Annotated Notes on My Translation of 1 Corinthians 9:1-18
1 I’m an Apostle, aren’t I? Am I not free? Haven’t I seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Aren’t youp my work in the Lord?
[One of the qualifications for being an apostle is to have seen the resurrected Jesus Christ (Acts 1:21-22). Paul did see Jesus (Acts 9:3-6, Acts 22:14-15, and 1 Corinthians 15:8-9). The Corinthians were questioning Paul’s qualifications because of false teaching from false teachers—corrupters of the faith. Some believe that part of this was because he didn’t live off the material and physical support of the Corinthians].
2 If I am not an Apostle to others, yet surely, I am to youp, for youp are the seal of my apostleship by the Lord.
3 My answer to those who question me is this:
4 Don’t we have the right to eat and drink?
5 Don’t we have the right to lead around a sister, a wife, even as the other Apostles and the brethren of the Lord and like Cephas?
6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who don’t have the right to forgo working for a living?
7 Whoever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and doesn’t eat of its fruit? Or who feeds the flock and doesn’t drink of the flock’s milk?
8 Am I just talking like a man? Or doesn’t the law say the same thing also?
9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “Yous shall not muzzle the ox’s mouth that treads out the grain.” Doesn’t God have concern for oxen?
[Deuteronomy 25:4. God, who cares about an animal, has a greater care for humans].
10 Or is He saying this for our sake? For our sake, no doubt, that it was written, because the one who plows ought to plow in hope, and the one who is threshing in hope should be partaker of his own hope.
[This example is given by Paul indicating the establishing of the congregation in Corinth. The plower is the first to preach the Good News, while the thresher is the one who sees the harvest of that preaching. See 1 Corinthians 3:6-9].
11 If we have sown in youp spiritual things, is it any great thing if we reap from youp material things?
12 If others partake of this right over youp, shouldn’t we have a greater right? Nevertheless, we didn’t take this right, instead endure all things, lest we should hinder the Good News about Christ.
13 Don’t youp know that those who work around the sacred things live [from the things] from the temple? And that those who serve at the altar, jointly share from the altar?
14 Even so the Lord has made arrangements that those who are preaching the Good News should make their living from the Good News.
15 But I haven’t used any of these things, neither have I written these things that it should be done this way for me. For it would be better for me to die than for anyone to take away my rejoicing.
16 For though I preach the Good News, I have nothing to brag about, for I am compelled, yes woe is me if I don’t preach the Good News.
17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward, but if against my will, this stewardship has been entrusted to me.
[Willingly is literally “[by my own] free will.” The Greek is ἑκών hekṓn (Strong’s G1635, free will, voluntarily. Paul does it willingly but was not given that option by God. Rather, it is an obligation as a steward. Most stewards were slaves and obeyed their lord, so Paul obeyed his lord, Jesus Christ. Paul’s orders came in his call as in Acts 16:15-18].
18 What is my reward then? [It is] that when I preach the Good News, I can lay out the Good News about Christ without charge, so that I don’t abuse my rights in the Good News.
[Paul states that he is not an employee who needed to be paid but a steward who was provided for. The Greek word for “abuse” is καταχράομαι katachráomai (G2710). Vocabulary Of The Greek Testament gives this illustration: …may be illustrated from P Oxy II. 281.14 (A.D. 20–50) where a woman lodges a complaint against her husband—ὁ δὲ Σαραπίων καταχρησάμενος τῆι φερνῇ εἰς ὃν ἠβούλετο λόγον οὐ διέλειπεν κακουχῶν με καὶ ὑβρί[ζ]ων, “but Sarapion, having squandered my dowry as he pleased, continually ill-treated and insulted me. Paul can expect material help but does not lest he abuse. Barnes writes: Paul had a right to a support. This power he might urge. But to urge it in his circumstances would be a hinderance of the gospel. And to do that would be to abuse his power, or to pervert it to purposes for which it was never designed].