1 Corinthians 9:1–7 (NKJV)

1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we have no right to eat and drink? 5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? 7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?

1 Corinthians 9:1-7

This introduction to chapter nine gives the reader a glimpse of the resistance Paul received from some of the people in the church at Corinth. Regarding Paul’s being paid or given food and lodging was in question here. In other books, Paul celebrates the fact that he did not ask them for anything, and worked with his own hands to provide his personal needs. Yet here he defends his right to be remunerated by the church, and his role and title as apostle. He asks rhetorical questions to make his point, and does so with great passion and success. He even uses some sarcasm to drive home the point that Barnabus and he have the right to believing wives and compensation for their labors. His rationale is simple: He was proved himself to be an apostle, and the apostle (or any minister) should not plant, feed, and grow a church without receiving from its blessings. Paul stands up for the rightness of ministers being paid, and does not back down, even though he does not necessarily require that for himself from all churches. Therefore, if a person can minister and not be paid, then a bivocational ministry is valid. But if a minister feels the need due to the size of the congregation or the depth of his responsibilities to be paid by the church as his full-time vocation, then that is proper as well. Take care of your leaders in the church, for their labor is real and encompasses their lives at times.

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