11 Aug. 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

11 Aug. Paul recommends running with a clear aim

"I am a free man. I am an apostle. I have seen Jesus our Lord. You people are all an example of my work in the Lord. If others do not accept me as an apostle, surely you do, because you are proof that I am an apostle in the Lord."

"This is the answer I give people who want to judge me: do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to bring a believing wife with us when we travel as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Peter? Are Barnabas and I the only ones who must work to earn our living?..."

"Since we planted spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we should harvest from you some things for this life? If others have the right to get something from you, surely we have this right, too? But we do not use it. No, we put up with everything ourselves so that we will not keep anyone from believing the Good News of Christ..."

"To the Jews I became like a Jew to win the Jews... I did this to win those who are ruled by the [Jewish] law. To those [Gentiles] who are without the [Jewish] law I became like a person who is without the law. I did this to win those people who are without the [Jewish] law... To those who are weak, I became weak so I could win the weak. I have become all things to all people so I could save some of them in any way possible..."

"You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. So run to win! All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed."

"So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something - not just the air. I treat my body hard and make it my slave so that I myself will not be rejected after I have preached to others."

          (1 Corinthians 9:1-27)

 

 

In this section of his letter, Paul answers those who have criticised him and accused him of relying on money from new converts. He points out that he has always worked to pay his way, and he has never asked the new believers to support him.

In fact, we know from other accounts that Paul earned a living as a tentmaker while in Corinth, and was working as a tentmaker with Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus as he wrote this letter (see Acts 18:1-3, 19, 26, 19:1 & 1 Corinthians 16:19).

It's interesting to note that, in the middle of this discussion, Paul says, "Do we not have the right to bring a believing wife with us when we travel as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Peter?" (1 Corinthians 9:5) This gives us an insight into the fact that, while Paul was single, most of the other early Christian leaders were married, and took their wives with them when they travelled around to preach and minister to new believers. Here Paul mentions not only the original disciples of Jesus, but also Jesus's brothers James and Jude, as well as Peter and Barnabas. (See Acts 12:17, 15:13 & Jude 1:1)

Paul then gets on to the reason why he came to Corinth in the first place: to win souls for Christ. So he lived alongside Jews to bring them to Christ; and he worked alongside Gentiles to appeal to them. Indeed, he became "all things to all people" to save them in any way possible. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

So Paul has an aim: Like a runner, he runs to win the prize. But for Paul, his 'prize' is clear - he 'runs' with all his might to achieve the 'prize' of winning souls for Christ.

The photo shows athletes running in the London Marathon.

You can read more about running the Race of Life @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/14-pauls-letters-to-corin…


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