Summary: In chapter nine Paul deals with those who invoke the principle of Christian liberty. He points out that there are many things that he is free to do but which he abstains from doing for the sake of the Church. He is well aware of Christian freedom, but equ
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction—or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late. (Closer Walk, December, 1991).
In chapter nine Paul deals with those who invoke the principle of Christian liberty. He points out that there are many things that he is free to do but which he abstains from doing for the sake of the Church. He is well aware of Christian freedom, but equally aware of Christian responsibility.
Paul uses himself as an illustration of giving up personal rights. He has the right to hospitality, to be married, and to be paid for his work (vv. 4-5). But he willingly gave up these rights to win people to Christ.
Jesus said that workers deserve their wages (Lk 10:7). Paul echoes this thought and urges the church to be sure to pay their Christian workers. Although Paul himself had not taken any money from the Corinthians, he defends his right and that of other Christian ministers to receive financial support from those to whom they minister. He compares the minister with a soldier, a vinedresser, and a shepherd (v. 7). Such are not expected to support themselves by some outside work. If any should say that these are just human illustrations, and that Paul is speaking as a man, he says that the law of God teaches the same principle. Deuteronomy 25:4 is quoted, indicating that the ox which treaded out the grain was not to be muzzled. In other words, the true Christian minister should be supported by the people to whom he ministers.
It is our duty to see that those who serve us in the ministry are fairly and adequately taken care of. Lord, help me to be a person who is looking for ways I can support missionaries and good Bible teaching ministries around the world.