B. The Apostle’s Vindication
1. His Qualifications
- Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
- If to others I am not an apostle, yet surely I am to you; for you in the Lord are the seal of my apostleship.
- My defense to those who examine me is this.
- Do we not have a right to eat and to drink?
- Do we not have a right to take along a sister as a wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
- Or do only I and Barnabas not have the right not to work?
- What soldier ever serves by his own wages? Who plants a vineyard and does not partake of its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not partake of the milk of the flock?
- Am I speaking these things according to man? Or does the law not also say these things?
- For in the law of Moses it is written: You shall not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain. Is it for oxen that God cares?
- Or does He say it altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written because the plowman should plow in hope, and he who threshes, in hope of partaking.
- If we have sown to you the spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap from you the fleshly things?
- If others partake of this right over you, should not rather we? Yet we did not use this right, but we bear all things that we may not cause any hindrance to the gospel of Christ.
- Do you not know that those who labor on the sacred things eat the things of the sacred temple, that those who attend to the altar have their portion with the altar?
- So also the Lord directed those who announce the gospel to live from the gospel.
- But I myself have not used any of these things; and I have not written these things that it may be so with me; for it is good for me rather to die than No one shall make my boast void.
- For if I preach the gospel, I have no boast, for necessity is laid upon me; for woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.
- If I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a stewardship.
- What then is my reward? That in preaching the gospel I may present the gospel without charge, so as not to use to the full my right in the gospel.
- For though I am free from all, I have enslaved myself to all that I might gain the more.
- And to the Jews I became as a Jew in order that I might gain Jews; to those under law, as under law (though I myself am not under law), that I might gain those under law.
- To those without law, as without law (though I am not without law to God but within law to Christ), that I might gain those without law.
- To the weak I became weak that I might gain the weak. To all men I have become all things that I might by all means save some.
- And I do all things for the sake of the gospel that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
- Do you not know that those who run on a racecourse all run, but one receives the prize? Run in this way, that you may lay hold.
- And everyone who contends exercises self-control in all things; they then, that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we, an incorruptible.
- I therefore run in this way, not as though without a clear aim; I box in this way, not as though beating the air;
- But I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest perhaps having preached to others, I myself may become disapproved.
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