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1AM I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my own handiwork in the Lord?

2If others do not accept me as an apostle, you at least are bound to do so, for in the Lord you are the very seal of my apostleship.

3To those who would call me to account, this is my defence:

4Have I no right to eat and drink?

5Have I not the right to take a Christian wife about with me, like the rest of the apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?

6Are only Barnabas and I bound to work for our living?

7Did you ever hear of a man serving in the army at his own expense? Or planting a vineyard without eating the fruit? Or tending a flock without using the milk?

8My case does not rest on these human analogies, for the law says the same;

9in the law of Moses we read, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Do you suppose God's concern is with oxen?

10Must not the saying refer to us? Of course it does: the ploughman should plough and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing the produce.

11If we have sown a spiritual crop for you, is it too much to expect from you a material harvest?

12If you allow others those rights, have not we a stronger claim? But I have never availed myself of any such right. On the contrary, I put up with all that comes my way rather than offer any hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

13You must know that those who are engaged in temple service eat the temple offerings, and those who officiate at the altar claim their share of the sacrifice.

14In the same way the Lord gave instructions that those who preach the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15But I have never taken advantage of any such right, nor do I intend to claim it in this letter. I had rather die! No one shall make my boast an empty boast.

16Even if I preach the gospel, I can claim no credit for it; I cannot help myself; it would be agony for me not to preach.

17If I did it of my own choice, I should be earning my pay; but since I have no choice, I am simply discharging a trust.

18Then what is my pay? It is the satisfaction of preaching the gospel without expense to anyone; in other words, of waiving the rights my preaching gives me.

19I am free and own no master; but I have made myself everyone's servant, to win over as many as possible.

20To Jews I behaved like a Jew, to win Jews; that is, to win those under the law I behaved as if under the law, though not myself subject to the law.

21To win those outside that law, I behaved as if outside the law, though not myself outside God's law, but subject to the law of Christ.

22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. To them all I have become everything in turn, so that in one way or another I may save some.

23All this I do for the sake of the gospel, to have a share in its blessings.

24At the games, as you know, all the runners take part, though only one wins the prize.

25You also must run to win. Every athlete goes into strict training. They do it to win a fading garland; we, to win a garland that never fades.

26For my part, I am no aimless runner; I am not a boxer who beats the air.

27I do not spare my body, but bring it under strict control, for fear that after preaching to others I should find myself disqualified.

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 <<  1 Korintus 9 >> 

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