1 Corinthians 9:2-12
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
2 Although I may not be an apostle for others, certainly I am for you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defense against those who would pass judgment on me[a] is this. 4 [b]Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or is it only myself and Barnabas who do not have the right not to work?(A) 7 Who ever serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating its produce? Or who shepherds a flock without using some of the milk from the flock?(B) 8 Am I saying this on human authority, or does not the law also speak of these things? 9 It is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”(C) Is God concerned about oxen, 10 or is he not really speaking for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope, and the thresher in hope of receiving a share.(D) 11 If we have sown spiritual seed for you, is it a great thing that we reap a material harvest from you?(E) 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?(F)
Reason for Not Using His Rights. Yet we have not used this right.[c] On the contrary, we endure everything so as not to place an obstacle to the gospel of Christ.Read full chapter
- 9:3 My defense against those who would pass judgment on me: the reference to a defense (apologia) is surprising, and suggests that Paul is incorporating some material here that he has previously used in another context. The defense will touch on two points: the fact of Paul’s rights as an apostle (1 Cor 9:4–12a and 1 Cor 9:13–14) and his nonuse of those rights (1 Cor 9:12b and 1 Cor 9:15–18).
- 9:4–12a Apparently some believe that Paul is not equal to the other apostles and therefore does not enjoy equal privileges. His defense on this point (here and in 1 Cor 9:13–14) reinforces the assertion of his apostolic character in 1 Cor 9:2. It consists of a series of analogies from natural equity (7) and religious custom (1 Cor 9:13) designed to establish his equal right to support from the churches (1 Cor 9:4–6, 11–12a); these analogies are confirmed by the authority of the law (1 Cor 9:8–10) and of Jesus himself (1 Cor 9:14).
- 9:12 It appears, too, that suspicion or misunderstanding has been created by Paul’s practice of not living from his preaching. The first reason he asserts in defense of this practice is an entirely apostolic one; it anticipates the developments to follow in 1 Cor 9:19–22. He will give a second reason in 1 Cor 9:15–18.