A Pattern of Self-Denial

Am (A)I not an apostle? Am I not free? (B)Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? (C)Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are (D)the [a]seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

My defense to those who examine me is this: (E)Do we have no [b]right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along [c]a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, (F)the brothers of the Lord, and (G)Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I (H)who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever (I)goes to war at his own expense? Who (J)plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who (K)tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?

Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, (L)“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that (M)he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 (N)If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?

(O)Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things (P)lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 (Q)Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the (R)temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so (S)the Lord has commanded (T)that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

15 But (U)I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for (V)it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for (W)necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, (X)I have a reward; but if against my will, (Y)I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What is my reward then? That (Z)when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel [d]of Christ without charge, that I (AA)may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

Serving All Men

19 For though I am (AB)free from all men, (AC)I have made myself a servant to all, (AD)that I might win the more; 20 and (AE)to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the [e]law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 (AF)to (AG)those who are without law, as without law (AH)(not being without [f]law toward God, but under [g]law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 (AI)to the weak I became [h]as weak, that I might win the weak. (AJ)I have become all things to all men, (AK)that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

Striving for a Crown

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? (AL)Run in such a way that you may [i]obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize [j]is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for (AM)an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: (AN)not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 (AO)But I discipline my body and (AP)bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become (AQ)disqualified.

Old Testament Examples

10 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under (AR)the cloud, all passed through (AS)the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same (AT)spiritual food, and all drank the same (AU)spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies (AV)were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as (AW)they also lusted. (AX)And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, (AY)“The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” (AZ)Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as (BA)some of them did, and (BB)in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us [k]tempt Christ, as (BC)some of them also tempted, and (BD)were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as (BE)some of them also complained, and (BF)were destroyed by (BG)the destroyer. 11 Now [l]all these things happened to them as examples, and (BH)they were written for our [m]admonition, (BI)upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore (BJ)let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but (BK)God is faithful, (BL)who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to [n]bear it.

Flee from Idolatry

14 Therefore, my beloved, (BM)flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to (BN)wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 (BO)The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the [o]communion of the blood of Christ? (BP)The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For (BQ)we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

18 Observe (BR)Israel (BS)after the flesh: (BT)Are not those who eat of the sacrifices [p]partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? (BU)That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles (BV)sacrifice (BW)they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 (BX)You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and (BY)the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the (BZ)Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we (CA)provoke the Lord to jealousy? (CB)Are we stronger than He?

All to the Glory of God(CC)

23 All things are lawful [q]for me, but not all things are (CD)helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things [r]edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one (CE)the other’s well-being.

25 (CF)Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for (CG)“the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”

27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, (CH)eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it (CI)for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; [s]for (CJ)“the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For (CK)why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food (CL)over which I give thanks?

31 (CM)Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 (CN)Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just (CO)as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.


  1. 1 Corinthians 9:2 certification
  2. 1 Corinthians 9:4 authority
  3. 1 Corinthians 9:5 Lit. a sister, a wife
  4. 1 Corinthians 9:18 NU omits of Christ
  5. 1 Corinthians 9:20 NU adds though not being myself under the law
  6. 1 Corinthians 9:21 NU God’s law
  7. 1 Corinthians 9:21 NU Christ’s law
  8. 1 Corinthians 9:22 NU omits as
  9. 1 Corinthians 9:24 win
  10. 1 Corinthians 9:25 exercises self-control
  11. 1 Corinthians 10:9 test
  12. 1 Corinthians 10:11 NU omits all
  13. 1 Corinthians 10:11 instruction
  14. 1 Corinthians 10:13 endure
  15. 1 Corinthians 10:16 fellowship or sharing
  16. 1 Corinthians 10:18 fellowshippers or sharers
  17. 1 Corinthians 10:23 NU omits for me
  18. 1 Corinthians 10:23 build up
  19. 1 Corinthians 10:28 NU omits the rest of v. 28.