1 Corinthians 9:1-18New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Paul’s Use of Liberty
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, 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 [a]Do we not have a right to eat and drink?5 [b]Do we not have a right to take along a [c]believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?6 Or do only [d]Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?7 Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not [e]use the milk of the flock?
8 I am not speaking these things according to [f]human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things?9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share [g]from the altar?14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
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