Scripture: I Corinthians 9

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READ and STUDY the WORD

The Rights Of An Apostle

I Corinthians 9:1-27 (WEB) Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Aren’t you my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. My defense to those who examine me is this: Have we no right to eat and to drink? Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and doesn’t eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and doesn’t drink from the flock’s milk? Do I speak these things according to the ways of men? Or doesn’t the law also say the same thing? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”  Is it for the oxen that God cares, 10 or does He say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope. 11 If we sowed to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your fleshly things? 12 If others partake of this right over you, don’t we yet more? Nevertheless we didn’t use this right, but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who serve around sacred things eat from the things of the temple, and those who wait on the altar have their portion with the altar? 14 Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News. 15 But I have used none of these things, and I don’t write these things that it may be done so in my case; for I would rather die, than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16 For if I preach the Good News, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me if I don’t preach the Good News. 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News. 19 For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; 21 to 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. 22 To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 23 Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of it. 24 Don’t you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. 25 Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, 27 but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.

Questions and Answers:

1. What seal was upon Paul because of those he had brought to Christ (I Corinthians 9:2)? The seal of apostleship in the Lord was upon Paul.

2. What did Paul say he and Barnabas should reap since they had sown spiritual things to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 9:11-12a)? Paul said shouldn’t they reap a fleshly (a material) harvest from the Corinthians.

3. Why did they not use their right of support? (I Corinthians 9:12b)?  Paul and Barnabas didn’t use their right, but bore all things, so that they would cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ.

4. What did Paul say should come to those who were ordained by the Lord to proclaim the Good News (I Corinthians 9:14)? The Lord ordained that those who proclaimed the Good News should live from the Good News.

5. What did Paul say was his reward in preaching (I Corinthians 9:18)? Paul said when he preached the Good News he would present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse his authority in preaching it.  

6. What did Paul say he did to win as many as possible (I Corinthians 9:19-22a)? Paul said though he was free and belonged to no man, he brought himself under bondage to everyone.

7. Why did Paul say he had become all things to all men (I Corinthians 9:22b-23)? Paul said he had become all things to all men so that by all possible means he might save some. He did all this for the sake of the Good News (the gospel), that he might share in its blessings; that is be a joint partaker of the Good News.

HEAR the WORD

I Corinthians 9:24-27 (WEB) 24 Don’t you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. 25 Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, 27 but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (AMP) 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! 25 Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. 26 Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. 27 But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].

MEDITATE on the WORD

Ponder the above verses.  My Bible notes: Paul used the above illustration to explain that the Christian life takes hard work, self-denial and grueling preparation.  As Christians, we are running toward our heavenly reward. 

MEMORIZE the WORD

I Corinthians 9:19 Though I (Paul) am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible (to Christ).

LOVE and LIVE the WORD

We need to equip ourselves for the race too.  The essential disciplines are pray, Bible study and worship. 

TEACH and SHARE the WORD

Be sure you don’t just stand on the sideline, get into the race and run alongside others to encourage them too.  

PRAY the WORD

Lord, I pray we will plant spiritual seeds into the live of those around us (I Corinthians 9:11).  Lord, I we will win as many as possible (I Corinthians 9:19).  Lord, I pray we will indeed win a crown that will last forever (I Corinthians 9:25).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

ENCOURAGEMENT

“May you and I commit ourselves to the race that will take us into eternity.” <>< Dona