9 Am I not free [unrestrained and exempt from any obligation]? Am I not an apostle? Have I not [a]seen Jesus our [risen] Lord [in person]? Are you not [the result and proof of] my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not [considered] an apostle to others, at least I am one to you; for you are the seal and the certificate and the living evidence of my apostleship in the Lord [confirming and authenticating it].
3 This is my defense to those who would put me on trial and interrogate me [concerning my authority as an apostle]: 4 Have we not the right to our food and drink [at the expense of the churches]? 5 Have we not the right to take along with us a believing wife, as do the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas (Peter)? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to stop doing manual labor [in order to support our ministry]? 7 [Consider this:] Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?
8 Do I say these things only from a man’s perspective? Does the Law not endorse the same principles? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain [to keep it from eating the grain].” Is it [only] for oxen that God cares?10 Or does He speak entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake: The plowman ought to plow [b]in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the harvest. 11 If we have sown [the good seed of] spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share in this rightful claim over you, do not we even more? However, we did not exercise this right, but we put up with everything so that we will not hinder [the spread of] the good news of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who officiate in the sacred services of the temple eat from the temple [offerings of meat and bread] and those who regularly attend the altar have their share from the [offerings brought to the] altar?14 So also [on the same principle] the Lord directed those who preach the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:1Paul knew that to be an apostle in the same sense as the original twelve apostles (with Matthias replacing Judas Iscariot, Acts 1:26), he had to be an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:22). His encounter with Christ on his journey to Damascus met this requirement (Acts 9:2-8, 27; 22:6-21; 26:12-18).
1 Corinthians 9:10In the NT the word “hope” expresses a cherished desire along with the confident assurance of obtaining that which is longed for.
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