1 Don’t you agree that I’m a free man? Don’t you agree that I’m an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren’t you the result of my work for the Lord? 2 If I’m not an apostle to other people, at least I’m an apostle to you. You are the seal which proves that I am the Lord’s apostle. 3 This is how I defend myself to those who cross-examine me. 4 Don’t we have the right to eat and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take our wives along with us like the other apostles, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephasa do? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who don’t have any rights, except to find work to support ourselves?
7 Does a soldier ever serve in the army at his own expense? Does anyone plant a vineyard and not eat the grapes? Does anyone take care of a flock and not drink milk from the sheep? 8 Am I merely stating some human rule? Don’t Moses’ Teachings say the same thing? 9 Moses’ Teachings say, “Never muzzle an ox when it is threshingb grain.” God’s concern isn’t for oxen. 10 Isn’t he speaking entirely for our benefit? This was written for our benefit so that the person who plows or threshes should expect to receive a share of the crop. 11 If we have planted the spiritual seed that has been of benefit to you, is it too much if we receive part of the harvest from your earthly goods? 12 If others have the right to expect this from you, don’t we deserve even more? But we haven’t used our rights. Instead, we would put up with anything in order not to hinder the Good News of Christ in any way.
13 Don’t you realize that those who work at the temple get their food from the temple? Don’t those who help at the altar get a share of what is on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who spread the Good News should earn their living from the Good News.
15 I haven’t used any of these rights, and I haven’t written this in order to use them now. I would rather die than have anyone turn my bragging into meaningless words. 16 If I spread the Good News, I have nothing to brag about because I have an obligation to do this. How horrible it will be for me if I don’t spread the Good News! 17 If I spread the Good News willingly, I’ll have a reward. But if I spread the Good News unwillingly, I’m ⸤only⸥ doing what I’ve been entrusted to do.
19 Although I’m free from all people, I have made myself a slave for all people to win more of them. 20 I became Jewish for Jewish people. I became subject to Moses’ Teachings for those who are subject to those laws. I did this to win them even though I’m not subject to Moses’ Teachings. 21 I became like a person who does not have Moses’ Teachings for those who don’t have those teachings. I did this to win them even though I have God’s teachings. I’m really subject to Christ’s teachings. 22 I became like a person weak in faith to win those who are weak in faith. I have become everything to everyone in order to save at least some of them. 23 I do all this for the sake of the Good News in order to share what it offers.
24 Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win. 25 Everyone who enters an athletic contest goes into strict training. They do it to win a temporary crown, but we do it to win one that will be permanent. 26 So I run—but not without a clear goal ahead of me. So I box—but not as if I were just shadow boxing. 27 Rather, I toughen my body with punches and make it my slave so that I will not be disqualified after I have spread the Good News to others.
About GOD’S WORD Translation
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) communicates the saving, life-changing Good News about Jesus in clear, natural English. Translated directly from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek by a committee of scholars, GOD’S WORD is an exceptional Bible that consciously combines scholarly fidelity with natural English.
By implementing the translation principles of Closest Natural Equivalence, the translation committee seeks to translate the best available texts into English with the closest possible accuracy. This commitment to accurately translating the Bible includes expressing the meaning naturally and in a style that preserves the characteristics of the source text.
The combination of accuracy and readability makes GOD’S WORD ideally suited for the following:
Devotional reading and in-depth study
Preaching, teaching, and worship
Scripture references from GOD’S WORD are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.
Up to 500 verses from GOD’S WORD may be quoted in any form (printed, written, visual, electronic, or audio) without written permission, provided that no more than half of any one book is quoted, and the verses quoted do not amount to more than 25% of the text of the work in which they are quoted.
The designation (GOD’S WORD) must always appear after each quotation. In addition, if the quotation is used in a work that is not for sale, the work must bear the following notice either on the title page or reverse thereof of each copy, or in a location where it can be readily perceived by the reader:
GOD’S WORD is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. Quotations are used by permission.
If used in a work that is for sale, the following copyright notice must be used:
GOD’S WORD is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. Quotations are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.
For quotation of over 500 verses and/or questions about these policies, contact God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society, P.O. Box 26343, Cleveland, Ohio 44126-0343, U.S.A.