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1 Corinthians 9

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-23

B. An Illustration of Self-denial drawn from the Apostle’s Life, in the Renunciation of his own Rights and Liberties for the Good of others

1 Corinthians 9:1-23

1. Statement of his own rights as an Apostle

1 Corinthians 9:1-14

1Am I not an apostle? am I not free? [Am I not free?1 am I not an apostle?] have I not seen Jesus Christ [om.Christ2 ] our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine3 apostleship are ye in the Lord. 3Mine answer to them that do examine 4me is this:4 Have we not power to eat and to drink? 5Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?5 7Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit6 thereof? or7 [om. or] who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?8 9For it is written in the law of Moses,9 Thou shalt not muzzle10 the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is [was] written: that [because] he that plougheth should plough in hope; and that [om. that] he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope11 [in hope of partaking]. 11If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap12 your carnal things? 12If others be partakers of this power over you,13 are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used [did not use] this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder, the gospel of Christ. 13Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait14 at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.


1 Corinthians 9:1-3. The fundamental principle and purpose of his, having been briefly stated in 1 Corinthians 8:13, he now proceeds to enlarge upon it, by showing how he had, in fact, been practising self-denial out of love to the Lord and his brethren, and how he had, in a far higher manner than he had demanded of them, renounced his own rights and prerogatives for the sake of winning souls and spreading the Gospel,—[“This whole passage, thus incidentally introduced, is one of the most elevated, heavenly, and beautiful discussions in the New Testament, and contains one of the most ennobling descriptions of the virtue of self-denial, and of the principles which should actuate the Christian ministry, any where to be found. All classic writings, and all records of antiquity, would be searched in vain for an instance of such pure and elevated principle as is presented in this chapter.” Barnes].—He begins with four questions [abruptly introduced, which bring to view the position from which he acted, and answer any objections they might be inclined to make against his appealing to his own conduct. “It would almost appear as if he had properly concluded the subject at 1 Corinthians 8:13, and then returned to it from this new point of view on the arrival of fresh tidings from Corinth, informing him of the imputations which he now proceeds to dispel.” Stanley]. In the first question [see critical notes] the asserts his independence,—a circumstance which might appear to exempt him from the need of such circumspection as he above speaks of; in the second, his high function as an Apostle, which fully warranted this independence, and rendered him responsible to Christ alone, whose ambassador he was; in the third, the grounds of his Apostleship in respect of the Lord; and in the fourth, the seal of his office in the Corinthian Church itself, and in his labors there. He thus takes ground from which naturally to pass over and speak of his own right to support—a right, however, of which he had made no use out of regard to higher interests. [And this is the point in his example which he wished to enforce as a lesson upon his readers].—Am I not free?—i. e., independent, [not in a moral sense, as having knowledge, and thus emancipated from foolish prejudices; but in a civil or legal sense, as at liberty to act as he chose, without being accountable to any man]. This point is resumed again in 1 Corinthians 9:19; and the fact that it is not discussed until after the full statement of his Apostolic rights, might have occasioned the transposition of the two questions in the Rec. [“The order here followed is not only that of the most ancient MSS., but is also in conformity with the sense. His freedom, and not his Apostleship, was uppermost in his thoughts, and was the special occasion of the digression.” Stanley.—But still more.—Am I not an Apostle?—and so, placed even in a position of authority over others]? But, because this fact was disputed by his opponents, he is disposed to linger here a little; and, by way of proof, asks still further,—Have I not seen the Lord?—He here implies that his Apostleship rested on the same foundation as that of the other Apostles, viz., the immediate call of Christ and the eye-witness of His glorified life. In this respect, therefore, he was their equal. The sight of Christ he speaks of refers primarily to that first manifestation of the Lord to him which effected his conversion (1 Corinthians 15:3; Acts 9:22-26); yet not exclusive of the later revelations mentioned in Acts 22:17; Acts 18:9, by which he was confirmed in his labors at Corinth. In no case are we to suppose any reference to his having seen Christ during his earthly life; this would have no significance whatever for the Apostleship of a Paul. That he says this with an eye to the Christ-party, as one that laid great stress on having visions, so that this were an argumentum ad hominem, is a very doubtful assumption. In opposition to Rückert, who supposes that Paul here alludes to his ecstatic vision in the temple, Neander says: “It is impossible that such a vision should legitimate Apostleship.”—Are not ye my work in the Lord?—The designation, “in the Lord,” does not qualify merely “my work,” [q. d., ‘ye are the Lords work, not mine’ (Chrys.)], but it belongs to the whole question. They were his work as an Apostle, and were introduced by him into their new life, and constituted a Church of God, in the Lord, i. e., by virtue of his fellowship in the Lord. The phrase designates the element in which he wrought (comp. 1 Corinthians 3:5 ff., and 1 Corinthians 4:15). This thought he further expands.—If I be not an apostle to others.—By the others he means those coming into the church from abroad, it may be emissaries from Palestine who sought to mislead the Corinthians in regard to his Apostleship. Ἄλλοις is the Dative of judgment: ‘in their view or opinion.’ Οὐκ εἰυί expresses the fact as it was; hence, οὐ, not μή.—Yet, doubtless, I am to you.—The γέ strengthens ἀλλά: ‘yet, at least,’ or ‘yet surely.’ More in full: ‘Ye certainly cannot but acknowledge me as an Apostle; for ye yourselves, by the simple fact of your conversion, serve to confirm my claim There is no allusion here to the miracles of the Apostle (Chrys.). These were wrought also by those not Apostles. But that his preaching produced such results as could only be ascribed to the power of Christ, this was the proof of his assertion that he was Christ’s ambassador (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:2).—for the seal of my apostleship are ye in the Lord.—Σφραγίς, seal, that wherewith one concludes, designates, and confirms any thing; then, confirmation, witness, original testimony. The words “in the Lord” belong here, also, to the whole clause, and imply that the fact asserted was of the Lord, inasmuch as it was He that had vouchsafed to the Apostle so glorious a result in setting up a church so richly endowed in one of the chief seats of heathenism. [“This, although valid evidence, and as such adduced by the Apostle, is very liable to be abused. First, because much which passes for evidence is spurious; and, secondly, because the evidence of success is often urged in behalf of the errors of preachers, when that success is due to the truth they preach; thirdly, because small real success may be taken as evidence for more than it will fairly warrant.” “Still, there are cases when the success is of such a character, so undeniable and so great, as to supersede the necessity of any other evidence of a divine call. Such was the case with the Apostles, with the reformers, and with many of our modern missionaries.” Hodge].—These suggestions he concludes with 1 Corinthians 9:3.—This is my answer to them who examine me.—Here the words ἡ ἐμή� stand first by way of emphasis, just as αὕτη ἐστιν come last for the same reason. The phraseology is that of the courts,—ἀπολογία, apology, defence, followed by the dative expressing the parties to whom it is made (2 Corinthians 12:19).—ἀνακρίνειν, to judge, investigate, as magistrates at a trial, and here, for the purpose of opposition [“a direct allusion to his antagonists.” Stanley]. Αὕτη, this, is the subject and not the predicate of the sentence (as in John 1:19; John 17:3), and relates to the fact expressed just before, viz., “the seal.” To connect this sentence with what follows, [Chrys. and the E. V.], as introductory to it, is inconsistent with the contents there found; [“for what follows is no answer to those who called his Apostleship in question.” Hodge].

1 Corinthians 9:4-6. He comes now to the first point touched, viz., to his power, his civil rights which he had voluntarily renounced. The indisputableness of these he indicates by employing the form of a question—Have we not power to eat and drink?—Οὐκἔχομεν, taken together, expresses one idea (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:22, Romans 10:18); [so that “μή asks the question, and οὐκ ἕχομεν is the thing in question; lit. Is it so that we have not power? Alford]. He here passes over into the plural, because he now takes into view his associates also, or because he desires to be regarded, not in his private capacity, but in that official position which he had in common with all the apostles and servants of God. [This, however, is doubted by Alford, who says that, “at all events, it will not apply to 1 Corinthians 9:12, where the emphatic ἡμεῖς is personal.”] In the matter of ‘eating or drinking,’ he has no reference to the Jewish laws respecting food [as though he were claiming exemption from them (as Billr. and Olsh.)], since this would be remote from the context; nor yet to the flesh offered in sacrifices (as Schrader); but, as is shown in what follows, to his right to live at the expense of the Church, a right which was grounded on his apostolic office. The same principle is applied to his journeying officially in company with a Christian wife; for this is what he means when he says—Have we not power to lead about (with us) a sister wife? (ἄδελφν γυναῖκα).—The allusion here is not to a serving matron [whose business it should be to minister out of her substance to the wants of the apostle as he went from place to place, according to the interpretation of Aug., Jerome, and most of the early fathers, and as is still maintained by the Romish commentators in the interest of celibacy—an interpretation which very early gave rise to great abuses], for the subsequent reference to Peter forbids this (Matthew 8:14), and it is inconsistent also with the qualifying term γυναῖκα (comp. Osiander). Nor is it the right of marriage which is here in debate, for this is simply presupposed. The point made is Paul’s right to have a companion in travel at the cost of the Church, and for this he refers to the precedent set by the rest of the apostles,—as also the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas.—The allusion here is general, and we are not to conclude from it that all these parties were married. But does he here use the word ‘Apostles’ in its broader or strict sense? Osiander infers the former from the mention made of the brethren of our Lord in a way which seems to assert for them a higher position. These did, indeed, occupy a very comprehensive sphere of mission labor and important responsibility (as James, Galatians 1:19); but there is no reason to believe that they stood higher than the twelve. But who are these “brethren of the Lord?” A prevailing dislike, existing even among evangelical churches, of regarding the mother of our Lord, who was conceived in her by the power of the Holy Ghost, as the mother of other children also, born in lawful wedlock, has led to the supposition, either that they were only brothers in a broader sense, being the cousins of Jesus on the mother’s side (since such cases occurred among the Apostles, though never with this designation, see Luke 6:15 ff. and the parables in Matthew 10:0 and Mark 3:0), or that they were the sons of Joseph by an earlier marriage. “The statement, ‘born of the Virgin Mary,’ is an article in the Church’s creed; but the question, whether she bore children afterwards involves no point of Christian faith.”—Burger. Both the intimation given in Matthew 1:25, as also the repeated association of these brethren with Mary by the evangelists, which points to a closer relationship with her than that of step-sons (comp. Acts 1:14; Matthew 12:46; Matthew 13:55), render it probable that they were, in a literal sense, the sons of Mary, who at first followed in the train of Jesus with their mother (John 2:12), and later became estranged from Him (John 2:3 ff.; comp. Mark 3:21); but, finally, having rid themselves of their prejudices and unbelief by reason of His resurrection, entered the circle of His disciples (see Acts 1:14, where they are expressly distinguished from the twelve).15 Among this number James stood preeminent. Him our Lord deemed worthy of a special manifestation of Himself after He was risen (1 Corinthians 15:7); and he was highly esteemed, and exercised great authority in the Church of Jewish converts (comp. Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18; Galatians 1:19; Galatians 2:9; also see Osiander and Meyer). By referring to the authority of James (in which his brethren shared according to their measure), Paul here puts them next to the Apostles in order to establish his own apostolic rights upon the matter in question more firmly against the opposition of the Judaizers. Osiander’s inference, therefore, in regard to the “rest of the Apostles” is untenable. In further self-justification, he adduces more particularly the example of Peter—and Cephas—who occupied so high a position in the apostolic college (Neander) among the Jewish Christians. The assumption of a climax here, which makes Peter out to be the first of the Apostles (Cath.), is contradicted by 1 Corinthians 9:6Or I only and Barnabas—Paul here associates with himself his early co-laborer, a man of high apostolic consideration (Acts 4:36; Acts 11:22 ff; Acts 13:14). [“This is the only mention of him in conjunction with St. Paul since the date of the quarrel, in Acts 15:39.” Stanley. “It is not improbable that after his separation from our apostle he may have maintained the same self-denying practice of abstaining from receiving sustenance by those to whom he preached, which he had learned from Paul at the first.” Alford. “Observe his humility of mind, and his soul purified from all envy, how he takes care not to conceal him whom he knew to be a partaker with himself in this perfection.” Chrys.]—Have we not power to forbear working?—The power or right (ἐξουσία) which he here speaks of is not distinct from those above mentioned, but is a consequence of the denial of them, apagogically introduced, q. d. ‘In that case, then, it would appear that Barnabas and I are not at liberty to forbear working.’ By ‘working’ (ἐργάζεσθαι) he means laboring for support (1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; Acts 18:5); hence the sense is: ‘are we alone under obligation to work for our livelihood while we preach?’ The Vulgate, by omitting the μή, translates hoc operandi, i. e., according to the Latin expositors, faciendi quod ceteri faciunt, according to Ambrose, ‘of giving instruction for the sake of support at the cost of the churches’)!

1 Corinthians 9:7-14. He next passes to establish the right claimed; and, first, from the analogy of secular laborers who are, at the same time, striking illustrations of the nature of apostolic labor (1 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Timothy 2:4). (1). The soldier.—Who ever goes to war?—Στρατεύεσθαι, means, to march to the field, and is used alike of generals and soldiers, the same as in the active voice. Here it denotes the service of a private (Passow II., p. 1562).—at his own charges?—Ἰδίοις ὀψενίοις, the Dative of ways and means; i. e., so that he bears his own expenses. Ὀψώνια, rations, cost, stipend (Luke 3:14; Romans 6:23), [“pr. ‘whatever is bought to be eaten with bread.’ Hired soldiers were at first paid partly in rations of meat, grain, fruit.” Rob. Lex.]. “Paul here is arguing on the ground of natural right.” Neander.—(2). The husbandman.—who planteth a vineyard, and eats not its fruit.—Τὸν καρπόν, the accusative, instead of genitive after the εσθίειν, to eat, is to be taken as the simple objective (Kühner, II. p. 181)]. (3). The shepherd.—who feeds a flock, and eats not of the milk of the flock.—Ἐκ τοῦ γάλακτος, of the milk [Jelf, § 621, 3, 1]. The wages of the shepherd in the East is, even to this day, a portion of the milk. [And this is partly converted into other articles of food, and also partly sold to obtain other commodities. Hence the case of the prep, ἐκ, with the gen. (Alford)].—From the analogy of human relations and usages, he passes to Scripture for proof, thus sustaining his position by a positive Divine ordinance.—Say I these things as a man?—Κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, in a different sense from that in 1 Corinthians 3:3; here it stands in contrast with the Law of God, [and means, according to the modes of talking and acting prevalent among men]. “Paul here puts an argument derived from human customs, and one taken from the Law over against each other.” Neander.—Or does the Law, too, (καί) not speak these things?—καί introduces the higher instance as something additional. ̓́Η, or stands apagogically as in 1 Corinthians 9:6 (Meyer), q. d., ‘I would not appeal to human analogies had not the Law also spoken in the matter.’ On account of the καί, which would otherwise be superfluous, it were better to treat this as a question antithetic to the foregoing one, and specifying something in advance=ἤ οὐ (οὐχί) λέγει ταῦτα καὶ ὁ νόμος. But this would put ὁ νόμος first, as the object on which the emphasis lies, as the Rec., making a correct gloss here. Λαλεῖν and λέγειν [the former used by the Apostle of himself, and the latter, of the Law] are to be distinguished as ‘say’ and ‘speak,’ the latter having special reference to the contents (comp. Romans 3:19), (Meyer). [“Λαλεῖν expresses the general idea of talking, whether reasonably or otherwise,—λέγειν implies speaking in a rational, intelligent manner.” W. Webster, Syn. of the Gr. Test. This discriminating use of terms, is an incidental evidence not only of Paul’s accuracy of language, but also of his delicate humility].—The legal statute referred to is introduced with γάρ.—For in the Law of Moses it is written, Thou shalt not muzzle an ox which treads out the corn.—This law is found in Deuteronomy 25:4. The same allusion occurs in 1 Timothy 5:18, [“from which passage the reading φιμώσειζ probably came.” Alford].—Is it for oxen that God is concerned? or does he say this altogether (πάντες) on our account?—The most direct and natural reason of this command, viz., kindness to brutes, is here left out of view by the Apostle, since he disavows for the great Lawgiver (God) a special care for oxen in this provision, and applies it, not as an inference from the less to the greater, or by way of accommodation, but directly to teachers, as to persons engaged in a higher kind of service, viz., the preparation of spiritual nutriment for the people (not, as Philo does, to men in general, as creatures endowed with reason). This interpretation of the Law rests on the correct presumption that the Law has a typical character, and that its enactments provide for higher relations, of which those specified are but the shadow (Colossians 2:17). In the rapid reasoning of the Apostle the intermediate thoughts are not brought out; but the higher intent of the words is directly exhibited, to the entire omission of the more obvious one, which here seems to be denied, as though God did not care for oxen. The attempt to modify the language by supplying the word ‘only,’ is arbitrary. “We are not to press this language too far. Taken literally, it would appear as if Paul denied a general providence in contradiction to what our Lord says. All ho intends here is to obtain from the particular Mosaic statute a more general ethical principle, applicable to the relations existing between man and man; and in doing this he does not separate between the interpretation and the application.” Neander. And so Meyer says: “This class of creatures were not the object of the Divine solicitude in this statute; that which expresses care for oxen was said not for their sakes, but on our account.” [“Every duty of humanity has for its ultimate ground, not the mere welfare of the animal concerned, but its welfare in that system of which man is the head, and therefore man’s welfare. The good done to man’s immortal spirit by acts of humanity and justice, infinitely outweighs the mere physical comfort of a brute which perishes.” Alford].—Presupposing an assent to the second question, he proceeds to argue in its favor by explaining the statute in its higher sense.—For on our account was it written.—[The γάρ, for, gives the reason for the assertion implied in the previous question].—that,—ὅτι, is neither to be rendered ‘because’ [as, Alford, Hodge, Stanley], since what follows cannot possibly be construed as a possible reason; neither is it intended to introduce a supposed quotation [as Rückert, who finds here the language of the Apocrypha]; but it is merely explicative, as pointing to the practical result.—he that plougheth should plough in hope, and he that threshes, in the hope of partaking.—[See Critical notes]. The designations ‘plougher’ and ‘sower,’ are not to be taken literally, as denoting either the oxen themselves, or the persons who engage in husbandry, since we are now in the higher range of thought; but they are to be interpreted spiritually, as exhibiting typically the labors of Christian teachers in accordance with the language of the statute and under the forms of agriculture. The emphasis here lies on the words “in hope,” [which accordingly in the Gr. come first]. The obligation to plough rests on hope, viz., the hope of enjoying the products of the field (comp. 2 Timothy 2:6). And so in the matter of threshing. [The language here is elliptical]. As in the first clause we must supply to the word “hope” what is mentioned in the second, viz., “of partaking;” so in the second we must supply the verb ‘to thresh,’ or ‘should thresh,’ as suggested by the first. From ignoring this, persons have been betrayed into attempts at alteration, as is shown in the various readings in different MSS. (comp. Osiander). The meaning is: ‘that the teacher is bound to his office in hope of enjoying its compensations’ (Meyer); or, to express it more generally: the obligation to laborious efforts in our calling as laborers in the field of God (1 Corinthians 3:9), rests upon the hope, etc.—In 1 Corinthians 9:11 he applies what has been said to the particular relation which he and his fellow-laborers sustained to the Corinthian Church in respect of their rights.—If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?—A like antithesis occurs in Romans 15:27. There is no reason for including Barnabas under the strongly prominent ἡμεῖς, we since nothing is known of his labors in Corinth. We may say with Meyer, “that Paul, though speaking categorically, means in fact himself alone. The corresponding collocation in ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν—ἡμεῖς ὑμῶν—we to youwe yours, is emphatic. But the justification of his claim appears all the stronger, from the fact that the recompense to which the laborers are entitled, involves something far inferior to the blessings they have conferred. “Spiritual things” are the blessings which proceed from the Holy Spirit, the doctrines of revelation through which the germs of a Divine life are implanted in the heart which unfold themselves in knowledge, faith, love and hope; “carnal things” are such as belong to the lower natural life. In the figures of ‘sowing’ and ‘reaping,’ it is implied that the obtaining of the lower good is a natural sequence upon the bestowment of the higher, even as the harvest follows upon seed-time. The question: “is it a great thing?” points, however, to the disproportion which exists between the one and the other, q. d., ‘It is a very small thing.’—The subj. (θερίσωμεν) after εί, occurs commonly both in the more ancient Greek (Homer and the lyric poets), and in the later impure style. According to Osiander, it denotes something midway between definiteness and indefiniteness; a definite assertion of the right, with an indefiniteness in regard to its application.

Having thus established his claim to recompense on the ground of having imparted to them an incomparably higher good, he proceeds to set forth his case in still stronger light by comparing himself in this respect with other teachers who, with far less cause, still used their right to support.—If others.—The allusion here is not to false teachers precisely, (as in 2 Corinthians 11:12-20), since he is treating of a veritable right; but only to those whose title to their help stood far below his (μᾶλλον).—be partakers of this power over you.—(τῆς ὑμῶν ἐξουσίας)—Ὑμῶν is the objective genitive as in Matthew 10:1; John 17:2, power of you, for power over you, viz: in reference to the reaping of carnal things, 1 Corinthians 9:11.—are not we rather.—The ellipsis is easily filled up from the preceding clause.—After this strong assertion and maintenance of his right, he states what his course had actually been, and the reason of his conduct.—nevertheless we did not use this power,—[not because he dared not, as some might suppose, and thus infer a consciousness on his part of lacking apostolical authority].—but we bear all things.—Στέγειν, as also in 1 Corinthians 13:7, and 1 Thessalonians 3:1, lit. to cover, to protect, so that nothing shall penetrate, [used of vessels containing and holding without breaking], hence, to hold off, to hold out, to forbear, to endure in silence. (Passow II. e. p. 1526,)—in order that we may not present any hinderance,—ἐγκοπήν, a cutting into the path, hence, impediment, hinderance. This would arise from charges of covetousness and self-seeking in the work of the ministry, which his independence of them would obviate.—to the Gospel of Christ,—[a prominent statement of that whose claim overrides every other, and in behalf of which it is fitting that one should do, and endure all things].—After this preliminary statement of how he had renounced his own rights, he adds yet another proof of his title, taken from the analogy presented by the Jewish priesthood. Observe, not heathen priests, for there would be no fitness in appealing to the usages of those in support of his position, since they, were not divinely instituted. And to the usages of the Levitical priesthood he refers, as to a matter already familiar to his readers.—Do ye not know, that those performing the things of the temple.—Ὁυτὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζ όμενοι, so the priests are first designated.—This may imply the care and ministration of offerings, as ἱερόν often occurs in this sense among classic writers; or the performance of temple services in general. The latter is to be preferred, because the second designation points definitely to the duties at the altar.—live of the temple,—ἐσθίουσιν, lit. eat, i. e., obtain support from the temple, from the tithes, first-fruits, shew-bread, and other gifts brought hither [“Comp. the speech of the Zealots in Jos. B. J. V. 1 Corinthians 13:6, δεῖ τούς τῷ ναῷ στρατευομἑνους ἕκ τοῦ υαοῦ τρέφεσθαι,” Stanley].—those waiting at the altar.—παρεδρεύειν comp. 1 Corinthians 7:35. The reference of the first of these designations in this verse to the Levites and the second to the priests, is untenable. Both relate to the latter alone, and these only are analogous in their office to the Christian teachers.—share with the altar. Συμμερίζονται indicates that they received a portion of the sacrifices, and so partook with the altar of what was offered.—even so,—points to 1 Corinthians 9:13. (Pareus on the contrary: “In consistency with all that has hitherto been said”).—the Lordi. e., Christ, whose language in Matthew 10:10; and Luke 10:7 the Apostle has in mind. “Here we meet with a citation from the sayings of our Lord, which affords fresh proof that Paul must have already had a collection of our Lord’s discourses.” Neander.—also,—καί, in addition to the precepts of the old covenant to which this of our Lord’s corresponds. Were ὁ κύριος=ὁ θεός it would have read: καὶ τοῖς—καταγγέλουσιν ὁ κύριος διέταξε (Meyer).—commanded those preaching the Gospel.—[“It was a command to ministers themselves not to seek their support from secular occupations, but,—to live of the Gospel,—as the priests lived of the temple. This law of Christ is obligatory on ministers and people; on the latter to give, and on the former to seek a support from the church, and not for worldly avocations. There are circumstances, as the case of Paul shows, under which this command ceased to be binding upon preachers. These are exceptions, to be justified, each on its own merits; the rule, as a rule, remains in force.”—Hodge. To defraud ministers of their due is to rob God.—Wordsworth].—ζῇν ἐκ. i. e., the Gospel should be to them the means of support:—[“Observe, that here the Apostle is establishing an analogy between the rights of the sacrificing priests of the law, and of the preachers of the Gospel. Had those preachers been likewise themselves sacrificing priests, is it possible that all allusion to them in such a character should have been here omitted? But as all such allusion is here omitted, we may fairly infer that no such character of the Christian minister was then known. As Bengel remarks on 1 Corinthians 9:13 :—“If the mass were a sacrifice Paul would certainly have shaped to it the conclusion in the following verse.”—Alford.].


2. Testimony to his own self-denial in relation to his rights and powers

1 Corinthians 9:15-23

15But I have [om. have] used16 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 [cause for] glorying void.17 16For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, [for18 ]woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!19 17For if I do this thing willingly, [of my own accord] I have a reward; but if against my will, [obligatorily] a dispensation [stewardship] of the Gospel is committed unto me. 18What is my20 reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ21 without charge, that I abuse not 19[use not to the full] my power in the Gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20And 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, [ins. although I myself am not under the law]22 that I might gain them that are under the law; 21To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God,23 but under the law to Christ8),that I might gain8 them that are without law. 22To the weak became I as [om. as24 ]weak, that I might gain the weak: 23I am made all things25 to all men, that. I might by all means save some. And this [all things26]I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.


1 Corinthians 9:15-18. After again reminding his readers that he had not made use of his rights, so clearly established, he goes on to protest, in the most positive manner, against the suspicion that he designed to avail himself of these arguments in the future.—But I used none of these thingsi. e., not the proofs adduced (Chrys.), but (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:12) the right itself in its several particulars (1 Corinthians 9:4-5).—And I wrote not these things in order that it might be so done,—i. e., as I have written, or “after the examples I have alleged,”—in me,—ἐν ἐμοί, as in Matthew 17:12, in my case, and this he confirms with great emphasis.—for good were it for me,—καλόν, suitable, reputable, honorable.—rather to die. There is no need of interpreting ἀποθανεἰν to mean death by hunger [as Chrys., Estius, Billr]. In what follows, the text is much disputed. If, with Lachmann (who, instead of ἤ, supposes νή, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:31), and with Meyer, we read οὐδεὶς κενώσει (according to B. D.27 [Cod. Sin.], then there is no need of punctuating, as Lachmann, μου οὐδεις; but it were better to assume, with Meyer (2d ed.), an aposiopesis,* so that after ἤ we are to supply something like χρὴσθι τῇ ἐξουσία ταύτῃ, or μισθὸν λαμβάνειν (which it was incompatible with his feelings to express). Then upon this a new independent sentence would follow. The whole would then be rendered thus: Good were it for me rather to die than (to use this my right, or to receive my reward); my cause for boasting no one shall make void—καύχημα, matter for glorying, not the act of glorying itself; and this, as appears from the context, was the preaching of the Gospel without compensation. “Paul can here mean only a glorying in the presence of men.” Burger—From a failure to perceive the aposiopesis above asserted there have arisen various attempts at amending the text. Because οὐδείς did not suit, τις has been adopted (by others τίς), to which a ἵνα still appeared requisite, making it read: ‘than that any one, etc.;’ and finally the fut. ind. has been changed into the aor. subj. This is the received text. In behalf of οὐδεὶς we have the authority of [Cod. Sin. and] A., which read οὐδεὶς μή. But if the aposiopesis is not allowed, then we must decide for reading of B. ἵνα τις κενώσει: ‘than that any one shall make void.’ Meyer, in Exodus 3:0. regards the aposiopesis too bold, and takes ἤ as=or, on the other hand, in the sense of, otherwise, in the opposite case. He would then translate: ‘Better for me to die,’ i. e., ‘rather than suffer myself to be supported, I will prefer to die; or, on the other hand, if such a thing need not occur, my boasting none shall make void.’ But this understanding of the passage appears so forced, that we are still disposed to prefer the aposiopesis. [Alford adopts the reading ἵνα τίς κενώσει, and translates: ‘than that any one should make void my (matter of) boasting.’ Wordsworth the same, with the exception of κενώσῃ for κενώσει. Stanley puts a colon after μου. and makes ὀυδεὶς κενώσει, a separate clause, rendering the whole thus: ‘It were better for me to die than my boasting: no one shall make it void.’].

In 1 Corinthians 9:16, ff. he assigns the reason for putting so great a stress on discharging his office gratuitously.—For if I preach the Gospel there is for me no matter of boasting.—Καύχημα 1 Corinthians 9:6, (materies gloriandi). He means, the mere proclamation of the Gospel was not, in and of itself, anything in which he could boast, in contrast with his opponents. His advantage lay in renouncing his right and preaching without recompense. To interpret εὐαγγελίζομαι to mean: ‘if I take a reward for preaching, is, at all events, contrary to the New Testament usage, and inconsistent with the use of the word in the context.—Why the mere fact of preaching was no ground of boasting he goes on to explain. It was a duty imposed on him, from which he could not escape.—For a necessity is laid upon me.—[It was a moral necessity, put upon him by the call and commission of Jesus, and by the immeasurable obligations he was under to His pardoning grace]; and how imperative this necessity was he shows by pointing to the effects which his refusal to submit to it would draw down upon him.—For woe is unto me if I should not preach the Gospel.—Οὐαι, properly an interj. is here to be taken substantially, and ἐστίν to be supplied. It refers to the Divine judgments which would fall on him if he ventured to disobey the heavenly call. Hence the fearful nature of the necessity, originating primarily in the Divine will, demanding a punctilious obedience, and also the impossibility of any boast in fulfilling it. In this “necessity” Neander thinks he discovers something which distinguishes Paul from the other Apostles. The others had joined themselves to Christ of their own accord; while he had been, as it were, constrained to enter the service. Accordingly, we discern in this word the sense which Paul had of the overwhelming urgency of his calling.—This last statement (and so also the preceding ones, whether the first or the second, but these not primarily) he illustrates and confirms by a denial of the opposite.—For if I do this voluntarily, i. e., on my own motion, of my own accord, without having been obliged thereto—I have a reward,—i. e., from God,—but if involuntarily [i. e., obligatorily, having been called to it by another, whom I could not disobey],—with a stewardship have I been entrusted,—my position is that of a steward, who, when he has done all that he could, has no more than discharged his obligations, and so has no title to a reward, (comp, Luke 17:10). The first of the above cases, he means to say, does not suit his case [“a hypothetical statement,” de Wette says]; since he was constrained to preach by the obligations put on him by a higher will; hence he was in the condition of a steward, who was absolutely dependent on the will of his master, and who, while expecting no reward for the faithful discharge of duties, might yet look for punishment in case he failed. [Stewards, it must be remembered, were usually selected from among the slaves of the establishment, as was Eleazar by Abraham, and Joseph by Potiphar]. This interpretation of Meyer, and in part that of Osiander [adopted also by Hodge, Alford, de Wette] fully satisfies the words and the context.28 To translate the words ἐκών and ἄκων, willingly and unwillingly would hardly suit, if we are to understand the last clause as describing Paul’s case, since we can in no wise predicate reluctance or unwillingness of him in the discharge of his ministry.—But if we unite εἰ δε ἄκων οικ. πεπίστευμαι in one clause, rendering it: ‘but if I am unwillingly entrusted with the stewardship,’ then the word ‘stewardship’ loses its significance for the argument; and it would be the same if we put: ‘I am entrusted with a stewardship,’ in a parenthesis; and to supply the ellipsis of, “if unwillingly” with the words, “I do this” is in any case simpler than to make an apodosis by the addition of ‘I have no reward.’ But to take the words following as the apodosis would be inadmissible on account of the οὖν, then.—The meaning would be entirely changed if overleaping the two clauses: ‘woe is me, etc.,’ and: ‘a necessity is laid upon me,’ we find here the confirmation or explanation of the beginning of 1 Corinthians 9:16, so that the idea of gratuitousness (gratis) is involved in ἐκών, and that of the opposite in ἄκων, and in the phrase: ‘I have a reward,’ we understand him to speak of his ‘matter of boasting.’ [Billroth, Bloomfield]. The ἐκών would then indicate that he was managing the thing as his own affair, and was omitting nothing which would serve to further it, and produce results happy and honorable for himself, in which ‘he would have his reward;’ but ἄκων would mean that he was discharging his direct obligations, only so far as to escape the penalty of neglect, and so was acting as a steward, i. e., a slave charged with the domestic economy, so that all reward or boasting would be out of the question. But in such an interpretation there would be 1, a foisting into the words ἐκών and ἄκων as well as into οἱκον. πεπίστευμαι of something foreign to them; and 2, he would, in what follows, be designating that as his reward, which, a little before, appears to be the ground of his having a reward.

After having substituted the term ‘reward’ for that of ‘boasting,’ in 1 Corinthians 9:17, he retains the expression, and referring back to 1 Corinthians 9:15 (to τὸ καύχημά μου,29 he asks—what then is my reward?—To take this question as implying a negative answer (Meyer) in immediate connection with what precedes—as though the meaning were: ‘since I am a steward, not acting at my option, no reward can avail me, in order that (in accordance with the end appointed by God) I may preach unsupported’ (which, as lying beyond my obligation now really merits a reward)—is, on the one hand, somewhat forced, and, on the other, leads to that which Dr. Baur (Tub., Theol., Jahrb.) objects to Meyer’s interpretation, that it involves the germ of the doctrine of supererogation, in entire contradiction with Paul’s whole mode of thought, since if Paul regarded the gratuitous proclamation of the Gospel as conducive to its success, he must have recognized such a course as obligatory upon him. As Burger says: “not according to the rights belonging to him, but in accordance with his estimate of his own personal relation to his high office (1 Corinthians 15:8-9; Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15-16), did Paul consider himself bound to do what was not incumbent on the other apostles, and in order that he might demonstrate through his whole life the earnestness and depth of his gratitude for the salvation so undeservedly conferred on him, and the office entrusted to his charge.—[If, however, we regard the first of the two previous clauses as expressing Paul’s case—that in declining support he was showing how freely he accepted the obligation, he was thus rising above the condition of a steward, who was merely discharging his office from necessity, and so was having some occasion for boasting—some reason to look for a reward, we must here regard Paul as proceeding to state what reward he was looking for]. The answer to this question [is variously found; it either] lies in the following words, beginning with ἵνα εὐαγγελιζόμενος [and which may be rendered as in the E. V.],—That when I preach I shall make the Gospel without charge.—This was to him remuneration enough, that the Gospel which he proclaimed should prove no burden to the Church, [that he could enjoy the satisfaction of offering salvation without money and without price to all whom he addressed]. The ἵνα would then introduce the object had in view: “Wherein then does my reward consist? Why, in this, that I make, etc.” Thus the original signification of ἵνα is preserved, θήσω, fut. indic., which elsewhere accompanies ἵνα (yet oftener ὅπως) when some continuous act is spoken of. [Or we may, with Alford, consider these words as simply continuing the question and stating the circumstances in which he is looking for his reward.—What then is my reward, that I while preaching shall render the Gospel without charge?—“ἵνα, like ὅπως in classical Greek, with a fut. indic. points to the actual realization of the purpose with more precision than when followed by the subjunctive. The question in other words would be: “What reward have I in prospect that induces me to preach gratuitously?” The answer to the question would in this case be found in the next verse.].—unto the end that, (εἰς τό).—This may denote either the design in view (‘in order that’), or the simple result (‘so that I shall not, etc.’).—Either would consist with the use of language.—I shall not use my power.—Kαταχρῆσθαι [not as in the E. V. abuse, for this would yield no fit sense here], but as in 1 Corinthians 7:31, to use to the full.—in the Gospel,—i. e., in proclaiming the Gospel; [or, still better, “conferred upon me by preaching the Gospel.”—Stanley].

1 Corinthians 9:19-23. For being free from all, I enslaved myself to all.—The “for” indicates a connection between this and the previous words: “that I may not use my power.” This connection may be understood, either as implying only a remote relation between the expressions “power” and “free,” and introducing proof of that self-denial, which prompted him to renounce his right, as shown in other respects (so de Wette; in like manner, Osiander: “With an easy transition from the matter of his self-denial hitherto discussed, he passes rapidly on to show how he had exhibited the same in another and indeed the highest degree”); or, in a stricter manner, as though by the expression “my power,” he designated his Apostolic prerogative in general, and the “freedom” he here speaks of were included under it (1 Corinthians 9:4); (so Meyer). At all events the connection is moderated by the thought that it was, with him, a fundamental principle, to make no use of his right,—only to give and not to take; and so also to devote himself to others instead of subjecting them to himself or making himself dependent on them, rather than make them dependent on him. [Stanley gives yet another view: “In the first instance, the idea of enslavement to all is suggested by the servile labor he had undertaken, as distinct from the free independence which he might have enjoyed as an Apostle; but he rapidly passes from this to his accommodation to the various feelings of all his converts, in the hope that of this mass he might gain the greater part to the cause of Christ. For the same transition from the idea of servile labor to that of serving generally, comp. Philippians 2:7 (δούλου).” Alford here finds the answer to the question: What is my reward? “For (q. d., the reward must have been great and glorious in prospect) being free from,” etc.].

This principle of his he exhibits more fully in connection with the purpose he had in view, wherein at the same time his matter of boasting (καύχημα) in this respect may be seen. First, he mentions in general, how, for the sake of a higher object, he surrendered his independence, since, though as Christ’s Apostle, he was dependent on no man, he had made himself dependent on all, had accommodated himself to their customs and prejudices, and in the plenitude of his Apostolic power, had, for their sakes, descended to the low condition of a slave.—that I might gain, κερδήσω is explained by the concluding σώσω (1 Corinthians 9:22). It means a winning for Christ or for God’s kingdom by conversion (comp. 1 Peter 3:1; Matthew 18:15). This was ever deemed by Paul a ‘reward,’ a ‘cause for boasting’ [1 Thessalonians 2:19-20], although the word in this context is not to be referred precisely to this thought. [Bengel, on the contrary, finely says: “κερδήσω, I may gain, this word well suits with the consideration of a reward.” But Alford adds: “This is not enough; it is actually the answer to the question: “What is my reward?” and it is for this reason that ἵνα—κερδήσω, is three times repeated].—the greater number.—τοὺς πλείονας, as in 1 Corinthians 10:5, the larger portion of this company (not: ‘the more’ [as in the E. V.]; nor: ‘as many as possible;’ not yet, because, of the τούς, with Olsh.: ‘those ordained unto salvation by God’). [Alford says: “the largest number of any: that hereafter Paul’s converts might be found to be οἱ πλείονες, the more numerous.” This certainly accords with the ambition of Paul].—The following details point in part to diversities conditioned upon the ante-Christian position of the parties mentioned (Jews, Heathen, 1 Corinthians 9:20 ff.), and in part to weaknesses existing in the pale of the Church, that required consideration (1 Corinthians 9:22), wherein he more nearly approaches his main theme. But because the same purpose is expressed here also as in what precedes, this, too, must be referred to the ante-Christian state, but not to the exclusion, however, of all allusion to that spoken of in the whole paragraph.—and I became to the Jews as a Jew, in order that I might gain Jews.—To interpret τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις to mean Jewish converts, and the subsequent designation: ‘those under the law,’ of the stricter Pharisaic class among them, is inconsistent with the object in view, viz., that he might gain them, for such were already in a measure gained; and also with the contrast in 1 Corinthians 9:21. [Examples of how he became a Jew may be found in Acts 16:3; Acts 21:26].—to those under the law.—This is only another designation for Jews, describing them according to their peculiar characteristic (Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:21); and it denotes neither Jews of the stricter Pharisaic class, nor proselytes of righteousness, nor Samaritans, nor Sadducees, who only held to the Pentateuch.—as under the law.—The word as denotes only a conformity in respect to customs, modes of life, and methods of instruction. That he preserved his independence in circumstances where Judaism was insisted upon as the condition of salvation, is evident from Galatians 2:3 ff. Besides he asserts the maintenance of his own personal freedom from the law in the following participial clause not parenthetical [which does not appear in the Rec.].—not being myself under the law.—μὴ ὤν αὐτός, etc. Here μή denies the thing as a matter of consciousness, [it being the subjective negative]. That he hereby intended to repel a charge of capricious self-exemption from the law to which he was properly bound, is a doubtful assumption.—to those without law.—By these are not meant proselytes of the gate, as persons who were bound by the law only in part; nor yet such parties as would no more submit themselves to the law’s control; but heathen, properly speaking (comp. Romans 2:12-14), and so designated in contrast with the Jews, since they were not bound by the Mosaic law, and in which respect he conformed to them.—as without law,—in so far as he cast of Jewish ordinances in his intercourse with them (comp. Acts 11:3; Acts 11:7), and presented the truth to them, not in Jewish, but in Hellenic forms of instruction (comp. Acts 17:28; [1 Corinthians 8:1-7; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27]). [“The word by which he here describes himself (ἄνομος) is the expression used to designate him in the forged Epistle of Peter to James (1 Corinthians 2:0.) in the Clementines; and seems, therefore, to have been a well-known term of reproach against him among the Judaizers.” Stanley]. For the purpose [therefore] of guarding against all mis-application of the term, as well as under the impulses of pious feeling [being “unwilling to appear, even for a moment, independent of God”], he repels all thought of any heathenish lawlessness (ἀνομία) being here intended, and asserts that, so far as this law had been revealed in its perfection through Christ, he both lived and moved in it.—being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ.—Ἔννομος χριστοῦ comp. νόμος χριστοῦ Galatians 6:2; John 13:34.—θεοῦ and χριστοῦ are genitives of relation and dependence (“Without legal dependence on God, legally dependent on Christ.” Meyer). To be “under law to Christ,” is different from being “under the law,” inasmuch as the consciousness of obligation in one who has become justified in Christ in order to walk worthy of Christ, and to imitate Him in doing the will of God is different from servitude to the law as the means of justification before God (comp. Romans 10:5; Gal. 10:10ff.). [Here again the subjective nature of the assertion as indicated by μή instead of οὐκ must be noted. “Being conscious of not being,—remembering well in the midst of my ‘lawlessness’ (ανομία) that I was not.” Alford. “Paulus non fuit anomus, nedum antinomus.” Bengel].—to the weak.—Under this term he includes those previously mentioned (1 Corinthians 9:20-21), persons Who, lacking the higher power of Christ’s spirit, require considerate treatment—when Jews, a mode of intercourse suiting with their law; when heathen, a freedom from the law [So Stanley. But Alford, on the contrary: “The ἀσθενεῖς here can hardly be the weak Christians of 1 Corinthians 8:0. and Romans 14:0., who were already won, but those who had not strength to believe and receive the Gospel” (Romans 5:6). To this Hodge well replies; “The word κερδήσω means merely, to win over, to bring to proper views, and therefore may be used in reference to weak and superstitious believers as well as of unconverted Jews and Gentiles.”]—I became weak,i.e., I entered into their condition in one way and another. This condescension to their peculiarities was, in appearance, a weakness; but, in truth, it was indicative of the highest moral power. If, with de Wette, we understand by the term “weak,” a lack of ability to apprehend the higher moral truths, then the expression, “I became weak,” would denote an accommodation on Paul’s part in the methods of his instruction of them; but this has little in its favor.—Summing up all he concludes—To all—(i.e., “to those just mentioned.” Osiander; “to the generality of men with whom I had to do.” Meyer).—I became all things.—“Omnibus omnia factus est compassione misericordiæ, non simulatione fallaciæ, non mentientis astu, sed compatientis affectu.” Augustine. It was an all-sided adaptation of himself to others,—within the limits of truth, of course, and in those things which were morally indifferent, according to the rule and direction of a love that was intent upon the salvation of souls. [“There are two things to be carefully observed in all cases of concession to the opinions and practices of others: first, that the point conceded be a matter of indifference; for Paul never yielded in the smallest measure to any thing that was in itself wrong. In this his conduct was directly the opposite to that of those who accommodate themselves to the sins of men, or to the superstitious observances of false religions. And secondly, that the concession does not involve any admission that what is in fact indifferent, is a matter of moral obligation. Paul’s conduct in relation to Timothy and Titus shows the principle on which he acted. The former he circumcised because it was regarded as a concession. The latter he refused to circumcise, because it was demanded as a matter of necessity.” Hodge].—in order that by all means I might save some.—[πάντως omnino, or as Meyer, in all ways. Stanley says: “by all means, with the double meaning as in English”].—and all things I do.—πάντα δὲ ποιῶ [see Critical notes]. The “all things” do not refer exclusively to what have just been spoken of,—as would be the case with the feebly supported reading τοῦτο this—although these are not to be excluded. The meaning is: ‘all things which I do, I do,’ etc. [“St. Paul did not become totally and at once, but severally and singly, not absolutely, but respectively, all things to all men.” Wordsworth].—The object of this—on account of the Gospel.—(διὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον). It is a question whether we have here an independent thought, or whether it is only a more general expression for that which is stated more fully in the following objective clause,—that I may be a fellow partaker of it (with you).—In the latter case, συγκοινωνός is either taken=to further, i.e., an active participation in the work of spreading the Gospel (which, however, does not accord with usage, and would only be a repetition of what has just been said, while by the connective δέ a progress of thought is indicated); or as denoting a participation in the salvation offered by the Gospel—a thought hinted at in the previous clause. In the former case διὰ τό εὐαγγ. must be construed as expressing the object aimed at in spreading the Gospel: “in behalf of the Gospel, for its honor and glory;” but interpreted as expressing the further aim of ‘his doing all things on account of the Gospel,’ the clause ἴνα—γένωμαι must be taken in the sense of becoming a fellow-participant in the salvation of the Gospel. But here again we have the exceptionable repetition (in διὰ τὸ εὐαγγ.); hence the assumption of an epexegesis, with the above correct rendering of συγκοιν. deserves the preference. The meaning then is, that all he did aim at was to become a partaker with them in the salvation of the Gospel. At the same time, the objective end of that concerning which he had just spoken, is not excluded; but he only brings out now the other side, in order to let them see in his own example how his solicitude for his own salvation in fellowship with others, is something which must lie very near the heart of the Christian in all he does; and that this, in all his varied activity, is not a matter to be presumed upon, but must be striven for with the utmost earnestness.—In this thought we find the point of transition to the subsequent exposition, in which by pointing to his own example he presses on the Corinthians the importance of greater solicitude for their own salvation, and of sparing no pains or sacrifices in the attainment of this end (1 Corinthians 9:24 ff.). [“Here a new thought is introduced. Up to this point he has been speaking of his self-denial for the sake of others; here he begins to speak of it as for his own sake. It is no longer ‘that I may save some,’ but ‘that I may be partaker of the Gospel with you.’ Do not think that I do not require this for myself. In order to do good we must be good. To extend our Christian liberty to the utmost verge, is dangerous not only for others, but for ourselves also.’ This argument he proceeds to support first from his own example and secondly by the warning of Israelitish history.” Stanley].


1. The Ministryits claims and its obligations. The regular and professional ministration of God’s Word, requiring the expenditure of time and strength, in providing stated spiritual nutriment for a congregation and in the cure of souls; and in qualifying himself for which a person has spent his property either entirely or in part, founds a claim to the support both of himself and his family, in a manner suited to the position he occupies. This is an ordinance of the Lord himself, who has said: “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” It is a rule, moreover, which reaches down to the lowest grades of animal labor performed for man, and runs through all departments of human society, and must be binding in proportion as the work done is excellent. It must, therefore, be most of all in force in that sphere where the relation of that which is given to that which is received is that of the “spiritual” to the “carnal.”

On the other hand, it becomes a workman on this holy soil to show himself, in accordance with our Lord’s example, to be one to whom “it is more blessed to give than to receive;” so that he shall not only discharge his more general obligations, the neglect of which would subject him to rebuke—not only perform what he is paid for, but shall also be ready to offer all manner of aid at the cost of time and strength, even in cases where no legal obligation binds him so as in this respect to fulfil the Scripture: “Freely ye have received, freely give.” He must appear, not as one dealing in temporal affairs, looking ever for his equivalents, but as one carrying in himself a large liberal spirit, free from ambition and avarice, and all forms of selfishness. By his whole attitude and conduct, by word and deed, he must let it be seen what a joy it is to take that which has freely flowed in upon him, especially that which a partial love has conferred, and let it flow out again in all manner of gracious bestowments, relieving the afflicted, the sick and the needy, and helping on the work of the Gospel, both at home and abroad, promoting the enlightenment and the salvation of mankind at large, of every kind and degree, both within the limits of Christendom and in the regions beyond.
2. Accommodation in the Ministry. Self-denying love is exercised, not only in the renunciation of one’s own rights to support, and in unrewarded toils and sacrifices for others’ welfare, but also in condescending from the heights of superior knowledge and liberty to enter into the narrownesses and weaknesses of others, to accommodate oneself to their spiritual defects and necessities, to freely conform to their ways so as to infuse in them confidence as towards one of their own kind, to speak with them in their own language—with children in a childlike manner, and with adults according to their several powers of apprehension, and so to become all things to all men. And this will be done so genially that those with whom we converse shall not feel it to be a condescension. On the contrary, our whole speech and deportment will seem natural, through the blending power of a sympathizing love. Thus will love fit itself to every variety of forms and customs and habits, and to all spheres of life, doing whatever may be requisite for kindly intercourse, and avoiding or removing whatever hinders it, and holding itself ever ready to enter into all hearts, and win them towards the highest good.—And all this will be done for Christ’s sake, and in accordance with the example of Him who, out of His own Divine love, entered into human nature, stooping to its lowest bent of infirmities, in order to redeem sinners, and lift them up to a life in God.

But as in Christ there is truth, and nothing but truth, so must this conformity be kept within the limits of truth. As in Him there was no self-seeking, no selfish fear of men, or vain desire to please men, so will it be with a proper accommodation. It will be unwarped by such faults. That were a false, immoral compliance, to adapt oneself to the ways of others, especially their religious rites and customs, either for the sake of avoiding persecutions, or of courting favor, or of gaining coveted emoluments and applause, just as did the Jesuits in their missionary labors, as many Christians have done in their intercourse with the heathen, and as Evangelicals did towards the Romanists during the Interim. It is also an exceptionable accommodation when a preacher or teacher, for the sake of maintaining his position, or of obtaining one with a view to subsistence, comes down from the height of his lofty views and clear conceptions, to profess his faith in, and inculcate opinions which are objectionable and degrading, because untrue and superstitious. Equally unworthy and immoral is it also to gesticulate or speak as a worshipper in presence of, or in company with others who believe in a personal God, who can be approached in prayer, although one is a stranger to that faith, and considers such practices as follies, belonging to a lower grade of conceptions; and the more reprehensible is such conduct in proportion as the motives which prompt to it are low and selfish, (comp. Heubner).
[3. The doctrine of supererogation. The Romish divines, as is well known, adduce the 16th verse in support of their doctrine, which teaches the special meritoriousness of works, which, under the promptings of love, exceed the scope of the command enjoined. The reward which Paul here looked for, according to the “annotations in the Rhemish version,” was the “reward of supererogation, which is given to them, that out of aboundant charitie do more in the service of God than they be commanded, as St. Augustine expoundeth it.” The fallacy hero consists in making specific precepts, which are mainly relative and prudential, the absolute rule of duty. Determined by the highest and most universal law, every good that it is possible for man to do, is a matter of obligation. “He that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” etc. If Paul therefore knew that by renouncing his right to support he would avoid the appearance of selfishness, remove a stumbling-block in the way of the Gospel, and strengthen his influence, he was bound to renounce his right; and in so doing he obtained only the reward which belongs to all works done in love—the reward of grace. His self-denial was a work of supererogation only in relation to man, but not in relation to God. See Calvin Inst. B. III. 1 Corinthians 14:0, § 14 ff; B. IV. 1 Corinthians 13:0, § 12 ff].


[In this chapter we have a self-drawn portrait of the great Apostle—a portrait which vividly represents to us the man, not only through the particular features described, but also in the free, courageous style in which the sketch is made. The object in thus bringing himself to view is to enforce the precepts contained in the previous chapter by his own example, and to prove his right to teach as he did, by his own practice. Accordingly we observe here: 1. Paul’s position a. as a man—“free,” bound by no legal obligations to any, and capable of taking care of himself; b. as an office-bearer—“an Apostle,” holding the very highest authority in the church, as proved by his having seen the Lord, and having had the seal of the Spirit put to his ministry (1 Corinthians 9:1-2); c. in his rights, first to domestic solaces (1 Corinthians 9:5), and secondly to maintenance, as proved, a. in accordance with the principle of compensation for work (1 Corinthians 9:7), β by the law of Moses (1 Corinthians 9:8-9), γ by the analogy of the Levitical priesthood (1 Corinthians 9:13), 6. by the command of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:14). 2. His conduct, a. abnegation of legal claims to support (1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 9:14); b. endurance of privations and toil (1 Corinthians 9:12); c. condescension even to the position of a servant (1 Corinthians 9:19); d. kind accommodation to the weaknesses and prejudices of others. 3. His purpose. He designed to continue this course of self-denial at all cost, and rather die than abandon it (1 Corinthians 9:15). 4. His motive—the desire of the reward which belongs to the workman who counts duty a privilege, and exceeds the limits of legal obligation in the excess of his love (1 Corinthians 9:18), and which comes from gaining the larger number of souls to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19), and which is found in the more certain enjoyment of the Gospel, in fellowship with those for whom he labored (1 Corinthians 9:23).

The traits which here shine conspicuous are: consciousness of perfect integrity; a sense of personal dignity as a man and an Apostle; frankness; courage; love in its highest forms of self-sacrifice, condescension and zeal; and wise prudence in the methods chosen for gaining the highest ends.
In all this we have: 1. an instructive picture of a true minister of Jesus Christ; 2. an illustration of the power obtained for the enforcement of precept by appealing to one’s own example; 3. an exhibition of the might and majesty which resides in a self-denying spirit].


1 Corinthians 9:1.—Faithful ministers find their best support in their calling and office, in their good conscience and Christian walk; and their best apology in their deeds and not in their words.

1 Corinthians 9:2 : There are bad preachers who are praised, and good preachers who are blamed; look at the fruits: if these are good then the tree is good also.

1 Corinthians 9:7 : Avarice and ingratitude are alike great sins,—the former in ministers, if they labor only as hirelings for a reward; and the latter in the people if they let their ministers suffer.—A three-fold illustration of a right-minded minister (1 Corinthians 9:7): the first (that of a warrior) tells of valor and unshaken courage in overturning the kingdom of darkness by the right use of spiritual weapons (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5); the second (that of a vintner) tells of unwearied labor; the third, (that of a shepherd) tells of constraining love and official fidelity (Ezekiel 34:0; John 10:0.).

1 Corinthians 9:11 :—The blessings conferred through the ministry are more precious than can be adequately requited by temporal good. Ye hearers, be rich in love; ye ministers, rich in contentment (1 Tim. 4:18; Philippians 4:11);

1 Corinthians 9:13 ff: A faithful worker is worthy of his reward; but lazy, reluctant, luxurious ministers deserve not the good they enjoy.

1 Corinthians 9:16 : Preachers must preach; and hearers hear. There is no escape from this. On these things hang life and death.

1 Corinthians 9:17 : It is the sure sign of a faithful minister that he discharges his office with such yearnings of affection toward Christ and toward his hearers, as admit neither of indifference, nor idleness, nor reluctance (1 Peter 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:8).—Fidelity in office is no special merit (Luke 17:10); yet a faithful servant may look for a reward of grace from Christ (Matthew 25:23).—Not ministers only, but all Christians equally should endeavor to remove whatever obstructs the cause of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:19 : The servants of Christ, while exercising Christian love and kindness, and gentleness towards all, must, at the same time, take care to preserve a good conscience, and in no way prejudice their abiding in Christ.—Let those who rule consider themselves as the servants of all (Mark 10:43); and so in matters indifferent let them overlook, yield and suffer much, in order to win those under them, and promote their improvement. This is the method of true love.

1 Corinthians 9:20 : A blessed sort of men-pleasing, when it is without sin, unto edification! (Romans 15:2).

1 Corinthians 9:21 : Those who associate with the godless for their good, must be careful to abide by the law of Christ; otherwise they will deteriorate rather than improve.

1 Corinthians 9:23 : A minister who does not labor himself to become a partaker of the Gospel will never properly labor to make others partake of it.

Berlenbubger Bible.

1 Corinthians 9:10 : We must not abide by the shell of Scripture; but break into the kernel. The shell reads “oxen;” but the inner sense means us, patient, laborious ministers, who plough the field of the church, labor in the fear of God, take firm steps in the Divine ways, and spare not but trample on the flesh, in order that the hidden kernel of the spirit may burst the hull, and move men to repentance and the mortification of their earthly affections. And such should be enabled to enjoy the fruits of their spiritual labor in the tokens of gratitude.

1 Corinthians 9:11 : It is the part of a true minister to be unwearied in laying in the heart a good foundation, and planting good seeds therein for an after abundant harvest.

1 Corinthians 9:12 : To abstain from one’s right is a proper offering.

1 Corinthians 9:13 : Men eat at God’s table. He feeds His servants when He gives them of that which belongs to Him.

1 Corinthians 9:16 : The must here is not a slavish, but an evangelical must: the love of Christ constrains.

1 Corinthians 9:19. In Christianity freedom and service stand together. Where the former is not, there there is not in the heart such a willingness to engage in service. This is true Christian magnanimity—to be free from all, and yet to devote one’s self to all. He who has not the I love so to devote himself is certainly not free, but acts under constraint.

1 Corinthians 9:20 ff: Genuine condescension goes counter to flesh and blood; since it is only through a Divine love that a person can be induced to endure, to wrestle, to fight, to turn and twist like a worm in order to accommodate himself to the circumstances and whims of poor ignorant souls, and to surrender, willingly yield, or share in any thing innocent, for the sake of winning them to Christ the better. A minister must bring with him into his office a large pity, since he will be obliged to see much want, and not be able to shape everything on one last. It costs something to associate with the weak and distressed, and the like, whose society men are apt to shun. The mind and example of Christ are to us sufficient law; by these our minds are taken captive and sufficiently assured.

1 Corinthians 9:23 : He who labors much to impart the Gospel obtains in return a proportionate share of its blessings. The peace of God which he dispenses will return upon him.

Rieger. [is omitted, being substantially a repetition of the above].


1 Corinthians 9:1 : The work which alone endures is that which is performed on the human heart, and a faithful minister has the best opportunity for erecting a monument which shall outlast human records.

1 Corinthians 9:3 : Every person is bound to vindicate his conduct to his friends.

1 Corinthians 9:7 : There may be claims to a reward without the undue coveting of a reward.—Unthankfulness towards ministers merits earnest rebuke.

1 Corinthians 9:8 ff: A man should wait for his reward in hope, not demand it before his work is done.

1 Corinthians 9:11 : Manual labor, and the expenditure of time, may be appraised, but not the nobler toil, the superabundant blessing, and faithful heart of a true minister. These God alone can reward with His love.

1 Corinthians 9:12 : It is precisely the most faithful minister that has to encounter human wickedness in its most outrageous forms. The most meritorious are often the most poorly paid. In many spiritual occupations one does the work and another gets the pay. Like the Apostle, we should be ready in needful cases to work without reward, and find our recompense in our good works and in the approval of God. The more a minister lives under the pressure of hardship, the righter will the light of his religion shine. [But this fact will not justify the people in putting the pressure on].—In all doubtful cases the conscientious minister will inquire by what course the Gospel will most be benefited, and act accordingly.

1 Corinthians 9:14 : A minister should desire only what is necessary for his support, no more. The church should not give him luxuries.

1 Corinthians 9:15 : The disinterested minister may, for the sake of vindicating himself, remind his people of his magnanimous conduct.—A minister must have a reputation for disinterestedness. If there is a chance for making large gains, and at the expense of a good name, let him surrender the chance.

1 Corinthians 9:16. How foolish it is to boast of having done our duty! The higher the office is, the more disgraceful to our trust. The constraints of duty, to which a pious man freely yields, are irresistible. ‘God has put me here’—this thought should accompany the minister to his latest breath. To retire from work, when not compelled by age or other circumstances, is a very questionable procedure.

1 Corinthians 9:18. Joy in serving God, and being assured of his love, is the most strengthening reward. A sense of this makes free and happy ministers.

1 Corinthians 9:19 : A faithful laborer assumes many burdens not legally imposed. But when can he ever do more than his duty (Luke 17:10)? We cannot fully perform even what we ought.—Our labor is at best piece-work. In saving souls nothing is too burdensome, nothing too lowly.

1 Corinthians 9:20 ff: A pious man may be many sided; for nothing is more manifold than the ways and means of Divine wisdom in the execution of its designs. But there is a great difference between the noble legitimate accommodation of the Christian and the slippery by-ways of worldly cunning.


1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 9:1.—The precedence of this clause [thus reversing the order of the two as they stand in our version], is established by A. B. [Cod. Sin.], by almost all the versions, and by other old authorities. [“Possibly the original order was changed to bring the weightiest question into prominence.” Alford].

1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 9:1.—The Rec. has Ἰσοῦν Χριστόν [with D. K. L.]; others have Χριστόν Ἰσοῦν. Xριστόν is an addition not found in A. B. [Cod. Sin., and is omitted by Alford, Stanley].

1 Corinthians 9:2; 1 Corinthians 9:2.—Lachmann, Tischendorf [Alford, Stanley], have μου τῆς [to correspond with τὸ ἔργο͂ν μου] (instead of τῆς ἑμῆς); but it is not sufficiently attested.

1 Corinthians 9:3; 1 Corinthians 9:3.—Αὕτη ἕστίν; Lachmann [Alford, Stanley] read ἕστίν αὕτη, which also is not sufficiently attested. [Yet it is found in A. B. Cod. Sin.].

1 Corinthians 9:6; 1 Corinthians 9:6. The omission of τοῦ is, indeed, strongly attested, but is to be explained as an attempt to conform with the foregoing clauses.

1 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Corinthians 9:7.—Rec. has ἐκ τοῦ καρποῦ in conformity with what follows, but it is more feebly sustained.

1 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Corinthians 9:7.—̓̀H is rejected by Lachmann according to weighty testimony; it was, perhaps, omitted to accord with the foregoing clauses.

1 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Corinthians 9:8. The Rec. has ἥ οὐχὶ καὶ—ταῦτα λέγει [with K. L.]—feeble authority. A probable alteration of what seemed unintelligible. [The true reading: ἤ καὶ ὁ νόμος ταῦτα οὐ λέγει, is found in A. B. C. D. Cod. Sin.].

1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Corinthians 9:9.—Griesbach reads: γεγραπται γᾶρ [omitting ἐν τῷ Μωυσές νόμῳ], but without sufficient authority.

1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Corinthians 9:9.—κημώσεις [with A. B.2 C. D.2 K. L. Cod. Sin.]; instead of with the Rec. and Lachmann [Stanley], read φιμώσεις. The former is best supported and more probable, because not found in the Sept.

[11]Ver: 10.—In the former of the last two clauses, the best supported order is: ὅτι ὀφείλει ἐπ̓ ἐλπίδι ὁ�, instead of which the Rec. puts ἐπ̓ ἐλπίδι before ὀφείλει, which is a variation of the order. In the second clause some of the better authorities have: τῆς ἐλπίδος αὐτοῦ μετέχειν, to which the Rec. appends the original ἐπ̓ ἐλπίι. The best accredited text is: ἐπ̓ ἐλπίδι τοῦ μετέχειν [found in A. B. C. Cod. Sin.]. So Meyer [Alford, Stanley, and Wordsworth].

1 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Corinthians 9:11.—The Rec. and Lachmann read θερίσομεν, [and so Alford, Stanley, and Wordsworth]. The subj. θείσωμεν is strongly supported, and might have been crowded out by the future form, because grammatically objectionable [A. B. Cod. Sin. have the future].

1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 9:12.—ὑμῶν ἐξουσίας is far better accredited than the Rec. ἐξουσίας ὐμῶν [being found in A. B. C. D. F. Cod. Sin.]. But τινὰ ἐγκοπὴν is not so well authorized as ἐγκοπήν τινα.

1 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Corinthians 9:13.—Παρεδρεύοντες is better supported than the Rec. προσεδρεύοντες.

[15][See this subject fully discussed in Andrews’ Life of our Lord, pp. 104–116; Neander, Life of Christ, § 22; Lange’s Leben Jesu, § xiii; Kitto’s Enc., 2d Ed. Art. Jesus Christ, p. 530; and Schaff’s exegetical note in Lange’s Commentary, Matthew 13:25].

1 Corinthians 9:15; 1 Corinthians 9:15.—Οὐ κέξρ. οὐδενί [found in A. B. C. D.1 F. Cod. Sin.] is better sustained than οὐδενὶ κερ. and the Rec. οὐδενί εχρησαμην.

1 Corinthians 9:16; 1 Corinthians 9:16.—Teschendorf reads: ἵνα τις κενώσει; the Rec. κενώσῃ feebly supported. Others simply τις κενώσει. The original is undoubtedly οὐδεὶς κενώσει, of which τις κενώσει and the Rec. text are emendations. [Kling understanding an aposiopesis after ἥ, renders the passage thus: “It is better for me to die than—my glorying no man shall make void”]. In “Exegetical and Critical,” also Meyer, [also Stanley’s note].

1 Corinthians 9:16; 1 Corinthians 9:16.—Γάρ is far better supported than the δέ of the Rec. [which Alford calls “a clumsy alteration,” not seeing that γάρ explains ἀνάγκη. The γάρ is found in A. B. C. D. F. Cod. Sin.].

1 Corinthians 9:16; 1 Corinthians 9:16.—Εὐαγγελίσωμαι is more credited than ζωμαι (Rec.), or ζομαι (Lachmann). [It is found in A. B. C. D. F.].

1 Corinthians 9:18; 1 Corinthians 9:18.—Mου; Rec., Lachmann, [Stanley] μοι, tolerably well authorized, but by some put after ἐστιν.

1 Corinthians 9:18; 1 Corinthians 9:18.—The addition, τοῦ χριστοῦ, found in the Rec., is opposed by the best authorities, [being omitted by A. B. C. D.l Cod. Sin., and by all good editions].

1 Corinthians 9:20; 1 Corinthians 9:20.—The clause μὴ ὠν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νόμον, omitted in the Rec. [probably by oversight of the copyist”], is to be accepted according to the most decisive authorities [A. B. C. D. F. Cod. Sin.].

1 Corinthians 9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:21.—The Rec. has θεῷ, χριστῷ κερδήσω. Instead of which θεοῦ, χριστοῦ (genitives of dependence) and κερδάνα are better authorized. In κερδἠσω we have a conformity with 1 Corinthians 9:20.

1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Corinthians 9:22.—The Rec. has ὡς�, according to many, but not preponderating authorities. It was introduced in conformity with the preceding ones.

1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Corinthians 9:22.—The Rec has τα before πάντα, contrary to all the best authorities.

1 Corinthians 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:23.—The τοῦτο of the Rec. is very feebly supported. Meyer calls it: “a more accurately defining gloss.” [A. B. C. D. F. Cod. Sin. all read πάντα].

[27][“A figure of speech, in which the speaker breaks off suddenly, as if unwilling or unable to state what was in his mind”].

[28][Calvin, Wordsworth, Stanley, however, adhere to the strict meaning of ἐκών and ἄκων as given in the E. V., viz; ‘willingly’ and ‘unwillingly.’ They apparently regard the γάρ, not as confirming what immediately precedes, but as resuming the general argument. ‘For if I preach the Gospel willingly,—which indeed I do, notwithstanding the obligation imposed upon me, as my unremunerated labor shows, and for the sake of showing which I renounced my claims,—I have a reward, i.e., from God, though not from you; but if I do it unwillingly, and simply because I am compelled to, why then I reduce myself to the condition of a domestic servant who merely acts as he is hidden.’ This interpretation makes Paul intent on showing that he had made that which was a matter of bounden obligation his high privilege, and was fulfilling it in such a manner as to have praise from God. Here was the reason why he would never seek support from the church. One advantage of this view is, that in making the first of the hypotheses state Paul’s case, we naturally connect the expectation of a reward here expressed with the inquiry which he goes on to answer, “What then is my reward?” On it our author goes on to comment].

[29][But why not to what just precedes: ‘I have a reward?’ This were the more natural].

1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 9:27.—Tischendorf has ὑποπιάζω, but the Rec. and Lachmann, in accordance with the most reliable MSS., have ὑπωπιάζω. [A. B. C. D. (1James , 4 th hand). Sinait. many cursives, Orig., Ephr., (one MS.) Chrys., Theodt., Theophyl., Œcum., have ὑποπιάζω. F. G, K. L., with more than 30 cursives, Euseb.. Serap., and a number of copies of the Greek Fathers, have the Doric ὑποπιάζω. D. (3rd hand) E., and a number of cursives and Greek Fathers, have the Attic. ὑποπιέζω. The Latin writers and versions do not clearly indicate what reading they followed; they hare castigo (vulg.) subjicio, macero, affligo, and domo. Reiche,Matthei and Tischendorf have defended ὑπὁπιάζω. Meyer thinks that this originated in the error of some unskilful transcriber, to whom ὑπω with ω was offensive. The word ὑπωπ is found, however, in classic and Hellenistic Greek (Robinson’s Lexicon), and occurs also in Luke 18:5. As an agonistic phrase, it seems to accord well with a number of expressions in this whole passage. The English critics have unanimously adopted it.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Corinthians 10:1.—The Rec. has δέ instead of γάρ, but in opposition to decisive authorities. The change originated in a mistake with respect to the proper connection.

1 Corinthians 10:2; 1 Corinthians 10:2.—Lachmann has ἐβαπτίσθησαν, on the authority of good but not decisive MSS.; and as the more difficult reading, ἐβαπτίσαντο (of the Rec.) deserves the preference. [The passive form is more usual among Christian writers, especially with reference to infant baptism, and is given in A. C. D. E. F. G. Sinait. and 15 cursives; but the middle form is attested by B. K. L., Orig., Chrys., and others, and its reciprocal signification was demanded by the Apostle’s purpose, and need not have given offence with regard to the subjects of apostolic baptism. Theophy l. gives ἐβαπτίζοντο, and thus confirms the conjecture that ἐβαπτίσθησαν was a correction.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:3-4.—The different positions given to the words in 1 Corinthians 9:3-4 by different MSS. have no effect upon the sense of the whole passage (see Tischendorf). [A. C, et al, omit αὐτὸ and Sinait. omit to τό αὐτὸ B. C. (2d hand) and Sinait. put πνευματικὸν before βρῶμα and A., with some cursives, put πνέυμ. ἔφαγον. before βρῶμα In like manner in V:4, A., et al., omit αὑτὸ The Rec., “with D. F. K. L., et al., place πὸμα before πνευμ. ἔπιον , while A. B. C. Sinait, et al., place it after those words. The Rec. also pats δὲ immediately before πέτρα, with A. C. D. (2d hand) K. L., and some patristic MSS., but with no cursives of much authority.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:7; 1 Corinthians 10:7.—Instead of ὥσπερ, the Rec. has ὡς, but it is probaldy a correction to conform to the more usual word.

1 Corinthians 10:8; 1 Corinthians 10:8.—B. D. F. Sinait. omit ἐν before μιᾷ, but A. C. D. (2d and 3d hand) E. K. L. insert it.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:9; 1 Corinthians 10:9.—Lachmann and Meyer have κύριον with B. C. [Sinait.], et al. Meyer thinks that Χριστὀν and θεὀν (A.) are attempts made to explain the true text. But even if Χριστόν had been the true reading, it could easily have given offence to some, who did not see how Christ could be tempted before His incarnation, and so it might have occasioned the insertion of κύριον. [The only authorities for θεόν are A., two cursives, two MSS. of the Slav., and Beda. Χριστόν is adopted by Elzevir, (Rec.) Scholz., de Wette, Osiander, Tisch., Bloomfield and Wordsworth, after D. E. F. G. K. L., a number of cursives, the Ital., Vulg.. Syr. And other versions, and Theodt., Marcion, Chrys., Œcum., Theophyl., Iren., and several Latin Fathers. Alford and Stanley prefer κύριον, as more likely to be explained by the insertion of Χριστὀν and θεόν from the margin. On the other hand, Dr. Hodge thinks Χριστόν the more difficult, and so the more probable reading, and that “while the temptation was strong to change χρ. into κύρ. no one would be disposed to put the former word for the latter.” Much zeal has been shown with respect to these various readings on account of their supposed bearing upon the preëxistence of Christ, and Epiphanius does not hesitate to charge some with an intentional falsification of the text.—He says: ὁ δὲ Μαρκίων�.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:9; 1 Corinthians 10:9.—The Rec. after καθώς has καὶ, but the authority for it is too feeble. [A. B. C. D. F. Sinait. omit it, while only D.(3d hand) K. L., et al., the Syr., Chrys. and Theodt. insert it. It was probably inserted as more usual before καθώς, while the only reason for its omission would have been to conform to 1 Corinthians 10:8.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Corinthians 10:11.—The Rec. has πάντα after ταῦτα δὲ, but it is wanting in B. C., et al., and has different positions in the sentence, thus giving reason to suspect that it must be an addition. [C. K. L., with several versions and fathers, insert it, and D. F. Sinait., and some versions and fathers, read: πάντα δὲ ταῦτα.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Corinthians 10:11.—Lachmann has τυπικῶς, and his reading is well sustained. It is possible that τύποι (Rec.) is an attempt to make the passage conform to 1 Corinthians 9:6. [Lachmann’s reading is supported by A. B. C. K. Sinait., and some versions and fathers.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Corinthians 10:11.—Rec. has κατήντησεν, but Lachm. and Tisch. have κατήντηκεν, The latter is better, but both readings have good authorities. [B. D. E. F. G. Sinait., and some Greek Fathers, have the perfect, and Meyer and Alford think the other an instance of the alteration which copyists frequently made of the perfect into the aorist form. The other word, however, may be an equally appropriate instance of the alteration which the Alexandrian critics frequently made of the aorist into the perfect.—C. V. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Corinthians 10:13.—The. Rec. inserts ὑμᾶς after δύνασθαι, but it is feebly sustained, and it is probably an addition naturally suggested by the context for the completion of the sense. [It is cancelled by Lachm., Tisch., Alford, Stanley and Wordsw. after A. B. C. D. E. F. G. L. Sinait., and most of the versions and Fathers.—C. P. W.].

Verses 24-27

C. Exhortation to earnest self-denial as the condition of obtaining an incorruptible crown; and a warning against carnal security

1 Corinthians 9:24 to 1 Corinthians 10:13

24Know ye not that they which run in a race [race-course, σταδίῳ] run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain [really lay hold of it, καταλάβητε]. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery [contends for a prize, ὰγωνιζόμενος is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown [chaplet, στέφανον]; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight 27[box, πυκτὲυω] I, not as one that beateth the air; But I keep under [beat black and blue, ὑπωπιάζω]30 my body, and bring it into subjection [enslave it, δουλαγωγῶ: lest that by any means, when I have preached [been a herald, κηρύξας] to others, I myself should be a castaway [a rejected one, ὰδόκιμος].

1Moreover [For, γὰρ],31 brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized [had themselves baptized, ἐβαπτίσαντο]32 unto Moses in the cloud and 3in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Bock that followed them [out of a spiritual, following Rock, ἐκ πνευματικῆς�: and that Rock was Christ.33 5But with many [most, τοἰς πλείοσιν] of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown [strewed about, κατεστρώθησαν] in the wilderness. 6Now these things were our examples [became types for us, τύποι ἡμῶν ἐγενήθησαν] to 7the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted; Neither be [become, γίνεσθε] ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written,34 The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in35 one day three and twenty thousand. 9Neither let us tempt [put to the full test, try fully, ἐκπειράζωμεν] Christ,36 as37 some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as 11some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all [om. all]38 these things happened unto them for ensamples [typically, τυπικῶς]1Co 39: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come [last of the ages have come, τὰ τέλη τ. αἰώνων κατήντηκεν]40. 12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13There hath no temptation taken [trial seized upon, πειρασμὸς ἐίληφεν] you but such as is common to man [human, ἀνθρὠπινος]: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with [in the midst of (Tyndale), σύν τῷ π.] the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye41 may be able to bear it.


1 Corinthians 9:24-27. [Having in the last verse (23) of the previous selection mentioned, as the second reason for the renunciation of his rights, his desire that he might thereby become partaker of the Gospel with those he labored for, he next proceeds] to bring home to the consciousness of his readers the extent of that self-denial and earnest endeavor which is requisite for the full attainment of the blessing in question. This he does by a reference to the Grecian games which were celebrated in their vicinity, viz., the Isthmian games. [“It must be remembered in reading the Apostle’s allusions, that from the national character and religion of the Greeks, these games derived an importance which raised them above the degrading associations of modern times. How intense an interest these contests still excited may be seen from Suetonius’ graphic description of the agony of Nero in his desire to succeed; an exaggerated instance, doubtless; but yet illustrative of the general feeling. The stadium, or race-course, of which he speaks, was not a mere resort for public amusements but an almost sacred edifice, under the tutelage of the patron deity of the Ionian tribes, and surrounded by the most solemn recollections of Greece, its white marble seats rising like the foundation of a temple in the grassy slope, where its outline may still be traced, under the shadow of the huge Corinthian citadel, which guards the entrance of the Peloponnesus. The race, in which all run; the pugilistic contests, in which they strove notto beat the air,” were not merely exhibitions of bodily strength, but solemn trials of the excellence of the competitors in the ‘gymnastic art,’ which was to the Greeks one-half of human education. As the friends and relatives watched with breathless interest the issue of the contest, they knew that the victor would be handed down to posterity by having his name sung in those triumphal odes, of which Pindar’s are the extant model, and his likeness placed in the long line of statues which formed the approach to the adjacent temple. The ‘prize’ which he won from the appointed judges, who sat in state at the end of the course, was such as could awaken no mean or mercenary motives; its very simplicity attested its dignity; it was a garland of the Grecian pine, which still, under its classical name, clothes with its light green foliage the plains of the Isthmus, and which was then consecrated to the sea-god, around whose temple its groves were gathered. (See Conybeare and Howson, 20).—The application of the metaphor of the race to the progress of the Christian, here occurs for the first time. Afterwards, compare Philippians 3:12; Php 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:7-8 : Hebrews 12:1. Stanley.].—Know ye not.—[An abrupt and forcible appeal to a familiar fact, analogous to the ease in hand, fraught with obvious lessons]—that those who run in the race-course.—Here is the first illustration—the race (δρόμος)—run all, but one receiveth the prize?—The βραβεῖον is the prize (ᾶθλον) awarded by the arbiter (βραβεύς), [“Lat., bravium, Iren. IV. 7, whence the English, “bravo.” Wordsworth]. The point thus made is stated by Osiander in the practical remarks: “The danger of failing of the end of our faith thro’ a lack of persistent earnestness—the large number of the called, and the few that are chosen; or, as mere running on the course does not ensure the prize, so simple companionship with those who are striving for salvation does not ensure its attainment.”—Hence he briefly and forcibly enjoins.—So run that ye may obtain.—The simplest interpretation here would be to refer οὔτω, so to ἐνα that, in the sense of ῶστε, as: ‘so run as to obtain.’ But it certainly would be more in accordance with usage to make the reference to what precedes: ‘as that one runs who obtains the prize, so run ye in order that ye may obtain.’ [Alford, on the contrary, makes the allusion more general: “after this manner, viz., as they who run all, each endeavoring to be the one who shall receive the prize; for the others strive as earnestly as he.—The οὔτως is presently particularized by one point of the athletes’ preparation being specially alleged for their initiation”]. After “obtain,” the word ‘prize’ must be supplied as the object understood. The use of the καταλαβεῖν suggests the personal effort shown in the matter, literally: ‘that ye may seize, or grasp, the prize;’ as in 1 Timothy 6:12, ἐπιλαβέσθαι, in distinction from which the simple λαμβάνειν would denote the mere receiving, or accepting the thing presented. The recommendation accordingly is to a course of conduct corresponding to the laudable race of him who wins the victor’s wreath, in order that they may obtain possession of salvation, [may ‘work it out’].—That for this an earnest self-denying course was requisite, he shows from the example of the combatants.—now every one.—[“The δέ, now, specifies, referring back to οὕτως. And the emphasis is on πᾶς, every one, thus showing οὕτως, so, to refer to the πάντες, all, who τρέχουσιν, run.” Alford].—that strives.—The general term, ἀγωνίσεσθαι, includes indeed in itself the idea of running in the race; but here the primal reference is to the preparatory training. [“The article (ὁ αγωνιζόμενος) brings out the man as an enlisted and professed agonistes (or athlete), and regards him in that capacity. Had it been πᾶς δέ�̈όμενος, the sense would have been, ‘now every one while contending,’ etc., making the discipline to be merely accidental to his contending—which would not suit the original antitype, where we are enlisted for life.” Alford].—is temperate in all things.—To this there belongs self-control in every particular: abstinere venere et vino, and especially a strict diet, to make one light, nimble and fit for the conflict. [“The discipline lasted for ten months preparatory to the contest, and was at this time so severe, as to be confined to the professional athletes. The diet is thus described by Epictetus: ‘Thou must be orderly, living on spare food; abstain from confections; make a point of exercising at the appointed time, in heat and in cold; nor drink cold water or wine at hazard;—in a word, give thyself up to thy training-master as to a physician, and then enter on the contest.” Stanley].—But as the prize set before the Christian agonistes is nobler than that which awaits the earthly athlete, so much the more ready must the former be to practice that self-denial which is the condition of success.—they indeed.—[μὲν οὖν, connects it with the general train of thought, and μεν gives emphasis.” Jelf, § 730, b.].—[The ellipsis here must be supplied from the previous clause: ‘practice temperance’].—in order that they may receive a corruptible crown.—Such was the prize of the racer in the Isthmian games, a mere garland of pine leaves; [and elsewhere, of olive, parsley or bay leaves].—but we—He here includes himself in their ranks as a fellow-contestant. The ellipsis must be again supplied as above—yet carrying the implication of a higher sort of temperance, even a moral one, according to the nature of the contest entered into.—an incorruptible.i. e., blessedness and glory eternal as the reward of grace (comp. 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4).—In 1 Corinthians 9:26 f., he turns now to speak of himself particularly, showing his own method of training and striving as an example.—I then.—[Ἐγώ is emphatic,—recalls attention from the incidental exhortation and reminiscence of the Christian state to the main subject, viz., his own abstinence from receiving support and its grounds.’ Alford]. τοίνυν, serves to introduce particulars under a general proposition (Passow). So here where Paul comes to present himself as a specimen of the true athlete, who has put himself through a thorough discipline.—so run as not uncertainly—sc., ‘running.’ Ἀδήλως, either, unobserved, unmarked, in contrast with one who distinguishes himself and makes himself noted, or, which corresponds better with the parallel clause, uncertainly, (1 Timothy 6:17), viz., in reference to the goal, being certain of the issue. “In direct course to the goal.” Meyer. (There are various modifications of this interpretation in relation to the goal itself, or to the reaching it, or to the way thereto, comp. Osiander),—so fight I.—He here passes over to another kind of contest, viz., boxing (πυκτεύω).—as not striking the air.—This refers to those random strokes which instead of hitting the antagonist, spend themselves in the air; and not to the sham fight which is preparatory to the real conflict. He is representing himself as engaged in actual fight, and not in the safe prelude to it, as Chrys., Theoph. and others. The whole verse is a description of one occupied in the very heat of the conflict. In the positive exhibition of his conduct, he abandons the participial construction (as in 1 Corinthians 4:14), which a further explanation renders necessary, because he passes out of the metaphor to the literal fact.—but I bruise my body.—Here we have the adversary mentioned on which he was thus planting his effective blows. It was his body (“the body of the flesh,” Colossians 2:10); the “members,” Romans 7:23, as the seat of sin—that which in its affections and lusts was ever hostile to the inner man—the spirit. His energetic treatment he expresses by a term borrowed from the pugilistic combats: ὐπωωιάζειν, to smite under the eyes, so as to make them black and blue; more generally, to batter, to benumb. According to Osiander, he means by it the mortification of the flesh by privations, labors, sufferings endured in consequence of his devotion to his calling, and, especially, of his renunciation of all right to support. We might also conceive an implication here of ascetic severities, such as fasting and the like,—but not to self-flagellation [the absurd practice of which grew out of an abuse of this expression].—and bring it into subjection.—δουλωγωγεῖν implies a complete conquest, quasi servum trahere—“so as to bring the body under the control of a moral will.” (Meyer, Exodus 3:0Exodus 3:0). His motive for this he expresses negatively.—lest somehow, having proclaimed to others.—By κηρύξας, it is questioned whether Paul intended the preaching of the Gospel, which the word elsewhere means in the New Testament; or whether in the prosecution of his metaphor he alludes to the functions of a herald. The latter is the more probable, as the term ἀδόκιμος in the next clause, belongs to the same category. The herald is one who calls the champions into the lists and proclaims the names of the victors. Paul also was a herald, who summoned men to the Christian warfare, announced the terms of the conflict, and was himself also a combatant.—I myself should prove rejected.—ἀδοκιμος [unworthy, disapproved, reprobate]; by this we are not to understand ‘disqualified for the conflict,’ but ‘unsuccessful in the issue.’ [“An examination of the victorious combatants took place after the contest, and if it was found that they had contended unlawfully, or unfairly, they were deprived of the prize and driven with disgrace from the games.” Alford]. Apostolus suo timore nos terruit; quid enim faceit agnus, ubi aries tremuit?42 “If we compare this passage, in which Paul so earnestly suggests the possibility of his own short-coming below the true standard of a Christian life, with 1 Corinthians 9:18, from which the Romanists would fain draw their doctrine of an opus supererogativum, implying a distinction between consilia evangelica and precepta (general Christian duties), we shall readily see how far removed Paul was from fancying that he could do aught transcending his moral obligations—a notion which stands in direct conflict with the whole ethical view of the Apostle.” Neander. [“What an argument and what a reproof is this! The reckless and listless Corinthians thought they could safely indulge themselves to the very verge of sin, while this devoted Apostle considered himself as engaged in a life-struggle for his salvation. The same Apostle, however, who evidently acted on the principle that the righteous scarcely are saved, and that the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, at other times breaks out in the most joyful assurance of salvation, and was persuaded that nothing in heaven, earth or hell could ever separate him from the love of God. The one State of mind is the necessary condition of the other. It is only those who are conscious of this constant and deadly power of sin, to whom this assurance is given. In the very same breath Paul says, ‘O wretched man that I am!’ and, ‘Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory,’ Romans 7:24-25. It is the indolent and self-indulgent Christian that is always in doubt.” Hodge].



[42][The Apostle terrifies us with his own fear; for what shall the lamb do when the ram trembles]?

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1857-84.
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