The Book of 1 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 9 Part 1

We go on to 1 Cor 9:1-10
Most people (today) would consider Paul one of the greatest Apostles (apart from Yeshua) who ever lived. In his day, though, he frequently had to endure the attack of others. In this chapter we are given insight into how Paul responded to these attacks – he was indeed an Apostle and was entitled to the benefits of being an Apostle. In this chapter he also sets some appropriate parameters for other apostles – who serve the call of Messiah in a unique way for the sake of the gospel.
v1: Paul begins this chapter by asking a series of questions. 
·      Am I not an apostle? Today, some people are called and sent forth by G-d in order to dedicate their lives full time for the purpose of the gospel and the Kingdom. This however doesn’t mean that they should have the title of ‘apostle’ or that they should be seen in the same light as Paul, Peter and the other disciples.
·      Am I not free: Paul had been in bondage to sin (like the slaves in Egypt had been in bondage to Pharoah) but G-d had called him out of sin (set him free) so that he was able to worship and serve G-d (Ex 8:1). Although all of us are servants of G-d, Paul is speaking here about something unique and specific – his call as an apostle to serve in a full-time capacity, to dedicate his life fully for the purpose of the gospel and of the Kingdom.
·      Have I not seen Messiah Yeshua our L-rd: This was an important clarification in order to be an Apostle (capital A) – you needed to have seen Yeshua with your own eyes. Paul saw Yeshua on the road to Damascus. This unique revelation gave him the credentials to use that term ‘Apostle’ in regard to himself. 
·      Are you not my work: Paul is saying that they need to recognise him as an apostle as he was the one who took the gospel to them (and discipled them). 
·      IN the L-rd: This speaks of a covenantal relationship. Paul shared the gospel with them so that they were able to enter into this covenantal relationship, through Messiah Yeshua, with the Living G-d. 
v2: Not an apostle to others: Some people rejected Paul as an apostle. 
·      I am to you: The Corinthian congregation should have recognised Paul as an apostle and not been like those who rejected him. 
·      You are the seal of my apostleship: Paul was sent in a unique way, for a unique time, for the purpose of building up the congregation of the redeemed – of which the Corinthian church was a part. It could be proven that his work in this congregation had caused them to grow and mature in the L-rd. 
·      IN the L-rd: Repetition shows emphasis. Paul wanted them to remember that they entered into this covenantal relationship with G-d because of the calling he had received. 
v3: Examine: Judge, investigate, question. They were trying to put forth information that Paul was not a legitimate apostle.
v4: The apostles received a stipend for the work that they did. This finance was not given in order to make the individual personally wealthy but was finance that was to be used to further the work of the gospel, but also so that those who served full-time could pay for the necessities of life (this doesn’t need to be minimal but needs to be enough for food and living costs). Any financial prosperity, received from the congregants, ought to be sewn into the work of the gospel, not into prospering the individuals who perform the work.
v5: Take along a believing wife: The apostles were also given enough to pay for the sustenance of their families. 
·      Cephas: Simon Peter. Peter was married (Matt 8:14) and obviously received money to support himself, his wife and his family. 
v6: Refrain from working: Paul and Barnabas were not being financially supported by the churches and so had to earn a living in order to support themselves.
v7: Soldiers could do what they were called to do as they were hired by their governments. Their basic needs were met by the government. This same principle should apply to those who are working full-time in the Kingdom.
·      Those who plant get a benefit/get sustenance from their labours – they take a portion of the produce.
·      Those who look after sheep also partake of what the sheep produce. These are all examples of what is common practice. Paul is saying that receiving a stipend for labour within the church should also be a common practice. 
v8: Paul gives his rationale for what he is saying. He has given examples from society but the final example that Paul gives is from the Tanach (OT) itself – from the law. When Paul is dealing with a conflict, or with an issue, we see that he consistently goes back to the Torah (the law of Moses). 
v9: Deut 25:4 is the example that Paul gives from the law. 
·      It IS written: Although the law was written in the past it still had relevance in Paul’s day. Even today it still has relevance (Gal 3:24).
·      You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain: The ox needs strength and power to do the work of threshing and, therefore, he is able to eat of that grain while he is working in it. That was true in the Torah for an ox and therefore that principle should also be relevant for those who work in the Kingdom of G-d. The ox didn’t prosper from the grain, but he did find sustenance in it. 
·      Is it oxen G-d is concerned about? G-d wasn’t only interested in the ox. The ox was used as an example of a principle that was to be applied to all working animals. Paul shows us that this isn’t a principle that only applies to animals, but also holds true for individuals who are part of G-d’s working creation. 
v10: This law in Deuteronomy was given for a much broader reason than just the needs of the ox.
·      Plow in hope…threshes in hope: The one who does the work has a reasonable expectation that he is going to receive a wage/a dividend from his labour. 

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