1 Corinthians 9
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
The Rights of an Apostle
9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?(A) 2 If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.(B)
3 This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4 Do we not have the right to our food and drink?(C) 5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife,[a] as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?(D) 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?(E) 7 Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?(F)
8 Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?(G) 10 Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we harvest material[b] things?(H) 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.(I) 13 Do you not know that those who work in the temple service get their food from the temple and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar?(J) 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.(K)
15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be applied in my case. Indeed, I would rather die than that—no one will deprive me of my ground for boasting! 16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a wage, but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.(L) 18 What then is my wage? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.
19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might gain all the more.(M) 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to gain Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might gain those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not outside God’s law but am within Christ’s law) so that I might gain those outside the law.(N) 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I might become a partner in it.
24 Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.(O) 25 Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.(P) 26 So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air, 27 but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.(Q)