1 Am a I not an apostle? Am I not free? b Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? c Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are d the 1 seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 e Do we have no 2 right to eat and drink? 5 Do we have no right to take along 3 a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, f the brothers of the Lord, and g Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I h who have no right to refrain from working? 7 Who ever i goes to war at his own expense? Who j plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who k tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, l "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." 4 Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that m he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 n If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?
12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? o Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things p lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 q Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the r temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so s the Lord has commanded t that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
15 But u I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for v it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for w necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, x I have a reward; but if against my will, y I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What is my reward then? That z when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel 5 of Christ without charge, that I a may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
19 For though I am b free from all men, c I have made myself a servant to all, d that I might win the more; 20 and e to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the 6 law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 f to g those who are without law, as without law h (not being without 7 law toward God, but under 8 law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 i to the weak I became 9 as weak, that I might win the weak. j I have become all things to all men, k that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? l Run in such a way that you may 10 obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize 11 is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for m an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: n not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 o But I discipline my body and p bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become q disqualified.New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.