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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

1 Corinthians 9

Verses 1-27

Idolatry and Things Offered unto Idols: Sanctification of the Spirit to Learn how to Walk with a Pure Conscience In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, using it as an opportunity to each on being led by the spirit by walking with a good conscience, which is voice of our spirit. The word “conscience” ( συνείδησις ) is used 9 times in this passage of Scripture. Paul opens ( 1Co 8:7 ; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 8:12) and closes (1 Corinthians 10:25; 1 Corinthians 10:27-29) this passage with this word. This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when confronted with such invitations. The guiding principle that Paul teaches in this passage is for the believer to be led by his conscience so that he does not offence his brother. Therefore, Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Eating meat offered to idols 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

2. A Positive Example: Paul’s carefulness not to offend 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

3. Negative Example: The idolatry of Israel in the wilderness 1 Corinthians 10:1-14

4. A Personal Example: The Lord’s Table vs. Pagan Worship 1 Corinthians 10:15-22

5. Conclusion 1 Corinthians 10:23 to 1 Corinthians 11:1

The Conscience, the Voice of the Human Spirit In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul deals with the issue of idolatry. Keep in mind the underlying theme of this epistle, which is practical ways in which the believer is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through them. Thus, Paul uses the word “conscience” nine times in this section of the epistle. This is because the voice of our human spirit is our conscience. In contrast, the voice of our mind is human reason, and the voice of our body is our physical senses that we call feelings. Thus, Paul is teaching the Corinthians to be led by the Holy Spirit on this issue by being led by their conscience.

1 Corinthians 8:7, “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.”

1 Corinthians 8:10, “For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;”

1 Corinthians 8:12, “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience , ye sin against Christ.”

1 Corinthians 10:25, “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:”

1 Corinthians 10:27, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.”

1 Corinthians 10:28, “But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:”

1 Corinthians 10:29, “ Conscience , I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience ?”

The First Council of Jerusalem In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, which was an important part of this Greco-Roman culture with their temple worship. This type of heathen worship consisted of fornication and feasting upon foods that had been offered up to Greek and Roman idols.

However, the issue of meats and their association with heathen idols had long been a problem with the Jews. Wherever they had settled throughout the Empire, they established their own butcheries in order to provide for themselves “clean” meats. This issue of meats and idolatry was a part of the first confrontations of the early Church. In the first Church council in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 15:1-35, the leaders chose to send instructions to the Gentile churches on four topics. Acts 15:20 reads, “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

Much of the meats offered in the markets were the residue of what had been sacrificed to idols. If these believers ate such meats, were they partaking of such worship? Or, if they were invited into a non-believer’s home and offered meats, should they abstain, or eat it so as not to offense the host? But if they ate it, would it not offend the weaker brothers in the church who were just coming out of such an idolatrous lifestyle and could easily fall back into it under similar conditions? All of these issues needed to be addressed. Thus, it was an important topic for Paul to deal with in the church of Corinth as well as in all the churches.

This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” (1 Corinthians 10:27) Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when attending such invitations. The key point that Paul tries to emphasize in this passage is, “Do not offend other believers.” The key words which are often repeated are “idols” and “offence”. Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Verses 1-27

Idolatry and Things Offered unto Idols: Sanctification of the Spirit to Learn how to Walk with a Pure Conscience In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, using it as an opportunity to each on being led by the spirit by walking with a good conscience, which is voice of our spirit. The word “conscience” ( συνείδησις ) is used 9 times in this passage of Scripture. Paul opens ( 1Co 8:7 ; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 8:12) and closes (1 Corinthians 10:25; 1 Corinthians 10:27-29) this passage with this word. This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when confronted with such invitations. The guiding principle that Paul teaches in this passage is for the believer to be led by his conscience so that he does not offence his brother. Therefore, Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Eating meat offered to idols 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

2. A Positive Example: Paul’s carefulness not to offend 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

3. Negative Example: The idolatry of Israel in the wilderness 1 Corinthians 10:1-14

4. A Personal Example: The Lord’s Table vs. Pagan Worship 1 Corinthians 10:15-22

5. Conclusion 1 Corinthians 10:23 to 1 Corinthians 11:1

The Conscience, the Voice of the Human Spirit In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul deals with the issue of idolatry. Keep in mind the underlying theme of this epistle, which is practical ways in which the believer is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through them. Thus, Paul uses the word “conscience” nine times in this section of the epistle. This is because the voice of our human spirit is our conscience. In contrast, the voice of our mind is human reason, and the voice of our body is our physical senses that we call feelings. Thus, Paul is teaching the Corinthians to be led by the Holy Spirit on this issue by being led by their conscience.

1 Corinthians 8:7, “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.”

1 Corinthians 8:10, “For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;”

1 Corinthians 8:12, “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience , ye sin against Christ.”

1 Corinthians 10:25, “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:”

1 Corinthians 10:27, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.”

1 Corinthians 10:28, “But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:”

1 Corinthians 10:29, “ Conscience , I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience ?”

The First Council of Jerusalem In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, which was an important part of this Greco-Roman culture with their temple worship. This type of heathen worship consisted of fornication and feasting upon foods that had been offered up to Greek and Roman idols.

However, the issue of meats and their association with heathen idols had long been a problem with the Jews. Wherever they had settled throughout the Empire, they established their own butcheries in order to provide for themselves “clean” meats. This issue of meats and idolatry was a part of the first confrontations of the early Church. In the first Church council in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 15:1-35, the leaders chose to send instructions to the Gentile churches on four topics. Acts 15:20 reads, “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

Much of the meats offered in the markets were the residue of what had been sacrificed to idols. If these believers ate such meats, were they partaking of such worship? Or, if they were invited into a non-believer’s home and offered meats, should they abstain, or eat it so as not to offense the host? But if they ate it, would it not offend the weaker brothers in the church who were just coming out of such an idolatrous lifestyle and could easily fall back into it under similar conditions? All of these issues needed to be addressed. Thus, it was an important topic for Paul to deal with in the church of Corinth as well as in all the churches.

This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” (1 Corinthians 10:27) Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when attending such invitations. The key point that Paul tries to emphasize in this passage is, “Do not offend other believers.” The key words which are often repeated are “idols” and “offence”. Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Verses 1-27

Idolatry and Things Offered unto Idols: Sanctification of the Spirit to Learn how to Walk with a Pure Conscience In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, using it as an opportunity to each on being led by the spirit by walking with a good conscience, which is voice of our spirit. The word “conscience” ( συνείδησις ) is used 9 times in this passage of Scripture. Paul opens ( 1Co 8:7 ; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 8:12) and closes (1 Corinthians 10:25; 1 Corinthians 10:27-29) this passage with this word. This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when confronted with such invitations. The guiding principle that Paul teaches in this passage is for the believer to be led by his conscience so that he does not offence his brother. Therefore, Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Eating meat offered to idols 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

2. A Positive Example: Paul’s carefulness not to offend 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

3. Negative Example: The idolatry of Israel in the wilderness 1 Corinthians 10:1-14

4. A Personal Example: The Lord’s Table vs. Pagan Worship 1 Corinthians 10:15-22

5. Conclusion 1 Corinthians 10:23 to 1 Corinthians 11:1

The Conscience, the Voice of the Human Spirit In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul deals with the issue of idolatry. Keep in mind the underlying theme of this epistle, which is practical ways in which the believer is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through them. Thus, Paul uses the word “conscience” nine times in this section of the epistle. This is because the voice of our human spirit is our conscience. In contrast, the voice of our mind is human reason, and the voice of our body is our physical senses that we call feelings. Thus, Paul is teaching the Corinthians to be led by the Holy Spirit on this issue by being led by their conscience.

1 Corinthians 8:7, “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.”

1 Corinthians 8:10, “For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;”

1 Corinthians 8:12, “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience , ye sin against Christ.”

1 Corinthians 10:25, “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:”

1 Corinthians 10:27, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.”

1 Corinthians 10:28, “But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:”

1 Corinthians 10:29, “ Conscience , I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience ?”

The First Council of Jerusalem In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, which was an important part of this Greco-Roman culture with their temple worship. This type of heathen worship consisted of fornication and feasting upon foods that had been offered up to Greek and Roman idols.

However, the issue of meats and their association with heathen idols had long been a problem with the Jews. Wherever they had settled throughout the Empire, they established their own butcheries in order to provide for themselves “clean” meats. This issue of meats and idolatry was a part of the first confrontations of the early Church. In the first Church council in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 15:1-35, the leaders chose to send instructions to the Gentile churches on four topics. Acts 15:20 reads, “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

Much of the meats offered in the markets were the residue of what had been sacrificed to idols. If these believers ate such meats, were they partaking of such worship? Or, if they were invited into a non-believer’s home and offered meats, should they abstain, or eat it so as not to offense the host? But if they ate it, would it not offend the weaker brothers in the church who were just coming out of such an idolatrous lifestyle and could easily fall back into it under similar conditions? All of these issues needed to be addressed. Thus, it was an important topic for Paul to deal with in the church of Corinth as well as in all the churches.

This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” (1 Corinthians 10:27) Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when attending such invitations. The key point that Paul tries to emphasize in this passage is, “Do not offend other believers.” The key words which are often repeated are “idols” and “offence”. Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Verses 15-27

Paul’s Carefulness in Using His Privileges In 1 Corinthians 9:15-27 Paul uses himself as an example for the Corinthians to follow by illustrating his lifestyle as one of moral constraint and not of indulgence. While the Greek culture, particularly in Corinth, was one of wealth, indulgence, fornication and other fleshly indulgences, the Christian lifestyle was one of discipline and sacrifice.

1 Corinthians 9:15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

1 Corinthians 9:15 “than that any man should make my glorying void” Comments - Paul kept himself from becoming a burden to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:9-10; 2 Corinthians 11:30).

2 Corinthians 11:9-10, “And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.”

2 Corinthians 11:30, “If I must needs glory , I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”

1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

1 Corinthians 9:17 Comments - A dispensation refers to Paul’s divine commission.

Illustration (1) - Each day as a manger of a television station, I make choices about daily issues. However, there are also major issues upon which I must consult the directors for direction. Sometimes I like the decision of the directors and gladly, or willingly, follow their instructions. But sometimes I do not necessarily like their decisions. It is then that I follow their instructions out of duty and not out of eagerness.

In the same way, Paul knew the difference between following instructions from the Lord with a willing heart, and following His leadership when he did not necessarily want to. He learned to crucify his flesh and become obedient under all situations. Sometimes he followed the Lord willingly, and with this he would receive a reward from the Father; but other times, he did it out of an obligation to his calling and ministry, and this verse implies that he had no real reward as when he served willingly.

Illustration (2) - Bob Nichols says that in his early years as a pastor, he was working hard to remodel his church. He worked long hours himself on the building and often by himself. One day he was working, but with a complaining attitude. The Lord quickened to him Isaiah 1:19, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” The Lord then spoke to him, “There is a reward for those who are willing and obedient.” [128] This is why Paul the apostle said, “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” (1 Corinthians 9:17) God rewards those who serve Him.

[128] Robert B. Nichols, “Sermon,” Calvary Cathedral International, Fort Worth, Texas.

We show our fear and reverence for God when we are obedient. But we reveal our love for Him when we do it willingly. Thus, how much more is God moved when we serve Him out of love.

1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men” Scripture Reference - Note:

1 Corinthians 9:1, “Am I not an apostle? am I not free ? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?”

1 Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

1 Corinthians 9:20 “to them that are under the law, as under the law” Illustration (1) - In Galatians 2:3, Paul did not allow Titus to be circumcised, because true circumcision was of the heart (Romans 2:29). However, in Acts 16:3, he had Timothy circumcised. Titus was a Greek, but Timothy was half Jew and half Greek.

Galatians 2:3, “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:”

Romans 2:29, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

Acts 16:3, “Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.”

Illustration (2) - In Acts 21:22-27, Paul observed the Law for the sake of the Jews. At this time he joined other Jews in their purification ceremonies and offering sacrifices in the Temple.

1 Corinthians 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

1 Corinthians 9:22 “To the weak became I as weak” - Illustrations:

Romans 14:2, “For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs .”

1 Corinthians 8:13, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

Scripture References - Note:

2 Corinthians 11:29, “Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?”

1 Corinthians 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

1 Corinthians 9:24 “So run, that ye may obtain” Comments - We are to run the Christian race, or course, as if only one man will win. We are to strive for that one prize. We are to do our best, as if we are striving to win first place.

The servant’s race:

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy chapter 2

2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

1 Corinthians 9:24 Comments I have heard someone say regarding winning metals in the Olympics, “You do not win the silver, rather, you lose the gold.” So, even today, as in Paul's time, we see only one real winner in a contest, even though we give metals to second and third place.

1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

1 Corinthians 9:25 “And every man that striveth for the mastery” - Comments There are two basic ways to translate this phrase:

(1) It can emphasize one’s efforts of self-discipline: “But everyone striving controls himself in all things” ( LITV), “and every one who is striving” ( YLT).

(2) It can refer to an athletic competition: “And every man that striveth in the games” ( ASV).” “Everyone who enters an athletic contest” ( God’sWord)

1 Corinthians 9:25 “is temperate” Comments To be temperate means to exercise self-control.

1 Corinthians 9:25 “in all things” - Comments Not only does an athlete work hard those few hours in the afternoon, but he controls himself the rest of the day. He controls the bed rest that he needs at night. He controls his daily diet. A disciplined athlete does not let his tired or hungry body control him.

Illustration - Wrestlers, during wrestling season, lose much weight so that they can compete in a lower weight class. Long distance runners must lose all excess fat to run better. An athlete who is going after the “crown” must become disciplined in every area of his life.

1 Corinthians 9:25 “Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown” Illustration A number of times while I was working driving a garbage truck, I have found old trophies in the trash cans. People eventually found them useless, and decided to throw them away.

1 Corinthians 9:25 “but we an incorruptible” - Comments This is referring to a crown of righteousness.

1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

1 Corinthians 9:26 Comments Paul is not “aimless,” or “without a goal to run towards.” He knows his course and target, which is a heavenly reward, a crown of righteousness.

2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness , which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1 Corinthians 9:27 Comments - In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul tells us that he kept his body under the control of his spirit lest, after preaching to others, he himself would be laid aside and disqualified as a minister of the Gospel. Paul would become disqualified in the event if he did not bring his body into subjection to the will of God for his life. That is, if Paul had catered to his fleshly desires he would no longer be usable for the work of the Kingdom of God. We can find many examples of being ministers being laid aside by God because they did not maintain rule over their flesh. After walking in the anointing some ministers have failed to maintain close fellowship with God and lost their anointings and thus, became useless to God.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Comments - Paul’s Analogy of Greek Athletics to the Christian Life In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul takes an analogy from the Corinthian life to explain how he has made himself a servant to others in order that he may receive the eternal rewards from his labours and not be disqualified because of some foolish, selfish act. In this passage he compares the Christian life to a contest in which only the winner receives the prize.

Although surpassed in culture by Athens, Corinth also served as cultural center. It was famed for its athletics and temple worship. A small town named Isthmia, located seven miles east of Corinth, hosted the Isthmian Games every two or three years ( Geography 8.6.22). [129] Scholars believe that Paul is alluding to these particular athletic games in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 about running the race. Thus, Paul uses an event within their own culture in order to drawn an analogy of their need to struggle to live the Christian life.

[129] Strabo writes, “Upon the Isthmus is the temple of the Isthmian Neptune, shaded above with a grove of pine trees, where the Corinthians celebrated the Isthmian games.” ( Geography 8.6.22) See The Geography of Strabo, vol. 2, trans. H. C. Hamilton and W. Falconer, in Bohn’s Classical Library (London: George Bell and Sons, 1903), 63.

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No distribution beyond personal use without permission.
Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-corinthians-9.html. 2013.