1 Corinthians 9 New Life Version (NLV)
A Missionary’s Rights
9 Am I not a missionary? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not Christians because of the work I have done for the Lord? 2 Other people may not think of me as a missionary, but you do. It proves I am a missionary because you are Christians now. 3 When people ask questions about me, I say this: 4 Do we not have the right to have food and drink when we are working for the Lord? 5 Do we not have the right to take a Christian wife along with us? The other missionaries do. The Lord’s brothers do and Peter does. 6 Are Barnabas and I the only ones who should keep working for a living so we can preach?
7 Have you ever heard of a soldier who goes to war and pays for what he needs himself? Have you ever heard of a man planting a field of grapes and not eating some of the fruit? Have you ever heard of a farmer who feeds cattle and does not drink some of the milk? 8 These things are not just what men think are right to do. God’s Law speaks about this. 9 God gave Moses the Law. It says, “When the cow is made to walk on the grain to break it open, do not stop it from eating some.” Does God care about the cow? 10 Did not God speak about this because of us. For sure, this was written for us. The man who gets the fields ready and the man who gathers in the grain should expect some of the grain. 11 We have planted God’s Word among you. Is it too much to expect you to give us what we need to live each day? 12 If other people have the right to expect this from you, do we not have more right? But we have not asked this of you. We have suffered many things. We did this so the Good News of Christ would not be held back.
13 You must know that those who work in the house of God get their food there. Those who work at the altar in the house of God get a part of the food that is given there. 14 The Lord has said also that those who preach the Good News should get their living from those who hear it.
15 I have not used any of these things. I am not writing now to get anything. I would rather die than lose the joy of preaching to you without you paying me. 16 I cannot be proud because I preach the Good News. I have been told to do it. It would be bad for me if I do not preach the Good News. 17 If I do this because I want to, I will get my reward. If I do not want to do it, I am still expected to do it. 18 Then what is my reward? It is when I preach the Good News without you paying me. I do not ask you to pay me as I could.
Learning to Get Along
19 No man has any hold on me, but I have made myself a workman owned by all. I do this so I might lead more people to Christ. 20 I became as a Jew to the Jews so I might lead them to Christ. There are some who live by obeying the Jewish Law. I became as one who lives by obeying the Jewish Law so I might lead them to Christ. 21 There are some who live by not obeying the Jewish law. I became as one who lives by not obeying the Jewish law so I might lead them to Christ. This does not mean that I do not obey God’s Law. I obey the teachings of Christ. 22 Some are weak. I have become weak so I might lead them to Christ. I have become like every person so in every way I might lead some to Christ. 23 Everything I do, I do to get the Good News to men. I want to have a part in this work.
Live a Life That Pleases Christ
24 You know that only one person gets a crown for being in a race even if many people run. You must run so you will win the crown. 25 Everyone who runs in a race does many things so his body will be strong. He does it to get a crown that will soon be worth nothing, but we work for a crown that will last forever. 26 In the same way, I run straight for the place at the end of the race. I fight to win. I do not beat the air. 27 I keep working over my body. I make it obey me. I do this because I am afraid that after I have preached the Good News to others, I myself might be put aside.