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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 9

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

1 Corinthians 9:1 . οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐλεύθερος ; This question, arising out of the foregoing §, properly comes first. The freedom supposed is that of principle; in 1 Corinthians 9:19 it will take a personal complexion. P. is no longer bound by Mosaic restrictions in the matters under dispute ( cf. 1 Corinthians 9:21 , 1 Corinthians 10:29 , Galatians 2:4 ; Galatians 4:12 ; Galatians 5:1 ); he holds the right belonging to every emancipated Christian. Far beyond this reaches the question, οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος ; which P. answers by putting two other questions, one to his own consciousness, the other to that of his readers: “Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my work in the Lord?” Ἰησοῦν … ἑόρακα ( cf. Acts 7:55 ; Acts 9:5 ; Acts 9:17 ; Acts 22:8 ; Acts 26:15 ) is a unique expression with P.; it describes not a spiritual apprehension, the γνῶναι Χοιστὸν of the believer, nor the ecstatic visions which he had sometimes enjoyed in a state of trance (2 Corinthians 12:1 ff.), but that actual beholding of the human and glorified Redeemer which befell him on the way to Damascus; from this dated both his faith and his mission (Acts 9:1-32 , Galatians 1:10-17 ). Paul seldom uses “Jesus” as the name of our Lord distinctively, always with specific ref [1276] to the historical Person ( cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3 ; 1Co 12:1 , 1 Thessalonians 4:14 ; Ephesians 4:21 ; Philippians 2:10 ; 2 Corinthians 4:10-14 ). The visible and glorious man who then appeared, declared Himself as “Jesus”; from that instant Saul knew that he had seen the crucified Jesus risen and reigning. Asking of his new-found Lord, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” he received the command out of which his commission unfolded itself. Personal knowledge of the Lord and a “word from His mouth” (Acts 22:14 ) were necessary to constitute an Apostle in the primary sense, the immediate “emissary” of Jesus ( cf. Mark 3:13 , Acts 1:21 f.); in virtue of this experience, P. classes himself with “the other App.” (1 Corinthians 15:7 ff., Galatians 1:16 f.); his right to do so was in due time acknowledged by them (Galatians 2:6-9 ). The great interview, in its full import, was Paul’s own secret; his Apostolic power, derived therefrom, was manifest to the whole world (2 Corinthians 3:1 ff; 2 Corinthians 12:12 ), the Cor [1277] Church supplying a conspicuous proof.

[1276] reference.

[1277] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verses 1-6

1 Corinthians 9:1-6 . § 27. PAUL’S APOSTOLIC STATUS. The Ap. is ready to forego his right to use the idolothyta, wherever this claim hurts the susceptibilities of any brother (1 Corinthians 8:13 ). He is “free” as any man in Cor [1274] in such respects; more than this, he is “an apostle” (1 Corinthians 9:1 ), and the Church of Cor [1275] is witness to the fact, being itself his answer to all challengers (1 Corinthians 9:2 f.). If so, he has the right to look to his Churches for maintenance , and that in the ordinary comfort of married life a claim unquestioned in the case of his colleagues in the apostleship (1 Corinthians 9:4-6 ).

[1274] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1275] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verses 2-3

1 Corinthians 9:2-3 . If not at Corinth amongst those who cried “I am of Cephas,” elsewhere Paul’s apostleship was denied by the Judaistic party, against whom he had afterwards to write 2 Corinthians 10. ff. In this trial he counts on the Cor [1278] standing by him: “If to others I am no apostle, at any rate ( ἀλλά γε , at certe, Bz [1279] ) I am to you ”. He does not say “of others,” as though distinguishing two fields of jurisdiction in the sense of Galatians 2:8 , rather “ in the eyes of others”; cf. the dat [1280] of 1 Corinthians 8:6 For ἀλλά γε , cf. Plato, Gorg. , 470 D., εἰ δὲ μὴ ( δρῶ ), ἀλλʼ ἀκούω γε . γε throws its emphasis on ὑμῖν ; so P. continues: “The seal of my apostleship you are , in the Lord”; cf. Romans 4:11 , 2 Corinthians 1:22 . This seal came from the hand of the Lord, affixed by the Master to His servant’s work ( cf. 2 Corinthians 3:1 ff.). Despite its, imperfections, the Cor [1281] Church was a shining evidence of Paul’s commission; it was probably the largest Church as yet raised in his independent ministry. For ἐν Κυρίῳ , see note on 1 Corinthians 4:15 , and 1 Corinthians 7:22 . “ This ” referring to 1 Corinthians 9:1-2 “is my answer to those that put me on my defence”: I point them to you! ἀπολογία (see parls.) is a self-exculpation . For ἀνακρίνω , cf. notes on 1Co 2:14 f., 1 Corinthians 4:4 . It is Paul’s ἀποστολή , not the ἐξουσία of 1 Corinthians 9:4 ff., that is called in question; hence the vein of self-defence pervading the Epp. of this period. Granted the apostleship (and this the readers cannot deny), the right followed as a matter of course: this needed no “apology”.

[1278] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1279] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1280] dative case.

[1281] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verses 4-6

1 Corinthians 9:4-6 . The rights P. vindicates for himself and his fellow-labourers in the Gospel, are ( a ) the right to maintenance; ( b ) to marriage; ( c ) to release from manual labour . ( a ) μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ; “Is it that we have not?” ironical question, as in 1 Corinthians 11:22 “Of course we have”. P. writes in pl [1282] collegas includens (Bg [1283] ), the ἀποστολὴ suggesting οἱ λοιποὶ mentioned in the next ver. ἐξουσίαν φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν (later Gr [1284] for πιεῖν ), “right to eat and drink,” sc. as guests of the Church: see Mark 6:10 , Luke 10:7 ; Luke 22:30 . The added καὶ πεῖν , and the illustrations of 1 Corinthians 9:7 ; 1 Corinthians 9:13 , show that the obj [1285] of the two vbs. is not the idolothyta, but the material provision for Christ’s apostles, supplied by those they serve (1 Corinthians 9:11 ); this ἐξουσία is analogous to, not parl [1286] with, that of 1 Corinthians 8:9 , belonging not to the ἐλεύθερος as such, but to the ἀπόστολος ; cf. the Didaché , 13, “Every true prophet is worthy of his food”. George Fox characteristically notes the moderation of the demand: “The Ap. said ‘Have I not power to eat and to drink?’ But he did not say, ‘to take tithes, Easter reckonings, Midsummer dues, augmentations, and great sums of money’.” ἐξουσίαν , as a verbal noun, governs the bare inf [1287] , like ἔξεστιν . ( b ) Paul claims, in order to renounce, the ἐξουσίαν ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιάγειν the “right to take about (with us) a sister as wife” i.e. , a Christian wife: brachyology for “to have a Christian sister to wife, and take her about with us”. ἀδελφὴν is obj [1288] , γυναῖκα objective complement to περιάγειν , on which the stress lies; “non ex habendo, sed ex circumducendo sumtus afferebatur ecclesiis” (Bg [1289] ). The Clementine Vg [1290] rendering, mulierem sororem circumducendi (as though from γυν . ἀδελφ .), gives a sense at variance both with grammar and decorum, not to be justified by Luke 8:2 f. This misinterpreted text was used in defence of the scandalous practice of priests and monks keeping as “sisters” γυναῖκες συνεισακτοί , which was condemned by the Nicene Council, and often subsequently; so Jerome (Ep. 23, ad Eustoch. ), “Agapetarum pestis … sine nuptiis aliud nomen uxorum … novum concubinarum genus” (see Suicer’s Thesaurus, s. vv. Ἀγαπητή , Ἀδελφή ). From the ὡς καὶ clause it appears that “the rest of the App.,” generally speaking, were married, and their wives often travelled with them; the “forsaking” of Luke 18:28-30 was not final (in the parl [1291] Matthew 19:28 f., Mark 10:28 ff., γυνὴ does not appear); according to tradition, John however was celibate. “The brothers of the Lord” were also orthodox Jews in this respect (on their relationship to Jesus, see Lt [1292] , Essay in Comm [1293] on Galatians); indeed, they came near to founding a kind of Christian dynasty in Jerus. “And Cephas,” separately mentioned as the most eminent instance of the married Christian missionary. The association of the ἀδελφοὶ τ . Κυρ . with the ἀπόστολοι does not prove that they were counted amongst these, or bore this title of office: while distinguished from the latter by their specific name ( cf. Galatians 1:19 ), they are linked with them as persons of like eminence; see the position of James in Acts. ( c ) The third ἐξουσία , μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι , Paul and his old comrade Barnabas had laid aside. Barn. had stripped himself of property at Jerus. in the early days (Acts 4:36 f.); and he and P. together, in the pioneer mission of Acts 13 f., worked their way as handicraftsmen. Now separated, they both continued this practice, which was exceptional μόνος ἐγὼ κ . Βαρνάβας . The allusion implies wide-spread knowledge of the career of Barn., which ends for us at Acts 15:39 . Notwithstanding the παροξυσμὸς in which they parted, the two great missionaries remained in friendly alliance; cf. Paul’s reff. to Mark, Barnabas’ cousin, in Colossians 4:10 , 2 Timothy 4:11 . For ἐργάζομαι , as denoting manual labour, see parls.; a cl [1294] usage, like that of Eng. workmen . This third ἐξουσία was the negative side of the first ( cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 , also 2 Corinthians 11:9 , and ἀδάπανον θήσω of 18 below). The three rights in fact amount to the one which Paul argues for in the sequel: he might justly have imposed his personal support, and that in the more expensive character of a married man, upon the Christian communities for which he laboured, thus sparing himself the disadvantages and hardships of manual toil.

[1282] plural.

[1283] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1284] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1285] grammatical object.

[1286] parallel.

[1287] infinitive mood.

[1288] grammatical object.

[1289] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1290] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1291] parallel.

[1292] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[1293] commentary, commentator.

[1294] classical.

Verse 7

1 Corinthians 9:7 puts the question under three figures virtual arguments from nature drawn from the camp , the vineyard , the flock . These figures had been similarly used by our Lord: (1) in Luke 11:21 f., 1 Corinthians 14:31 ; (2) in Matthew 20:1 ff; Matthew 21:28 ff.; (3) in Luke 12:32 , John 10:0 , and John 21:15 ff. Cf. in Paul for (1) 1 Corinthians 14:8 , Ephesians 6:10 ff., 1 Thessalonians 5:8 ; (2) 1 Corinthians 3:6 ff.; (3) Acts 20:28 , Ephesians 4:11 . On ὀψωνίοις , see Gm [1298] : it denotes primarily “rations” served out in lieu of pay; then military “stipends” of any kind; then “wages” generally; see parls. ἰδίοις ὀψων ., not “at his proper pay,” but “at his private (as distinguished from public) charges”: cf. 1 Corinthians 11:21 , Galatians 2:2 . The use of ποτὲ to widen negative, interr [1299] (virtually negative), and hypothetical propositions, common in cl [1300] Greek, is infrequent in N.T. In the third question, a partitive ἐκ with gen [1301] replaces the acc [1302] , the image suggesting a share: “the shepherd is still remunerated in the East by a share of the milk” (Mr [1303] ); or is P. thinking of the solid food ( ἐσθίει ) which comes “ out of the milk”? For the cognate acc [1304] , f1ποιμαίνει ποίμνην , cf. 1 Peter 5:2 , also John 10:16 .

[1298] Grimm-Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T.

[1299] nterr. interrogative.

[1300] classical.

[1301] genitive case.

[1302] accusative case.

[1303] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1304] accusative case.

Verses 7-15

1 Corinthians 9:7-15 a . § 28. THE CLAIM OF MINISTERS TO PUBLIC MAINTENANCE. Paul asserts his right to live at the charge of the Christian community, in order to show the Cor [1295] how he has waived this prerogative (1 Corinthians 9:15 b , etc.). But before doing this, he will further vindicate the right; for it was sure to be disputed, and his renunciation might be used to the disadvantage of other servants of Christ. He therefore formally establishes the claim: ( a ) on grounds of natural analogy (1 Corinthians 9:7 ); ( b ) by proof from Scripture (1 Corinthians 9:8-10 ); ( c ) by the intrinsic justice of the case (1 Corinthians 9:11 ); ( d ) by comparison with O.T. practice (1 Corinthians 9:13 ); finally ( e ) by ref [1296] to the express commandment of the Lord (1 Corinthians 9:14 ). In 1 Corinthians 9:12 he indicates, by the way, that “others” of inferior standing are making themselves chargeable on the Cor [1297] Church.

[1295] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1296] reference.

[1297] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verses 8-10

1 Corinthians 9:8-10 a . μὴ κατὰ ἄνθρωπον κ . τ . λ .; “Am I saying these things as any man might do” in accordance with human practice (as just seen in 7)? κατὰ ἄνθρ ., in contrast with what ὁ νόμος λέγει ; cf. Galatians 3:15 ff. This dialectic use of μή , ἢ or ἢ καί , in a train of questions, is very Pauline; ἢ καὶ recommends the second alternative; cf. Romans 4:9 , Luke 12:41 . “The law” is abolished as a means of obtaining salvation (Romans 3:19 ff., etc.); it remains a revelation of truth and right (Romans 7:12 ff.), and P. draws from it guidance for Christian conduct; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:34 , Romans 13:8 ff., and (comprehensively)Romans 8:4; Romans 8:4 . The ethics of the N.T. are those of the Old, enhanced by Christ (see Matthew 5:17 ff.). Paul speaks however here, somewhat distantly, of the “law of Moses ” ( cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20 f., 1 Corinthians 10:2 ); but of “the law of Christ ” in Galatians 6:2 ( cf. John 1:17 ; John 8:17 ; John 10:34 ; John 15:25 ). Οὐ φιμώσεις κ . τ . λ ., “Thou shalt not muzzle a threshing ox,” cited to the same effect in 1 Timothy 5:18 , οὐ with fut [1305] reproducing the Heb. lo’ with impf [1306] of emphatic prohibition. Deuteronomy 25:4 , detached where it stands, belongs to a series of Mosaic commands enjoining humane treatment of animals, regarded as being in some sense a part of the sacred community: cf. Exodus 20:10 ; Exodus 23:12 ; Exodus 23:19 , Deuteronomy 22:4 ; Deuteronomy 22:6 f., Deuteronomy 22:10 . Corn was threshed either by the feet of cattle (Micah 4:12 f.), or by a sledge driven over the threshing-floor (2 Samuel 24:22 ). μὴ τῶν βοῶν μέλει τῷ Θεῷ κ . τ . λ .; “Is it for the oxen that God cares, or on our account, by all means, does He say (it)?” The argumentative πάντως ( cf. Romans 3:9 , Luke 4:23 ), “on every ground” slightly diff [1307] in 1 Corinthians 9:22 , more so in 1 Corinthians 5:10 : not that “God is concerned wholly ( exclusively ) for us” in this rule; but on every account a provision made for the beasts in man’s service must hold good, à fortiori , for God’s proper servants; cf. Matthew 6:26 ff., also 1Co 10:31 , 1 Corinthians 12:12 . διʼ ἡμᾶς , emphatically repeated, signifies not men as against oxen, but nos evangelii ministros (Est.) in analogy to oxen; the right of Christ’s ministers “to eat and drink” is safeguarded by the principle that gives the ox his provender out of the corn he treads. Paul’s method in such interpretations is radically diff [1308] from that of Philo, who says, Οὐ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλόγων ὁ νόμος , ἀλλʼ ὑπὲρ τῶν νοῦν κ . λόγον ἐχόντων , De Victim. offer. , § 1: Philo destroys the historical sense; Paul extracts its moral principle.

[1305] future tense.

[1306]mpf. imperfect tense.

[1307] difference, different, differently.

[1308] difference, different, differently.

1 Corinthians 9:10 b . διʼ ἡμᾶς γάρ ( cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:20 , for γὰρ in affirm. reply) κ . τ . λ .: “Yes, it was written on our account ( cf. Romans 4:23 f.) (to wit), that the ploughing (ox) ought to plough in hope, and the threshing (ox) in hope of partaking” ( ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι τοῦ μετέχειν ). The explanatory ὅτι clause ( cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5 ; 1 Corinthians 1:26 , 1 Corinthians 4:9 and note) restates and amplifies the previous quotation. The Ap. is not explaining how the command came to be given (“because,” E.V [1309] ), but unfolding the principle that lies in it. The right of the ox in threshing also belongs in equity to the ox at the plough ; all contributors to the harvest are included, whether at an earlier or later stage. ὀφείλει , emphatic debet (Vg [1310] ): the hope of participation in the fruit is due to the labourer beast or man. The moral, as applied to Christian teachers, is obvious; it embraces the successive stages of the common work ( cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9 , John 4:36 ). ἀροτριᾷν (sometimes “to sow”; so El. and some others here) contains the root of the Lat. aro and older Eng. ear .

[1309] English Version.

[1310] Latin Vulgate Translation.

Verses 11-12

1 Corinthians 9:11-12 a appeal to the sense of justice in the Cor [1311] ; τὸ δίκαιον δείκνυσιν τοῦ πράγματος (Thp [1312] ): cf. Galatians 6:6 . μέγα εἰ …; “Is it a great thing if …?” = “Is it a great thing to ask ( or look for) that …?” cf. 2 Corinthians 11:15 ; the construction is akin to that of θαυμάζω εἰ (see Gm [1313] , s.v . Εἰ , i., 4) a kind of litotes, suggesting where one might have vigorously asserted. The repeated collocation ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν , ἡμεῖς ὑμῶν , brings out the personal nature of this claim: “ We sowed for you the things of the Spirit; should not we reap from you the (needed) carnal things?” τὰ πνευματικὰ ( cf 1 Corinthians 2:12 , 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 , Romans 8:2 ; Romans 8:5 f., Galatians 5:22 , etc.) include all the distinctive boons of the Christian faith; “the carnal things” embrace, besides food and drink (1 Corinthians 9:4 ), all suitable bodily “goods” (Galatians 6:6 ). The question of 1 Corinthians 9:12 a assumes that other Christian teachers received maintenance from the Cor [1314] Church; the claim of Paul and his fellow-missioners was paramount ( cf. 1 Corinthians 4:15 ; also 2 Corinthians 10:12-18 ; 2Co 11:12 ff., 2 Corinthians 11:20 , where this comparison comes up in a new form). ὑμῶν is surely gen [1315] of object , as in Matthew 10:1 (= ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ , Luke 9:1 ), John 17:2 , “the claim upon you”. Ev [1316] and Ed [1317] read the pron [1318] as subjective gen [1319] the latter basing the phrase on 1 Corinthians 3:22 f. sc . “if others share in your domain ,” instead of “in dominion over you ”; this rendering is sound in grammar, and has a basis in 1 Corinthians 4:7-12 , but lies outside the scope of ἐξουσία in this context. The expression “others participate” suggests a right belonging to these “others” in a lesser degree ( cf. μετέχω in 10): the πατὴρ should be first honoured, then the παιδαγωγοί (1 Corinthians 4:15 ).

[1311] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1312] Theophylact, Greek Commentator.

[1313] Grimm-Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T.

[1314] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1315] genitive case.

[1316] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary .

[1317] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

[1318] ron. pronoun.

[1319] genitive case.

1 Corinthians 9:12 b . “But we did not use this right” i.e. , P. and his comrades in the Cor [1320] mission (2 Corinthians 1:19 ). ἀλλὰ πάντα στέγομεν : “Nay, we put up with everything ( omnia sustinemus , Vg [1321] ), lest we should cause any (kind of) hindrance to the good news about Christ”. στέγω (see parls.), syn [1322] in later Gr [1323] with ὑπομένω , βαστάζω , “marks the patient and enduring spirit with which the Ap. puts up with all the consequences naturally resulting from” his policy of abstinence (El.). What this involved we have partly seen in 1 Corinthians 4:2 ff.; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:27 , Acts 20:34 . The ἐνκοπὴ he sought to obviate (military term of later Gr [1324] , from ἐνκόπτω , to cut into, break up , a road, so to hinder a march) lay ( a ) in the reproach of venality, as old as Socrates and the Sophists, attaching to the acceptance of remuneration by a wandering teacher, which his enemies desired to fasten on Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:3 ff., 2 Corinthians 11:7 ff; 2 Corinthians 12:13 ff.); and ( b ) in the fact that P. would have shackled his movements by taking wages from particular Churches (1 Corinthians 9:19 ), so giving them a lien upon his ministrations. For the Hebraistic phrase ἐνκοπὴν δίδωμι (= ἐνκόπτω ), cf. 1 Corinthians 14:7 , 2 Thessalonians 1:8 . τοῦ Χριστοῦ is always obj . gen [1325] after εὐαγγέλιον ; see Romans 1:2 f., also μαρτύριον τ . Χριστοῦ , 1 Corinthians 1:6 above.

[1320] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1321] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1322] synonym, synonymous.

[1323] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1324] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1325] genitive case.

Verses 13-14

1 Corinthians 9:13-14 . After the personal “aside” of 1 Corinthians 9:11 f., Paul returns to his main proof, deriving a further reason for the disputed ἐξουσία from the Temple service. “Do you not know” you men of knowledge ( cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16 ) ὅτι οἱ τὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζόμενοι ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ ἐσθίουσιν ; “that those employed in the sacred offices eat what comes from the sacred place (the Temple)?” “qui sacris operantur, ex sacrario edunt” (Cv [1326] ): see the rules ad hoc in Leviticus 6:8 to Leviticus 7:38 and Numbers 18:8-19 . For ἐργάζομαι (of business, employment ), cf. 1 Corinthians 4:12 , Acts 18:3 , etc. “Those that are assiduous at the altar,” qui altari assident (Bz [1327] ) i.e. , the priests engaged in the higher ritual functions are distinguished from other Temple ministers; the position of Paul and his colleagues is analogous to that of these chief dignitaries. παρεδρεύω , to have one’s seat beside; cf . εὐπάρεδρον , 1 Corinthians 7:35 . P. argues by analogy from the Jewish priest to the Christian minister in respect of the claim to maintenance ; we cannot infer from this an identity of function , any more than in the previous comparison with “the threshing ox”. τ . θυσιαστηρίῳ συνμερίζονται , “have their portion with the altar,” i.e. , share with it in the sacrifices “altaris esse socios in dividendo victimas” (Bz [1328] ); parts of these were consumed in the altar-fire, and parts reserved for the priests (Leviticus 10:12-15 ). Some refer the first half of 1 Corinthians 9:13 to Gentile and the last to Israelite practice; but “with the Ap., τὸ ἱερὸν is only the sanctuary of the God of Israel, τὸ θυσιαστήριον only the altar on which sacrifice is made to Him” (Hf [1329] ): cf. Acts 22:17 , etc., and the Gospels passim , as to ἱερόν ; 1 Corinthians 10:18 , as to θυσιαστήριον ; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 , for the use in this Ep. of O.T. analogies. “So also (in accordance with this precedent) did the Lord appoint for those that preach the good tidings to live of the good tidings.” ἐκ τ εὐαγγ in 1 Corinthians 9:14 matches ἐκ τ ἱεροῦ , 1 Corinthians 9:13 ; τοῖς … καταγγέλλουσιν , τοῖς … ἐργαζομένοις : cf. ἱερουργοῦντα τ . εὐαγγ τ . Θεοῦ , Romans 15:16 . For the “ordinance” of “the Lord” ( sc . Jesus), see parls.; the allusion speaks for detailed knowledge of the sayings of Jesus, on the part of writer and readers; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:10 , 1 Corinthians 11:23 ff., and notes. διατάσσω , act [1330] , as in 1Co 7:17 , 1 Corinthians 11:34 ; mid [1331] in 1 Corinthians 16:1 . ζῇν ἐκ , of source of livelihood ( ex quo quod evangelium prœdicant , Bz [1332] ), in cl [1333] Gr [1334] often ζῇν ἀπὸ (see parls.). For καταγγέλλω , see note on 1 Corinthians 2:1

[1326] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii .

[1327] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1328] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1329] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht , ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1330] active voice.

[1331] middle voice.

[1332] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1333] classical.

[1334] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

Verse 15

1 Corinthians 9:15 a . “But for my part, I have used none of these things:” does Paul mean “none of the privileges” included in the above ἐξουσία ? or “none of the reasons” by which they have been enforced (so Hf [1335] , Hn [1336] , the former with exclusive ref [1337] to 13 f.)? The parl [1338] sentence of 1 Corinthians 9:12 , and the οὕτως γένηται of the next clause, are decisive for the former view. “The authority” in question included a number of rights (1 Corinthians 9:4 ff.), all of which P. has foregone. ἐγὼ emphasises, in preparation for the sequel, and in distinction from the broader statement of 1 Corinthians 9:12 , etc., Paul’s individual position in the matter; and the pf. κέχρημαι (replacing the historical aor [1339] of 12) affirms a settled position; the refusal has become a rule. From this point to the end of the ch. the Ap. writes in the 1st sing [1340] , revealing his inner thoughts respecting the conduct of his own ministry.

[1335] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht , ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1336] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1337] reference.

[1338] parallel.

[1339] aorist tense.

[1340]ing. singular number.

1 Corinthians 9:15 b . “Now I have not written this 4 14) in order that it should be so done ( viz ., provision made for ‘living of the gospel’) in my case.” The epistolary ἔγραψα may refer either to a whole letter now completed (Romans 15:15 ), or to words just written (Wr [1341] , p. 347; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:11 ). ἐν ἐμοί (the sphere of application), “in the range of my work and responsibility,” not “to me” (dat [1342] of person advantaged, as in 1 Corinthians 9:20 ff.); cf. 1 Corinthians 4:2 ; 1 Corinthians 4:6 . On the best-attested reading, καλὸν γάρ μοι μᾶλλον ἀποθανεῖν ἤ τὸ καύχημά μου οὐδεὶς κενώσει , the sentence is interrupted at ἤ : “For it is well for me rather to die than” P. breaks off, impatient of the very thought of pecuniary dependence ( cf. 2 Corinthians 11:10 ), and instead of completing the comparison by the words “that any one should make void my boast,” he exclaims vehemently, “My boast no one shall make void!” (so Al [1343] , Ed [1344] ). μᾶλλον ἢ qualifies the whole clause, not καλὸν alone. This anacoluthon, or aposiopesis, if it has no exact parl [1345] in the N.T., is only an extreme instance of Pauline oratio variata (such as appears, e.g ., in Galatians 2:4 f. and again in 1 Corinthians 9:6 , and in Romans 5:12-15 ), where an extended sentence forgets its beginning, throwing itself suddenly into a new shape; this occurred in a smaller way in 1 Corinthians 7:37 above. Strong feeling ( cf. 2 Corinthians 11:9 ff., on the same point) is apt to disorder Paul’s grammar in this way. He began to say that he would rather die than be dependent on Cor [1346] pay; he ends by saying, absolutely, he will never be so dependent . The T.R. attempts to patch the rent. Other explanations of the older txt. are given: ( a ) Lachmann puts a stop after καύχ . μου “Better for me to die than my boast; no one shall make it void!” ( b ) Mr [1347] and Bt [1348] make ἢ disjunctive, despite the μᾶλλον : “Better for me to die or ( sc . if I live) no one shall make void my boast!” ( c ) Ev [1349] and El [1350] read οὐδεὶς κενώσει as equivalent to ἵνα τις κενώσει , supposing ἵνα to be understood and the οὐ to be pleonastic expedients for which there is a precarious grammatical analogy. ( d ) Lachmann also conjectured ἀποθανεῖν νὴ for ἀποθανεῖν ἤ , Michelsen and Baljon adding the easy insertion of ὃ before οὐδείς : “It is good for me rather to die! Yea, by my glorying ( cf. 1 Corinthians 15:31 ), which no one shall make void.” ( e ) Hf [1351] , Gd [1352] , and others, in despair fall back on the T.R.

[1341] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

[1342] dative case.

[1343] Alford’s Greek Testament .

[1344] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

[1345] parallel.

[1346] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1347] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1348] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1349] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary .

[1350] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians .

[1351] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht , ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1352] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

Verses 15-23

1 Corinthians 9:15-23 . § 29. PAUL’S RENOUNCEMENT OF RIGHT FOR THE GOSPEL’S SAKE. The Ap. has been insisting all this time on the right of Christ’s ministers to material support from those they serve, in order that for his own part he may explicitly renounce it. This renunciation is his “boast,” and his “reward”; of his office he cannot boast, nor seek reward for it, since it was imposed upon him (1 Corinthians 9:15-18 ). In this abnegation P. finds his freedom, which he uses to make himself impartially the slave of all; untrammelled by any particular ties, he is able to adapt himself to every condition and class of men, and thus to win for the Gospel larger gains (1 Corinthians 9:19-22 ). For himself, his best hope is to partake in its salvation with those he strives to save (1 Corinthians 9:23 ).

Verse 16

1 Corinthians 9:16 . The fact of his preaching supplies in itself no καύχημα : “For if I be preaching the good news ( εὐαγγελίζωμαι ), it is no (matter of) boasting to me; for necessity is imposed on me”. For ἀνάγκη , see notes on 1 Corinthians 7:26 ; 1 Corinthians 7:37 ; also Philemon 1:14 , where it contrasts with κατὰ ἑκούσιον as with ἑκὼν here. Ἐπίκειμαι is virtually pass [1354] to ἐπιτίθημι (see parls.), “to lay” a task, by authority, “upon” some one: P. was, in the Apostolic ranks, a pressed man , not a volunteer, “laid hold of” (Philippians 3:12 ) against his previous will; he entered Christ’s service as a captive enemy ( cf. 1 Corinthians 15:8 , 2 Corinthians 2:14 ). While a gift of Divine mercy (1 Corinthians 7:25 , 2 Corinthians 4:1 , etc.), his commission was a determination of the Divine sovereignty (1 Corinthians 1:1 ., etc.). For service rendered upon this footing there can never be any boasting; cf. Luke 17:10 . That all glorying in this direction was excluded, is sustained by the exclamation, “For woe is to me if I should not preach the Gospel!” ὅπου τὸ Οὐαὶ παρακειται ἐὰν μὴ ποιῇ , οὐκ ἔχει καύχημα (Or [1355] ). ἐὰν μὴ εὐαγγελίσωμαι (contrast the pr [1356] εὐαγγελίζωμαι , of former clause), aor [1357] sbj ., of comprehensive fut [1358] ref [1359] , from the standpoint of the original “necessity imposed”; cf. , for the construction, 1 Corinthians 8:8 , 1 Corinthians 15:36 . The interjection οὐαὶ is here a quasi-substantive, as in Revelation 9:12 . Had P. disobeyed the call of God, his course from that time onwards must have been one of condemnation and misery. To fight against “Necessity” the Greeks conceived as ruin; their Ἀνάγκη was a blind, cruel Fate, Paul’s ἀνάγκη is the compulsion of Sovereign Grace.

[1354] passive voice.

[1355] Origen.

[1356] present tense.

[1357] aorist tense.

[1358] future tense.

[1359] reference.

Verses 16-18

1 Corinthians 9:16-18 . Paul goes on to explain, by two contrasted suppositions (in actual and conceivable matter), that this is a point of honour with him. Forced as he had been into the service of the Gospel, in a manner so diff [1353] from the other App., unless he might serve gratuitously his position would be too humiliating.

[1353] difference, different, differently.

Verse 17

1 Corinthians 9:17 completes a chain of four explanatory γάρ s ( cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17-21 ). To make his position clearer, P. puts two further contrasted hypotheses, the former imaginary, the latter suggesting the fact: ( a ) “For if I am engaged on this (work) of my own free will ( ἑκών ), I have reward ( mercedem habeo )” sc . the supposed καύχημα of 1 Corinthians 9:16 , the right to credit his work to himself ( cf. Romans 4:2 ; Romans 4:4 ); not the future Messianic reward (so Mr [1360] and others), for ἔχω implies attained possession (see parls.), much as ἀπέχω ) in Matthew 6:2 , etc. For πράσσω , see note on 1 Corinthians 9:2 . ( b ). “But” the contrasted matter of fact “if against my will ( ἄκων = ἀνάγκῃ , 1 Corinthians 9:16 ), with a stewardship I have been entrusted”; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1 f., 1 Timothy 1:12 , etc. The οἰκονόμος (see note, 1 Corinthians 4:1 ), however highly placed, is a slave whose work is chosen for him and whose one merit is faithful obedience. In Paul’s consciousness of stewardship there mingled submission to God, gratitude for the trust bestowed, and independence of human control ( cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19 , 1 Corinthians 4:3 f). The use πιστεύω in pass [1361] with personal subject and acc [1362] of thing (imitating vbs. of double acc .), is confined to Paul in N.T.; see Wr [1363] , pp. 287, 326. To οἰκονομίαν πεπίστευμαι one tacitly adds, from the contrasted clause, καὶ μισθὸν οὐκ ἔχω : “Christ’s bondman, I claim no hire for my stewardship; God’s truth is enough for me”.

[1360] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1361] passive voice.

[1362] accusative case.

[1363] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

Verse 18

1 Corinthians 9:18 . Yet, after all, Paul has his reward: “What then ( οὖν , things being so) is my reward?” ὁ μισθός “the reward” proper to such a case, is simply to take no pay: “that, while I preach the good news, I may make the good news free charge” ( ἀδάπανον θήσω , gratuitum constituam , Bz [1364] ). No thought of future (deferred) pay , nor of supererogatory work beyond the strict duty of the οἰκονόμος , but only of the satisfaction felt by a generous mind in rendering unpaid service ( cf. Acts 20:33 ff.). The Ap. plays on the word μισθός first denied, then asserted, much as on σοφία in 1 Corinthians 2:1-8 ; he repudiates “reward” in the mercenary sense, to claim it in the larger ethical sense. He “boasts” that the Cor [1365] spend nothing on him, while he spends himself on them ( cf. 2 Corinthians 11:9-12 ; 2 Corinthians 12:14 f.). ἵνα replaces the inf [1366] in apposition to μισθός , “marking the purposive result involved” (El [1367] ) to make, as I intended, the Gospel costless . θήσω is fut ., intimating assurance of the purpose, as in Galatians 2:4 (see Wr [1368] , p. 361). τίθημι with objective complement, a construction of cl [1369] Gr [1370] poetry and later prose, which Heb. idiom demands frequently in LXX; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:28 , 1 Corinthians 15:25 . “So that I might not use to the full ( εἰς τ . μὴ καταχρήσασθαι see 1 Corinthians 7:31 ) my right in the gospel” sc . that maintained in the former part of the ch.: a further purpose of Paul’s preaching gratuitously, involved in that just stated, and bearing on himself as the ἀδάπ . θήσω bore upon the readers. Ἐξουσία ἐν τ . εὐαγγελίῳ is “a right (involved) in (proclaiming) the good news,” belonging to the εὐαγγελιζόμενος (1 Corinthians 9:14 ). P. was resolved to keep well within his rights, in handling the Gospel ( cf. Matthew 10:8 ; also 1 Corinthians 6:7 b , 1 Corinthians 6:8 a above). This sentiment applies to every kind of “right in the gospel ” of gratuitous salvation; it reappears, with another bearing, in 2 Corinthians 13:3-10 .

[1364] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1365] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1366] infinitive mood.

[1367] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians .

[1368] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

[1369] classical.

[1370] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

Verse 19

1 Corinthians 9:19 . ἐλεύθερος γὰρ ὤν κ . τ . λ . serves further to explain, not εἰς τ . μὴ καταχρήσ . (the impropriety of a grasping use of such right is manifest), but Paul’s general policy of self-abnegation (1 Corinthians 9:15-18 ). The real aim of this long discussion of ministerial ἐξουσία comes into view; the Ap. shows himself to the Cor [1371] as an example of superior privilege held upon trust for the community, of liberty asserted with a view to self-abnegation: “For, being free from all, to all I enslaved myself, that I might gain the more”. πάντων is masc., like the antithetical πᾶσιν ( cf. τ . πᾶσιν , 1 Corinthians 9:22 ); ἐλεύθερος ἐκ a rare construction (commonly ἀπό ) implies extrication , escape from danger ( cf. Luke 1:71 , 2 Timothy 2:26 ). In 1 Corinthians 9:1 ἐλεύθερος signified freedom from needless and burdensome scruple, here freedom from entangling dependence . Paul freed himself from everybody, just that he might be everybody’s servant; had he been bound as a salaried minister to any particular Church, his services would in that degree have been limited. For the motive of this δουλεία , cf. Galatians 5:13 ; and for Paul’s aim, in its widest bearing, Romans 1:14 ; Romans 15:1 ; also John 13:12 ff., Luke 22:24 ff. τοὺς πλείονας , “the more” not “the greater part” (as in 1 Corinthians 10:5 ; so Mr [1372] and others), nor quam plurimos (Bg [1373] ), but “so much more” than could otherwise have been gained ( cf. 2 Corinthians 4:15 , Luke 7:43 ; so Ed [1374] ). The expression κερδήσω is used for σώσω (1 Corinthians 9:22 ), in allusion to the charge of gain-seeking to which P. was exposed (2 Corinthians 11:12 ; 2 Corinthians 12:17 f., 1 Thessalonians 2:5 ; cf. Titus 1:7 ; Titus 1:11 ); “gain I did seek,” he says, “and greedily the gain of winning all sorts of men for Christ” ( cf. Matthew 4:19 ).

[1371] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1372] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1373] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1374] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

Verses 20-22

1 Corinthians 9:20-22 . This gain of his calling P. sought (1) among the Fews, and those who with them were under law (1 Corinthians 9:20 ); (2) amongst the body of the Gentiles, without law (1 Corinthians 9:21 ); (3) amongst the weak believers , who were imperilled by the inconsiderate use of liberty on the part of the stronger (1 Corinthians 9:22 a ). Each of these classes the Ap. saves by identifying himself with it in turn; and this plan he could only follow by keeping clear of sectional obligations (1 Corinthians 9:19 ). Ed [1375] , coupling 1 Corinthians 9:20 b and 1 Corinthians 9:21 , distinguishes three points of, view “race, religion, conscience”. “I became to the Jews as a Jew,” for Paul was no longer such in the common acceptation: see note on ἐλεύθερος (1), also Galatians 2:4 ; Galatians 4:12 ; for evidence of his Jewish conformity, see Acts 16:3 ; Acts 18:18 ; Acts 21:23 ff.; also the speeches in Acts 13:16 ff; Acts 12:1 ff; Acts 26:2 ff.; and Romans 1:16 ; Romans 9:1 ff; Romans 11:1 ; Romans 15:8 , for his warm patriotism. τοῖς ὑπὸ f1νόμον enlarges the category τ . Ἰουδαίοις by including circumcised proselytes (see Galatians 5:1-3 ); and ὡς ὑπὸ νόμον defines Paul’s Judaism as subjection, by way of accommodation, to legal observance, to which the ptpl [1376] phrase (wanting in the T.R.), μὴ ὢν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νόμον , intimates that he is no longer bound in principle μὴ with ptp [1377] implying subjective stand-point (“not being in my view”), and αὐτὸς denoting on my part, of and for myself ( cf. Romans 7:25 ). P.’s self-denying conformity to legal environment brought on him the reproach of “still preaching circumcision” (Galatians 5:11 ). In relation to Gentiles also he takes an attitude open to misunderstanding and which he wishes to guard: “to those out-of-law ( τ . ἀνόμοις ) as out-of-law though I am not out-of-law in respect of God, but in-law ( ἔννομος ) in respect of Christ”. ἄνομος was the Jewish designation for all beyond the pale of Mosaism (see Romans 2:9-16 , etc.): Paul became this to Gentiles (Galatians 4:12 ), abandoning his natural position, in that he did not practise the law of Moses amongst them nor make it the basis or aim of his preaching to them; see Acts 14:15 ff; Acts 17:22 ff. He was ἄνομος therefore, in the narrow Jewish sense; not so in the true religious sense “in relation to God”; indeed P. is now more than ὑπὸ νόμον , he is ἔννομος Χριστοῦ (= ἐν νόμῳ Χριστοῦ ; cf. Galatians 6:2 , Romans 3:27 ; Romans 3:31 ; Romans 8:2 ) non existens exlex Deo, sed inlex Christo (Est.). The Christian stands within the law as entering into its spirit and becoming one with it in nature; he is “in the law of Christ” as he is “in Christ” ( cf. Galatians 2:20 , 2 Corinthians 5:17 ). This νόμος Χριστοῦ P. expounds in Romans 12:13 (esp. 10), Colossians 3:0 , Ephesians 4:20 to Ephesians 5:9 , after John 13:34 , Matthew 5:7 , etc. Its fulfilment is guaranteed by the fact that it is “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 ff.), who “dwells in” the Christian (1 Corinthians 3:16 ), operating not as an outward yoke but an implanted life. ἵνα κερδάνω τ . ἀνόμους follows τ . ἀνόμοις ὡς ἄνομος after the μὴ ὢν parenthesis, in the manner of the two ἵνα clauses of 1 Corinthians 9:20 ( κερδάνω and κερδήσω are the Attic and non-Attic forms of the 1st aor [1378] sbj [1379] ). Describing the third of his self-adaptations, P. resumes the ἐγενόμην of the first, coming home to the situation of his readers: “I became to the weak (not as weak , but actually) weak (see txtl. note), that I might gain the weak”. So well did he enter into the scruples of the timid and half-enlightened (see e.g . 1 Corinthians 8:7 ; 1 Corinthians 8:10 , Romans 14:1 f.), that he forgot his own strength (1 Corinthians 8:4 , Romans 15:1 ) and felt himself “weak” with them: cf. 2 Corinthians 11:29 , τίς ἀσθενεῖ , καὶ οὐκ ἀσθενῶ ;

[1375] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

[1376] tpl. participial.

[1377] participle

[1378] aorist tense.

[1379] subjunctive mood.

1 Corinthians 9:22 b sums up (in the pf. γέγονα of abiding fact replacing the historical ἐγενόμην , and with the objective σώσω for the subjective κερδήσω ) the Apostle’s conduct in the various relations of his ministry: “To all men I have become all things, that by all means I might save some”. On πάντως , which varies in sense according to its position and context, see 1 Corinthians 9:10 , 1 Corinthians 5:10 ; here it is adv [1380] of manner to σώσω , omni quovis modo . “That in all this description of his οἰκονομία or συγκατάβασις P. sets forth no unchristian compliance with men, but the practical wisdom of true Christian love and self-denial in the exercise of his office, this he expects will be self-evident to his readers, so well acquainted with his character (2 Corinthians 1:12 ff; 2 Corinthians 5:11 ). This kind of wisdom is so much more manifestly the fruit in P. of experience under the discipline of the Spirit, as his temper was the more fiery and uncompromising” (Mr [1381] ); “non mentientis actus, sed compatientis affectus” (Aug [1382] ). This behaviour appeared to his enemies time-serving and duplicity (2 Corinthians 1:12 ; 2Co 4:2 ; 2 Corinthians 12:16 , Galatians 1:10 ).

[1380] adverb

[1381] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1382] Augustine.

Verse 23

1 Corinthians 9:23 . Paul’s course in its chameleon-like changes is governed by a simple practical aim: “But all things I do for the gospel’s sake”. His one purpose is to fulfil his Gospel stewardship (1 Corinthians 9:17 , 1 Corinthians 4:1 ff., etc., Acts 20:24 ); Philippians 3:7-14 presents the inner side of the “one thing” he pursues. The intensity with which this end is sought accounts for the variety of means; the most resolute, in a complicated situation, becomes the most versatile of men. διὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον , “on the gospel’s account”, with a view to spread the good news most widely and carry it into effect most completely: for διὰ of the end as a ground of action, cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17 , 1 Corinthians 8:11 , Romans 4:25 . For himself Paul’s sole ambition is “that I may be joint-partaker in it (with those I save)” that he may win its salvation along with many others, the fruit of his ministry ( cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 f.; also John 14:3 ; John 17:24 ).

Verse 24

1 Corinthians 9:24 . Οὐκ οἴδατε …; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:13 , etc. οἱ ἐν σταδίῳ τρέχοντες , πάντες μὲν τρέχουσιν , εἶς δὲ κ . τ . f1λ .: “Those that run in the stadium, run all (of them), but one receives the prize”. As much as to say, “Entering the race is not winning it; do not be satisfied with running, but make sure of winning So run that you may secure ( the prize )!” The art [1385] is wanting with σταδίῳ , as often after prps., esp. when the noun is quasi-proper; cf. our “at court,” “in church.” The stadion was the race-course, always a fixed length of 600 Gr [1386] , or 6o6¾ Eng. ft.; hence a measure of distance, as in Matthew 14:24 a furlong . For the antithesis of πάντες and εἶς , conveying the point of the warning, cf. the emphatic πάντες of 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (see note); also 1 Corinthians 6:12 , 1 Corinthians 10:23 . οὕτως may point backward to εἶς (“run like that one”: cf. 14, 1 Corinthians 2:11 ), or forward to ἴνα ( καταλάβ .) a particle substituted for the regular correlative, ὥστε ( cf. Acts 14:1 , John 3:16 ), where the result is an aim to be achieved; the latter connexion is more probable, since the following vv. dilate on the conditions of success.

[1385] grammatical article.

[1386] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

Verses 24-27

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 . § 30. PAUL’S ASCETICISM. The last words of § 29 indicate that the writer feels his own salvation to be bound up in his mission to his fellowmen. The self-denial practised for the latter of these objects is necessary, in point of fact, for both . His example should teach the Cor [1383] the need of stern self-discipline on their personal account, as well as in the interests of weaker brethren. From 1 Corinthians 9:24 onwards to 1 Corinthians 10:22 P. pursues this line of warning, addressed to men who were imperilling their own souls by self-indulgence and worldly conformity. Of the danger of missing the prize of life through indiscipline P. is keenly sensible in his own case; he conveys his apprehension under the picture, so familiar to the Cor [1384] , of the Isthmian Games.

[1383] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1384] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 25

1 Corinthians 9:25 . πᾶς δὲ ὁ ἀγωνιζόμενος κ . τ . λ .: “But every combatant is temperate in everything they, to be sure, that they may win a perishable garland; but we an imperishable.” The stress in the first clause lies on πᾶς , πάντα no competitor can afford to be self-indulgent in anything; in the second on ἐκεῖνοι , ἡμεῖς if they are so abstinent for so poor a prize, what should we be? For ten months before the contest in the Great Games, the athletes were required, under oath, to follow a prescribed diet ( ἀναγκοφαγία and regimen ( ἄσκησις ): Pausanias . 24. 9; Philostratus De Gymn ., p. 4; Arrian-Epict., iii., xv., 3, xxiii., 2; Xenoph. Symp . viii., 37; Horace, Ars Poet . 412 ff., “Qui studet optatam cursu contingere metam, Multa tulit fecitque puer, sudavit et alsit, Abstinuit venere et vino.” ἐγκρατεύεται (see 1 Corinthians 7:9 ) implies temperance in a positive degree not mere abstinence, but vigorous control of appetite and passion; πάντα is acc [1387] of specification. The “garland” of the victor in the Isthmian Games was of pine-leaves , at an earlier time of parsley , in the Olympian Games of wild-olive ; yet these were the most coveted honours in the whole Greek world. φθαρτὸν and ἄφθαρ τον are again contrasted in 1 Corinthians 15:53 .

[1387] accusative case.

Verses 26-27

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 . “Therefore I so run, in no uncertain fashion; so I ply my fists, not like one that beats the air.” “ So as the context describes, and as you see me ( cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32 )”; the Ap. feels himself, while he writes, to be straining every nerve like the racer, striking home like the trained pugilist: for this graphic οὕτως , cf. 1 Corinthians 15:11 , Gal 1:6 , 2 Thessalonians 3:17 ; the adv [1388] would be otiose as mere antecedent to ὡς . τοίνυν (similarly τοίγαρ in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 ) brings in the prompt, emphatic inference drawn from the last clause: “We are fighting for the immortal crown I as a leader and exemplar; surely then I make no false step in the course, I strike no random blows.” ἀδήλως is susceptible both of the objective sense prevailing in cl [1389] Gr [1390] , obscure, inconspicuous (preferred by Mr [1391] and Gd [1392] here, as though P. meant, “not keeping out of sight, in the ruck ”; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:8 ); and (preferably) of the subjective sense, unsure, without certain aim (Thuc., I. 2. 1; Plato, Symp . 181 D; Polybius) “ut non in incertum” (Bz [1393] ); “scio quod petam et quomodo” (Bg [1394] ); πρὸς σκοπόν τινα βλέπων , οὐκ εἰκῇ καὶ μάτην (Cm [1395] ): cf. Philippians 3:14 . The image of the race suggests that of pugilism ( πυκτεύω ). another exercise of the Pentathlon of the arena: the former a familiar N.T. metaphor, the latter h.l . ὡς οὐκ ἀέρα δέρων , “ut non aerem cædens” (Bz [1396] ), “smiting something more solid than air” ( οὐκ negatives ἀέρα , not δέρων ), esp. my own body (1 Corinthians 9:27 ); cf. Virgil’s “verberat ictibus auras” ( Æn . 9:377). P.’s are no blows of a clumsy fighter that fail to land struck in’s Blaue hinein . Bg [1397] , Hf [1398] , Ed [1399] suppose him to be thinking of the σκιομαχία , sham-fight , practised in training or by way of prelude, without an antagonist. δέρω means to flay , then beat severely, smite; cf . our vulgar hiding .

[1388] adverb

[1389] classical.

[1390] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1391] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1392] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1393] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1394] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1395] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1396] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1397] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1398] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht , ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1399] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

Verse 27

1 Corinthians 9:27 . The fully-attested reading ὑπωπιάζω (from ὑπὸ and ὤψ , to hit under the eye ) continues the pugilistic metaphor and suits Paul’s vehemence; “contundo corpus meum” (Bz [1400] ), “lividum facio” (Cod. Claromontanus), “I beat my body black and blue”: a vivid picture of the corporal discipline to which P. subjects himself in the prosecution of his work ( cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11 esp. κολαφιζόμεθα ; 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff., Galatians 6:17 , 2 Timothy 2:4 ). ὑποπιάζω ( ὑπὸ ; + πιέζω cf. 2 Corinthians 11:32 , etc.) preferred by Hf [1401] and Hn [1402] , after Clem. Alex. giving the milder sense, to force under, subdue, subigo (Cv [1403] ), is almost syn [1404] with δουλαγωγῶ .

[1400] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1401] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht , ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1402] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1403] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii .

[1404] synonym, synonymous.

P.’s severe bodily suffering, entailed by the circumstances of his ministry, he accepts as needful for his own sanctification ( cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7 ), a physical castigation which tames the flesh for the uses of the spirit ( cf. 1 Peter 4:1 f.; also, for the principle involved, Romans 8:13 , Colossians 3:5 ). The practices of the Middle-Age Flagellants and similar self-torturers have been justified by this text; but Paul’s discipline was not arbitrary and self-inflicted, it was dictated by his calling (1 Corinthians 10:12 b , 1 Corinthians 10:23 ) a cross laid on him by the hand of God, and borne for the Gospel’s and the Church’s sake ( cf. Colossians 1:24 ). In Colossians 2:23 he guards against the ascetic extravagances which this passage, perhaps even in his life-time, was used to support. This “buffeting” of his physical frame enabled P. to “lead (his body) about as a slave,” as one might do a bullying antagonist after a sound beating. Paul’s physical temperament, it appears, had stood in the way of his success as a minister of Christ; and the hindrance was providentially overcome by the terrible hardships through which he passed in pursuit of his ministry. This experience he commends to the Cor [1405] He had felt the fear, from which the above course of rigorous self-abnegation in the interest of others has saved him, “lest haply, after preaching to others, I myself should prove reprobate” ( ἀδόκιμος γένωμαι ): the opp [1406] result to that of 1 Corinthians 9:23 . For κηρύσσω , see 1 Corinthians 1:23 ; the κῆρυξ at the Games summoned the competitors and announced the rules of the contest. With ἀδόκιμος , rejectaneus, cf . δοκιμάζω , 1 Corinthians 3:13 , and note; see 2 Corinthians 13:5 ff., and other parls. On the Gr [1407] Games, see the Dict. of Gr [1408] and Rom. Antiq . (Isthmia, Stadium); Hermann, Lehrbuch d. gottesdienstl. Alterthümer , § 50; also the supplementary Note on Greek Athletic Festivals in Bt [1409]

[1405] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1406] opposite, opposition.

[1407] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1408] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1409] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/1-corinthians-9.html. 1897-1910.
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