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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 4

Verse 4. Have we not power, exousian. Have we not the right. The word power here is evidently used in the sense of right, (comp. Joh 1:12, margin;) and the apostle means to say that though they had not exercised this right by demanding a maintenance, yet it was not because they were conscious that they had no such right, but because they chose to forego it for wise and important purposes.

To eat and to drink. To be maintained at the expense of those among whom we labour. Have we not a right to demand that they shall yield us a proper support? By the interrogative form of the statement, Paul intends more strongly to affirm that they had such a right. The interrogative mode is often adopted to express the strongest affirmation. The objection here urged seems to have been this: "You, Paul and Barnabas, labour with your own hands, Ac 18:3. Other religious teachers lay claim to maintenance, and are supported without personal labour. This is the case with pagan and Jewish priests, and with Christian teachers among us. You must be conscious, therefore, that you are not apostles, and that you have no claim or right to support. To this the answer of Paul is, "We admit that we labour with our own hands. But your inference does not follow. It is not because we have not a right to such support, and it is not because we are conscious that we have no such claim, but it is for a higher purpose. It is because it will do good if we should not urge this right, and enforce this claim." That they had such a right, Paul proves at length in the subsequent part of the chapter.

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