1 Corinthians, 9
1. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
2. Even if to others I am not an apostle, to you at any rate I am, for you are the seal of my apostolate in the Lord.
3. To those who want to interrogate me, this is my answer.
4. Have we not every right to eat and drink?
5. And every right to be accompanied by a Christian wife, like the other apostles, like the brothers of the Lord, and like Cephas?
6. Are Barnabas and I the only ones who have no right to stop working?
7. What soldier would ever serve in the army at his own expense? And who is there who would plant a vineyard and never eat the fruit from it; or would keep a flock and not feed on the milk from his flock?
8. Do not think that this is merely worldly wisdom. Does not the Law say exactly the same? It is written in the Law of Moses:
9. You must not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the corn. Is it about oxen that God is concerned here,
10. or is it not said entirely for our sake? Clearly it was written for our sake, because it is right that whoever ploughs should plough with the expectation of having his share, and whoever threshes should thresh with the expectation of having his share.
11. If we have sown the seed of spiritual things in you, is it too much to ask that we should receive from you a crop of material things?
12. Others have been given such rights over you and do we not deserve more? In fact, we have never exercised this right; on the contrary, we have put up with anything rather than obstruct the gospel of Christ in any way.
13. Do you not realise that the ministers in the Temple get their food from the Temple, and those who serve at the altar can claim their share from the altar?
14. In the same way, the Lord gave the instruction that those who preach the gospel should get their living from the gospel.
15. However, I have never availed myself of any rights of this kind; and I have not written this to secure such treatment for myself; I would rather die than that . . . No one shall take from me this ground of boasting.
16. In fact, preaching the gospel gives me nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion and I should be in trouble if I failed to do it.
17. If I did it on my own initiative I would deserve a reward; but if I do it under compulsion I am simply accepting a task entrusted to me.
18. What reward do I have, then? That in my preaching I offer the gospel free of charge to avoid using the rights which the gospel allows me.
19. So though I was not a slave to any human being, I put myself in slavery to all people, to win as many as I could.
20. To the Jews I made myself as a Jew, to win the Jews; to those under the Law as one under the Law (though I am not), in order to win those under the Law;
21. to those outside the Law as one outside the Law, though I am not outside the Law but under Christ's law, to win those outside the Law.
22. To the weak, I made myself weak, to win the weak. I accommodated myself to people in all kinds of different situations, so that by all possible means I might bring some to salvation.
23. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, that I may share its benefits with others.
24. Do you not realise that, though all the runners in the stadium take part in the race, only one of them gets the prize? Run like that -- to win.
25. Every athlete concentrates completely on training, and this is to win a wreath that will wither, whereas ours will never wither.
26. So that is how I run, not without a clear goal; and how I box, not wasting blows on air.
27. I punish my body and bring it under control, to avoid any risk that, having acted as herald for others, I myself may be disqualified.