Paul’s Use of Liberty
1 Am I not afree? Am I not an bapostle? Have I not cseen Jesus our Lord? Are you not dmy work in the Lord?
2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the aseal of my bapostleship in the Lord.
3 My defense to those who examine me is this:
4 1aDo we not have a right to eat and drink?
5 1aDo we not have a right to take along a 2believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the bbrothers of the Lord and cCephas?
6 Or do only 1aBarnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?
7 Who at any time serves aas a soldier at his own expense? Who bplants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not 1use the milk of the flock?
8 I am not speaking these things aaccording to 1human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things?
9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “aYou shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about boxen, is He?
10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, afor our sake it was written, because bthe plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.
11 aIf we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we adid not use this right, but we endure all things bso that we will cause no hindrance to the cgospel of Christ.
13 aDo you not know that those who bperform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share 1from the altar?
14 So also athe Lord directed those who proclaim the bgospel to cget their living from the gospel.
15 But I have aused none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make bmy boast an empty one.
16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for aI am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach bthe gospel.
17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a areward; but if against my will, I have a bstewardship entrusted to me.
18 What then is my areward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel bwithout charge, so as cnot to make full use of my right in the gospel.