1 Corinthians 9 New Matthew Bible (NMB)
Love forgoes the thing that she may do according to the law. Paul exhorts them to keep on running in the course that they have begun.
9 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet I am to you. For you in the Lord are the seal of my apostleship.
3 My answer to those who ask me is this: 4 Do we not have the right to eat and to drink? 5 Or do we not have the right to have with us a sister as wife, as well as the other apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or do only Barnabas and I not have the right to do this?
Who goes to war any time at his own expense? 7 Who plants a vineyard, and eats not of the fruit? Who feeds a flock, and drinks not of the milk? 8 Do I say these things after the manner of men, or does the law not say the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses: You shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the grain. Is God taking thought for oxen, 10 or does he say it not altogether for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt this is written, because he who ploughs should plough in hope, and because he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we sow spiritual things unto you, is it a great matter if we reap your carnal things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, why not rather we? Nevertheless, we have not exercised this right, but endure all things, lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not understand that those who minister in the temple have their provision from the temple? And those who wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Likewise also did the Lord ordain that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. 15 But I have availed myself of none of these things. Neither have I written these things so that it would be done so for me. For it would be better for me to die than for anyone to take this claim from me.
16 In that I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is put upon me; woe it is to me, if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I do it with a good will, I have a reward. But if I do it against my will, an office is committed to me. 18 What is my reward then? Truly, that when I preach the gospel, I make the gospel of Christ free: that I do not misuse my authority in the gospel.
19 For though no man is my master, yet I have made myself a servant to all, so that I might win the more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, to win the Jews. To those who were under the law, I was as though under the law, to win those who were under the law. 21 To those who were without law, I became as though I were without law (when I was not without law as pertaining to God, but under a law as concerning Christ), to win those who were without law. 22 To the weak I became as weak, to win the weak. In all things I fashioned myself to all men, to save at least some. 23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, so that I may have my part in it.
24 Do you not perceive that of those who run in a race, all run, yet but one receives the reward? So run that you may prevail. 25 Athletes who compete discipline themselves in all things. And they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we to obtain an incorruptible crown. 26 I therefore run accordingly: not as at an uncertain thing. I fight accordingly: not as one who beats the air, 27 but I tame my body, and bring it into subjection, lest after I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1 Corinthians 9 New International Version (NIV)
Paul’s Rights as an Apostle
9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas[a]? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”[b] Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Paul’s Use of His Freedom
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
The Need for Self-Discipline
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.