1 Corinthians 9:7
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
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 use the milk of the flock?

King James Bible
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

Darby Bible Translation
Who ever carries on war at his own charges? who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? or who herds a flock and does not eat of the milk of the flock?

World English Bible
What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and doesn't eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and doesn't drink from the flock's milk?

Young's Literal Translation
who doth serve as a soldier at his own charges at any time? who doth plant a vineyard, and of its fruit doth not eat? or who doth feed a flock, and of the milk of the flock doth not eat?

1 Corinthians 9:7 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Who goeth a warfare ... - Paul now proceeds to illustrate the right which he knew ministers had to a support 1 Corinthians 9:7-14, and then to show the reason why he had not availed himself of that right; 1 Corinthians 9:15-23. The right he illustrates from the nature of the case 1 Corinthians 9:7, 1 Corinthians 9:11; from the authority of Scripture 1 Corinthians 9:8-10; from the example of the priests under the Jewish law 1 Corinthians 9:18; and from the authority of Jesus Christ; 1 Corinthians 9:14. In this verse (7th) the right is enforced by the nature of the case, and by three illustrations. The first is, the right of a soldier or warrior to his wages. The Christian ministry is compared to a warfare, and the Christian minister to a soldier; compare 1 Timothy 1:18. The soldier had a right to receive pay from him who employed him. He did not go at his own expense. This was a matter of common equity; and on this principle all acted who enlisted as soldiers.

So Paul says it is but equitable also that the soldier of the Lord Jesus should be sustained, and should not be required to support himself. And why, we may ask, should he be, any more than the man who devotes his strength, and time, and talents to the defense of his country? The work of the ministry is as arduous, and as self-denying, and perhaps as dangerous, as the work of a soldier; and common justice, therefore, demands that he who devotes his youth, and health and life to it, for the benefit of others should have a competent support. Why should not he receive a competent support who seeks to save people, as well as he who lives to destroy them? Why not he who endeavors to recover them to God, and make them pure and happy, as well as he who lives to destroy life, and pour out human blood, and to fill the air with the shrieks of new made widows and orphans? Or why not he who seeks, though in another mode, to defend the great interests of his country, and to maintain the interests of justice, truth, and mercy, for the benefit of mankind, as well as he who is willing in the tented field to spend his time, or exhaust his health and life in protecting the rights of the nation?

At his own charges - His own expense. On the meaning of the word "charges" (ὀψωνίοις opsōniois) see the note at Luke 3:14; compare Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 11:8. The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.

Who planteth a vineyard ... - This is the second illustration from the nature of the case, to show that ministers of the gospel have a right to support. The argument is this: 'It is reasonable that those who labor should have a fair compensation. A man who plants a vineyard does not expect to labor for nothing; he expects support from that labor, and looks for it from the vineyard. The vineyard owes its beauty, growth, and productiveness to him. It is reasonable, therefore, that from that vineyard he should receive a support, as a compensation for his toil. So we labor for your welfare. You derive advantage from our toil. We spend our time, and strength, and talent for your benefit; and it is reasonable that we should be supported while we thus labor for your good." The church of God is often compared to "a vineyard;" and this adds to the beauty of this illustration; see Isaiah 5:1-4; see the notes at Luke 20:9-16.

Who feedeth a flock ... - This is the third illustration drawn from the nature of the case, to show that ministers have a right to support. The word "feedeth" (ποιμαίνει poimainei) denotes not only to "feed," but to guard, protect, defend, as a shepherd does his flock; see the notes at John 21:15-17. "The wages of the shepherds in the East do not consist of ready money, but in a part of the milk of the flocks which they tend. Thus, Spon says of the shepherds in modern Greece, "These shepherds are poor Albanians, who feed the cattle, and live in huts built of rushes; they have a tenth part of the milk and of the lambs which is their whole wages; the cattle belong to the Turks." The shepherds in Ethiopia, also, according to Alvarez, have no pay except the milk and butter which they obtain from the cows, and on which they and their families subsist" - Rosenmuller. The church is often compared to a flock; see the note at John 10:1 ff.

The argument here is this: "A shepherd spends his days and nights in guarding his folds. He leads his flock to green pastures, he conducts them to still waters (compare Psalm 23:2); he defends them from enemies; he guards the young, the sick, the feeble, etc. He spends his time in protecting it and providing for it. He expects support, when in the wilderness or in the pastures, mainly from the milk which the flock should furnish. He labors for their comfort; and it is proper that he should derive a maintenance from them, and he has a right to it. So the minister of the gospel watches for the good of souls. He devotes his time, strength, learning, talents, to their welfare. He instructs, guides, directs, defends; he endeavors to guard them against their spiritual enemies, and to lead them in the path of comfort and peace. He lives to instruct the ignorant; to warn and secure those who are in danger; to guide the perplexed; to reclaim the wandering; to comfort; the afflicted; to bind up the broken in heart; to attend on the sick; to be an example and an instructor to the young; and to be a counsellor and a pattern to all. As he labors for their good, it is no more than equal and right that they should minister to his temporal needs, and compensate him for his efforts to promote their happiness and salvation. And can anyone say that this is not right and just?

1 Corinthians 9:7 Parallel Commentaries

'Concerning the Crown'
'They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we are incorruptible.'--1 COR. ix. 25. One of the most famous of the Greek athletic festivals was held close by Corinth. Its prize was a pine-wreath from the neighbouring sacred grove. The painful abstinence and training of ten months, and the fierce struggle of ten minutes, had for their result a twist of green leaves, that withered in a week, and a little fading fame that was worth scarcely more, and lasted scarcely longer. The struggle and the discipline
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Preach the Gospel
Now, these words of Paul, I trust, are applicable to many ministers in the present day; to all those who are especially called, who are directed by the inward impulse of the Holy Spirit to occupy the position of gospel ministers. In trying to consider this verse, we shall have three inquiries this morning:--First, What is it to preach the gospel? Secondly, Why is it that a minister has nothing to glorify of? And thirdly, What is that necessity and that woe, of which it is written, "Necessity is laid
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

But He Speaks More Openly in the Rest which He Subjoins...
9. But he speaks more openly in the rest which he subjoins, and altogether removes all causes of doubting. "If we unto you," saith he, "have sown spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" What are the spiritual things which he sowed, but the word and mystery of the sacrament of the kingdom of heaven? And what the carnal things which he saith he had a right to reap, but these temporal things which are indulged to the life and indigency of the flesh? These however
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Hence Arises Another Question; for Peradventure one May Say...
23. Hence arises another question; for peradventure one may say, "What then? did the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas, sin, in that they did not work? Or did they occasion an hindrance to the Gospel, because blessed Paul saith that he had not used this power on purpose that he might not cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ? For if they sinned because they wrought not, then had they not received power not to work, but to live instead by the Gospel. But if they had received
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Cross References
Deuteronomy 20:6
'Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit.

Proverbs 27:18
He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, And he who cares for his master will be honored.

1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:8
Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

2 Corinthians 10:4
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

1 Timothy 1:18
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,

2 Timothy 2:3
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

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