1 Corrinthians 9

I Corinthians 9
Self-Sacrifice for the Gospel
Self - limitation
How did “self limitation” work in chapter 8?
Here: Paul defends his rights as an apostle
and his willingness to sacrifice those rights
for the sake of the gospel.
“Become all things to all men …”
Self-control in all things to be faithful and
effective servants
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result
of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to
you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food
and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other
apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who must
work for a living?
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of
its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8 Do I say this merely from a
human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of
Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is
concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because
when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of
sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we
reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t
we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder
the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food
from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14
In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should
receive their living from the gospel.
The Rights Paul Can Claim as
an Apostle
1. What proofs of his apostleship does Paul
offer (vs 1,2)?
2. What three rights can Paul claim as an
apostle (vs 4-6)?
3. How do the three examples in verse 7
exemplify the right of ministers to receive
support form those to whom they preach the
The Rights Paul Can Claim as
an Apostle
4. What is Paul’s second argument in defense of his
right to receive a salary (vs 8-11)?
5. How did Paul support himself in Corinth (cf Acts
6. What is the third argument Paul uses in defense
of his right to receive a salary? (vs 13)
7. What is Paul’s principle in regard to salaries for
ministers of the gospel?
Studying the Scriptures
How does the following passage support the rule that ministers of the gospel should have their living
provided by their congregations?
Numbers 18:8-20 = 8 Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings
presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your
portion and regular share. 9 You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the
fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that
part belongs to you and your sons. 10 Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it. You must
regard it as holy.
11 “This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I
give this to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. Everyone in your household who
is ceremonially clean may eat it.
12 “I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain they give the Lord as the
firstfruits of their harvest. 13 All the land’s firstfruits that they bring to the Lord will be yours. Everyone
in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.
14 “Everything in Israel that is devoted to the Lord is yours. 15 The first offspring of every womb, both
man and animal, that is offered to the Lord is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and
every firstborn male of unclean animals. 16 When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the
redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty
17 “But you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their
blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 18
Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh are yours. 19
Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your
sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both
you and your offspring.”
20 The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share
among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.
Studying the Scriptures
How does the following passage support the rule
that ministers of the gospel should have their living
provided by their congregations?
Luke 10:7
7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever

they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.
Do not move around from house to house.
Studying the Scriptures
How does the following passage support the rule that
ministers of the gospel should have their living provided by
their congregations?
2 Corinthians 11:7-12
7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate
you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?
8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them
so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and
needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the
brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I
needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in
any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the
truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will
stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love
you? God knows I do! 12 And I will keep on doing what I
am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who
want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the
things they boast about.
Studying the Scriptures
How does the following passage support the rule
that ministers of the gospel should have their living
provided by their congregations?
Philippians 4:15-17
15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early
days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I
set out from Macedonia, not one church shared
with me in the matter of giving and receiving,
except you only; 16 for even when I was in
Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again
when I was in need. 17 Not that I am looking for a
gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to
your account.
Expanding our Understanding
Why didn’t Paul accept a salary from the Corinthian
Why is it important to recognize that the epistles of
Paul are epistles of an apostle? (Are there issues
today that challenge Paul’s authority?)
Does outward success in a pastor’s ministry prove
that he is a true minister of the gospel?
Why is the wife an important asset to a pastor’s
What level of support should ministers of the gospel
receive from their congregation?
Paul Sacrifices his Rights for
the sake of the gospel
I Corinthians 9:15-23)
15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope
that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive
me of this boast. 16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am
compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach
voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust
committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the
gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in
preaching it.
19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone,
to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the
Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself
am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having
the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s
law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the
weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so
that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the
gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Paul Sacrifices his Rights for
the sake of the gospel
Why didn’t Paul exercise his rights as an
apostle to receive pay for his services to the
Corinthian congregation? (vs 12b)
What personal reasons does Paul advance
for giving up his right to receive support? (vs
What “reward” does he prefer?
What was Paul’s continuing purpose in his
associations with people?
Paul Sacrifices his Rights for
the sake of the gospel
To what three classes of people did Paul
accommodate himself?
What evident limitation must Paul have place
on becoming “like a Jew” when he was
among Jews? (Acts 14:1,2)
In what sense can’t Gentiles be completely
without law?
What was Paul’s motivation in his relations
with people?
Studying the Scriptures
Why do Christians do great things for Christ?
Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any
more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut
up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
Acts 4:20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen
and heard.”
Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul
devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews
that Jesus was the Christ.
2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the
elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ
Jesus, with eternal glory.
Deepening our Understanding
1. In what sense does the compulsion that weighs
on Paul rest on all Christians?
2. How do verses 15-18 apply to a Christian’s
service to his congregation?
How do our foreign missionaries observe Paul’s
principle of being “all things to all men?”
When does being “all things to all men” become a
denial of Christ?
How can we apply Paul’s soul-winning principle in
our daily contacts with people?
The Gospel Ministry Calls for Selfdenial and Strenuous Effort
I Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that in a race all the
runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to
get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into
strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we
do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run
like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the
air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I
have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the
1. Does verse 24 imply that only a few will be saved?
2. What is “the crown that will last forever?”
3. What is the self-discipline Paul urges upon the Corinthians?
Digging Deeper
What do the following passages add to Paul’s message in the section
before us?
Philippians 3:12-14 = Not that I have already obtained all this, or have
already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which
Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to
have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and
straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the
prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:7 = I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I
have kept the faith.
Hebrews 12:1-3 = Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great
cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin
that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race
marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter
of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider
him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not
grow weary and lose heart.
How do we respond to Paul’s exhortation? … What if we come short of
his goal? (Ro 7:24,25)
Understanding Better
Why is Paul’s illustration of a Christian life an
appropriate one for our age?
What benefit do we have if we do not use our
Christian liberties?
How do these verses apply not only to
pastors but to every Christian?

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