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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Corinthians 9

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 9

1 Corinthians 9:1. οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐλεύθερος; οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπ.] So A B א, min(1373), and most of the vss(1374), with Tertullian, Origen, Ambrosiast. Aug. Pelag. Cassiodorus, Bede, Griesb. Schulz, Lachm. Tisch. Elz. inverts the order of the questions, and is defended by Pott, Rinck, Reiche, Comm. crit. I. p. 206 ff., Hofmann. But it was very natural to transfer οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπ. to the first place as the more important point, and the one first expounded in detail by the apostle himself (1 Corinthians 9:1-3).—1 Corinthians 9:2. τῆς ἐμῆς] Lachm. Rück. Tisch. read μου τῆς, with B א, 17, 31, 46, Or. Rightly; the Recept(1375) is a more precise definition of the meaning inserted in view of 1 Corinthians 9:3. Had ΄ου crept in from the τὸ ἔργον ΄ου in 1 Corinthians 9:1, it would have been put after ἀποστολῆς.—1 Corinthians 9:6. τοῦ] is wanting, it is true, in A B D* F G א, 17, 46, Isidor., and is deleted consequently by Lachm. and Rück.; but the omission was very naturally suggested by 1 Corinthians 9:4-5.—1 Corinthians 9:7. ἐκ τοῦ καρποῦ] Lachm. Rück. Tisch. read τὸν καρπόν, with A B C* D* F G א*, 17, 46, 137, Sahid. Boern. Tol. Flor. Harl. Vulg. ms. Bede. The Recept(1376) is an alteration in accordance with what follows, made without observing the difference in meaning.—1 Corinthians 9:8. οὐχὶ καὶ κ. τ. λ(1377)] There is decisive testimony in favour of καὶ νό΄ος ταῦτα οὐ λέγει; approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. Tisch. It was altered because not understood.—1 Corinthians 9:10. ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι τοῦ ΄ετέχειν] So Griesb. Lachm. Scholz, Rück. Tisch., with A B C א*, 10, 17, 71, Syr(1378) utr. Erp. Copt. Sahid. Baschm. Arm. Or. Eus. Cyr. The Recept(1379) again (defended by Reiche) is: τῆς ἑλπίδος αὐτοῦ ΄ετέχειν ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι. Since, however, this ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι is omitted also by D* F G, 46, it has such a weight of evidence against it(1380) that it must be rejected at once; τῆς ἐλπίδος αὐτοῦ μετέχειν, again, is so plain as regards its meaning, that had it been the original reading it could hardly have given rise to any change. If, on the other hand, it was not observed that we have to supply ἀλοᾶν after ἀλοῶν, the ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι τοῦ ΄ετέχειν remained unintelligible, and τῆς ἐλπίδος αὐτοῦ was put in as a gloss to obviate the difficulty; then this mistaken gloss in some cases displaced the original words, in others, got mixed up with them (EIz.).—1 Corinthians 9:11. θερίσομεν] C D E F G L, min(1381) Vulg. It. Theodoret, have θερίσωμεν. So Lachm. on the margin. Tischendorf is right in receiving it into the text; grammarians took offence at the subjunctive after εἶ.—1 Corinthians 9:13. There is decisive evidence for reading παρεδρ. here with Lachm. Rück. Tisch. (approved also by Griesb.), and in 1 Corinthians 9:15 οὐ κέχρη΄αι οὐδενὶ τ., with Griesb. Lachm. Scholz, Rück. Tisch.—1 Corinthians 9:15. ἴνα τὶς κενώσῃ] There is great diversity here. B D* א*, Sahid. Bashm. have οὐδεὶς κενώσει (so Lachm.). A has οὐδεὶς ΄ὴ κενώσει (so Rück.). F G, 26, give us τις κενώσει. The Recept(1382), which is specially defended by Reiche, ἵνα τὶς κενώσῃ, has only a partial support from C D*** E I K א**, the majority of the min(1383) and vss(1384), Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. Theophyl. Oec., because most of these authorities are in favour of κενώσει, which is adopted by Tisch. But the Received reading, as well as the τις κενώσει, seems to be an attempt to amend the original—but not understood—text in B (which A only intensifies), so that we ought to read: τὸ καύχημά μου οὐδεὶς κενώσει. See the exeget. remarks on the verse.—1 Corinthians 9:16. καύχημα] D E F G א*, It.: χάρις. Not strongly enough attested; an old gloss in accordance with Luke 6:32-34. Instead of γάρ after οὐαί, Elz. has δέ, but against conclusive evidence. A false correction. There are decisive grounds for reading, with Lachm. and Tisch., εὐαγγελίσωμαι in place of the second εὐαγγελίζωμαι; the Recept(1385) is a repetition from the first.—1 Corinthians 9:18. Elz. and Scholz have τοῦ χριστοῦ after εὐαγγέλ., in opposition to decisive evidence.—1 Corinthians 9:20. ΄ὴ ὢν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νό΄ον] omitted in Elz., but given by almost all the uncials and many vss(1386) and Fathers. Homoeoteleuton.—1 Corinthians 9:21. The genitives θεοῦ and χριστοῦ (Elz. and Scholz have the datives) have decisive testimony in their favour, as κερδάνω τοὺς ἀν. also has (so Lachm. Rück. Tisch.); the Recept(1387) κερδήσω ἀνό΄ους was formed upon the model of 1 Corinthians 9:20.—1 Corinthians 9:22. The ὡς before ἀσθ. is wanting in A B א*, Vulg. Clar. Germ. Or. Cypr. Ambrosiast. Aug. Ambr. Bede. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. It was a mechanical addition on the plan of the preceding clauses.

The article before πάντα (Elz. Scholz) is condemned by a great preponderance of authority.—1 Corinthians 9:23. τοῦτο] The most and best of the uncials, with the majority of vss(1388) and Fathers, have πάντα; recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. Tisch. τοῦτο is a gloss inserted to define the meaning more precisely; for the same reason Sahid. Arm. read ταῦτα δὲ πάντα.—1 Corinthians 9:27. ὑπωπιάζω] So Elz. Lachm. It has such a mass of weighty testimony on its side (A B C D* א, min(1389) Or. Chrys. Theodoret, Theophyl. Oec.) that the other readings, ὑποπιάζω (F G K L min(1390) Fathers) and ὑποπιέζω (D*** E, min(1391) Fathers), must be rejected even on the ground of external evidence alone, all the more that the vss(1392) castigo (Vulg.), subjicio, macero, affligo, domo, do not show clearly which reading they follow. Notwithstanding, ὑποπιάζω has been defended of late, especially by Matth. (“ πιάζειν loco πιέζειν aliquos male habuit”), Reiche, Hofm., and adopted by Tisch. It appears to have been simply the production of ignorant and mechanical transcribers, who were familiar with πιάζω or πιέζω, but took offence at ὑπω (with ω).

CONTENTS.

That principle of loving self-denial which Paul had just laid down for himself in respect of the single point in question (1 Corinthians 8:13), he now confirms by referring to his general demeanour, of which that one resolve was merely a particular expression, and shows, in a frank, deeply impressive, and striking elucidation, how he, notwithstanding that he was free and an apostle (1 Corinthians 9:1-3), yet refrained from pressing his well-grounded right to have himself (and a consort as well) supported by the churches (1 Corinthians 9:4-18), and adapted himself to the needs of all men (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). His readers, therefore, should be like champions at the games in striving for the everlasting crown, preparing themselves to this end through the exercise of self-control, even as he too sought, by self-renunciation, to become worthy of the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Not until chap. 10 does he come back from this digression to the special topic (of the sacrificial flesh) with which it stands connected. It is not of the nature of an apology as regards its whole plan and design, but only incidentally so in some isolated references (1 Corinthians 9:2-3; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 9:12).


Verse 1

1 Corinthians 9:1. The first two questions bring out the fact that he was seemingly exalted far above any such consideration and renunciation on his own part as he had announced in 1 Corinthians 8:13; the third question corroborates the full purport of the second; and the fourth places him in probative relation to his readers, whom Paul καὶ αὐτοὺς εἰς μαρτυρίαν καλεῖ, Theodoret.

ἐλεύθερος] free, dependent upon no man. Comp 1 Corinthians 9:19.

ἰησοῦν ἑώρακα] Observe the solemnity of the phrase; his readers knew what was implied in it on his lips. The reference here is not to his having seen Christ in His earthly life, which would have had nothing to do with his apostleship, and which, moreover, cannot be proved to have taken place in the case of Paul at all,—certainly not from 2 Corinthians 5:16,—but to the sight of the glorified Jesus, which was first vouchsafed near Damascus to call him to be an apostle (Acts 9:17; Acts 22:14 f., Acts 26:16; Acts 15:8), and was often repeated afterwards, although in different forms (Acts 18:9; Acts 22:17 f.; 2 Corinthians 12:1).(1394) It is an arbitrary thing to exclude those later appearances (Estius, Flatt, Billroth, Olshausen, Osiander, Hofmann), since they, too, were granted to the apostle as such, and in connection with his apostolic relation to Christ; they could only serve to confirm his position of equality in the apostleship, and in this bearing were doubtless familiar to his readers from Paul’s own lips.

ἐν κυρίῳ] does not belong to ἔργον; just as little does it to ὑμεῖς (Pott), or to ὑμεῖς ἐστε alone (Rückert), but is meant to bring out the Christian character of the whole τὸ ἔργον μ. ὑμεῖς ἐστε. For out of Christ, in whom (as the object of faith) the Christian lives and moves, outside of this element of the new life and standing, the Corinthians, who owed their Christian existence to the apostle, were not his work. The rendering: by the help of the Lord, is arbitrary, and does not suit the context. Some of those who adopt it understand κύριος of God (Beza, Piscator, Flatt, Rückert, al(1395), following Chrysostom and Theophylact). Comp 1 Corinthians 4:15.


Verse 2-3

1 Corinthians 9:2-3. Not a parenthesis, but a statement interposed in his own defence, occasioned by οὐ τὸ ἔργον κ. τ. λ(1397), and flowing from a heart deeply moved.

ἄλλοις] i.e. in relation to others, who, not belonging to your community, do not own my apostleship as valid for them.(1398) “We have no Apostle Paul,” say they! Comp as to the relation of the dative, 1 Corinthians 8:6.

οὐκ εἰμί] See Winer, p. 446 [E. T. 601].

ἀλλάγε] still at least. See Hermann, a(1400) Viger. p. 826. The γε intensifies the ἀλλά of the apodosis (see on 1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 Corinthians 8:6): see Klotz, a(1401) Devar. p. 24 f. It cannot be said with any critical certainty that ἀλλάγε ever occurs in the classics undivided (without one or more words put between the two particles). See Klotz, l.c(1402) p. 15, and Heind. a(1403) Plat. Phaed. p. 86 E Stallbaum, a(1404) Rep. p. 331 B.

Taking the reading γὰρ σφραγ. μου τ. ἀποστ. (see the critical remarks), the meaning is: my seal of apostleship, with the emphasis on σφραγ. As to the word itself, see Romans 4:11. Theodoret well remarks: ἀπόδειξιν γὰρ τῶν ἀποστολικῶν κατορθωμάτων τὴν ὑμετέραν ἔχω μεταβολήν.

ἐν κυρίῳ] as in 1 Corinthians 9:1; it belongs to the whole preceding clause: σφραγὶς τ. ἐμ. ἀπ. ὑμ. ἐστε. For out of Christ the Corinthians were no seal of Paul’s apostleship. See on 1 Corinthians 9:1. They were this seal to him, inasmuch as they had become Christians through his agency (in general, not through his miracles in particular, as Flatt holds with older expositors).

ἐμὴ ἀπολογ. κ. τ. λ(1405)] statement of what the foregoing comes to, added without any connective particle, and so all the more emphatic; not merely a repetition of the last clause in other words (Hofmann), which would be an admissible interpretation only if αὕτη ἐστι were absent, or if ἐστέ occurred again.

τοῖς ἑ΄ὲ ἀνακρ.] to those who institute an inquiry regarding me (comp Acts 19:33; 2 Corinthians 12:19), who question my apostleship. Both ἀπολ. and ἀνακρ. are purposely-chosen forensic expressions. Comp as to the latter, Luke 23:14; Acts 4:9; Acts 12:19; Acts 24:8; Acts 28:18.

αὓτη] this, namely, this fact, that you are the seal of mine ἀποστολή. It does not refer to what follows (Chrysostom, Ambrosiaster, Grotius, Calovius), for 1 Corinthians 9:4 continues the series of questions begun in 1 Corinthians 9:1, and what follows does not contain any further defence of his apostleship (which, moreover, would be quite unsuitable here).

Observe, lastly, the emphasis of ἐμή and ἐ΄έ, expressive of a well-grounded sense of his own position.


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 9:4 f. Returning from the digression in 1 Corinthians 9:2-3, Paul begins a new series of questions, with the view of now making good the prerogative arising out of his apostleship, which in point of fact he declined to exercise.

μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν] i.e. we surely are not destitute of the right to lead, etc.? Comp Romans 10:18; 1 Corinthians 11:22. The plural cannot be restricted in its reference to Paul alone, seeing that it has just been preceded, and is again followed in 1 Corinthians 9:6, by the singular, but must imply that the apostle is thinking both of himself and of whosoever else acts in like manner. More particularly, 1 Corinthians 9:6 shows that he has here in his eye, not his companions in labour generally (Hofmann), but Barnabas in particular besides himself (for see the μόνος in 1 Corinthians 9:6), and him only. It may be added, that Calovius is right in saying, against the abuse of this passage in the interests of monasticism, that Paul is not speaking here of what “semper et ubique vitari oporteat sed de eo tantum quod in casu noxii scandali infirmorum fratrum vitandum est.”

φαγεῖν κ. πιεῖν] i.e. at the cost of the churches. To understand it of non-observance of the Jewish laws about food (Hunnius, Heydenreich, Billroth, comp Olshausen), or of sacrificial flesh and wine (Schrader), is contrary to the context. See 1 Corinthians 9:6 ff. The right of eating and drinking, in the sense in which the reader would naturally understand it as an apostolic prerogative (Luke 10:7), required nothing to be added to define it. The analogy of Matthew 11:19 (Hofmann) has no bearing on the clause before us, the point of view there being that of asceticism.

The infinitives are exegetical, and need no τοῦ (Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:10, al(1410)).

ἀδελφὴν γυν. περιάγ.] to lead about (along with me on my official journeys) a sister (a female believer) as a wife. The view taken by several of the Fathers (see Aug. de op. Monach. iv. 5, Jerome, τινές in Theodoret, Theophylact; comp generally, Suicer, Thes. I. p. 810), that a serviens matrona is meant (so also Erasmus, Cornelius a Lapide, and Estius), is against the plain meaning of the words, without shadow of historical support in the life of the apostle, supposes a somewhat unseemly relation, and is contrary to the example of Peter, Matthew 8:14.(1412) It has, however, been still defended of late by Roman Catholic writers (Maier) on wholly insufficient grounds. On περιάγειν, comp Xen. Cyr. ii. 2. 28; it occurs oftener in the middle, as Xen. Mem. i. 7. 2; Polyb. xx. 5. 8.

ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιπ. ἀπ.] It does not follow from this that all the other apostles were married, but the majority of them must have been so, otherwise the phrase, which must be meant to hold at least a potiori, would be unsuitable.

καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ κυρίου] Now, the brethren of the Lord are in Acts 1:14 expressly distinguished from the Twelve; further, in Galatians 1:19, James, the Lord’s brother, is equally distinguished from those who were apostles in the narrower and original sense (such as Peter); and further still, we have no trace in any of the lists of the apostles (Matthew 10:2 f.; Mark 3:16 f.; Luke 6:14 f.) that there were “brethren of the Lord” among the Twelve,—a supposition which would also be decidedly at variance with John 7:3; Mark 3:21. The ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ κυρίου, therefore, should not be put on a level with Cephas (Hofmann), and sought within the number of the Twelve, but are the actual brothers of Jesus, not His half-brothers merely (sons of Joseph by a former marriage), but His uterine brothers, later-born sons of Joseph and Mary (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7; Matthew 12:46; Matthew 13:55), who had become believers and entered upon apostolic work after the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:7; Acts 1:14), and among whom James, in particular, as president of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18), had obtained a high apostolic position (Galatians 2:9). see on Acts 12:17; Galatians 1:19. This view (which is held also by de Wette, Billroth, Rückert, Osiander, Neander, and Ewald, among the more recent expositors of the passage before us) runs counter to what was formerly the common view, namely, that of Jerome, which still prevails with Roman Catholics, and is supported by Hengstenberg and others, that the phrase denotes the sons of Christ’s mother’s sister, so that James, the Lord’s brother, would be identical with the son of Alphaeus (but see on John 19:25), and would bear the name of “brother of the Lord” ( אָח in the wider sense) as a title of honour from his near relationship to Jesus. Comp on Matthew 12:46. In like manner Lange, in his apost. Zeitalter, p. 189, understands the Alphaeidae to be meant; they were, he holds, the adopted brothers of Jesus, Joseph having adopted as his own the children of Alphaeus, who was his brother, after the latter’s death. All this is nothing but arbitrary imagination, resting simply upon the false assumption that Mary brought forth Jesus, not as her first-born (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7), but as her only child. Lange is wrong here in making the καί a proof that the brethren of the Lord were among the Twelve, and are but singled out from their number in this verse for special mention. What Paul says is rather: “as also the other apostles and the brethren of the Lord;” and then, having set before us this august circle formed by the Twelve and those brethren of the Lord closely associated with them since the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:14), in which, too, he himself, as an apostle, had an equal place, he singles out in conclusion the most illustrious of them all, one who was looked upon as the head of the whole circle (Galatians 1:18), by adding: “and, i.e. and, to mention him in particular by name, Cephas;” so that it is only the last καί, and not the second as well (as Hofmann, too, maintains), that carries the force of special distinction (Fritzsche, a(1415) Marc. p. 11); comp Mark 16:7.

The design of the whole question, μὴ οὐκ ἔχ. ἐξουσ. ἀδελφ. γ. π., has no bearing upon scruples (of the Christ-party) as to marriage being allowed (Olshausen), but is closely connected with the purport of the first question, as is plain from περιάγειν: “Am I denied, then, the right to live at the cost of the churches, and to have, like the other apostles, etc., a consort journeying along with me from place to place?” in which latter case a similar support from the churches is, from the nature of the circumstances, and from the scope of the context (1 Corinthians 9:4; 1 Corinthians 9:6), manifestly assumed as a matter of course.

Peter’s wife is called by tradition sometimes Concordia, sometimes Perpetua. See Grabe, Spicil. Patr. I. p. 330.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 9:6. ] or, i.e. unless it were true that, etc. In that case, indeed, the ἐξουσία, of which I spoke in 1 Corinthians 9:4-5, must of course be wanting! We have therefore no third ἐξουσία introduced here (Pott, Rückert), but conveys an argument, as it usually does.

βαρνάβας] see on Acts 4:36. He was formerly (see on Acts 15:38) Paul’s companion in his missionary labours, and as such held a high apostolic position (Galatians 2:9).

τοῦ μὴ ἐργάζ.] Have we not the right to cease from working? Paul supported himself by tent-making (Acts 18:3); in what way Barnabas did so, is unknown. Both of them, very probably, after mutual consultation, had laid it down as a principle to maintain themselves by their own independent labour, and acted upon this rule even when working separately, whereas the rest of the apostolic teachers (see μόνος) claimed support from the resources of the churches. ἐργάζεσθαι is the word constantly used for working, 2 Thessalonians 3:8; Acts 18:3; Homer, Il. xviii. 469, Od. xiv. 272; Xen. Cyr. i. 6. 11, al(1417) The rendering: hoc operandi (Vulgate and Latin Fathers), arises from a different reading (without the μή).


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 9:7. Proof of this apostolic right τοῦ μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι from three analogies in common life, by applying which to the preachers of the gospel it is made manifest that these have the right to live from the gospel. “Pulchre confertur minister evangelii cum milite, vinitore, pastore,” Bengel. Comp 2 Corinthians 10:3 ff.; Matthew 20:1; John 10:12; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:5.

ἰδίοις ὀψ.] i.e. so that he pays his own wages (Luke 3:14; Romans 6:23).

The difference of construction in the two clauses with ἐσθίει ( τὸν καρπόν, see the critical remarks, and then ἐκ), is to be regarded as simply an accidental change in the form of conception, without diversity in the substance of the thought. With ἐκ (comp Sirach 11:17; Tobit 1:10, al(1420)) the expression is partitive; in using the accusative Paul has the fruit (the grapes) in a purely objective way before his mind. See generally, Kühner, II. p. 181. The wages of shepherds in the East consists to this day in a share of the milk. See Rosenmüller, Morgenl. VI. p. 97.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 9:8. Transition to the proof from Scripture of the above ἐξουσία.

It is not supposed surely that I speak this (namely, what I say of that apostolic prerogative in applying to it the rule of these ordinary analogies) after the manner of a man (according to mere human judgment, as a purely human rule, and not a divinely given one)? or the law too, does it not say this? Is it silent concerning this principle? Does it contain no statement of it?

κατὰ ἄνθρ.] The opposite of this is κατὰ τὸν νόμον τοῦ θεοῦ. Comp on Romans 3:5; Galatians 3:15. Theodoret gives the idea correctly: εἰ δέ τινι ἀνθρώπινος εἶναι ταῦτα δοκεῖ λογισ΄ὸς, ἀκουέτω τοῦ νό΄ου διαῤῥήδην διαγορεύοντος.

] as in 1 Corinthians 9:6. “I should not speak this after man’s way of thinking, if it were the case that the law contained nothing of it.” This is the affirmative sense of the interrogative phrase.

καί] too; the law is conceived of as the higher authority coming in over and above the individual λαλῶ.

οὐ] negatives the λέγει; see the critical remarks. Comp 1 Corinthians 9:7.

As to the difference to be noticed between λαλῶ and λέγω, see on Romans 3:19; John 8:43.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 9:9. γάρ] introduces the answer which is to prove that the ταῦτα οὐ λέγει does not hold good.

τῷ ΄ωϋσ. νόμῳ] carries a certain solemnity, as coming after νόμος in ver 8. The quotation is from Deuteronomy 25:4, given exactly according to the LXX., where it is forbidden to keep the ox that drew the thrashing machine from eating by a muzzle ( φιμός, κημός), which used to be done among heathen nations (Varro, i. 25; Cato, de re rust. 54). See Michaelis, Mos. R. III. § 130. The motive of the prohibition, in accordance with that spirit of tenderness towards the lower creation which breathes throughout the whole law (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 222), was humanity to the helpful animals. See Josephus, Antt. iv. 8. 21; Philo, de Carit. p. 711 F. The same citation is made in 1 Timothy 5:18. Comp also Constitt. Ap. ii. 25. 3.

φιμώσεις] = κη΄ώσεις, which B* D* F G, Tisch. actually read, and which we should accept as genuine, since the former might easily creep into the text from the LXX. Regarding κη΄οῦν, to muzzle, comp Xen. de re eq. v. 3; Poll. i. 202. As to the future with the force of an imperative (thou wilt—that I expect of thee—not muzzle an ox in the thrashing-floor), see on Matthew 1:21.

Beginning with μὴ τῶν βοῶν, there follows now the interpretation of this law, given in the form of a twofold question which runs on to λέγει, first of all, negatively: God does not surely concern Himself about oxen? To modify this negation by an “only” (so Erasmus and many others, among whom is Rückert: “for nothing further than”) is unwarrantable, although even Tholuck’s view in its latest form still amounts to this (das A. T. im N. T., ed. 6, p. 40). What Paul means is, that this class of creatures, the oxen, are not the objects of the divine solicitude in that provision of the law; what expresses the care to be taken for the oxen, is said not for their sakes, but διʼ ἡμᾶς. οὐ γὰρ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλόγων νόμος, ἀλλʼ ὑπὲρ τῶν νοῦν κ. λόγον ἐχόντων, Philo, de Sacrif. p. 251. Manifestly in this way the apostle sets aside(1425) the actual historical sense of that prohibition (Josephus, Antt. iv. 8. 21) in behalf of an allegorical sense,(1426) which, from the standpoint of a purely historic interpretation, is nothing but an application made “a minori ad majus” (comp Bava Mezia, f. 88). But this need not surprise us, considering the freedom used in the typico-allegorical method of interpreting Scripture, which regarded such an application as the reference of the utterance in question designed by God, and which from this standpoint did not take the historical sense into account along with the other at all. The interpreter, accordingly, who proceeds upon this method with regard to any particular passage does not call in question its historical meaning as such, considered in itself, but only (as was self-evident to his readers) as regards the higher typical destination of the words, inasmuch as he goes to work not as a historical, but as a typico-allegorical expositor. It is in the typical destination of the law in general (Colossians 2:17), whereby it pointed men above and beyond itself, that such a mode of procedure finds its justification, and on this ground it has both its freedom, according as each special case may require, and at the same time its ethical limit, in the necessity of being in harmony with what befitted God.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 9:10. Or—since that cannot be supposed—is this the true state of the case, that He saith it altogether for our sakes?

πάντως] in the sense of in any case, wholly, absolutely, as in 1 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 9:22; see the remarks there. Comp Acts 18:21; Acts 21:22; Acts 28:4, also Romans 3:9. The rendering: of course, certainly, is equally admissible as in Luke 4:23, but would suit an affirmative statement better. Theophylact says well (following Chrysostom): ὡς ἐπὶ ὁμολογουμένου τέθεικεν, ἵνα μὴ συγχωρήση μηδʼ ὁτιοῦν ἀντειπεῖν τῷ ἀκροατῇ.

διʼ ἡμᾶς] cannot mean men in general (so most expositors, Hofmann, too, concurring), but must refer to the Christian teachers (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Estius, Rückert, Neander, al(1429)); this necessarily follows both from the whole connection of the argument and from the ἡ΄εῖς in 1 Corinthians 9:11, since it is an entirely arbitrary assumption to make the latter word have a different subject from our ἡ΄ᾶς.

λέγει] sc(1430) θεός supplied from the foregoing clause, not γραφή (Olshausen).

γάρ as in 1 Corinthians 9:9.

ἑγράφη] namely, the utterance of the law cited in 1 Corinthians 9:9.

ὅτι] cannot have an argumentative force (Luther, Beza, Calvin, and others, among whom is Neander); nor is it the simple that of quotation (Rückert, who indeed looks upon what follows as cited from some apocryphal book, in which Ewald concurs with him), so that ἐγράφη would refer to the next clause,—but it is explicative merely (Castalio, Pott, de Wette, Osiander, al(1431), comp also Hofmann), setting forth the typico-allegorical contents of these words of the law in so far as they were written διʼ ἡμᾶς, that is, for the Christian teachers: namely, that the plougher is bound to plough in hope, and the thrasher (is bound to thrash) in hope of having his share. The ἀλοῶν and the ἀροτριῶν is thus no other than the gospel teacher, as necessarily follows from διʼ ἡμᾶς; the passage of the law now under consideration gives occasion to his being figuratively designated (see as early expositors as Chrysostom and Theophylact) in accordance with the idea of the γεώργιον θεοῦ (1 Corinthians 3:9), without, however, the two words being intended to signify different departments of teaching,—a notion which receives no countenance from the context. It is teaching in general that is here represented by two analogous figures. Figure apart, therefore, the meaning is: that the teacher, namely, is bound(1433) to exercise his office of teaching, in hope to have profit therefrom. οὐδὲν οὖν ἕτερον τὸ στόμα ἀκήμωτον ὂν τοῦ ζώου τούτου βοᾶ ὅτι τοὺς διδασκάλους τοὺς πονοῦντας δεῖ καὶ ἀμοιβῆς ἀπολαύειν, Chrysostom. It is a mistake to apply the words, as is commonly done, to the literal plougher and thrasher. Such a maxim of ordinary life would, it is plain, be wholly foreign to the typico-allegorical character of the argument, and generally to the nature of the mystical interpretation of Scripture, which Paul follows here; the result would be something unsuitably trivial. Nor is it simply an application of the moral idea of the precept to the spiritual work that the apostle would have his readers make; there is not the slightest trace of this in his words, but the material work serves directly as the foil to the spiritual. Theophylact puts it rightly: διδάσκαλος ὀφείλει ἀροτριᾶν κ. κοπιᾶν ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ἀμοιβῆς κ. ἀντιμισθίας.

ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι] has the chief emphasis, and belongs to ὀφείλει, being its conditioning basis (as in Romans 4:18; Romans 8:21; Titus 1:2). What hope the plougher is to cherish, is self-evident, namely, to enjoy with others the fruits of his ploughing; the reference of the figure is obvious from the context.

τοῦ μετέχειν] to wit, of the grain thrashed. As to the genitive, see Romans 5:2, al(1434)


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 9:11. Application of 1 Corinthians 9:10, and that in such a way as to make the readers feel ὅτι μείζονα λαμβάνουσιν διδόασιν, Chrysostom; an argument a majori ad minus.

ἡμεῖς] does not include Barnabas, who cannot be proved ever to have joined company again with Paul after the separation recorded in Acts 15:39, and who certainly had no share in founding the church at Corinth. The apostle means himself along with his companions of that period, when by casting forth the seed of the gospel he founded the church to which his readers belonged ( ἐσπείραμεν), Acts 18:5; 2 Corinthians 1:19.

ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν] An emphatic juxtaposition, the emphasis of which is further heightened by the ἡμεῖς ὑμῶν which follows.

τὰ πνευματικά] spiritual things, Christian knowledge, faith, love, etc., inasmuch as these are the blessings which, proceeding from the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), become the portion of believers through the sower’s work of preaching the gospel (Matthew 13:3 ff.). Contrasted with these are τὰ σαρκικά, the things which have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit, but belong to the lower sphere of man’s life, to his sensuous, corporeal nature, such as food, clothing, money, etc. Comp as regards the antithesis, Romans 15:27.

΄έγα] res magni momenti, Xen. Cyrop. vii. 5. 52, Anab. vii. 7. 27. It means here, from the connection: something disproportionate. Comp 2 Corinthians 11:15.

θερίσω΄εν] see the critical remarks. The subjunctive after εἰ “respectum comprehendit experientiae” (Hermann, de partic. ἄν, p. 97); see regarding this idiom on Luke 9:13, and Hermann, a(1437) Viger. p. 831; it occurs in Homer and the lyric poets, and, although no certain instance of it can be given from the Attic prose writers, is frequent again in later Greek.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 9:12. Confirmation from the example of others.

ἄλλοι] other teachers generally, who came into the church after the apostle and his associates (comp 1 Corinthians 3:10), and who were still there. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Pott, and others understand them to be false teachers, so as to obviate any appearance of collision between Paul and the apostles. But there was, in fact, no other apostle whatever among the rest of the Corinthian teachers.

τῆς ὑμῶν ἐξουσ.] the authority over you(1439), i.e. according to the context: the right to claim their support from you. ὑμῶν is thus the genitivus objecti (as in 1 Corinthians 9:6, comp John 17:2; Matthew 10:1, al(1441)), not subjecti, as if it meant: “leave, which you give” (Schrader), which does not correspond with the conception that Paul had of the case in 1 Corinthians 9:4-11. To understand the word in the sense of means (Schulz, with Castalio, Salmeron, Zeltner, Ewald), i.e. resources, which are at your command, may be justified by classical usage (Plato, Legg. viii. p. 828 D Thuc. i. 38. 3, vi. 31. 4), but not by that of the N. T., and is excluded here by the scope of what immediately follows. Chrysostom, in accordance with his assumption that false teachers are meant, makes the reference to be to their tyrannical power over the Corinthians. Conjectures (such as that of Olearius: ἡμῶν, which is actually the reading of 2. 52, and to which Rückert and Neander too are inclined; or that of Cappellus and Locke: οὐσίας) are quite superfluous.

The second ἀλλά is opposed to the οὐκ ἐχρησ. Comp Hom. Il. i. 26 f.; Plato, Sympos. p. 211 E, and often elsewhere.

μᾶλλον] potius, we the founders of your church.

πάντα στέγομεν] we endure all things (see Wetstein and Kypke, II. p. 213), should be left indefinite: labours, privations and the like, arising from our not using the right in question. Comp 1 Corinthians 13:7.

ἵνα μὴ ἐγκοπ. κ. τ. λ(1444)] For how easily, supposing the apostle’s labours had been less independent, or that some suspicion of self-interest, ambition, or greed of gain had rested upon him and his companions, might hindrances have been put in the way of the gospel as regards its reception, effect, and diffusion! And how powerfully must that sacred cause have been commended and furthered by such an example of noble self-denial! Respecting ἐγκοπή, comp Dion. Hal. de comp verb. p. 157. 15.


Verse 13-14

1 Corinthians 9:13-14. An additional proof of the above right on the part of the teachers, drawn now from the sphere of the Israelitish theocracy, namely, from the example of the priests and the corresponding command of Christ Himself. Then, in 1 Corinthians 9:15, ἐγὼ δὲτούτων repeats the contrast to this.

The first of the two parallel halves of 1 Corinthians 9:13,(1447) which together describe the ἱερατεύειν (Luke 1:7), characterizes the priests generally: οἱ τὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζ., who do the holy things, i.e. whose work is to perform divine service; the second clause again is more specific: “who are constantly busied at the altar of sacrifice” ( προσεδρ. and παρεδρ., of an official, and especially of a priestly, assidere, Diod. Sic. i. 40; Josephus, cont. Ap. i. 7; Lucian, Asin. 5; Kypke, II. p. 213). As regards τὰ ἱερά, res sacrae, i.e. what belongs to the divine cultus, comp 3 Maccabees 3:21 (according to the true reading); Demosth. 1300. 6; and often elsewhere in the classics. They eat from the sanctuary, inasmuch as they have their support from what is brought into the temple (sacrifices, shewbread, first-fruits, etc.); they have their share with the altar of sacrifice, inasmuch as they take to themselves their part of the offerings which belong to the altar. See Numbers 18:8 ff. Beza puts it well: “altaris esse socios in dividenda victima.” It is incorrect to explain the first clause as referring to the Levites and the second to the priests (so Chrysostom, Theophylact, Vitringa, Wolf), for the Levites were not τὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζόμενοι, but only ἱερόδουλοι (3 Esdr. 1:3), and therefore, in respect of their occupations, are no fitting analogues to the preachers of the gospel; see rather Romans 15:16; Philippians 2:17. On this ground we must refuse even to include the Levites here (against de Wette, Osiander, Maier, al(1449)). Rückert understands both clauses to refer to the Jewish and heathen cultus and its ministers. But in the mind of the apostle, looking at things from the theocratic point of view of his nation, the ἱερόν and the θυσιαστ. are simply κατʼ ἐξοχήν, those of Israel (Romans 9:4); and how could he otherwise have said οὕτω καὶ κ. τ. λ(1450), 1 Corinthians 9:14, seeing that the heathen priestly institute was by no means of divine appointment? For these reasons we cannot even say, with Ewald, that the words refer primarily indeed to Numbers 18, but are couched in such a general form as to apply also to the priests in the heathen temples. The mention of τῷ θυσιαστηρ. is especially opposed to this interpretation, since for Paul there can be but the one altar; comp 1 Corinthians 10:18.

οὕτω καὶ κύριος κ. τ. λ(1452)] so, i.e. in accordance with the relation of things stated in 1 Corinthians 9:13, hath the Lord also, etc. κύριος is Christ; the allusion is to such sayings of His as Matthew 10:10, Luke 10:8, here referred to as handed down by living tradition. By the καί, again, the command of Christ is linked to the foregoing relations under the O. T. economy, with which it corresponds (comp Chrysostom). The order of the words is enough of itself to show that the reference is not to God, for in that case we must have had: οὕτω καὶ τοῖς τὸ εὐαγγ. καταγγ. κύριος διέταξε.

For examples of the idiom ζῆν ἐκ, see Kypke.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 9:15. ἐγὼ δέ] Paul now reverts to the individual way of expressing himself (1 Corinthians 9:3), effecting thereby a lively climax in the representation. From this point onward to the end of the chapter we have a growing torrent of animated appeal; and in what the apostle now says regarding his mode of acting, his desire is that he alone should stand prominent, without concerning himself about others, and how they might act and appear in these respects.

οὐδενὶ τούτων] none of these things; Oecumenius, Theophylact, Estius, Rückert, al(1454), make this refer to the grounds of the ἐξουσία in question which have been hitherto adduced. But there is no reason why we should not refer it simply to the immediately preceding statement as to the ordinance of Christ regarding the ἐκ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ζῇν. Of what belongs to that ordinance (food, drink, money, clothing, etc., see Acts 20:33)—of none of these things ( τούτων) had Paul availed himself. How common it is for Greek writers also to use ταῦτα of a single thing, when considered in its different component elements, may be seen in Kühner, § 423, note; Stallbaum, a(1455) Plat. Apol. Soc. p. 19 D. Hofmann holds that the “facts from the history of redemption,” cited in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14, are meant. But οὐδενί implies that what is referred to is a multitude of things, which is summed up in τούτων.

Observe the use of the perfect κέχρημ. to describe a continuous course of action. It is different with ἐχρησά΄. in 1 Corinthians 9:12.

A full stop should be put after τούτων; for with οὐκ ἔγραψα δὲ ταῦτα (all from 1 Corinthians 9:4 to 1 Corinthians 9:15) there begins a new section in the apostle’s address.

ἵνα οὓτω κ. τ. λ(1456)] in order that (for the future) the like (according to what I have written, namely, that the preachers of the gospel should be supported by the churches) should be done in my case (comp Luke 23:31; Matthew 17:12).

μᾶλλον] potius, namely, than let myself he supported (not magis, Vulgate).

τὸ καύχημα μοῦ οὐδεὶς κενώσει] (see the critical remarks) expresses what is to take place, if the ἀποθανεῖν does not ensue. That is to say, the cannot here be the than of comparison,(1458) as it would be were we to adopt the Recept(1459), which in fact has just arisen from men failing rightly to understand this . It means “aut,” or otherwise (comp 1 Corinthians 7:11; Acts 24:20), equivalent to εἰ δὲ ΄ή, and so specifying “what will take place, if the thing before named does not happen” (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 126), so that it is equivalent in sense to alioquin. See Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 12; Kühner, a(1461) Xen. Andb. i. 4. 16; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 750 f.; Baeumlein, l.c(1462) What Paul says is: “Rather is it good for me to die, i.e. rather is death beneficial for me, or otherwise, if this ἀποθανεῖν is not to ensue and I therefore am to remain alive, no one is to make my glory void. Comp as to this asseveration, 2 Corinthians 11:10.

τὸ καύχη΄ά ΄ου κ. τ. λ(1464)] i.e. No man will ever bring me to give up my principle of preaching without receiving anything in return, so as to produce the result that I can no longer have ground for glorying ( καύχημα here too means materies gloriandi, as in 1 Corinthians 5:6 and always). Lachmann’s conjecture (Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 839, and Praef. p. xii.), which is adopted by Billroth: νὴ τὸ καύχημά μου· οὐδεὶς κενώσει (comp 1 Corinthians 15:31), breaks up the passage unnecessarily; and the same meaning would be arrived at more easily and simply, were we merely to write with the circumflex, in the sense of sane, which is so common in the classics (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 119 f.): in truth, no one will make my glory void. But this use of does not occur in the N. T. Rückert’s opinion is, that what we find in the old MSS. gives no sense at all;(1466) we cannot tell what Paul actually wrote; but that the hest [how far?] of what we have to choose from is the Recept(1467). Ewald, too, and Hofmann, follow the latter.

It does not follow from 1 Corinthians 9:14 that by ἀποθανεῖν we are to understand precisely death by famine (so Billroth, with Theophylact, Erasmus, Piscator, al(1468)); but the thought is generally to this effect: so far from letting myself be supported by the churches, I will rather be kept by death from this disgrace, by which, while I live, I shall let no one rob me of my glory. The idea is that of ἀντὶ τοῦ ζῇν ἀποθνήσκειν εὐκλεῶς, Isocr. Evag. 1. The apostle’s καύχημα would have been made empty ( κενώσει), if he had been brought to a course of action whereby that in which he gloried would have appeared to be without reality. Comp 2 Corinthians 9:3. He would thus have been shown to be κενεαυχής (Homer, Il. viii. 230).


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 9:16. Why Paul has every reason ( γάρ) to hold his καύχημα thus fast. For the preaching of the gospel, taken by itself, does not put him in a position to boast himself. All the less, therefore, can he afford to give up the only thing that does place him in such a position, namely, his preaching without recompense.

ἀνάγκη γάρ μοι ἐπίκ] sc(1470) εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, as is proved by what goes before. Comp Homer, Il. vi. 458: κρατερὴ δʼ ἐπικεῖσετʼ ἀνάγκη, and the common phrase in the classics: ἀνάγκην ἐπιθεῖναι.

οὐαὶ γάρ μοι ἐστίν] Comp LXX. in Hosea 9:12. Woe betides him, i.e. God’s threatened judgment will fulfil itself upon him (in the coming day of judgment), if he shall not have preached the gospel ( εὐαγγελίσωμαι, see the critical remarks); from this is evident ( γάρ) how the ἀνάγκη arises, namely, that he must preach; he cannot give it up, without incurring eternal destruction.


Verse 17

1 Corinthians 9:17 f. The sentence immediately preceding this verse, οὐαὶ γὰρεὐαγγ., was merely a thought interposed, a logical parenthesis, to the contents of which Paul does not again refer in what follows. In 1 Corinthians 9:17 f., accordingly, with its γάρ, the reference is not to this preceding sentence οὐαὶ κ. τ. λ(1473), so as to establish it by way of dilemma (which was my former interpretation), but to ἀνάγκη ΄οι ἐπίκειται, 1 Corinthians 9:16 (comp de Wette, Osiander, Hofmann), and that indeed in so far as these latter words were set down to confirm the previous assertion, ἐὰν εὐαγγελίζωμαι, οὐκ ἐστί μοι καύχημα. The correctnesss of this reference of the γάρ which introduces 1 Corinthians 9:17 f., is confirmed by the fact that the leading conceptions in the argument of 1 Corinthians 9:17 f., to wit, ἑκών and ἄκων, are correlative to the conception of ἀνάγκη in 1 Corinthians 9:16. The γάρ in 1 Corinthians 9:17 thus serves to justify the second γάρ in 1 Corinthians 9:16, as we often find, both in Greek writers and in the N. T., γάρ repeated in such a significant correlation as we find here (see Fritzsche, a(1475) Rom. II. p. 110 f.). In order to prove that he has rightly established his previous statement ἐὰνκαύχημα by adding ἀνάγκη γάρ ΄οι ἐπίκειται, the apostle argues, starting now from the opposite of that ἀνάγκη, and therefore e contrario, as follows: “For supposing that I carry on my preaching ( τοῦτο πράσσω) of free self-determination, then I have a reward, of which, consequently, I can glory; but if I do it not of my own free will (and this, in point of fact, was the case with the apostle), then it is a stewardship with which I am entrusted, which therefore (this is the purport of the interrogatory clause whitch follows, τίς οὖν κ. τ. λ(1476)) involves no reward for me.”

From this simple course of thought—in which the μισθὸν ἔχω refers to the certain possession hereafter of the Messianic reward,(1477) and is conceived as the more specially defined contents of the καύχημα in 1 Corinthians 9:16,—it will be seen that the apodosis of the second half of 1 Corinthians 9:17 is οἰκονο΄ίαν πεπίστευ΄αι, that these words, consequently, should neither be put in a parenthesis nor attached to the protasis (so Knatchbull, Semler, Hofmann—comp also his Schriftbeweis, II. 2, p. 332) by reading εἰ δὲ ἄκων οἰκον. πεπίστευμαι together, to which τίς οὖν κ. τ. λ(1479) would then become the apodosis;(1480)—a view under which the significant bearing of the purposely chosen phrase οἰκον. πεπίστευμαι is entirely lost sight of. Billroth, failing to recognise how essential εἰ δὲ ἄκων, οἰκ. πεπίστ. is to the argument, makes it parenthetical, and understands ἄκων (with Bengel, Zachariae, and Schulz) as meaning non gratis, which is contrary to the signification of the word. Many expositors render ἑκών and ἄκων by “with joy and gladness” and “with reluctance” (so Calovius, Piscator, Estius, Kypke, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Pott, al(1481); comp also Ewald); but this runs counter to the fact that, as τίς οὖνμισθός shows, the apostle’s own case is not the first, but the last of the two cases supposed by him, and that he found himself indeed in the official position of a preacher without having chosen it of his own free will,—being rather apprehended (Philippians 2:12), and, through his call (Acts 9:22; Acts 9:26), as it were constrained by Christ ( ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἄκων, Plato, Legg. v. 734 B),—but, notwithstanding, pursued his work with heart and hand.

οἰκονομίαν πεπίστ.] οἰκον. has significant emphasis; as to the construction, comp Romans 3:2; Galatians 2:7. If I preach ἄκων, so Paul holds, then the apostleship, with which I am put in trust, stands in the relation of the stewardship of a household (1 Corinthians 4:1); for that, too, a man receives not from his own free choice, but by the master’s will, which he has to obey; and hence it follows ( οὖν) that no reward awaits me (this being the negative sense of τίςμισθός; comp Matthew 5:46; Romans 6:21; 1 Corinthians 15:32); for a steward—conceived of as a slave(1485)—can but do his duty (Luke 17:10), whereas one who works of his own free will does more than he is bound to do, and so labours in a sense worthy of reward. The meanings which some expositors find in οἰκ. πεπ. are inserted by themselves; thus Pott explains, “nihilosecius peragendum est,” comp Schulz, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Schrader, Neander, and older interpreters; while Grotius makes it, “ratio mihi reddenda est impositi muneris.” The words convey nothing more than just their simple literal meaning. What, again, is inferred from them, Paul himself tells us by beginning a new sentence with τίς οὖν. To suppose a middle clause omitted before this sentence (with Neander, who would insert, “How am I now to prove that I do it of my own free will?”) is to make a purely arbitrary interruption in the passage.

΄ισθός] the befitting reward. Neither here nor in the first clause is μισθός the same as καύχη΄α (Pott, Rückert, Ewald, al(1487)); but it is viewed as standing in the relation of the inducing cause to that ἐστί μοι καύχημα, supposing the latter to take place. This also applies against Baur in the theol. Jahrb. 1852, p. 541 ff., who, moreover, pronounces the apostle’s argument an unsound one. The distinction which Paul here makes is, in his opinion, at variance with the absolute ground of obligation in the moral consciousness, and is either purely a piece of dialectics, or has for its real basis the idea of the opera supererogationis. In point of fact, neither the one nor the other is the case; but Paul is speaking of the apostolic reward hereafter, concerning which he was persuaded that it was not to be procured for him by his apostolic labour in itself, seeing that he had not, in truth, come to the apostleship of his own free will; rather, in his case, must the element of free self-determination come in in another way, namely, by his labouring without receiving anything in return. In so far, accordingly, he must do something more than the other apostles in order that he might receive the reward. He had recognised this to be his peculiar duty of love, incumbent upon him also with a view to avert all ground of offence, but not as implying surplus merit. The latter notion is discovered in the text by Cornelius a Lapide and others.


Verse 18

1 Corinthians 9:18. ἵνα] is taken by Grotius as meaning if, by Luther and most interpreters—among whom are Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald—as used in place of the exegetical infinitive, so that it gives the answer to the foregoing question.(1488) The first of these renderings is linguistically incorrect; the second would have to be referred to the conception: “I ought,” etc., but yet does not suit the negation: “I have therefore no reward,” which had its animated expression in the question: τίς οὖν κ. τ. λ(1489) It is much better to interpret ἵνα εὐαγγ. κ. τ. λ(1490) as stating the aim, according to God’s ordination, of this negative condition of things: in order that I should preach without recompense (which is the first thing to give me a prospect of reward, as being something which lies beyond my official obligation). Hofmann’s view is, that Paul asks, What reward (viz. none) could induce him to this, to make the gospel message free of cost? But plainly it was just his supporting himself in the discharge of his vocation, which went beyond the obligation of the οἰκονομία, and consequently made him worthy of reward, which the work of the οἰκονό΄ος, taken by itself alone, did not do. Moreover, this interpretation of Hofmann’s would require an expression, not of the design ( ἵνα), but of the inducing ground (such as διʼ ὅν). The ἵνα is used here, as so often in the N. T., to indicate the divine teleology (Winer, p. 427 [E. T. 573]).

εὐαγγελιζ. ἀδάπ. θήσω τὸ εὐαγγ.] i.e. in order that I, by my preaching, may make the gospel something not connected with any outlay (on the part of the receivers). As regards this very common use of τίθημι, facio, see Kypke and Loesner in loc(1491) Comp also on Romans 4:17, and Hermann, a(1493) Viger. p. 761. There is no need of going out of the way to render it, with Beza: set forth, with Grotius: collocare, like τιθέναι χάριν, or with Pott: to set before them (as spiritual food). ἵνα, with the future indicative, conveys the idea of continuance. See Matthiae, p. 1186. Among the older Greek writers ὅπως (also ὄφρα) is ordinarily used in this connection (Matthiae, l.c(1494); Kühner, II. p. 490), while this use of ἵνα is, to say the least, very doubtful (see against Elmsley, a(1495) Eur. Bacch. p. 164, Hermann, a(1496) Soph. Oed. Col. 155; Klotz, a(1497) Devar. p. 629 f.) in the N. T. again, and with later authors it is certain (Winer, p. 271 [E. T. 361]; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 202 [E. T. 234]).

εἰς τὸ μὴ καταχρ.] aim of his ἀδάπ. τιθέναι τὸ εὐαγγ.: in order not to make use of. To understand καταχρ. as meaning to misuse (comp on 1 Corinthians 7:31), would give a sense much too weak for the connection (against Beza, Calovius, and others, among whom is Ewald). The right rendering already appears in the Greek Fathers.

ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ.] i.e. in docendo evangelio.

The ἐξουσία μου is not exclusively that indicated in. 1 Corinthians 9:4, but the apostolic prerogative generally, although in application to this particular point.


Verses 19-22

1 Corinthians 9:19-22. Confirmation of this εἰς τὸ μὴ καταχρ. τ. ἐξ μου by his practical procedure in other matters, which was such, that not to renounce the use of that ἐξουσία would simply be to contradict himself; it would be a gross inconsistency.

ἐκ πάντων] Masc. It belonged to the apostolic ἐξουσία to put himself in bondage to no man, but to be independent of all (1 Corinthians 9:1; comp Galatians 1:10); to hold and to make good this position of freedom towards every one, was a result flowing from, and a constituent part of, his rights as an apostle (in opposition to Hofmann, who asserts that a position precisely the converse of this was the only one logically tenable by the apostle).(1500) Notwithstanding, Paul had made himself a bondsman to all, accommodating himself to their necessities in ministrative self-denial. It is only here that ἐλεύθερος occurs with ἐκ; elsewhere (Romans 7:3; comp Romans 6:18; Romans 6:22; Romans 8:2; Romans 8:21) and in Greek writers with ἀπό.

τοὺς πλείονας] i.e. according to the context: the greater part of the πάντες, not: more than are converted by others (Hofmann). Comp 1 Corinthians 10:5. By acting otherwise he would have won, it might be, only individuals here and there.

κερδήσω] namely, for Christ and His kingdom, by their conversion. Rückert explains it as meaning: to carry off as an advantage for himself, which Hofmann, too, includes. But the precise sense of the phrase must be determined by the context, which speaks in reality of the apostle’s official labours, so that in substance the meaning is the same as that of σώσω in 1 Corinthians 9:22. Comp Matthew 18:15; 1 Peter 3:1. Regarding the form ἐκέρδησα, see Lobeck, a(1504) Phryn. p. 740.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 9:20. Explanation in detail of the preceding verse ( καί epexegetical).

To the Jews Paul became as a Jew, i.e. in his relations to the Jews, whom he sought to convert, he behaved in Jewish fashion, observing e.g. Jewish customs (Acts 16:3; Acts 21:26), availing himself of Jewish methods of teaching, etc., in order to win Jews. Jewish Christians are not included here (Vorstius, Billroth); for these were, as such, already won and saved.

τοῖς ὑπὸ νόμον] to those under the law; not really different from τοῖς ἰουδαίοις, save only that they are designated here from their characteristic religious position, into which Paul entered. The universal nature of the expression is enough of itself to show that Judaizing Christians cannot be intended; nor proselytes,—although they are by no means to be excluded from either category,—because they, too, would not have their specific characteristic brought out by ὑπὸ νόμον. The very same reason holds against the supposition that the rigid Jews, the Pharisees, are meant. The first of these three views is taken by Theodoret, the second by Theodore of Mopsuestia, Grotius, Mosheim, al(1505); Theophylact is undecided which of the two to prefer, comp also Chrysostom; Lightfoot and Heydenreich adopt the third.

΄ὴ ὢν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νό΄ον] although I myself (for my own part) am not, etc., a caveat very naturally arising from his consciousness of the high value of his freedom as regards the law, Galatians 2:19. There is no proof of any apologetic design here (in reference to such as might have said: Thou must do so and so, Rückert). Paul did not add any remark of this kind in connection with the preceding clause, because in respect of nationality he actually was an ἰουδαῖος.

τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμ.] The article denotes the class of men in question.


Verse 21

1 Corinthians 9:21. τοῖς ἀνόμοις] i.e. to the heathen, Romans 2:12. Comp Suicer, Thes. I. p. 366.

ὡς ἄνομος] by holding intercourse with them, giving up Jewish observances, teaching in Hellenic form (as at Athens, Acts 17). Comp Isidor. Pelus, ed. Paris. 1638, p. 186.

΄ὴ ὢν κ. τ. λ(1509)] must similarly be regarded not exactly as a defence of himself (Grotius, Rückert), but as arising very naturally from the pious feeling of the apostle, who, with all the consciousness of his freedom of position towards the Mosaic law, which allowed him to be τοῖς ἀνόμοις ὡς ἄνομος, always recognised his subjection to the divine νόμος revealed in Christ. In spite, therefore, of his thus condescending to the ἀνόμοις, he was by no means one without legal obligation to God (no ἄνομος θεοῦ(1510)), but one—and this is precisely what brings out the absolute character of the opposite—who stood within the sphere of legal obligation to Christ. And Paul was conscious that he stood thus in virtue of his faith in Christ, who lived in him (Galatians 2:20), and in conformity with the gospel, which ruled him as the νόμος τοῦ πνεύματος καὶ τῆς χάριτος (Chrysostom), and was to him accordingly the higher analogue of the venerated νό΄ος (Romans 3:27), which has its fulfilment in love (Romans 13:10); comp Galatians 6:2. The two genitives θεοῦ and χριστοῦ denote simply in relation to, in my position towards; they thus give to the two notions ἄνομος and ἔννο΄ος their definite reference.


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 9:22. The ἀσθενεῖς are Christians weak as yet in discernment and moral power (1 Corinthians 8:7 ff.; Romans 14:1; Romans 15:1; Acts 20:35; 1 Thessalonians 5:14). The terms κερδήσω and σώσω are not inconsistent with this view, for such weak believers would, by an inconsiderate conduct towards them, be made to stumble, and would fall into destruction (1 Corinthians 8:11; Romans 14:15). To understand the phrase as denoting non-Christians from their lack of the higher powers of Christian life, especially of strength of conscience (Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Hofmann), is against the formal use of οἱ ἀσθενεῖς, and cannot be justified by Romans 5:6. Comp also 2 Corinthians 11:29.

ὡς ἀσθενής] “perinde quasi simili tenerer imbecillitate,” Erasmus, Paraphr.

τοῖς πᾶσι κ. τ. λ(1513)] to all (with whom I had to do) I have become all, have suited myself to them in all ways according to their circumstances. Comp as regards πάντα γίνεσθαι,(1515) the passages cited in Kypke, II. p. 215 f., and observe the perfect here at the close; comp Colossians 1:15.

Paul did not need to say to his readers that in this whole picture of his συγκατάβασις he is expressing no mere men-pleasing or anti-Christian connivance at sin, but the practical wisdom of the truest Christian love and self-denial in the exercise of his apostolic functions; he trusts them to understand this from their knowledge of his character. Comp also Galatians 1:10; Galatians 2:3-5. This practical wisdom must be all the more regarded as a fruit of experience under the discipline of the Spirit, when we consider how fiery and decided his natural temperament was. And who can estimate how much he achieved by this method of working! Comp Neander in opposition to Rückert’s unfavourable judgment. Augustine puts it well: “non mentientis actus, sed compatientis affectus.”

πάντως] in any case (comp on 1 Corinthians 9:10, and Plato, Phaedr. p. 266 D 2 Maccabees 3:13; 3 Maccabees 1:15; the reverse of οὐδαμῶς, Plato, Soph. p. 240 E comp the frequent phrase πάντῃ πάντως, Stallbaum, a(1521) Plat. Phaed. p. 78 D). Should the apostle in every case, in which he adapted himself as described in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22, save some,—that is, in the one case of accommodation these, in the other those, but in all some,—there would result the πλείονες of 1 Corinthians 9:19, whom it was his design to win as there summarily set forth.

σώσω] make them partakers in the Messianic salvation, 1 Corinthians 7:16, 1 Corinthians 10:33; Romans 9:27, al(1522) Not different in substance from κερδήσω, but stronger and more specific, as was suitable in expressing the final result. Comp 1 Timothy 4:16.


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 9:23. πάντα δὲ ποιῶ] quite general; now all that I do is done for the gospel’s sake.

ἵνα συγκοιν. αὐτοῦ γεν.] Epexegesis of διὰ τὸ εὐαγγ.: in order that I may become a fellow-partaker therein. Comp on συγκοιν., Romans 11:17. Whoever is included as belonging to those in whom the salvation proclaimed in the gospel shall be fulfilled (at the day of judgment), enters along with them when this fulfilment is accomplished into the participation of the gospel, to wit, through sharing in the common fruition of that which forms the real contents of the message of salvation. Hence the meaning in substance is: in order to become one of those in whom the gospel will realize itself, through their attaining the Messianic salvation. Note the humility of the expression; he who laboured more than all others, has yet in view no higher reward for himself than just the salvation common to all believers. Flatt and Billroth make it: in order to take part in the spreading of the gospel. But the aim here stated corresponds to the βραβεῖον in 1 Corinthians 9:24. The inward salvation of the moral life again (Semler and Pott) is only the ethical path of development, whereby men ultimately reach the συγκοινωνία here intended. Comp Philippians 3:10 ff.


Verse 24

1 Corinthians 9:24 ff. Exhortation to his readers to follow his example, clothed in figures borrowed from the relations of athletic competition among the Greeks (comp Philippians 3:12 ff.).

Doubtless Paul, writing to the Corinthians, was thinking of the Isthmian games, which continued to be held even after the destruction of the city by Mummius (Pausanias, 1 Corinthians 2:2). There is no sufficient ground for supposing the Olympic games to be meant, as those in which the foot-race formed a peculiarly prominent feature (Spanheim, Wolf, al(1527)), for running was not excluded at the other places of competition; and it is not necessary to assume that the apostle had a knowledge enabling him to make nice distinctions between the different kinds of contest at the different games.

τὸ βραβεῖον] λέγεται δὲ οὓτω τὸ διδό΄ενον γέρας τῷ νικήσαντι ἀθλητῇ, ἀπὸ ΄ὲν τῶν διδόντων αὐτὸ βραβευτῶν βραβεῖον, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἀθλούντων ἆθλον, Scholiast on Pindar, Ol. i. 5. στέφος δέ ἐστι τοῦ ἀγῶνος (the Isthmian) πίτυς (pine), τὸ δὲ ἀνέκαθεν σέλινα (not ivy, but parsley) καὶ αὐτοῦ ἦν στέφανος, Scholiast on Pindar, Isthm. ὑπόθεσις; comp Plutarch, qu. symp. v. 3, and see Boeckh and Dissen, a(1529) Pind. Ol. xiii. 33; Hermann, gottesdienstl. Alterth. § 50. 27, ed. 2. In the application ( ἵνα καταλ.), we are to understand the future Messianic salvation which all may reach. Comp 1 Timothy 6:12.

οὓτω τρέχετε, ἵνα] should not be rendered, as it is by most expositors, “so run, that,”—which the ἵνα, as a particle expressive of design, makes inadmissible (comp 1 Corinthians 9:26-27),—but: in such way run (like the one referred to), in order that. This does away, too, with the awkwardness which would otherwise be involved in εἷς with the plural καταλάβητε. Paul exhorts his readers to run in a way as worthy of the prize (so to shape their inner and outer life), as the one who, by decision of the judge, receives the crown for the foot-race, in order that they may attain to it (i.e. the crown of the Messianic salvation). There is no need for the arbitrary insertion of the idea: “as is necessary, in order that,” etc. (Hofmann).


Verse 25

1 Corinthians 9:25. δέ] marks the transition to the course of conduct observed by any competitor for a prize.

The emphasis is on πᾶς. It is from it that the conclusion is then drawn in 1 Corinthians 9:26, ἐγὼ τοίνυν.

ἀγωνιζόμ.] used as a substantive. The statement is as to what every competitor does to prepare himself for his struggle; in all respects he is abstinent ( ἐγκρατ., see on 1 Corinthians 7:9). The word ἀγωνίζεσθαι denotes every kind of competition, and includes therefore the more specific τρέχειν (comp Herod. v. 22; Xen. Anab. iv. 8. 27: ἀγωνίζεσθαι στάδιον). Regarding the abstinence (especially from wine, sexual intercourse, and all heavy food except a good flesh-diet), by which the competitors had to prepare themselves for the struggle for ten months previously, see Intpp. ad Hor. Art. Poet. 412 ff.; Valckenaer, p. 251; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. VI. p. 97 f.; Hermann, gottesd. Alterth. § 50. 16 f.

πάντα] Accusative of more precise definition. See Lobeck, a(1533) Aj. 1402. Comp 1 Corinthians 9:25.

ἐκεῖνοι ΄ὲν οὖν κ. τ. λ(1535)] illi quidem igitur, to wit, the competitors proper.

ἡμεῖς] we Christians. The πάντα ἐγκρατεύεσθαι holds of both the ἀγωνιζομένοι, only with the first it is in the sphere of the body; with the second, in the moral domain. That the Christians, as striving in the moral field, actually πάντα ἐγκρατεύονται, is assumed by Paul, speaking from his ideal point of view, as a thing of course.


Verse 26-27

1 Corinthians 9:26-27. So run I then, seeing that I, for my part, according to 1 Corinthians 9:25, am prepared by such abstinence to strive for the incorruptible crown, in such a way as, etc. The apostle thus sets his own ethical mode of striving (as a runner and combatant) before his readers as a pattern. Respecting the following τοίνυν, which Paul has only in this passage, comp Luke 20:25; Hebrews 13:13; Hartung, Partik. II. p. 349; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 251 f.

οὐκ ἀδήλως] sc(1537) τρέχων. The word means unapparent, not clear, reverse of πρόδηλος. It may either be applied objectively to an action which is indistinct and not cognizable to others (Luke 11:44; 1 Corinthians 14:8); or subjectively, so that the man who acts, hopes, etc., is himself not clear, but uncertain and hesitating as to manner, aim, and result; comp 2 Maccabees 7:34; 3 Maccabees 4:4; Thuc. i. 2. 1; Plato, Symp. p. 181 D Soph. Trach. 667; Dem. 416. 4; Polyb. xxx. 4. 17, viii. 3. 2, vi. 56. 11, iii. 54. 5 : ἀδήλος ἐπίβασις; also in Xenoph., Plutarch, etc. So here; and hence we should render: not without a clearly conscious assurance and certainty of running so as to reach the goal. Comp Vulgate, “non in incertum;” Chrysostom: πρὸς σκοπόν τινα βλέπων, οὐκ εἰκῇ καὶ μάτην, Philippians 3:14, κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω ἐπὶ τὸ βραβεῖον, Bengel, “Scio quod petam et quomodo,” Melanchthon, “non coeco impetu sine cogitatione finis.” Hofmann takes it otherwise: “in whose case it is quite apparent whither he would go,” thus bringing out the objective sense; comp also Grotius. But this would convey too little, for as a matter of course it must be plain in the case of every runner in a race whither he would go. Homberg’s rendering is better: “ut non in obscuro sim, sed potius inter reliquos emineam.” Comp Ewald: “not as in the dark, but as in the sight of all.” Still this does not correspond so well with the parallel ὡς οὐκ ἀέρα δέρων, which implies the conception of the end in view. Alex. Morus and Billroth (comp Olshausen) understand it as meaning, not without definite aim (not simply for private exercise). But this runs counter to the whole context, in which Paul is set forth as an actual runner in a racecourse, so that the negative thus conveyed would be inappropriate.

οὐκ ἀέρα δέρων] The boxer ought to strike his opponent, and not, missing him, to beat the air, to deal strokes in air. Comp the German phrase, “in’s Blaue hinein.” See Eustath. a(1544) Il. p. 663, 17, and the instances given by Wetstein. Comp Theophilus, a(1546) Autol. iii. 1. The context (see above on ἀδήλ.) forbids us to render, with Theodoret, Calovius, Bengel, Zachariae, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, Hofmann, and others: not in imaginary combat merely, without a real antagonist ( σκιαμαχία). Respecting the οὐκ in this passage, see Winer, p. 452 [E. T. 609].

ἀλλʼ ὑπωπιάζω κ. τ. λ(1547)] but I beat my body blue,—alteration of the construction, in order to make the thought stand out in a more independent way; comp on 1 Corinthians 7:37. The ἀλλά, however, can have the effect only of presenting what is here stated as the opposite of ἀέρα δέρων, not as that whereby a man simply prepares himself for the contest (Hofmann, comp Pott). Paul regards his own body (the σῶ΄α τῆς σαρκός, Colossians 2:11, the seat of the nature opposed to God, of the law in his members, comp Romans 6:6; Romans 7:23) as the adversary ( ἀνταγωνιστής), against whom he fights with an energetic and successful vehemence, just as a boxer beats the face of his opponent black and blue (respecting ὑπωπιάζειν, comp on Luke 18:5, and Bos, Exercitt. p. 140 ff.), so that those lusts (Galatians 5:17), which war against the regenerate inner man, whose new principle of life is the Holy Spirit, lose their power and are not fulfilled. It is in substance the same thing as τὰς πράξεις τοῦ αώματος θανατοῦν in Romans 8:13; comp Colossians 3:5. The result of the ὑπωπιάζω κ. τ. λ(1553) is, that the body becomes submissive to the moral will,(1554) yea, the members become weapons of righteousness (Romans 6:13). Hence Paul adds further: κ. δουλαγωγῶ, I make it a slave (Diodorus, xii. 24; Theophrastus, Ep. 36; Theophyl. Simoc. Ephesians 4), which also “a pyctis desumptum est; nam qui vicerat, victum trahebat adversarium quasi servum,” Grotius. Against the abuse of this passage to favour ascetic scourgings of the body, see Deyling, Obss. I. p. 322 ff., ed. 3.

ἄλλοις κηρύξας] after having been a herald to others. The apostle still keeps to the same figure, comparing his preaching, in which he summoned and exhorted men to the Christian life, to the office of the herald who made known the laws of the games and called the champions to the combat. Rückert, who (with Chrysostom, Grotius, al(1555)) regards κηρ. as denoting preaching without reference to the work of a herald, reminds us, in opposition to the above view (comp de Wette), that the herald certainly did not himself join in the combat. But this objection does not hold, for with Paul the case stood thus: He, in point of fact, was a herald, who joined personally in the contest; and he had therefore to carry through his figure upon this footing, even although he thereby departed from the actually subsisting relations at the combats in the games.

ἀδόκιμος] rejectaneus, unapproved, i.e. however, not “ne dignus quidem, qui ad certamen omnino admittar” (Pott),—for Paul is, from 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, actually in the midst of the contest,—but praemio indignus,

μὴ τοὺς ἄλλους τὸ δέον διδάξας αὐτὸς τοῦ τέλους τῶν ἀγώνων παντελῶς διαμάρτω, Theodoret.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1832.

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Monday, November 11th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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