1 Corinthians 9
-In chapter 9, Paul defends his apostleship and his rights as a minister of the Word of God for the purpose of showing the Corinthian believers, and us, the value of laying down rights for others benefit. He in some way feels like he needs to defend against those who would examine him (1 Corinthians 9:3). These might have been those “divided” in the faith in a different camp from Paul’s in disunity and raising arguments against the apostle. He defends himself particularly in the areas of taking a wife and financial reward from the preaching of the gospel.
-However, his point in the argument is to show them that he has not made use of these rights for the purpose of putting absolutely no obstacle in the way of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 9:12). He had no intention of being a burden to them in any way. In fact he says it would take away and deprive him of boasting since his purpose was to bring them the gospel out of called necessity (1 Corinthians 9:15-16). He was entrusted with a stewardship (an office, administration, commission) to present the gospel free of charge in order to make full use of his right in the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:17-18). Paul had made himself a servant (literally a slave) to all that he might win them to the Lord and His salvation (1 Corinthians 9:19). He became all things to all people, Law and otherwise, in order that he save some (1 Corinthians 9:22). The blessings of the benefit of the gospel of Jesus Christ far outweighed any personal comfort to himself in this man of God’s opinion (1 Corinthians 9:23). *Application* This plan of attack was contrary to the usual manner of winning the world with personal power, fame, and fortune. This was again, the wisdom of God over the wisdom of man (Corinthians 1:18-4:21). Paul demonstrated what it means to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We need to take God’s view of things and give up personal rights when it comes to presenting and making a case for the gospel of Christ and winning people to the Savior. Don’t be a burden, be a blessing!
-In the final paragraph of this chapter Paul makes a case for self-discipline in the Christian race and boxing match (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). The exhortation is to run in such a way that you might win the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus and an imperishable wreath exercising self-control in all things. Paul writes how believers need to have aim in their faith pursuits and not shadow box without any purpose. Discipline is the key ingredient that he discusses here for proper control and qualification in the Kingdom of God. *Application* This is a clarion call for self-examination for proper exaltation in our ministry. Too many lose their focus in the mission God has called them to for a variety of reasons. Some want more financial success, some get discouraged because of the conflicts and spiritual warfare that are inevitable in Christian service, some get sidetrack with immoral choices and the pull of this world. Whatever the case, Paul’s challenge for us is to keep our eyes focused on Christ Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). Know what you’re called to do by God and do it faithfully with endurance! Your testimony can become disqualified losing spiritual power.
Verses to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 9:22, 27