9:1 Am 1 I not an apostle? am I not free? 2 have I not seen
Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye a my work in the Lord?
(1) Before he proceeds any further in his purposed matter of
things offered to idols, he would show the cause of all
this evil, and also take it away. That is, that the
Corinthians thought that they did not have to depart from
the least amount of their liberty for any man's pleasure.
Therefore he propounds himself for an example, and that in
a matter almost necessary. And yet he speaks of both, but
first of his own person. If (he says) you allege for
yourselves that you are free, and therefore will use your
liberty, am I not also free, seeing I am an apostle?
(2) He proves his apostleship by the effects, in that he was
appointed by Christ himself, and the authority of his
function was sufficiently confirmed to him among them by
their conversion. And all these things he sets before
their eyes, to make them ashamed because they would not in
the least way that might be, debase themselves for the sake
of the weak, whereas the apostle himself did all the he
could to win them to God, when they were utterly reprobate
and without God.
(a) By the Lord.
9:2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to
you: for the b seal of mine apostleship are ye in the
(b) As a seal by which it sufficiently appears that God is
the author of my apostleship.
9:33 Mine answer to them that do c examine me is this,
(3) He adds this by the way, as if he should say, "So far it is
off, that you may doubt of my apostleship, that I use it to
refute those who call it into controversy, by opposing
those things which the Lord has done by me among you."
(c) Which like judges examine me and my doings.
9:44 Have we not power to d eat and to drink?
(4) "Now concerning the matter itself", he says, "seeing that I
am free, and truly an apostle, why may not I (I say not,
eat of all things offered to idols) be maintained by my
labours, indeed and keep my wife also, as the rest of the
apostles lawfully do, as by name, John and James, the
Lord's cousins, and Peter himself?"
(d) Upon the expense of the Church?
9:5 Have we not power to lead about a e sister, a wife, as
well as other apostles, and [as] the brethren of the Lord,
(e) One that is a Christian and a true believer.
9:6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to f forbear
(f) Not live by the works of our hands.
9:75 Who g goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who
planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or
who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the
(5) That he may not seem to burden the apostles, he shows that
it is just that they do, by an argument of comparison,
seeing that soldiers live by their wages, and husbandmen
by the fruits of their labours, and shepherds by that which
comes of their flocks.
(g) Goes to warfare?
9:86 Say I these things h as a man? or saith not the law
the same also?
(6) Secondly, he brings forth the authority of God's
institution by an argument of comparison.
(h) Have I not better ground than the common custom of men?
9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle
the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God
take care for i oxen?
(i) Was it God's proper intention to provide for oxen, when
he made this law? For there is not the smallest thing
in the world, but that God has a concern for.
9:117 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a
great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
(7) An assumption of the arguments with an amplification, for
neither in so doing do we require a reward appropriate for
9:128 If others be partakers of [this] k power over you,
[are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this
power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the
gospel of Christ.
(8) Another argument of great force: others are nourished
among you, therefore it was lawful for me, indeed rather for
me than any other. And yet I refused it, and had rather
still suffer any inconvenience, than the Gospel of Christ
should be hindered.
(k) The word signifies right and interest, by which he
shows us that the ministers of the word must by right
and duty be supported by the Church.
9:139 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy
things live [of the l things] of the temple? and they
which wait at the altar are m partakers with the altar?
(9) Last of all he brings forth the express law concerning the
nourishing of the Levites, which privilege nonetheless he
will not use.
(l) This is spoken by the figure of speech metonymy, for
those things that are offered in the temple.
(m) Are partakers with the altar in dividing the sacrifice.
9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the
gospel should live n of the gospel.
(n) Because they preach the Gospel. It follows by this
place, that Paul received no living, neither would have
any other man receive, by a commodity of masses, or
any other such superstitious nonsense.
9:15 But I have used none of these things: 10 neither have I
written these things, that it should be so done unto me:
for [it were] better for me to die, than that any man
should make my glorying void.
(10) He takes away occasion of suspicion by the way, that it
might not be thought that he wrote this as though he was
demanding his wages that were not payed him. On the
contrary, he says, I had rather die, than not to continue
in this purpose to preach the Gospel freely. For I am
bound to preach the Gospel, seeing that the Lord has
given and commanded me this office: but unless I do it
willingly and for the love of God, nothing that I do is to
be considered worthwhile. If I had rather that the Gospel
should be evil spoken of, than that I should not require
my wages, then would it appear that I took these pains not
so much for the Gospel's sake, as for my gains and
advantages. But I say, this would not be to use, but
rather to abuse my right and liberty: therefore not only
in this thing, but also in all others (as much as I could)
I am made all things to all men, that I might win them to
Christ, and might together with them be won to Christ.
9:18 What is my reward then? [Verily] that, when I preach the
gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ o without charge,
that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
(o) By taking nothing from those to whom I preach it.
9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the
Jews; to them that are under the p law, as under the law,
that I might gain them that are under the law;
(p) The word "law" in this place must be limited to the
9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I
am made all things to q all [men], that I might by all
means save some.
(q) In matters that are indifferent, which may be done or
not done with a good conscience. It is as if he said,
"I accommodated all customs and manners, that by all
means I might save some."
9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be
partaker thereof with r [you].
(r) That both I and those to whom I preach the Gospel, may
receive fruit by the Gospel.
9:2411 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but
one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
(11) He brings in another reason for this wrong, that is,
that they were given to gluttony, for there were solemn
banquets of sacrifices, and the loose living of the
priests was always too much celebrated and kept.
Therefore it was hard for those who were accustomed to
loose living, especially when they pretended the liberty
of the Gospel, to be restrained in these banquets. But
on the other hand, the apostle calls them by a pleasant
similitude, and also by his own example, to sobriety and
mortification of the flesh, showing that they cannot be
fit to run or wrestle (as then the games of Isthmies were)
who pamper up their bodies. And therefore affirming that
they can have no reward unless they take another course
and manner of life.
9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is s
temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a
corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
(s) Uses a most excellent and moderate diet.
9:27 But I keep under my t body, and bring [it] into
subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to
others, I myself should be u a castaway.
(t) The old man which strives against the Spirit.
(u) Or, "reproved". And this word "reproved" is not
contrasted with the word "elect", but with the word
"approved", when we see someone who is experienced not
to be such a one as he ought to be.