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1 Corinthians 9


 1 Am (1) I not an Apostle? Am I not free? (2) Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are ye not my work (a) in the Lord?


(1) Before he proceedeth any further in his purposed matter of things offered to idols he would shew the cause of all this mischief, and also take it away, to wit, that the Corinthians thought themselves not bound to depart from a jot of their liberty for any man's pleasure. Therefore he propoundeth himself for an example and that in a matter almost necessary. And yet he speaketh severally of both, but first of his own person. If (saith he) 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 proveth his Apostleship by the effects, in that which he was appointed of Christ himself, and the authority of his function was sufficiently confirmed to him amongst them by their conversion. And all these things he setteth before their eyes, to make them ashamed for that they would not in the leastwise that might be, debase themselves, for the weaks sake, whereas the Apostle himself did all that he could to win them to God when they were utterly reprobate and without God.
(a) By the Lord.


 2 If I be not an Apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am unto you; for ye are the (b) (*) seal of mine Apostleship in the Lord.


(b) As a seal whereby it appeareth sufficiently that God is the author of my Apostleship.

(*) I need no further declaration but the works that I have wrought among you.


 3  (3) My defense to them (*) that (c) examine me, is this,


(3) He addeth this by the way, as if he would say, So far it is off, that you may doubt of my Apostleship, that I use to refute them which call it into controversy, by opposing those things which the Lord hath done by me amongst you.

(*) And call into doubt mine office.
(c) Which like Judges examine me and my doings.


 4  (4) Have we not power to (d) eat (*) and to drink?


(4) Now touching the matter itself, he saith, Seeing that I am free, and truly an Apostle, why may not I (I say not, eat of all things offered to idols) but be maintained by my labors, yea and keep my wife also, as the residue 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?

(*) On the Church charges.


 5 Or have we not power to (*) lead about a wife being a (e) (♣) sister, as well as the rest of the Apostles, and as the (♠) brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?


(*) The Apostles led their wives about with them.

(e) One that is a Christian and a true believer?

(♣) A faithful and Christian wife.

(♠) Or, cousins?


 6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power (f) (*) not to work?


(f) Not live by the work of our hands.

(*) Whether they might not as lawfully live without laboring for their own hands, as other Apostles.


 7  (5) Who (g) goeth a warfare any time at his own cost? 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?


(5) That he may not seem to burden the Apostles, he sheweth 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 labors, and shepherds by that which cometh of their flocks.
(g) Useth to go a warfare?


 8  (6) Say I these things (h) according to man? Saith not the Law the same also?


(6) Secondly he bringeth 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 For it is written in the Law of Moses, (*) Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doeth God take (♣) care for (i) oxen?


(*) Deuteronomy 25:4; 1 Timothy 5:18 .

(♣) Had God respect properly to the oxen themselves when he made this Law, and not rather unto men?

(i) Was it God's proper drift to provide for oxen, when he made this Law? For otherwise there is not the smallest thing in the world, but God hath a care of it.


 10 Either saith he it not altogether for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt it is written, that he which eareth, should ear in hope, and that he that thresheth in hope, should be partaker of his hope.


 11  (*) (7) If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things?


(*) Romans 15:27 .

(7) An assumption of the arguments with an amplification, for neither in so doing do we require a reward meet for our deserves.


 12  (8) If others with you be partakers of this (k) (*) power, are not we rather? Nevertheless, we have not used this power; but (♣) suffer all things, that we should not hinder the Gospel of Christ.


(8) Another argument of great force: others are nourished amongst you, therefore it was lawful for me, yea rather for me than any other. And yet I refused it, and had rather still suffer any discommodity, than the Gospel of Christ should be hindered.
(k) The word signifieth a right and interest, whereby he giveth us to understand that the ministers of the word must of right and duty be found of the Church.

(*) To live on other menís charges?

(♣) Or, take in worth.


 13  (9) Do ye not know, that they which minister about the (*) holy things, eat 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 bringeth forth the express Law concerning the nourishing of the Levites, which privilege notwithstanding he will not use.

(*) Deuteronomy 18:7 .
(l) This is spoken by the figure Metonymy, for, of those things that are offered in the temple.
(m) Are partakers with the altar in dividing the sacrifice.

(♣) For the part that was burned, was devoted of the altar, and the other was due unto the Priests by the Law.


 14 So also hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel, should live (n) of the Gospel.


(n) Because they preach the Gospel. It followed by this place, that Paul got no living, neither would have any other man get, by any commodity of masses, or any other such superstitious trumperies.


 15 But I have used none of these things. (10) Neither wrote I 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 (*) rejoicing vain.


(10) He taketh away occasion of suspicion by the way, that it might not be thought that he wrote this as though he challenged his wages that was not paid him. Nay saith he, I had rather die, than not continue in this purpose to preach the Gospel freely. For I am bound to preach the Gospel, seeing that the Lord has enjoined me this office, but unless I do it willingly and for the love of God, nothing is to be allowed that I do. 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 were not to use, but 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.

(*) For now you have no just cause against me, seeing that I preached the Gospel freely unto you.


 16 For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to rejoice of, for necessity is laid upon me, and woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.


 17 For if I do it willingly, I have a reward, but if I do it against my will, (*) notwithstanding the dispensation is committed unto me.


(*) Seeing he is charged to preach, he must willingly and earnestly follow it; for if he do it by constraint, he doeth not his duty.


 18 What is my reward then? Verily that when I preach the Gospel, I make the Gospel of Christ (o) (*) free, that I abuse not mine authority in the Gospel.


(o) By taking nothing of them to whom I preach it.

(*) That I be not chargeable to them unto whom I preach, seeing that they think that I preach for gains.


 19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all men, that I might win the more.


 20  (*) And unto the Jews, I become as a Jew, that I may win the Jews; to them that are under the (p) Law, as though I were under the (♣) Law, that I may win them that are under the Law;


(*) Acts 16:3; Galatians 2:3 .

(p) The word (Law) in this place, must be restrained to the ceremonial Law.

(♣) As touching the ceremonies.


 21 To them that are without law, as though I were without law, (when I am not without Law as pertaining to God, but am in the Law through Christ) that I may win them that are without Law.


 22 To the weak I become as weak, that I may win the weak; I am made (*) all things to (q) all men, that I might by all means save some.


(*) In things indifferent, as eating of meats, observation of feasts and days and such like, he fashioned himself to men in such sort as he might best gain them to Christ.

(q) In matters that are indifferent, which may be done or not done with a good conscience; as if he said, I changed myself into all fashions, that by all means, I might save some.


 23 And this I do for the Gospelís sake, that I might be partaker thereof with (r) you.


(r) That both I and they to whom I preach the Gospel, may receive fruit by the Gospel.


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


(11) He bringeth in another cause of this mischief, to wit, that they were given to gluttony, for there were solemn banquets of sacrifices, and the riot of the Priests was always too much celebrated and kept. Therefore it was hard for them which were accustomed righteousness, especially when they pretended the liberty of the Gospel, to be restrained from these banquets. But contrariwise, the Apostle calleth them by a pleasant similitude, and also by his own example, to sobriety and mortification of the flesh, shewing 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 trade of life.


 25 And every man that proveth masteries, (s) (*) abstaineth from all things. And they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we for an incorruptible.


(s) Useth a most exquisite diet.

(*) That is, keepeth a strict diet and refraineth from such things as might distemper his body.


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


 27 But I beat down my (t) (*) body, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means after that I have preached to others, I myself should be (u) (♣) reproved.


(t) The old man which striveth against the Spirit.

(*) Or, old man which rebelleth against the Spirit.
(u) This word (Reproved) is not set as contrary to the word (Elect) but as contrary to the word (Approved) when we see one by experience not to be such a one as he ought to be.

(♣) Lest he should be reproved of men when they should see him do contrary, or contemn that thing which he taught others to do.




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 1 Corinthians 14:8

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