Summary: Paul’s greatest interest was to preach the gospel and win men and women to Jesus Christ. He summarizes his guiding principle in the words, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (v. 22). In order to better accomplish his pu
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
For eighteen fruitful years, Dr. H.A. Ironside pastored the Moody Church in Chicago. When he got ready to take the offering, he would often say, "We ask God’s people to give generously. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, we do not ask you to give. We have a gift for you - eternal life through faith in Christ!" (Source Unknown)
The sole reward that Paul desired was to be able to preach “the gospel of Christ without charge.” Someone might ask the question, with all the freedom in the world open to him, why did the apostle Paul restrict himself so severely? The answer is "that I might gain the more." (v. 19) In other words, his greatest interest was to preach the gospel and win men and women to Jesus Christ. He summarizes his guiding principle in the words, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (v. 22). In order to better accomplish his purpose, he was willing to adapt himself to the people with whom he was dealing. To the Jew he became as a Jew; to the Gentiles, as one of them. Acts 13 and 14 provide excellent illustrations of this principle.
Of course the apostle does not at all mean that he compromised the essentials of the Word of God, nor does he mean that he stooped to any evil deed. We must keep in mind that Paul was not a chameleon who changed his message and his methods with each new situation. Neither was he a compromiser who adjusted his message to please his audience. He was a Jew who had a great burden for his own people (Rom. 9:1-3), but also a special calling to minister to Gentiles (Eph 3:8).
What Paul does mean is that whether dealing with men under the law (Jews) or without law (Gentiles) he adapted himself to their condition. He had the right to eat whatever pleased him, but he gave up that right so that he might win the Jews. At the same time he respected the law but set the law aside so that he might reach the lost Gentiles.
I must never compromise the gospel but I want to be a person who is willing to change the way I do things in order to reach more people for Him. This may involve changing the way I spend my time or the methods I use doing it.