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    1. Am I not an apostle? am I not free?--The oldest manuscripts read the order thus, "Am I not free? am I not an apostle?" He alludes to 1Co 8:9, "this liberty of yours": If you claim it, I appeal to yourselves as the witnesses, have not I also it? "Am I not free?" If you be so, much more I. For "am I not an apostle?" so that I can claim not only Christian, but also apostolic, liberty.
    - have I not seen Jesus--corporeally, not in a mere vision: compare 1Co 15:8, where the fact of the resurrection, which he wishes to prove, could only be established by an actual bodily appearance, such as was vouchsafed to Peter and the other apostles. In Ac 9:7, 17 the contrast between "the men with him seeing no man," and "Jesus that appeared unto thee in the way," shows that Jesus actually appeared to him in going to Damascus. His vision of Christ in the temple (Ac 22:17) was "in a trance." To be a witness of Christ's resurrection was a leading function of an apostle (Ac 1:22). The best manuscripts omit "Christ."
    - ye my work in the Lord--Your conversion is His workmanship (Eph 2:10) through my instrumentality: the "seal of mine apostleship" (1Co 9:2).

    2. yet doubtless--yet at least I am such to you.
    - seal of mine apostleship--Your conversion by my preaching, accompanied with miracles ("the signs of an apostle," Ro 15:18, 19; 2Co 12:12), and your gifts conferred by me (1Co 1:7), vouch for the reality of my apostleship, just as a seal set to a document attests its genuineness (Joh 3:33; Ro 4:11).

    3. to them that . . . examine me--that is, who call in question mine apostleship.
    - is this--namely, that you are the seal of mine apostleship.

    4. Have we not power--Greek, "right," or lawful power, equivalent to "liberty" claimed by the Corinthians (1Co 8:9). The "we" includes with himself his colleagues in the apostleship. The Greek interrogative expresses, "You surely won't say (will you?) that we have not the power or right," &c.
    - eat and drink--without laboring with our hands (1Co 9:11, 13, 14). Paul's not exercising this right was made a plea by his opponents for insinuating that he was himself conscious he was no true apostle (2Co 12:13-16).

    5. lead about a sister, a wife--that is, "a sister as a wife"; "a sister" by faith, which makes all believers brethren and sisters in the one family of God: "a wife" by marriage covenant. Paul implies he did not exercise his undoubted right to marry and "lead about" a believer, for the sake of Christian expediency, as well to save the Church the expense of maintaining her in his wide circuits, as also that he might give himself more undistractedly to building up the Church of Christ (1Co 7:26, 32, 35). Contrast the Corinthians' want of self-sacrifice in the exercise of their "liberty" at the cost of destroying, instead of edifying, the Church (1Co 8:9, Margin; 1Co 8:10-13).
    - as other apostles--implying that some of them had availed themselves of the power which they all had, of marrying. We know from Mt 8:14, that Cephas (Peter) was a married man. A confutation of Peter's self-styled followers, the Romanists, who exclude the clergy from marriage. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA [Miscellanies, 7.63] records a tradition that he encouraged his wife when being led to death by saying, "Remember, my dear one, the Lord." Compare EUSEBIUS [Eccleiastical History, 3.30].
    - brethren of the Lord--held in especial esteem on account of their relationship to Jesus (Ac 1:14; Ga 1:9). James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Probably cousins of Jesus: as cousins were termed by the Jews "brethren." ALFORD makes them literally brothers of Jesus by Joseph and Mary.
    - Cephas--probably singled out as being a name carrying weight with one partisan section at Corinth. "If your favorite leader does so, surely so may I" (1Co 1:12; 3:22).

    6. Barnabas--long the associate of Paul, and, like him, in the habit of self-denyingly forbearing to claim the maintenance which is a minister's right. So Paul supported himself by tent-making (Ac 18:3; 20:34; 1Th 2:9; 2Th 3:8).

    7. The minister is spiritually a soldier (2Ti 2:3), a vine-dresser (1Co 3:6-8; So 1:6), and a shepherd (1Pe 5:2, 4).
    - of the fruit--The oldest manuscripts omit "of."

    8. as a man--I speak thus not merely according to human judgment, but with the sanction of the divine law also.

    9. ox . . . treadeth . . . corn-- (De 25:4). In the East to the present day they do not after reaping carry the sheaves home to barns as we do, but take them to an area under the open air to be threshed by the oxen treading them with their feet, or else drawing a threshing instrument over them (compare Mic 4:13).
    - Doth God . . . care for oxen?--rather, "Is it for the oxen that God careth?" Is the animal the ultimate object for whose sake this law was given? No. God does care for the lower animal (Ps 36:6; Mt 10:29), but it is with the ultimate aim of the welfare of man, the head of animal creation. In the humane consideration shown for the lower animal, we are to learn that still more ought it to be exercised in the case of man, the ultimate object of the law; and that the human (spiritual as well as temporal) laborer is worthy of his hire.

    10. altogether--Join this with "saith." "Does he (the divine lawgiver) by all means say it for our sakes?" It would be untrue, that God saith it altogether (in the sense of solely) for our sakes. But it is true, that He by all means saith it for our sakes as the ultimate object in the lower world. GROTIUS, however, translates, "mainly" or "especially," instead of altogether.
    - that--"meaning that" [ALFORD]; literally, "because."
    - should plough--ought to plough in hope. The obligation rests with the people not to let their minister labor without remuneration.
    - he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope--The oldest manuscript versions and Fathers read, "He that thresheth (should or ought to thresh) in the hope of partaking" (namely, of the fruit of his threshing). "He that plougheth," spiritually, is the first planter of a church in a place (compare 1Co 3:6, 9); "he that thresheth," the minister who tends a church already planted.

    11. we . . . we--emphatical in the Greek. WE, the same persons who have sown to you the infinitely more precious treasures of the Spirit, may at least claim in return what is the only thing you have to give, namely, the goods that nourish the flesh ("your carnal things").

    12. others--whether true apostles (1Co 9:5) or false ones (2Co 11:20).
    - we rather--considering our greater labors for you (2Co 11:23).
    - suffer all things--without complaining of it. We desire to conceal (literally, "hold as a water-tight vessel") any distress we suffer from straitened circumstances. The same Greek is in 1Co 13:7.
    - lest we . . . hinder . . . gospel--not to cause a hindrance to its progress by giving a handle for the imputation of self-seeking, if we received support from our flock. The less of incumbrance and expense caused to the Church, and the more of work done, the better for the cause of the Gospel (2Ti 2:4).

    13. minister about holy things--the Jewish priests and Levites. The Greek especially applies to the former, the priests offering sacrifices.
    - partakers with the altar--a part of the victims going to the service of the altar, and the rest being shared by the priests (Le 7:6; Nu 18:6, &c.; De 18:1, &c.).

    14. Even so--The only inference to be drawn from this passage is, not that the Christian ministry is of a sacrificial character as the Jewish priesthood, but simply, that as the latter was supported by the contributions of the people, so should the former. The stipends of the clergy were at first from voluntary offerings at the Lord's Supper. At the love-feast preceding it every believer, according to his ability, offered a gift; and when the expense of the table had been defrayed, the bishop laid aside a portion for himself, the presbyters, and deacons; and with the rest relieved widows, orphans, confessors, and the poor generally [TERTULLIAN, Apology, 39]. The stipend was in proportion to the dignity and merits of the several bishops, presbyters, and deacons [CYPRIAN, c. 4, ep. 6].
    - preach . . . gospel--plainly marked as the duty of the Christian minister, in contrast to the ministering about sacrifices (Greek) and waiting at the altar of the Jewish priesthood and Levites (1Co 9:13). If the Lord's Supper were a sacrifice (as the Mass is supposed to be), this fourteenth verse would certainly have been worded so, to answer to 1Co 9:13. Note the same Lord Christ "ordains" the ordinances in the Old and in the New Testaments (Mt 10:10; Lu 10:7).

    15. Paul's special gift of continency, which enabled him to abstain from marriage, and his ability to maintain himself without interrupting seriously his ministry, made that expedient to him which is ordinarily inexpedient; namely, that the ministry should not be supported by the people. What to him was a duty, would be the opposite to one, for instance, to whom God had committed a family, without other means of support.
    - I have used none of these things--none of these "powers" or rights which I might have used (1Co 9:4-6, 12).
    - neither--rather, "Yet I have not written."
    - so done unto me--literally, "in my case": as is done in the case of a soldier, a planter, a shepherd, a ploughman, and a sacrificing priest (1Co 9:7, 10, 13).
    - make my glorying void--deprive me of my privilege of preaching the Gospel without remuneration (2Co 11:7-10). Rather than hinder the progress of the Gospel by giving any pretext for a charge of interested motives (2Co 12:17, 18), Paul would "die" of hunger. Compare Abraham's similar disinterestedness (Ge 14:22, 23).

    16. though I preach . . . I have nothing to glory of--that is, If I preach the Gospel, and do so not gratuitously, I have no matter for "glorying." For the "necessity" that is laid on me to preach (compare Jer 20:9, and the case of Jonah) does away with ground for "glorying." The sole ground for the latter that I have, is my preaching without charge (1Co 9:18): since there is no necessity laid on me as to the latter, it is my voluntary act for the Gospel's sake.

    17. Translate, "If I be doing this (that is, preaching) of my own accord (which I am not, for the 'necessity' is laid on me which binds a servant to obey his master), I have a reward; but if (as is the case) involuntarily (Ac 9:15; 22:15; 26:16); not of my own natural will, but by the constraining grace of God; (Ro 9:16; 1Ti 1:13-16), I have had a dispensation (of the Gospel) entrusted to me" (and so can claim no "reward," seeing that I only "have done that which was my duty to do," Lu 17:10, but incur the "woe," 1Co 9:16, if I fail in it).

    18. What is my reward?--The answer is in 1Co 9:19; namely, that by making the Gospel without charge, where I might have rightfully claimed maintenance, I might "win the more."
    - of Christ--The oldest manuscripts and versions omit these words.
    - abuse--rather "that I use not to the full my power." This is his matter for "glorying"; the "reward" ultimately aimed at is the gaining of the more (1Co 9:19). The former, as involving the latter, is verbally made the answer to the question, "What is my reward?" But really the "reward" is that which is the ultimate aim of his preaching without charge, namely, that he may gain the more; it was for this end, not to have matter of glorying, that he did so.

    19. free from all men--that is, from the power of all men.
    - gain the more--th


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