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The Rights of an Apostle

9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren’t you the result of my work for the Lord? 2Even though others may not think of me as an apostle, I am certainly one to you! You are the proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. 3That is what I say to stand up for myself when people judge me.

4Don’t we have the right to eat and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife with us when we travel? The other apostles do. The Lord’s brothers do. Peter does. 6Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for a living?

7Who serves as a soldier but doesn’t get paid? Who plants a vineyard but doesn’t eat any of its grapes? Who takes care of a flock but doesn’t drink any of the milk? 8Do I say that from only a human point of view? The Law says the same thing.

9Here is what is written in the Law of Moses. “Do not stop an ox from eating while it helps separate the grain from the straw.” (Deuteronomy 25:4) Is it oxen that God is concerned about? 10Doesn’t he say that for us? Yes, it was written for us. When a farmer plows and separates the grain, he does it because he hopes to share in the crop.

11We have planted spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask that we receive from you some of the things we need? 12Others have the right to receive help from you. Don’t we have even more right to do so?

But we didn’t use that right. No, we have put up with everything. We didn’t want to keep the good news of Christ from spreading.

13Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple? Don’t you know that those who serve at the altar eat from what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, those who preach the good news should receive their living from their work. That is what the Lord has commanded.

15But I haven’t used any of those rights. And I’m not writing because I hope you will do things like that for me. I would rather die than have anyone take away my pride in my work. 16But when I preach the good news, I can’t brag. I have to preach it. How terrible it will be for me if I do not preach the good news!

17If I preach because I want to, I get a reward. If I preach because I have to, I’m only doing my duty. 18Then what reward do I get? Here is what it is. I am able to preach the good news free of charge. And I can do it without making use of my rights when I preach it.

19I am free. I don’t belong to anyone. But I make myself a slave to everyone. I do it to win as many as I can to Christ.

20To the Jews I became like a Jew. That was to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one who was under the law, even though I myself am not under the law. That was to win those under the law. 21To those who don’t have the law I became like one who doesn’t have the law. I am not free from God’s law. I am under Christ’s law. Now I can win those who don’t have the law. 22To those who are weak I became weak. That was to win the weak.

I have become all things to all people so that in all possible ways I might save some. 23I do all of that because of the good news. And I want to share in its blessings.

24In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. 25All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26So I do not run like someone who doesn’t run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. 27No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules and fail to win the prize.

NIrV

About New International Reader’s Version

The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) was developed to help early readers understand the Bible. Begun in 1992, the NIrV is a simplification of the New International Version (NIV). The NIrV uses shorter words and sentences so that those with a typical fourth grade reading level can comprehend what they are reading. The chapters have been separated into shorter sections and most have titles that clearly indicate what the section is all about. The NIrV will be a valuable translation to those for whom English is a second language. The NIrV still relies on the best and oldest copies of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts for its translation, guaranteeing that those who read it are getting the actual Word of God.

Copyright

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society.

All rights reserved.

The NIrV text may be quoted for non-commercial usage in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio) up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without the express written permission of the publisher, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted.

Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page of the work as follows:

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL READER’S VERSION™. Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

When quotations from the NIrV text are used in non-saleable media, such as church bulletins, orders of service, posters, transparencies or similar media, a complete copyright notice is not required, but the initials (NIrV) must appear at the end of each quotation.

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