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The Rights of the Apostles
- Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren’t you my work in the Lord?
- If I’m not an apostle to others, then at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
- My defense(1)The Greek word here is “ἀπολογία” (apologia) is the root of our English word “apologetics”. It specifically refers to a verbal defense, and the term was used for a legal defense in court. It implies providing compelling evidence to answer an accusation or objection that was raised. to the men who examine me is this:
- Don’t we definitely have the right to eat and drink?
- Don’t we definitely have the right to bring along a believing(2)literally “a sister wife”, with sister indicating a wife who is Christian. wife? (Just as also the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas(3)“Cephas” is Aramaic for “a rock”, and is another name for the disciple/apostle Peter. do.)
- Or do only Barnabas and I lack the right to not work?
- Who ever serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and doesn’t eat of its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and doesn’t drink the milk of the flock?
- I don’t speak these things according to man, do I? Doesn’t the law also say these things?
- For it is *written in the Law of Moses; “you shall not muzzle an ox that’s threshing“(4)quotation/allusion to Deuteronomy 25:4 Threshing is part of the process for separating chaff from grain. Threshing involves beating the grain to break the chaff free from the grain. It was typically done on a “threshing floor” with either a tool or by animals. Once the chaff is broken free, you then “winnow” the chaff and grain mixture by throwing it in the air so the wind carries away the lighter, useless chaff, while the heavier grain falls back to the earth. Once ground into flour and cooked, the grains are ready to eat. God isn’t concerned about the oxen, is He?
- Or does He speak entirely for our sake? For it was written for our sake, because the man who plows ought to plow in expectation, and the man who threshes(5)“threshes” is literal. See note on previous verse does so in expectation to partake of the grain.
- If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it a great thing if we reap material things from you?
- If others partake of their right from you, couldn’t we do so more? But we didn’t make use of this right, but instead, we patiently endured everything so we wouldn’t put any hindrance on the gospel of the Anointed.
- Don’t you *know the men who work in the temple eat the food in the temple? And don’t the men who serve at the altar have a share in the altar sacrifices?
- And in this way, the Lord appointed for the men who proclaim the gospel to live from the gospel.
- But I haven’t made use of these rights. (And I didn’t write these things so it might become this way with me.) For it’s better for me to die than for anyone to make my boasting empty.
- For if I proclaim the gospel, there isn’t a boast for me, for a compulsion is placed on me; for woe is me if I don’t proclaim the gospel.
- For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if unwillingly, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
- What then is my reward? That in preaching the gospel free of charge, I might offer the gospel without needing to use my right in the gospel.
All things to all men
- For while being free from all men, I made myself a slave to all men so I might gain more of them.
- And I became like a Jew to the Jews, so I might win the Jews. To men under the law, like I’m under the law – though not being under the law myself – so I might win men under the law.
- To men without the law,(6)“without the law” is one word in Greek. It can mean “lawless” in the sense of wicked, but it can also refer to those without the Mosaic Law; i.e. Gentiles. That is likely the intended sense here. like a man without the law – though not being without God’s law, but lawful in the Anointed – so I might win men without the law.
- I became weak to the weak, so I might win the weak. I *become all things to all men, so that by all means I might save some.
- But I do everything for the gospel’s sake, so I might become a fellow partaker in it.
- Don’t you *know that the men who run in a race all indeed run, but only one receives the prize? Run like this so you might seize it.
- And every man who competes uses self-control in everything. Then these men indeed compete so they might receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
- Therefore, I indeed run like this, but not aimlessly. I box like this, but not like punching air.
- But I discipline my body and make it my slave, lest after having preached to others, I might become disqualified.
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