He made it his custom to seek out the synagogue in each town he entered (Acts 17:2) in order to win the Jews (Rom. 1:16). No verse points out more starkly Paul's own consciousness of what he was, both before and after meeting Christ. Before, he was the Jew's Jew, faultless with regard to legalistic righteousness ( Phil. 3:6). Afterward, he was a new man (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20), who had found in Christ the righteousness he had sought (Rom. 10:4; 1 Cor. 1:30). He was still a Hebrew (2 Cor. 11:22; Phil 3:5), but he was no longer a Jew living according to the Law (I... am not under the law). Still, he was willing to subject himself to the scruples of the Jews (e.g., Acts 21:23-36) in order to gain a hearing for the gospel and to win them to Christ. Yet he never compromised the essence of the gospel at the heart of which was salvation by faith, not works (Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9) and freedom from legalism (Gal. 2:4-5).

9:21. In contrast to the Jews, "those under the Law" (v. 20), those not having the Law were the Gentiles. Among Gentiles, Paul was willing to abandon past scruples of a morally indifferent sort, such as eating meat offered sacrificially to a pagan god (10:27; cf. Acts 15:29), in order to win Gentiles to Christ. But though Paul was a forceful advocate of liberty (Gal. 5:1), he did not suggest he was an advocate of libertinism (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12-20). He was still under authority, but not to the Old Testament Law. He was responsible to God (cf. 3:9) and Christ (cf. 4:1) and was enabled by the Spirit to fulfill the law of love (Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:13-25), the opposite of lawlessness (cf. Matt. 24:12 where lawlessness drives out love). Christ's law (Gal. 6:2) was to love God and man (Mark 12:30-31), which law Paul obeyed (1 Cor. 10:31-33).

9:22. In his references to Jews and Gentiles in the preceding verses, Paul explained his voluntary restraint of freedom in order to reach unbelievers with the gospel. Some suggest that the weak in this verse refers to Jews and Gentiles together in a state of unbelief and so was intended to summarize Paul's previously stated convictions (cf. Rom. 5:6 where "the weak" are also called "the ungodly"). It is more likely, however, that Paul was referring explicitly to the weak Corinthians described in 1 Corinthians 8:9-11 (cf. Jew, Greeks, and the church of God in 10:32). His concern to win them was not in the preliminary sense of justification as in the case of unbelieving Jews and Gentiles (9:20-21) but to win the Corinthians in terms of sanctification and maturity in Christ (cf. Matt. 18:15)—and so to save them for God's ongoing work in their lives (cf. 1 Cor. 5:5; 8:11). Paul's condescension to the scruples and customs of all men (cf. "everyone" in 9:19) found application on a momentary case-by-case basis since it would be impossible to satisfy simultaneously the penchants of both Jews and Gentiles alike.

9:23. Paul voluntarily did this in order to gain the widest possible hearing for the gospel and so to share in its blessings as God's fellow worker (3:9), reaping the joyful harvest of many won to Christ (cf. John 4:36)."

M) [(1 Cor 9:24-27) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:24-27[:

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Cor 9:26 NASB) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

(1 Cor 9:27 NASB) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

In 1 Cor 9:24-27, author and apostle Paul draws a parallel to his topic of serving the Lord preaching the gospel and teaching the doctrines of the faith to running a race for a prize in the games that Corinth sponsers the
Isthmian athletic games periodically. He states that out of all who run the race, only one receives the prize. So Paul wrote, "Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. The competitors do it to receive a perishable wreath, but Christians do their service to the Lord for a prize that is imperishable - and all Christians who are faithful will receive a prize not just one Christian. And Christians likewise exercise control in all things so much the more for their task is 24/7 requiring extra special care which includes studying the Bible to prepare one for accurately sharing the gospel and the doctrines of the faith to others. And the athletes do all of this to receive a perishable wreath but Christians when they are faithful do it to receive an imperishable reward - an eternal reward. Therefore, Paul writes that he runs in such a way - an organized/practiced way that is not without aim, but which is calculated. Paul goes on the state that he boxes in such a way as not beating the air in an aimless disorganized manner. He clarifies the kind of running & boxing which is organized and practiced.

1) (1 Cor 9:24-27) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-27]:

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Cor 9:26 NASB) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

(1 Cor 9:27 NASB) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

"24-27 By way of practical application, Paul now gives a strong exhortation for Christian self-denial, using himself as an example and employing athletic figures familiar to the Corinthians at their own Isthmian athletic games, which were hosted every other year by the people of Corinth. The particular events he refers to are running and boxing.

24, 25 Paul assumes their common knowledge (ouk oidate, "don't you know") of the foot race in the stadium. Every one of them should run as these runners do, with all-out effort to get the prize. By the words "strict training," Paul refers to the athlete's self-control in diet and his rigorous bodily discipline. He observes that the athletes train vigorously for a "corruptible crown"—a laurel or celery wreath that would soon wither away. But the Christian's crown, eternal life and fellowship with God, will last forever (Rev 2:10).

26, 27 Paul says of himself that he does not contend like an undisciplined runner or boxer. He states that he aims his blows against his own body, beating it black and blue (hypopiazo; see the same word in Luke 18:5). The picture is graphic: the ancient boxers devastatingly punishing one another with knuckles bound with leather thongs. And so by pummeling his body, Paul enslaves it in order to gain the Christian prize. The ancient keryx was the herald in the Greek games who announced the rules of the contest, but the Christian herald—i.e., preacher—not only announces the rules but "plays" in the game as well. Paul had not only to preach the gospel but also to live the gospel. As Hodge has said (in loc.), Paul here acts on the principle that the righteous can scarcely be saved, though he also stresses that nothing can separate the Christian from God's love (Rom 8:38, 39). The Christian, confident of God's sovereign grace, is nevertheless conscious of his battle against sin."

2) (1 Cor 9:24-27) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-27])

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Cor 9:26 NASB) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

(1 Cor 9:27 NASB) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

"9:24-25. Paul's commitment to this course of ministry did not come easily. It required personal discipline (strict training) like that of an athlete who strove for supremacy in his field (cf. 15:10). To that end Paul willingly gave up certain privileges which might otherwise be his to enjoy so that he could win the prize. The prize for Paul was not the temporary crown (stephanon) bestowed by men (in the biennial games near Corinth the "crown" was a pine wreath) but the eternal crown bestowed by Christ (3:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:10). Paul's crown would be the consummation of the reward (1 Cor. 9:18) he partially enjoyed, the opportunity to glory before Christ in those he had been able to win (2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 2:16; 1 Thes. 2:19).

9:26-27. Paul's dictum of becoming "all things to all men" (v. 22) could have been construed as the aimless capitulation of an unprincipled man. But it was just the opposite! Every move made in the course of his race was calculated to further his pursuit of the prize (cf. Phil. 3:13-14). Every blow struck was meant to land squarely on his opponent and send him reeling from the contest (cf. Eph. 6:12; James 4:7). To achieve this, Paul would not let his body master him (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12); sometimes he denied even its demand for rightful privileges and pleasures (8:9) for a greater good (10:33).

Paul was competing well himself and had called many to join him (the word preached is kēryxas, the noun form of which signified a herald who summoned contestants to a race), but that did not guarantee him a victorious finish. He held out the possibility that even he could be disqualified for the prize. The single Greek word translated by that phrase ( adokimos) literally means "unapproved." In other contexts it was applied to the unsaved (e.g., Rom. 1:28; Titus 1:16). Here Paul was not addressing the issue of salvation, nor for that matter was even the prize specifically in mind. Rather, he seemed concerned with continuance in the race. Like the brother who had indulged in immorality (1 Cor. 5:1-5), Paul's life could be cut short by the disciplinary disapproval of God. God had disciplined in the past (10:6-10), was disciplining in the present (11:30-32), and would discipline in the immediate future (5:5). Paul was concerned that some might not be able to say with him one day, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race" (2 Tim. 4:7), but would find themselves cut off in the midst of the contest by the disciplinary action of God.

Continue to 1 Cor chapter 10