The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Epistle of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Corinthians
Chapter 9
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Am I not free to do as I will? Am I not an apostle, have I not seen our Lord Jesus Christ? Are not you yourselves my achievement in the Lord?
To others I may not be an apostle, but to you at least I am; why, you are the sign-manual of my apostleship in the Lord.
This is the answer I make to those who call me in question.
Have we not a right to be provided with food and drink;
nay, have we not the right to travel about with a woman who is a sister, as the other apostles do, as the Lord’s brethren do, and Cephas?
Must I and Barnabas, alone among them, be forbidden to do as much?
Why, what soldier ever fought at his own expense? Who would plant a vineyard, and not live on its fruits, or tend a flock, and not live on the milk which the flock yields?
This is not a plea of man’s invention; the law declares it.
When we read in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn, must we suppose that God is making provision for oxen?
Is it not clear that he says it for our sakes? For our sakes it was laid down that the ploughman has a right to plough, and the thrasher to thrash, with the expectation of sharing in the crop.
Here are we, who have sown in you a spiritual harvest; is it much to ask, that we should reap from you a temporal harvest in return?
If others claim a share of such rights over you, have not we a better claim still? And yet we have never availed ourselves of those rights; we bear every hardship, sooner than hinder the preaching of Christ’s gospel.
You know, surely, that those who do the temple’s work live on the temple’s revenues; that those who preside at the altar share the altar’s offerings.
And so it is that the Lord has bidden the heralds of the gospel live by preaching the gospel.
Yet I have not availed myself of any such right.

I am not writing thus in the hope of being treated otherwise; I would rather die than have this boast taken from me.
When I preach the gospel, I take no credit for that; I act under constraint; it would go hard with me indeed if I did not preach the gospel.
I can claim a reward for what I do of my own choice; but when I act under constraint, I am only executing a commission.
What title have I, then, to a reward? Why, that when I preach the gospel I should preach the gospel free of charge, not making full use of the rights which gospel preaching gives me.
Thus nobody has any claim on me, and yet I have made myself everybody’s slave, to win more souls.
With the Jews I lived like a Jew, to win the Jews;
with those who keep the law, as one who keeps the law (though the law had no claim on me), to win those who kept the law; with those who are free of the law, like one free of the law (not that I disowned all divine law, but it was the law of Christ that bound me), to win those who were free of the law.
With the scrupulous, I behaved myself like one who is scrupulous, to win the scrupulous. I have been everything by turns to everybody, to bring everybody salvation.

All that I do, I do for the sake of the gospel promises, to win myself a share in them.
You know well enough that when men run in a race, the race is for all, but the prize for one; run, then, for victory.
Every athlete must keep all his appetites under control; and he does it to win a crown that fades, whereas ours is imperishable.
So I do not run my course like a man in doubt of his goal; I do not fight my battle like a man who wastes his blows on the air.
I buffet my own body, and make it my slave; or I, who have preached to others, may myself be rejected as worthless.