Posted in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 9

8:9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.


These first few lines I think are linked to 8, remember this is all one letter, Paul is not writing chapter and verse, he is writing a letter.  9 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? Paul does not have to ‘abide’ to man rules or superstition, because he is ‘Free’ a believer, his salvation is not based on pleasing of man, he is making this point to say- I do ‘comply’ to the weakness of these people because it doesn’t matter, it is not a MY way versus THEIR way.  If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. Here I wonder also if Paul is not answering another question from the Corinthians? 3 My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? I think now Paul is moving on to make some more points, using the previous as the way to approach.  Or is it only Barnabas and Iwho have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?  It sounds like Paul is defending their being able to receive pay, expenses, meals, gifts, on their mission. 

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,“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”  Let the ox eat as he works, benefit from his efforts. 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 he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. God did not tell us this in his word to make sure the ox were treated humanely, it was an analogy.  11 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? The Corinthians should share, and allow the missionaries to receive. Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Paul does not ask for pay, nor demand it, or set a fee. If they did then people may not hear, because they only see this as a business for Paul- i.e. televangelists.  13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, Priests and such ate the offerings given to temple and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.15 But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. Paul deserves to benefit, but he does not take, so that it does not take away from the teaching of God, in people’s eyes. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! Paul preaches Gods word because GOD has him do it, the spirit leads him to, it is not because he wants the credit or pay.   17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. If Paul does his ministry for THE pay it no longer a ministry, but a job.  18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ[ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.  Paul is not saying don’t give to us, he already said others receive and God even says to give to the ‘ox’ , what he is saying he does not set a ‘price’ to his work, an hourly charge, he gives the gospel free, and IF someone should want to give to him that is to give to him, because he asked for it.For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; Paul is not ’employed’ to anyone, nor slave to anyone. He does not HAVE to comply to any persons wishes, he chose to be a servant of God, and thus putting himself in the place to serve all mankind.  20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law,[c] that I might win those who are under the law; Paul takes on his ‘Jewishness’ in order to relate to Jew’s , to present the gospel so they may hear.  21 to those who are without law,  as without law Paul does NOT abide to Jewish law for the sake of the ‘Jews’, not a slave to it. He is not entangled by the law, so he can speak with those who are not ‘Jewish’.(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), The law is still ‘obeyed’ because it is still what is desired by God, that we be ‘morally correct’. We obey the law not to be ‘saved’ but because we are saved. that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. This is what he spoke of before of those afraid to eat certain foods, ‘weak’ in faith, he does not lord over them, I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Paul ‘uses’ all the experiences, knowledge, God gave him so he can relate to those he presents the Gospel to  That I may save SOME, Paul does NOT say ALL.  23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.  Paul does this, gospel giving with no pay, because he wants salvation for all, not just himself. 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Here in this world, only 1st place wins.  Run in such a way that you may obtain it. When you race you race to win 1st place, live your life as a believer, so you can reach, win, that 1st place.  25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.When a ‘runner’ in a race you are conditioned, you train, you eat correctly, you live ‘right’, in order to win Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown,In the world we get a trophy, it gets dusty and rusty and eventually sold in garage sale. but we for an imperishable crown. We believers are racing for a trophy that does not go away, ever.    26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Run, live your life with the certainty of knowing you will/have obtained that crown. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  Paul hits his mark, not a swing miss, he knows what he battles; sin, enemies of the gospel, evil27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. This is reasoning of why Paul strives to not cause others to stumble, to put his needs aside, to humble himself, to abide to the law (not for sake of law but Christ) so that those who he preaches gospel to, are not blinded by his ‘sins’ and they miss their mark, because of him.  Paul says ‘discipline my body’, Paul has to make himself do correctly, even Paul, an apostle, one so obviously ‘chosen’ by God to preach the word, he has to discipline himself to do, what he should. Paul is practicing what he just preached he is showing the weak he too is weak.