1 Corinthians 9:1-27

9  Am I not free?+ Am I not an apostle?+ Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?+ Are not YOU my work in [the] Lord?  If I am not an apostle to others, I most certainly am to YOU, for YOU are the seal confirming+ my apostleship in relation to [the] Lord.  My defense to those who examine me is as follows:+  We have authority to eat+ and drink, do we not?  We have authority to lead about a sister as a wife,+ even as the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers+ and Ceʹphas,+ do we not?  Or is it only Barʹna·bas+ and I that do not have authority to refrain from [secular] work?+  Who is it that ever serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit?+ Or who shepherds a flock and does not eat some of the milk of the flock?+  Am I speaking these things by human standards?+ Or does not the Law+ also say these things?  For in the law of Moses it is written: “You must not muzzle a bull when it is threshing out the grain.”+ Is it bulls God is caring for? 10  Or is it altogether for our sakes he says it? Really for our sakes it was written,+ because the man who plows ought to plow in hope and the man who threshes ought to do so in hope of being a partaker.+ 11  If we have sown spiritual things+ to YOU, is it something great if we shall reap things for the flesh from YOU?+ 12  If other men partake of this authority over YOU,+ do we not much more so? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this authority,+ but we are bearing all things, in order that we might not offer any hindrance to the good news+ about the Christ. 13  Do YOU not know that the men performing sacred duties eat+ the things of the temple, and those constantly attending+ at the altar have a portion for themselves with the altar? 14  In this way, too, the Lord ordained+ for those proclaiming the good news to live by means of the good news.+ 15  But I have not made use of a single one of these [provisions].+ Indeed, I have not written these things that it should become so in my case, for it would be finer for me to die than—no man is going to make my reason for boasting+ void! 16  If, now, I am declaring the good news,+ it is no reason for me to boast, for necessity+ is laid upon me. Really, woe+ is me if I did not declare the good news! 17  If I perform this willingly,+ I have a reward;+ but if I do it against my will, all the same I have a stewardship+ entrusted to me. 18  What, then, is my reward? That while declaring the good news I may furnish the good news without cost,+ to the end that I may not abuse my authority in the good news. 19  For, though I am free from all persons, I have made myself the slave+ to all, that I may gain+ the most persons. 20  And so to the Jews I became as a Jew,+ that I might gain Jews; to those under law I became as under law,+ though I myself am not under law,+ that I might gain those under law. 21  To those without law+ I became as without law,+ although I am not without law toward God but under law+ toward Christ,+ that I might gain those without law. 22  To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak.+ I have become all things to people of all sorts,+ that I might by all means save some. 23  But I do all things for the sake of the good news, that I may become a sharer+ of it with [others]. 24  Do YOU not know that the runners+ in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?+ Run+ in such a way that YOU may attain it.+ 25  Moreover, every man taking part in a contest exercises self-control+ in all things. Now they, of course, do it that they may get a corruptible crown,+ but we an incorruptible one.+ 26  Therefore, the way I am running+ is not uncertainly; the way I am directing my blows is so as not to be striking the air;+ 27  but I pummel my body+ and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved+ somehow.