This program of Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration through Bible study.

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Bruce McGee
P.O. Box 1627
Columbia, LA 71418




1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

Obviously, the letter which Paul had received revealed that some in the church doubted
his authentity as an apostle.
Even at that time, it was accepted that to be an "apostle," one had to have seen the Lord Jesus.

In fact Paul HAD seen Christ on the Damascus Road as he was bearing letter to imprison Jewish Christians.
(See Acts 9:1-6 and Acts 22:14-15)

Though Paul had not lived with Jesus as the other apostles had done, he had certainly visited with the risen Christ!

Perhaps one of the reasons they doubted his authenticity as an apostle was because Paul never used his
athority to receive funds from the church.
Instead, he WORKED for his own subsistence.

A "seal" was made by an imprintation by a tool on certain documents to authenticate the document.
Paul calls the saved Corinthians a seal on his apostolic authority.
They were evidence that God's power worked through Paul to bring them to Christ for salvation.

In the following Scriptures, Paul seems to be answering more objections to his apostleship.

3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,
4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?
5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord,
and Cephas?
6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

Vs 4 -- Did Paul not have the "power" (right) to expect sustenance from the congregation?
He certainly didn't IMPOSE it; even though (as an apostle) he could have expected it.

Vs 5 -- Did Paul not have the "power" (right) to be married?
Other apostles were married, and took their wives with them when they traveled.
As such, they expected the church to provide for them.

However, Paul CHOSE to remain single, and totally devoted to the ministry of which God had called him.

This also augments the truth that ministers have the RIGHT to marry!
Every minister has the right to marry a good Christian woman who will comfort, encourage and strengthen him in the work.

Vs 6 -- Did Paul (and Barnabus) not have the "power" (right) to "forbear working,"
and expect the church to provide for them?
Other apostles did this.
However, Paul & Barnabus were doing new works, leading people to Christ and founding churches.
They did not presume upon those who were saved to provide for them.
Instead, they worked and provided for themselves.

Paul had these rights but chose not to be a burden upon the churches.
He acted out of love and consideration, even though it cost him.

Any pastor may be called into question for the validity of his ministry.
However, we should act in love and consideration of the congregation --
not selfishly invoking rights!!

Some pastors exact far too much pay for their ministry in, to and through the church.
Some churches find it burdensome to pay the pastor and effectively minister to the community.
Also, some churches pay far less than they should to the pastor, and still do not allocate the
appropriate finances to ministering to the community.

It seems to be a "catch can - and catch can't" situation sometimes.
However, NONE of us (churches OR pastors) should be about asserting rights;
rather, we should be about the ministry of Christ to others in love and consideration.

7 Who 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 flock?
8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
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 oxen?
10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt,
this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he
that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall
reap your carnal things?
12 If others be partakers of this 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.

When a soldier goes to war, he is supported by those who send him.
When a person feeds and waters flock, he expects something back.
It's the "law" of natural things.

And Moses said, "Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn." (See Deuternomy 25:4)
Did God say that through Moses just so we'd care for the oxen?
Or does it not apply to the ministers also?

When pastors teach spiritual matters, they should also be able to reap carnal (worldly) things
from the congregation.
It doesn't necessarily mean it will be adequate to supply all their needs.
However, it should be given to help them in attaining self subsistence.

Now, after asserting these things, Paul says,
"NEVERTHELESS we have not USED this power (rights); but suffer all things,
Lest we should HINDER the Gospel of Christ!"

Paul was not about burdening the ministry of Christ to others;
he was about implementing and augmenting it!

13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple?
and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
15(a) But I have used none of these things:

Paul draws on an Old Testament example.
In the Old Testament, the Levites received some of the sacrifices for themselves and their families.
They did not exist TOTALLY upon those things, but also WORKED for a living.

God has also "ordained" that ministers of the Gospel of Christ should receive from the ministry.
It's not necessary that they exist TOTALLY upon those receipts!
That's why we have so many bi-vocational churches --
where ministers work along with the extra duties of being a pastor.

Paul chose to NOT receive anything for himself from the church.
He chose to WORK!
That doesn't mean it should be EVERY minister's choice.
The minister should be able to expect some assistance (if not all) from the church,
depending upon the size of the congregation.
((You may notice I split verse 15.
The remainder appears in the commentary below.))

15(b).....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.
16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me;
yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation
of the gospel is committed unto me.

Paul had invoked none of the rights of a minister (vs 15a).
And, he was not writing this letter to invoke those rights (vs 15b).

Now the last part of vs 15 must be considered in light of the next two verses.

Paul's preaching was of NECESSITY!
He felt he would DIE if he didn't preach and share Jesus with others!
Therefore, it was not preaching the Gospel that gave him cause for "glorying"!

IT was the fact that he did it with all his heart -- willingly!
THAT was his only cause for glorying!

If he preached by someone else's assistance, he would feel obligated to them.
However, he did not - and felt obligated only to God!
His "reward" then, will be received when he faces Jesus!

He will have preached the Gospel under the CONTROL of no one; and, He will have preached the Gospel CHARGING (costing) no one!
He will have preached the Gospel because it was COMMITTED to him by the Lord!

18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the
gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all,
that I might gain the more.

Paul's "reward" is to KNOW that he did not cost anyone while preaching,
that he did not preach under someone else's authority, and that he did not abuse
his right in the preaching the Gospel.

Paul was a "free" man.
He was born a Roman citizen. (See Acts 22:28)

But he willingly made himself subject to all men.
He rose above petty prejudices and presented himself a "servant" to all men that he
might enable them to know Christ!

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law,
as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,)
that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men,
that I might by all means save some.
23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

To the Jews, Paul showed himself as a Jew, in order to present Christ to them from the law.
To the Gentiles, Paul showed himself as a Gentile to present Christ to them without the law.

In other words he became a servant to all in order to bring people (those who would come) to Christ.
And that is exactly how he began the church in Corinth.
He started where THEY were, and led them to Christ!

As Christians, we must submit ourselves as servant to others for Christ's sake!

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?
So run, that ye may obtain.

The phrase "Know ye not," indicates Paul knew his readers would understand the example.
They were familiar with the races which were part of the games that happened every 4 years,
much like our olympic games.
Each runner practiced vehemently.
And, each runner ran with great vigor to WIN!

And, we - as Christians - should practice with the same tenacity.
We should run the race of life vigorously EACH day with Christ as our Guide!

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

The word "temperate" is translated from the Greek egkrateuomai
pronounced (eng-krat-yoo'-om-ahee).
It means to contain, to deliberately exercise self-restraint.

All those who participated in the games physically exercised daily and kept themselves
from practicing things that would deter their ability.

The difference between them and Christians is:
the games player only won a crown that was "corruptible,"
while the Christians works to win an "incorruptible" and everlasting crown!

Again, the work should be DAILY and with SELF-RESTRAINT!

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

YOU, Christian do not run "uncertainly"!
You run with CERTAINTY!

Having given your life to Christ, you KNOW and are CERTAIN OF the fact that
Christ will grant you that "crown of glory" that "fades not away!"

(See 2Tim. 4:8)

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Let us EACH keep our lives in "subjection" to Christ DAILY!
That word "subjection" is translated from the Greek doulagogeu,
pronounced doo-lag-ogue-eh'-o.
It simply means voluntary servitude!

If we DAILY bring ourselves under the perfect guidance of our Lord Jesus,
then, we shall not fail in being ABLE to preach to others, and
we shall not be counted as "castaway(s)" on our Lord's judgment day.