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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Corinthians 9

 

 

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Introduction

1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 9:1. Meats Offered to Idols.—This also seems to have been one of the inquiries addressed to Paul, with the views of the church expounded to him in a self-complacent spirit. For a discussion of the whole question, see pp. 650f.

1 Corinthians 8. Let Those who Have Knowledge Control its Exercise by Love, lest they Ruin their Brother for whom Christ Died.—Paul begins with a quotation from the church letter. They claim that all have knowledge. Yes, but knowledge makes men conceited, love develops and consolidates them. They who fancy that they know have no right knowledge: he who loves God is known by God, a better knowledge than any of his own. However, all are aware that no idol has any real existence and that there is only one God. For, allowing that there are so-called gods, as in truth there are many gods and lords (i.e. the demons), yet Christians recognise one God, the Father, source of all things and their own goal, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, the efficient agent in creation and in their own redemption. Yet those who are without such knowledge, when they eat the idol sacrifice, are dominated by the old point of view, and their conscience, readily troubled by morbid scruples, is stained. Food will not influence Gods decision at the Judgment. But freedom from such scruples may lead to disregard of the weak, who, when he sees the "intellectual" complacently reclining at the temple banquet, will become progressive enough to eat, against his own conscience, the idol food. Impatient lack of consideration ruins the weak brother and is a sin against Christ. Paul would never touch flesh again rather than gratify himself at such ruinous cost to others.


Verses 1-27

1 Corinthians 9. This chapter is not a digression, and is not primarily concerned with a vindication of Paul's apostolic status and rights. He enforces his plea that the enlightened should not ride roughshod over scruples they despised, by his own refusal to insist on his apostolic rights. He too was free, was an apostle, had received his commission from the risen Lord, his apostleship to the Corinthians was indubitably attested by his work among them. He (? and his colleagues) may accept maintenance, travel with a Christian wife like other apostles and the Lord's brethren. Must he and Barnabas alone be compelled to work for their living? That would be against human precedent, against the Law also, for by its prohibition of muzzling the ox as he treads out the corn on the threshing-floor, God meant that the preachers of the Gospel should be supported in return for their work. If the Corinthians profited by the apostolic sowing, it is no extravagant claim that the apostles shall reap some material advantage from them. They have a prior right. But they make no use of it, that their alleged self-seeking may not hinder the progress of the Gospel. Temple attendants get their living from the Temple, altar attendants their share from the sacrifices. The Lord laid it down (Matthew 10:10, Luke 10:7) that preachers should be maintained by their preaching. But Paul has waived the principle, and does not mention it to insinuate a claim for support, he would rather die than make void his proud boast of independence. He does not boast of his preaching; that is not a vocation he has chosen, but one imposed on him by the will of God. If he had voluntarily adopted the calling he would have had a right to reward. But since God has forced it on him, he has a stewardship, and as God's slave has no right to payment. The pay which he claims is to renounce his title to support. Free from all control, he had yet become the slave of all to win the more. To Jews he became as a Jew, to those under the Law he became as they were, although he was free, to those without law as they were also, though under law to Christ, to the weak similarly: yes, everything to everybody, to gain converts by every method. He does all for the Gospel's sake that he may be a joint partaker with his converts in its blessings. What effort is needed to achieve that result! In the races all the competitors run, but only one wins the prize. Let them run so as to win, exercising, like the athletes, self-control at every point, and for no corruptible crown like theirs. He himself runs the unswerving race; he boxes, landing every blow on the antagonist; he beats his body black and blue (Luke 18:5 mg.*) and leads it about as his slave, lest, having preached to others, he should miss the prize himself.

1 Corinthians 9:6. As we should infer also from Colossians 4:10, 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul and Barnabas were not permanently estranged by their quarrel about Mark (Acts 15:36-39).

1 Corinthians 9:9 f. Paul seems to mean that the allegorical interpretation was that originally and exclusively intended.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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