1 Corinthians 9
Weymouth New testament

The Rights of the Apostles

(Deuteronomy 18:1-8)

1Am I not free? Am I not an Apostle? Can it be denied that I have seen Jesus, our Lord? Are not you yourselves my work in the Lord? 2If to other men I am not an Apostle, yet at any rate I am one to you; for your very existence as a Christian Church is the seal of my Apostleship.

3That is how I vindicate myself to those who criticize me. 4Have we not a right to claim food and drink? 5Have we not a right to take with us on our journeys a Christian sister as our wife, as the rest of the Apostles do—and the Lord's brothers and Peter? 6Or again, is it only Barnabas and myself who are not at liberty to give up working with our hands? 7What soldier ever serves at his own cost? Who plants a vineyard and yet does not eat any of the grapes? Or who tends a herd of cattle and yet does not taste their milk?

8Am I making use of merely worldly illustrations? Does not the Law speak in the same tone? 9For in the Law of Moses it is written, "Thou shalt not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." 10Is God simply thinking about the oxen? Or is it really in our interest that He speaks? Of course, it was written in our interest, because it is His will that when a plough-man ploughs, and a thresher threshes, it should be in the hope of sharing that which comes as the result. 11If it is we who sowed the spiritual grain in you, is it a great thing that we should reap a temporal harvest from you? 12If other teachers possess that right over you, do not we possess it much more? Yet we have not availed ourselves of the right, but we patiently endure all things rather than hinder in the least degree the progress of the Good News of the Christ. 13Do you not know that those who perform the sacred rites have their food from the sacred place, and that those who serve at the altar all alike share with the altar? 14In the same way the Lord also directed those who proclaim the Good News to maintain themselves by the Good News.

15But I, for my part, have not used, and do not use, my full rights in any of these things. Nor do I now write with that object so far as I myself am concerned, for I would rather die than have anybody make this boast of mine an empty one. 16If I go on preaching the Good News, that is nothing for me to boast of; for the necessity is imposed upon me; and alas for me, if I fail to preach it! 17And if I preach willingly, I receive my wages; but if against my will, a stewardship has nevertheless been entrusted to me. 18What are my wages then? The very fact that the Good News which I preach will cost my hearers nothing, so that I cannot be charged with abuse of my privileges as a Christian preacher.

Paul a Servant to All

19Though free from all human control, I have made myself the slave of all in the hope of winning as many converts as possible. 20To the Jews I have become like a Jew in order to win Jews; to men under the Law as if I were under the Law—although I am not—in order to win those who are under the Law; 21to men without Law as if I were without Law—although I am not without Law in relation to God but am abiding in Christ's Law—in order to win those who are without Law. 22To the weak I have become weak, so as to gain the weak. To all men I have become all things, in the hope that in every one of these ways I may save some. 23And I do everything for the sake of the Good News, that I may share with my hearers in its benefits.

Run Your Race to Win

24Do you not know that in the foot-race the runners all run, but that only one gets the prize? You must run like him, in order to win with certainty. 25But every competitor in an athletic contest practices abstemiousness in all directions. They indeed do this for the sake of securing a perishable wreath, but we for the sake of securing one that will not perish. 26That is how I run, not being in any doubt as to my goal. I am a boxer who does not inflict blows on the air, 27but I hit hard and straight at my own body and lead it off into slavery, lest possibly, after I have been a herald to others, I should myself be rejected.

1 Corinthians 8
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