Bible: 1 Corinthians 9-10
The Rights of an Apostle
9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 9:2 If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the confirming sign 1 of my apostleship in the Lord. 9:3 This is my defense to those who examine me. 9:4 Do we not have the right to financial support? 2 9:5 Do we not have the right to the company of a believing wife, like the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 9:6 Or do only Barnabas and I lack the right not to work? 9:7 Who ever serves in the army at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Who tends a flock and does not consume its milk? 9:8 Am I saying these things only on the basis of common sense, 3 or does the law not say this as well? 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” 4 God is not concerned here about oxen, is he? 9:10 Or is he not surely speaking for our benefit? It was written for us, because the one plowing and threshing ought to work in hope of enjoying the harvest. 9:11 If we sowed spiritual blessings among you, is it too much to reap material things from you? 9:12 If others receive this right from you, are we not more deserving?
But we have not made use of this right. Instead we endure everything so that we may not be a hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 9:13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple 5 eat food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar receive a part of the offerings? 9:14 In the same way the Lord commanded those who proclaim the gospel to receive their living by the gospel. 9:15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing these things so that something will be done for me. 6 In fact, it would be better for me to die than – no one will deprive me of my reason for boasting! 7 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason for boasting, because I am compelled to do this. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 9:17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward. But if I do it unwillingly, I am entrusted with a responsibility. 9:18 What then is my reward? That when I preach the gospel I may offer the gospel free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights in the gospel.
9:19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 8 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) 9 to gain those under the law. 9:21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 9:22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.
9:23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.
9:24 Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. 9:25 Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
9:26 So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. 9:27 Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified.
Learning from Israel’s Failures
10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, 10 brothers and sisters, 11 that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, 10:2 and all were baptized 12 into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 10:5 But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. 10:6 These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. 10:7 So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 13 10:8 And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day. 14 10:9 And let us not put Christ 15 to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. 16 10:10 And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. 17 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 10:12 So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. 10:13 No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. 18 And God is faithful: He 19 will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, 20 but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.
Avoid Idol Feasts
10:14 So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 10:15 I am speaking to thoughtful people. Consider what I say. 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread. 10:18 Look at the people of Israel. 21 Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 10:19 Am I saying that idols or food sacrificed to them amount to anything? 10:20 No, I mean that what the pagans sacrifice 22 is to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 10:22 Or are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we really stronger than he is? 23
Live to Glorify God
10:23 “Everything is lawful,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful,” 24 but not everything builds others up. 25 10:24 Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, 10:26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s. 26 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience. 10:28 But if someone says to you, “This is from a sacrifice,” do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience 27 – 10:29 I do not mean yours but the other person’s. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food 28 that I give thanks for? 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 10:32 Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, 10:33 just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit 29 of many, so that they may be saved.