(ii) SECTION TWO: Chapter 9:1-27.

Map of Corinth / Map of Corinth's Location / Picture of the Temple of Apollo / Outline Chart/ Read The Letter

Firstly, read the scripture passage...

1 Cor 9:1-27

1Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

2If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3My defense to those who examine me is this:

4Do we have no right to eat and drink?

5Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?

7Who 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?

8Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?

9For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about?

10Or 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.

11If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

12If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

13Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?

14Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

15But 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.

16For 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!

17For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.

18What 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.

19For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;

20and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;

21to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law;

22to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

25And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

26Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.

27But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.


Paul has just expounded the 'stumbling block principle' and now he shows how he has demonstrated it in his own life.

In this section Paul says that as an Apostle he has many rights (e.g.. receiving money from the church) but he has willingly given them up for the sake of the gospel (especially see verse 12).

The Corinthian Christians have been doubting Paul's Apostolic authority as he seems weak to them in this area. Paul reveals the reason for this here, not because he lacks the boldness or authority, but because he will override no man's free will with his position and will not demand anything against another's will. This is true servant-leadership.

How does Paul see true freedom ? Which of the following statements is correct ?

(a) True freedom is not being bound by others expectations and/or needs.

(b) True freedom is not to have to think how to act in front of others but simply act in the free way Christ has redeemed us into.

(c) True freedom is being free to be a servant of the Lord and of others.

Paul had the God-given authority to do many things (see verses 4-6 and Matthew Henry's Commentary on these things) and especially to be supported by the Church financially just as any agricultural worker or shepherd is supported by their produce and flocks (see verses 7-8). Even the Oxen is not muzzled and has ample provision, how much more should Paul be supported by the Church. But he has given up this right and has worked with his own hands to provide for himself. Why do you think this is so ? Click here for the answer.

Click here for Matthew Henry's commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 which is Paul's beautiful description of true Christian freedom and an example of him using the stumbling block principle in his missions work to win many for Christ.

Click here for Matthew Henry's commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Paul uses the illustrations of a runner and a fighter to illustrate the purpose of giving up perfectly good 'rights' . The runner willingly denied himself certain foods which he may freely take if he wishes for the sake of winning the race. Paul gives up things for the sake of winning the lost! He exhorts the Corinthians to do likewise, not clinging onto their knowledge as something to boast about and show off how 'spiritual' they are, but giving up freedoms they know they have in order to be a channel of love to the nations!

Paul also writes of this principle in Galatians....

Gal 5:13

13For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.


Now you are ready for SECTION THREE: Chapter 10:1-13.

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