1 Corinthians 9Lexham English Bible (LEB)
Paul Gives Up His Rights as 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? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, yet indeed I am to you, for you are my seal of apostleship in the Lord. 3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to take along a sister as wife, like the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6 Or do only I and Barnabas not have the right to refrain from working[a]? 7 Who ever serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Who[b] shepherds a flock and does not drink[c] from the milk of the flock? 8 I am not saying these things according to a human perspective. Or does the law not also say these things? 9 For in the law of Moses it is written, “You must not muzzle an ox while it[d] is threshing.”[e] It is not about oxen God is concerned, is it?[f] 10 Or doubtless does he speak for our sake[g]? For it is written for our sake[h], because the one who plows ought to plow in hope and the one who threshes ought to do so in hope of a share. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too great a thing if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this right over you, do we not do so even more? Yet we have not made use of this right, but we endure all things, in order that we may not cause any hindrance to the gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those performing the holy services eat the things from the temple, and those attending to the altar have a share with the altar? 14 In the same way also the Lord ordered those who proclaim the gospel to live from the gospel. 15 But I have not made use of any of these rights. And I am not writing these things in order that it may be thus with me. For it would be better to me rather to die than for anyone to deprive me of my reason for boasting. 16 For if I proclaim the gospel, it is not to me a reason for boasting, for necessity is imposed on me. For woe is to me if I do not proclaim the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward, but if I do so unwillingly, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That when I[i] proclaim the gospel, I may offer the gospel free of charge, in order not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
19 For although I[j] am free from all people, I have enslaved myself to all, in order that I may gain more. 20 I have become like a Jew to the Jews, in order that I may gain the Jews. To those under the law I became as under the law (although I[k] myself am not under the law) in order that I may gain those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as outside the law (although I[l] am not outside the law of God, but subject to the law of Christ) in order that I may gain those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, in order that I may gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, in order that by all means I may save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, in order that I may become a participant with it.
24 Do you not know that those who run in the stadium all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes exercises self-control in all things. Thus those do so in order that they may receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. 26 Therefore I run in this way, not as running aimlessly; I box in this way, not as beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and subjugate it, lest somehow after[m] preaching to others, I myself should become disqualified.