Paul’s Use of Freedom
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
2If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3My defense to those who examine me is this:
4Lit It is not that we have no right to eat and drink, is it?Do we not have a right to eat and drink?
5Lit It is not that we have no right to take along...Cephas, is it?Do we not have a right to take along a Lit sister, as a wifebelieving wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord, and Peter’s Aramaic nameCephas?
6Or do only Lit I and BarnabasBarnabas and I have no right to refrain from I.e., to support themselvesworking?
7Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not Lit eat fromconsume some of the milk of the flock?
8I am not just asserting these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does the Law not say these things as well?
9For it is written in the Law of Moses: “You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?
10Or is He speaking entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing in the crops.
11If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
12If 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.
13Do 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 Lit withfrom the altar?
14So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
15But I have used none of these things. And I have not written these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than that. No one shall make my boast an empty one!
16For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast about, for I am under compulsion; for woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.
17For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a commission nonetheless.
18What, 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.
19For though I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may gain more.
20To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the Law, I became as one under the Law, though not being under the Law myself, so that I might gain those who are under the Law;
21to those who are without the Law, I became as one without the Law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might gain those who are without the Law.
22To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak; I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some.
23I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. So they do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26Therefore I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as Lit not hittingto avoid hitting air;
27but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
New American Standard Bible
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