1 Corinthians 9-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Paul’s Example 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 I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Don’t we have the right to eat and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to be accompanied by a Christian wife[a] like the other apostles, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas? 6 Or do Barnabas and I alone have no right to refrain from working? 7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not drink the milk from the flock? 8 Am I saying this from a human perspective? Doesn’t the law also say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Do not muzzle an ox while it treads out grain.[b] Is God really concerned with oxen? 10 Or isn’t He really saying it for us? Yes, this is written for us, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes should do so in hope of sharing the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it too much if we reap material benefits from you? 12 If others have this right to receive benefits from you, don’t we even more?
However, we have not made use of this right; instead we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who perform the temple services eat the food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the offerings of the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel.
15 But I have used none of these rights, and I have not written this to make it happen that way for me. For it would be better for me to die than for anyone to deprive me of my boast! 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because an obligation is placed on me. And woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward, but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? To preach the gospel and offer it free of charge and not make full use of my authority in the gospel.
19 Although I am a free man and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law[c]—to win those under the law. 21 To those who are without that law, like one without the law—not being without God’s law but within Christ’s law—to win those without the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. 23 Now I do all this because of the gospel, so I may become a partner in its benefits.[d]
24 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. 25 Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. 26 Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. 27 Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Warnings from Israel’s Past
10 Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. 5 But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did.[e] 7 Don’t become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play.[f][g] 8 Let us not commit sexual immorality as some of them did,[h] and in a single day 23,000 people fell dead. 9 Let us not test Christ as some of them did[i] and were destroyed by snakes. 10 Nor should we complain as some of them did,[j] and were killed by the destroyer.[k] 11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.
Warning against Idolatry
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I am speaking as to wise people. Judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread. 18 Look at the people of Israel.[l] Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in what is offered on the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I do say that what they[m] sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to participate with demons! 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
23 “Everything is permissible,”[n][o] but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,”[p] but not everything builds up. 24 No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person.
25 Eat everything that is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake, 26 for the earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.[q] 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you over and you want to go, eat everything that is set before you, without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This is food offered to an idol,” do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake.[r] 29 I do not mean your own conscience, but the other person’s. For why is my freedom judged by another person’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thanks, why am I slandered because of something I give thanks for?
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. 32 Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God, 33 just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they may be saved. 11 1 Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.
Instructions about Head Coverings
2 Now I praise you[s] because you always remember me and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman,[t] and God is the head of Christ. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since that is one and the same as having her head shaved. 6 So if a woman’s head[u] is not covered, her hair should be cut off. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, she should be covered.
7 A man, in fact, should not cover his head, because he is God’s image and glory, but woman is man’s glory. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man. 9 And man was not created for woman, but woman for man. 10 This is why a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman, and all things come from God.
13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her[v] as a covering. 16 But if anyone wants to argue about this, we have no other[w] custom, nor do the churches of God.
The Lord’s Supper
17 Now in giving the following instruction I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 There must, indeed, be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore, when you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For at the meal, each one eats his own supper ahead of others. So one person is hungry while another gets drunk! 22 Don’t you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you look down on the church of God and embarrass those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you for this!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said,[x] “This is My body, which is[y] for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body[z] and blood of the Lord. 28 So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body,[aa] eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. 31 If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, 32 but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you gather together you will not come under judgment. And I will give instructions about the other matters whenever I come.
Diversity of Spiritual Gifts
12 Now concerning what comes from the Spirit:[ab] brothers, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you used to be led off to the idols that could not speak. 3 Therefore I am informing you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.[ac] 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:
8 to one is given a message of wisdom
11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.
Unity Yet Diversity in the Body
12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[ad] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 So the body is not one part but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 Now there are many parts, yet one body.
21 So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. 24 But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. 28 And God has placed these in the church:
first apostles, second prophets,
31 But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.