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Chapter 9

9:1 Am I not free? [Ouk eimi eleutheros;]. Free as a Christian from Mosaic ceremonialism (cf. 9:19) as much as any Christian and yet he adapts his moral independence to the principle of considerate love in 8:13. Am I not an apostle? [ouk eimi apostolos;]. He has the exceptional privileges as an apostle to support from the churches and yet he foregoes these. Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? [ouchi Iēsoun ton Kurion hēmōn heoraka;]. Proof (15:8; Ac 9:17, 27; 18:9; 22:14, 17f.; 2Co 12:1ff.) that he has the qualification of an apostle (Ac 1:22) though not one of the twelve. Note strong form of the negative [ouchi] here. All these questions expect an affirmative answer. The perfect active [heoraka] from [horaō], to see, does not here have double reduplication as in Joh 1:18.

Are not ye? [ou humeis este;]. They were themselves proof of his apostleship.

9:2 Yet at least I am to you [alla ge humin eimi]. An argumentum ad hominem and a pointed appeal for their support. Note use of [alla ge] in the apodosis (cf. 8:6).

9:3 My defence [hē emē apologia]. Original sense, not idea of apologizing as we say. See on Ac 22:1; 25:16. Refers to what precedes and to what follows as illustration of 8:13. To them that examine me [tois eme anakrinousin]. See on 1Co 2:15; 4:3. The critics in Corinth were “investigating” Paul with sharp eyes to find faults. How often the pastor is under the critic’s spy-glass.

9:4 Have we no right? [Mē ouk echomen exousian;]. Literary plural here though singular in 1-3. The [] in this double negative expects the answer “No” while [ouk] goes with the verb [echomen]. “Do we fail to have the right?” Cf. Ro 10:18f. (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1173).

9:5 Have we no right? [Mē ouk echomen exousian;]. Same idiom. To lead about a wife that is a believer? [adelphēn gunaika periagein;]. Old verb [periagō], intransitive in Ac 13:11. Two substantives in apposition, a sister a wife, a common Greek idiom. This is a plea for the support of the preacher’s wife and children. Plainly Paul has no wife at this time. And Cephas [kai Kēphās]. Why is he singled out by name? Perhaps because of his prominence and because of the use of his name in the divisions in Corinth (1:12). It was well known that Peter was married (Mt 8:14). Paul mentions James by name in Ga 1:19 as one of the Lord’s brothers. All the other apostles were either married or had the right to be.

9:6 Have we not a right to forbear working? [ouk echomen exousian mē ergazesthai;]. By [ē] (or) Paul puts the other side about Barnabas (the only allusion since the dispute in Ac 15:39, but in good spirit) and himself. Perhaps (Hofmann) Paul has in mind the fact that in the first great mission tour (Ac 13; 14), Barnabas and Paul received no help from the church in Antioch, but were left to work their way along at their own charges. It was not till the Philippian Church took hold that Paul had financial aid (Php 4:15). Here both negatives have their full force. Literally, Do we not have [ouk echomen], expecting the affirmative reply) the right not [], negative of the infinitive [ergazesthai] to do manual labour (usual meaning of [ergazomai] as in 4:12)?” There was no more compulsion on Paul and Barnabas to support themselves than upon the other workers for Christ. They renounced no rights in being voluntarily independent.

9:7 What soldier ever serveth? [tis strateuetai pote;]. “Who ever serves as a soldier?” serves in an army [stratos]. Present middle of old verb [strateuō]. At his own charges [idiois opsōniois]. This late word [opsōnion] (from [opson], cooked meat or relish with bread, and [ōneomai], to buy) found in Menander, Polybius, and very common in papyri and inscriptions in the sense of rations or food, then for the soldiers’ wages (often provisions) or the pay of any workman. So of the wages of sin (Ro 6:23). Paul uses [labōn opsōnion] (receiving wages, the regular idiom) in 2Co 11:8. See Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary; Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 148,266; Light from the Ancient East, p. 168. To give proof of his right to receive pay for preaching Paul uses the illustrations of the soldier (verse 7), the husbandman (verse 7), the shepherd (verse 7), the ox treading out the grain (8), the ploughman (verse 10), the priests in the temple (13), proof enough in all conscience, and yet not enough for some churches who even today starve their pastors in the name of piety. Who planteth a vineyard? [tis phuteuei ampelōna;]. [Ampelōn] no earlier than Diodorus, but in LXX and in papyri. Place of vines [ampelos], meaning of ending [-ōn]. Who feedeth a flock? [tis poimainei poimnēn;]. Cognate accusative, both old words. Paul likens the pastor to a soldier, vinedresser, shepherd. He contends with the world, he plants churches, he exercises a shepherd’s care over them (Vincent).

9:8 Do I speak these things after the manner of men? [Mē kata anthrōpon tauta lalō;]. Negative answer expected. Paul uses [kata anthrōpon] six times (1Co 3:3; 9:8; 15:32; Gal 1:11; 3:15; Ro 3:5). The illustrations from human life are pertinent, but he has some of a higher order, from Scripture. The law also [kai ho nomos]. Perhaps objection was made that the Scripture does not support the practice of paying preachers. That objection is still made by the stingy.

9:9 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn [ou phimōseis boun aloōnta]. Quotation from De 25:4. Prohibition by [ou] and the volitive future indicative. [Phimoō], to muzzle (from [phimos], a muzzle for dogs and oxen), appears first in Aristophanes (Clouds, 592) and not again till LXX and N.T., though in the papyri also. Evidently a vernacular word, perhaps a slang word. See metaphorical use in Mt 22:12,34. [Aloōnta] is present active participle of the old verb [aloaō], occurs in the N.T. only here (and verse 10) and 1Ti 5:18 where it is also quoted. It is probably derived from [halos] or [halon], a threshing-floor, or the disc of a shield or of the sun and moon. The Egyptians according to the monuments, used oxen to thresh out the grain, sometimes donkeys, by pulling a drag over the grain. The same process may be found today in Andalusia, Italy, Palestine. A hieroglyphic inscription at Eileithyas reads:

“Thresh ye yourselves, O oxen,

Measures of grain for yourselves,

Measures of grain for your masters.”

Note [mē melei] expects the negative answer, impersonal verb with dative and genitive cases [theoi], God, [boōn], oxen). Altogether [pantōs]. But here probably with the notion of doubtless or assuredly. The editors differ in the verse divisions here. The Canterbury Version puts both these questions in verse 10, the American Standard the first in verse 9, the second in verse 10.

9:10 He that plougheth [ho arotriōn]. Late verb [arotriaō], to plough, for the old [aroō] from [arotron] (plough), in LXX and rare in papyri. In hope of partaking [ep’ elpidi tou metechein]. The infinitive [aloāin] is not repeated nor is [opheilei] though it is understood, “He that thresheth ought to thresh in hope of partaking.” He that ploughs hardly refers to the ox at the plough as he that threshes does. The point is that all the workers (beast or man) share in the fruit of the toil.

9:11 Is it a great matter? [mega;]. The copula [estin] has to be supplied. Note two conditions of first class with [ei], both assumed to be true. On [pneumatika] and [sarkika] see on 2:14; 3:3. This point comes out sharply also in Ga 6:6.

9:12 Over you [humōn]. Objective genitive after [exousian]. Do not we yet more? [ou mallon hēmeis;]. Because of Paul’s peculiar relation to that church as founder and apostle. But we bear all things [alla panta stegomen]. Old verb to cover [stegē], roof) and so to cover up, to conceal, to endure (1Co 13:7 of love). Paul deliberately declined to use (usual instrumental case with [chraomai] his right to pay in Corinth. That we may cause no hindrance [hina mē tina enkopēn dōmen]. Late word [enkopē], a cutting in (cf. radio or telephone) or hindrance from [enkoptō], to cut in, rare word (like [ekkopē] here only in N.T. and once in Vettius Valens. How considerate Paul is to avoid “a hindrance to the gospel of Christ” [tōi euaggeliōi tou Christou], dative case and genitive) rather than insist on his personal rights and liberties, an eloquent example for all modern men.

9:13 Sacred things [ta hiera]. Of the temple [tou hierou]. Play on the same word [hierou] (sacred). See Nu 18:8-20 for the details. This is a very pertinent illustration. They which wait upon the altar [hoi tōi thusiastēriōi paredreuontes]. Old word [paredreuō], to sit beside, from [par—edros], like Latin assidere, and so constant attendance. Only here in the N.T. Locative case [thusiastēriōi], late word found so far only in LXX, Philo, Josephus, N.T., and ecclesiastical writers. See on Mt 5:23.

9:14 Even so did the Lord ordain [houtōs kai ho Kurios dietaxen]. Just as God gave orders about the priests in the temple, so did the Lord Jesus give orders for those who preach the gospel to live out of the gospel [ek tou euaggeliou zēin]. Evidently Paul was familiar with the words of Jesus in Mt 10:10; Lu 10:7f. either in oral or written form. He has made his argument for the minister’s salary complete for all time.

9:15 For it were good for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void [kalon gar moi mallon apothanein ē to kauchēma mou oudeis kenōsei]. The tangled syntax of this sentence reflects the intensity of Paul’s feeling on the subject. He repeats his refusal to use his privileges and rights to a salary by use of the present perfect middle indicative [kechrēmai]. By the epistolary aorist [egrapsa] he explains that he is not now hinting for a change on their part towards him in the matter, “in my case” [en emoi]. Then he gives his reason in vigorous language without a copula [ēn], were): “For good for me to die rather than,” but here he changes the construction by a violent anacoluthon. Instead of another infinitive [kenōsai] after [ē] (than) he changes to the future indicative without [hoti] or [hina], “No one shall make my glorying void,” viz., his independence of help from them. [Kenoō] is an old verb, from [kenos], empty, only in Paul in N.T. See on 1Co 1:17.

9:16 For if I preach [ean gar euaggelizōmai]. Third class condition, supposable case. Same construction in verse 16 [ean mē]. For necessity is laid upon me [anagkē gar moi epikeitai]. Old verb, lies upon me (dative case [moi]. Jesus had called him (Ac 9:6, 15; Ga 1:15f.; Ro 1:14). He could do no other and deserves no credit for doing it. Woe is me [ouai gar moi]. Explaining the [anagkē] (necessity). Paul had to heed the call of Christ that he had heard. He had a real call to the ministry. Would that this were the case with every modern preacher.

9:17 Of mine own will [hekōn] —not of mine own will [akōn]. Both common adjectives, but only here in N.T. save [hekōn], also in Ro 8:20. The argument is not wholly clear. Paul’s call was so clear that he certainly did his work willingly and so had a reward (see on Mt 6:1 for [misthos]; but the only reward that he had for his willing work (Marcus Dods) was to make the gospel free of expense [adapanon], verse 18, rare word, here only in N.T., once in inscription at Priene). This was his [misthos]. It was glorying [kauchēma], to be able to say so as in Ac 20:33f.). I have a stewardship intrusted to me [oikonomian pepisteumai]. Perfect passive indicative with the accusative retained. I have been intrusted with a stewardship and so would go on with my task like any [oikonomos] (steward) even if [akōn] (unwilling).

9:18 So as not to use to the full [eis to mē katachrēsasthai]. [Eis to] for purpose with articular infinitive and perfective use of [kata] (as in 7:31) with [chrēsasthai] (first aorist middle infinitive).

9:19 I brought myself under bondage [emauton edoulōsa]. Voluntary bondage, I enslaved myself to all, though free. Causative verb in [-oō] [douloō], from [doulos]. The more [tous pleionas]. Than he could have done otherwise. Every preacher faces this problem of his personal attitude and conduct. Note [kerdēsō] (as in verses 20, 21, 22, but once [hina kerdanō] in 21, regular liquid future of [kerdainō] with [hina] is probably future active indicative (Jas 4:13), though Ionic aorist active subjunctive from [kerdaō] is possible (Mt 18:15). “He refuses payment in money that he may make the greater gain in souls” (Edwards).

9:20 As a Jew [hōs Ioudaios]. He was a Jew and was not ashamed of it (Ac 18:18; 21:26). Not being myself under the law [mē ōn autos hupo nomon]. He was emancipated from the law as a means of salvation, yet he knew how to speak to them because of his former beliefs and life with them (Ga 4:21). He knew how to put the gospel to them without compromise and without offence.

9:21 To them that are without law [tois anomois]. The heathen, those outside the Mosaic law (Ro 2:14), not lawless (Lu 22:37; Ac 2:23; 1Ti 1:9). See how Paul bore himself with the pagans (Ac 14:15; 17:23; 24:25), and how he quoted heathen poets. “Not being an outlaw of God, but an inlaw of Christ” (Evans, Estius has it exlex, inlex, [mē ōn anomos theou, all’ ennomos Christou]. The genitive case of [theou] and [Christou] (specifying case) comes out better thus, for it seems unusual with [anomos] and [ennomos], both old and regular adjectives.

9:22 I became weak [egenomēn asthenēs]. This is the chief point, the climax in his plea for the principle of love on the part of the enlightened for the benefit of the unenlightened (chapter 1Co 8). He thus brings home his conduct about renouncing pay for preaching as an illustration of love (8:13). All things [panta] to all men [tois pasin], the whole number) by all means [pantōs]. Pointed play on the word all, that I may save some [hina tinas sōsō]. This his goal and worth all the cost of adaptation. In matters of principle Paul was adamant as about Titus the Greek (Ga 2:5). In matters of expediency as about Timothy (Ac 16:3) he would go half way to win and to hold. This principle was called for in dealing with the problem of eating meat offered to idols (Ro 14:1; 15:1; 1Th 5:14).

9:23 That I may be a joint partaker thereof [hina sunkoinōnos autou genōmai]. Literally, That I may become co-partner with others in the gospel. The point is that he may be able to share the gospel with others, his evangelistic passion. [Sunkoinōnos] is a compound word [sun], together with, [koinōnos], partner or sharer). We have two genitives with it in Php 1:7, though [en] and the locative is used in Re 1:9. It is found only in the N.T. and a late papyrus. Paul does not wish to enjoy the gospel just by himself.

9:24 In a race [en stadiōi]. Old word from [histēmi], to place. A stated or fixed distance, 606 3/4 feet, both masculine [stadioi] (Mt 14:24; Lu 24:13) and neuter as here. Most of the Greek cities had race-courses for runners like that at Olympia. The prize [to brabeion]. Late word, in inscriptions and papyri. Latin brabeum. In N. T. only here and Php 3:14. The victor’s prize which only one could receive. That ye may attain [hina katalabēte]. Final use of [hina] and perfective use of [kata-] with [labēte] (effective aorist active subjunctive, grasp and hold). Old verb [katalambanō] and used in Php 3:12ff.

9:25 That striveth in the games [ho agōnizomenos]. Common verb for contest in the athletic games [agōn], sometimes with the cognate accusative, [agōna agōnizomai] as in 1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 4:7. Probably Paul often saw these athletic games. Is temperate in all things [panta egkrateuetai]. Rare verb, once in Aristotle and in a late Christian inscription, and 1Co 7:9 and here, from [egkratēs], common adjective for one who controls himself. The athlete then and now has to control himself (direct middle) in all things (accusative of general reference). This is stated by Paul as an athletic axiom. Training for ten months was required under the direction of trained judges. Abstinence from wine was required and a rigid diet and regimen of habits.

A corruptible crown [phtharton stephanon]. [Stephanos] (crown) is from [stephō], to put around the head, like the Latin corona, wreath or garland, badge of victory in the games. In the Isthmian games it was of pine leaves, earlier of parsley, in the Olympian games of the wild olive. “Yet these were the most coveted honours in the whole Greek world” (Findlay). For the crown of thorns on Christ’s head see Mt 27:29; Mr 15:17; Joh 19:2,5. [Diadēma] (diadem) was for kings (Re 12:3). Favourite metaphor in N.T., the crown of righteousness (2Ti 4:8), the crown of life (Jas 1:12), the crown of glory (1Pe 5:4), the crown of rejoicing (1Th 2:9), description of the Philippians (Php 4:1). Note contrast between [phtharton] (verbal adjective from [phtheirō], to corrupt) like the garland of pine leaves, wild olive, or laurel, and [aphtharton] (same form with [a] privative) like the crown of victory offered the Christian, the amaranthine (unfading rose) crown of glory (1Pe 5:4).

9:26 So [houtōs]. Both with [trechō] (run) and [pukteuō] (fight). As not uncertainly [hōs ouk adēlōs]. Instead of exhorting them further Paul describes his own conduct as a runner in the race. He explains [houtōs]. [Adēlōs] old adverb, only here in N.T. His objective is clear, with Christ as the goal (Php 3:14). He kept his eye on Christ as Christ watched him. Fight [pukteuō]. Paul changes the metaphor from the runner to the boxer. Old verb (only here in N.T.) from [puktēs] (pugilist) and that from [pugmē] (fist). See on Mr 7:3). As not beating the air [hōs ouk aera derōn]. A boxer did this when practising without an adversary (cf. doing “the daily dozen”) and this was called “shadow-fighting” [skiamachia]. He smote something more solid than air. Probably [ou] negatives [aera], though it still occurs with the participle as a strong and positive negative.

9:27 But I buffet my body [alla hupōpiazō mou to sōma]. In Aristophanes, Aristotle, Plutarch, from [hupōpion], and that from [hupo] and [ops] (in papyri), the part of the face under the eyes, a blow in the face, to beat black and blue. In N.T. only here and Lu 18:5 which see. Paul does not, like the Gnostics, consider his [sarx] or his [sōma] sinful and evil. But “it is like the horses in a chariot race, which must be kept well in hand by whip and rein if the prize is to be secured” (Robertson and Plummer). The boxers often used boxing gloves [cestus], of ox-hide bands) which gave telling blows. Paul was not willing for his body to be his master. He found good as the outcome of this self-discipline (2Co 12:7; Ro 8:13; Col 2:23; 3:5). And bring it into bondage [kai doulagōgō]. Late compound verb from [doulagōgos], in Diodorus Siculus, Epictetus and substantive in papyri. It is the metaphor of the victor leading the vanquished as captive and slave. Lest by any means [mē pōs]. Common conjunction for negative purpose with subjunctive as here [genōmai], second aorist middle). After that I have preached to others [allois kēr–xas]. First aorist active participle of [kērussō] (see on 1:23), common verb to preach, from word [kērux] (herald) and that is probably the idea here. A [kērux] at the games announced the rules of the game and called out the competitors. So Paul is not merely a herald, but a competitor also. I myself should be rejected [autos adokimos genōmai]. Literally, “I myself should become rejected.” [Adokimos] is an old adjective used of metals, coin, soil (Heb 6:8) and in a moral sense only by Paul in N.T. (1Co 9:27; 2Co 13:5-7; Ro 1:28; Tit 1:16; 2Ti 3:8). It means not standing the test [dokimos] from [dokimazō]. Paul means rejected for the prize, not for the entrance to the race. He will fail to win if he breaks the rules of the game (Mt 7:22f.). What is the prize before Paul? Is it that reward [misthos] of which he spoke in verse 18, his glorying of preaching a free gospel? So Edwards argues. Most writers take Paul to refer to the possibility of his rejection in his personal salvation at the end of the race. He does not claim absolute perfection (Php 3:12) and so he presses on. At the end he has serene confidence (2Ti 4:7) with the race run and won. It is a humbling thought for us all to see this wholesome fear instead of smug complacency in this greatest of all heralds of Christ.

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