New Heart English Bible
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my office of apostle in the Lord.
3My defense to those who examine me is this. 4Have we no right to eat and to drink? 5Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? 7What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and does not eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and does not drink from the flock's milk?
8Do I say these things according to human authority? Or does not the Law also say the same thing? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, "Do not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it for the oxen that God cares, 10or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in the hope of having a share. 11If we sowed to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your fleshly things? 12If others partake of this right over you, do not we yet more? Nevertheless we did not use this right, but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ. 13Do you not know that those who serve around sacred things eat from the things of the temple, and those who wait on the altar have their portion with the altar? 14Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News.
15But I have used none of these things, and I do not write these things that it may be done so in my case; for I would rather die, than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16For if I proclaim the Good News, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me, if I do not proclaim the Good News. 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18What then is my reward? That, when I proclaim the Good News, I may present the Good News without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News.
19For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; 21to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. 22To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I may by all means save some. 23Now I do all things for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of it.
24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. 25Now everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I fight like that, as not beating the air, 27but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.