1 Corinthians


6. Eating food offered to idols, 8:1-11:1

ii] Paul's own example on privilege verses service


With respect to eating food offered to idols, Paul has argued that the Corinthian libertines should not demand their right to freedom (to eat) at the expense of a weaker brother's faith. Paul now illustrates this principle in his own life. As the founding apostle of many Christian churches, he has the right to ask for their financial support, but so as not to allow money to get in the way of the gospel and so undermine a person's faith, he has willingly given up his right to financial support, v12b. Of course, he doesn't make this point so as to embarrass the churches into supporting him. He already receives all that he wants, namely, the honor of offering the gospel free of charge. Paul will go on in v19-26 to explain the principle of becoming all things to all people for their salvation, v22. Then, in chapter 10, he will relate that principle back to the issue of eating food offered to idols. The Corinthians need to understand that pursuing their right to eat food offered to idols at the expense of another's faith is totally unacceptable.


i] Context: See 8:1-13.


ii] Background: See 8:1-13.


iii] Structure: Paul's own example of service:


For the sake of the gospel,

a believer should not claim their rights

at the expense of their fellows.


Paul affirms his apostleship, v1-3;

Paul begins with four questions in v1

and follows up with three statements.

Paul's right, as an apostle, for financial support, v4-8;

Here we have seven questions followed up by two statements.

The divine principle coving work and reward,

a worker deserves their wages, v9-10;

The argument is shaped by two questions.

The principle that a worker deserves their wages,

properly applies to the apostolic ministry of Paul, v11-12;

Two questions in the form of conditional clauses;

a conclusion - but Paul has not made use of this right.

As a temple worker is rightly recompensed,

so is a minister of the gospel, v13 -14;

One question.

Yet, Paul makes no claim on his apostolic rights, v15-18;

Paul's reward is the pride he feels

in fulfilling his commission free of charge.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul's unique apostleship (commissioned by the exalted Lord, unlike the other apostles) is expressed in his not making full use of his right to material support, of his offering the gospel free of charge. Paul uses this approach to ministry in support of his argument that, for the sake of the gospel, a believer should not claim their rights at the expense of their fellows, particularly with respect to undermining their faith.

Barnett notes that there is a strong motivation driving Paul's approach to ministry, but none-the-less, his words here are somewhat defensive. It is possible that by not accepting material support, as the other apostles do, Paul is viewed by some of the Corinthian believers as a member of the apostolic reserves. For this reason Paul details his motives to dispel any misconceptions.

Text - 9:1

Paul's personal example in support of his argument, v1-18. Paul's practice of setting aside his apostolic right to financial support in order that the motive of financial gain doesn't distract the seeker after truth, serves as an example to those who are demanding their right to eat food offered to idols irrespective of the damage they may do to those of weak faith.

i] Paul affirms his apostleship with four challenging questions, v1-3.

ouk ... ouk .... ouci ... ou "not ... not .... not .... not .." - [am i] not [free. am i] not [an apostle]? These negations form four rhetorical questions expecting an affirmative answer "Yes".

eJoraka (oJraw) perf. "Have I [not] seen" - In what sense has Paul seen Jesus? It is possibly objective, in that as Jesus ministered in Jerusalem, Paul had occasion to see him at work. It is certainly visionary, Paul having see the revelation of Jesus to him on the Damascus road.

hJmwn gen. pro. "[Jesus] our [Lord]" - [jesus the lord] of us. The genitive is adjectival, of subordination; "Jesus Lord over us." The sense is that the one who became / was appointed Lord over us, has become our Lord through his resurrection from the dead, so Fee.

en + dat. "in" - [are you not the work of me] in [lord]? Again, the preposition could be read in many ways, but here probably instrumental, expressing means; "Are you not my workmanship by the Lord working through me."


ei + ind. "even though" - if, as is the case, [to/for others i am not an apostle] then certainly [to/for you i am an apostle]. Introducing a third class conditional clause where the proposed condition has the possibility of coming true.

alloiV dat. adj. "to others" - another. The adjective serves as a substantive, "others", dative of interest, advantage / feeling. "Even if others do not recognize that I am an apostle", TH.

alla ge "surely" - but indeed. The conjunction alla here is not adversative, but rather introduces the apodosis of the conditional clause. The ge intensifies, so; "then assuredly I am to you."

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of interest, advantage.

gar "for" - because [you are the seal (confirmation of a person's authority) of my apostleship (the office of apostle)]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul is an apostle to the Corinthians. Note "seal"; "the fact that you are Christians is the seal that guarantees that I genuinely am an apostle", TH.

thV apostolhV (h) gen. "of [my] apostleship" - The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective.

en "in [the Lord]" - in [lord]. As above. Note the local / incorporative union take of the TEV, "because of your life in union with the Lord." A causal sense is possible.


toiV ... anakrinousin (anakrinw) dat. pres. part. "to those who sit in judgment on [me]" - [the defense of me] to the ones examining [me is this]. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object. "This is what I say to those who want to question my right of financial support as an apostle." Paul has established that he is an apostle in v1-2, now he will go on to establish his rights as an apostle - the right of support from the congregations he serves.


ii] Paul's right, as an apostle, for financial support, v4-8. Like the other apostles, Paul can claim the right of material support, v4, and the right to be accompanied by a wife, v5. It would be absurd to claim that only Paul and Barnabas, among the apostles, do not have this right v6. In three simple illustrations this right is established, v7, a right confirmed by the Law, v8.

mh ouk "Don't [we have]" - [do]n't [we] not [have]. This double negative construction in a question still prompts the affirmative answer "yes", but in a roundabout way by answering "no" to a negation, cf., BDF #427.2; "surely it can't be that we don't have the right to food and drink? Of course not, you do have that right." Zerwick suggests that such a question is "tentative", but it is more a rhetorical flare, so Fee, Thiselton. The NIV combines both negatives and makes for a simpler read.

fagein (esqiw) aor. inf. "[the right] to food and drink" - [authority] to eat and drink. The aorist implies "food"; "the right to food." The infinitive, as with pein, "to drink", is epexegetic, specifying Paul's "authority / rights", to receive food and drink from the congregations he ministers to.


mh ouk "Don't [we have]" - [do]n't [we] not [have]. As v4.

periagein (priagw) pres. inf. "to take" - [right / authority] to go around = take about, take along. The infinitive as v4. Presumably the right to take a believing partner on mission and receive for both the support of the church. There is no direct word from the Lord for such support, although it is certainly not unreasonable. It has been suggested that the verb can mean "to be married to"; see Dungan, The Sayings of Jesus in the Churches of Paul.

gunaika (h koV) acc. "[a believing] wife" - [a sister] as a wife. Predicate accusative, treated as standing in apposition to "sister", so "a wife, a sister" = "a wife who is a sister / believer" = "a believing wife."

wJV "as do" - as. Comparative; introducing a comparative clause.

kai "-" - and. Adjunctive, "also", or ascensive, "even".

oiJ loipoi adj. "the other" - the remaining, the rest of [the apostles]. The adjective serves as a substantive, so "the rest of, the other [apostles]."

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "the Lord's [brothers]" - [and the brothers] of the lord [and cephas]. The genitive is adjectival, relational. The specific mention of the Lord's brothers and Peter may indicated that Paul didn't class them as apostles, but this is very unlikely. Peter is obviously an apostle, and presumably James, the brother of the Lord, would be classed as an apostle by the church in Jerusalem. Paul is just singling out chief apostles; "as do the other apostles, including the Top Guns." It is possible that Peter gets a special mention because some in Corinth have rallied around his persona, forming a party in his name, although party-spirit is probably not on Paul's mind at this point.


h] "or" - or [only i and barnabas]. Disjunctive. The logic here is that given v4 and v5 are rightly affirmed, then v6 is rightly denied.

ouk ..... mh "[who] lack [the right to] not" - [have we] not [right] not [to work]? Here, the double negatives actually cancel each other out, BDF #431.1; "Do I alone, and Barnabas not have the right not to work?", B&L. Does anyone suggest that the other apostles get a free-ride, but Paul and Barnabas are expected to work for a living? Barnabas gets a mention because he was someone who continued with his trade while on mission. Paul's trade was that of a tentmaker.

ergazesqai (ergazomai) pres. inf. "to [not] work for a living?" - [or do only i and barnabas not have the right / authority not] to work? The infinitive, as in v4, is epexegetic.


idioiV dat. adj. "at his own [expense]" - [who at any time serves as a soldier] with/by ones own [wages, provisions]? The dative is instrumental, expressing the means of being a soldier, namely, "by means of his own supplies."

autou gen. pro. "its [grapes" - [who plants a vineyard and the fruit] of it [does not eat]? The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin; "the fruit from it."

esqiei (esqiw) pres. "drink [the milk]" - eat. Milk is seen as a food source, so "eat of the milk", although we would say "drink of the milk."

ek + gen. "-" - [or who tends a flock and does not drink] from [the milk of the flock]? The preposition here can express source / origin, but it is best treated as a partitive genitive; "who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?", ESV.


Thus the principle, a laborer is worthy of their hire / an apostle is rightly supported in gospel ministry, is established.

mh ... ou "-" - The sentence consists of two conjoined clauses presented as questions. In the first the negation mh prompts a negative answer, and in the second ou prompts a positive answer. "Do I say these things according to man?" No. "Does not the law say the same things?" Yes.

kata + acc. "on [human authority]" - [not i speak these things] according to [man (a human perspective)]. Possibly expressing a standard, or adverbial, modal, expressing manner, "in the manner of"; "Am I saying this purely from a human standpoint", Berkeley.

h] kai "-" - or and = also. The particle here is more contrastive than disjunctive.

oJ nomoV (oV) "the Law" - [these things says not] the law? Usually taken as the Law of Moses, the Pentateuch; "Does not the Law mention these matters", Berkeley.


iii] The divine principle covering work and reward - a worker deserves their wages, v9-10. This fact is demonstrated exegetically from Deuteronomy 25:4. This serves as an interesting example of drawing a propositional truth from a specific command. "It is a matter of God's care that people and animals derive their sustenance from the work they do", Barnett.

gar "for" - More reason than cause; "Does not scripture urge the very same? It is written in the Law of Moses, ......."

en "in [the law]" - [it has been written] in [the law of moses; you shall not muzzle the ox]. Local.

MwusewV gen. "of Moses" - The genitive is adjectival, probably attributive, "the Mosaic Law."

alownta (aloaw) pres. part. "while it is treading out the grain" - [you shall not muzzle an ox] treading = threshing. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.

mh "-" - [is] not. This negation prompts the answer "no" in a question.

twn bown (ouV oV) gen. "about oxen" - of the oxen. The genitive may be treated as adverbial, reference / respect, as NIV; "Is it with respect to oxen that is of concern for God?" The genitive could also be treated as verbal, objective, "is it concern of = for oxen to God?" = "do you think God's primary concern is for oxen?" "Primary" is worth adding, given that although the principle, the one laboring shares the product of the labor, guides the ethic of just reward for the animal kingdom, here oxen threshing, it more importantly applies to humanity.

tw/ qew/ (oV) "that God [is concerned]" - [a concern] to god? Dative of direct object after the impersonal verb melei, "it is a concern", which takes a dative of persons. The classification ethical / feeling may well apply here, "a concern with God."


The opening clause is elliptic; it is without the all important negation ou, which prompts an affirmative answer. Note the NIV addition of "doesn't he?" Lit., "Is it a concern of oxen to God (mh = NO), or does he not indeed speak on account of us (ou = YES)?" = "Is God thinking primarily / is God just thinking in terms of oxen, or is he actually speaking for us as well?" A further ellipsis appears in the quotation; "the one plowing ought to plow in hope, and the one threshing ought to thresh in hope of sharing the harvest."

h] "-" - or. Here disjunctive, identifying mutually exclusive opposites.

pantwV adv. "surely" - [is it not] altogether. The NIV takes this adverb here as a marker of strong emphasis, and this seems to be the best approach. The principle applying to a threshing oxen more assuredly applies to humanity as well. "By all means."

di (dia) + acc. "for [us]" - because of [us he says this]. Here expressing benefit; "for the sake of", as NIV.

gar "Yes" - for = indeed [it was written]. Here emphatic, "indeed", as NIV, or explanatory; "indeed, for our sake it was written."

oJti "because" - that. Possibly causal, as NIV, but more likely recitative, introducing a dependent statement expressing what is written, "for our sake it was written that ....." The source for this quote is unknown.

oJ arotriwn (arotriaw) pres. part. "whoever plows" - the one plowing. As with o alown, "the one threshing, the participle serves as a substantive.

arotrian (arotriaw) pres. inf. "[should be able] to do so" - [ought] to plow [on hope, and the one threshing on hope of the to partake = of partaking, having a share]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb ofeilw, "to be obligated" = "aught" + inf.

ep (epi) + dat. "in [the hope]" - Adverbial, modal, expressing manner, "hopefully / in the hope that they will share in the harvest.

tou metecein (metecw) pres. inf. "of sharing the harvest" - of partaking, having a share. This construction, the genitive articular infinitive, often forms a purpose clause, but here the genitive article is an adjectivizer introducing an adjectival construction limiting by specifying "hope", ie., epexegetic; "the hope which consists of having a share in the harvest."


iv] The principle, a worker deserves their wages, properly applies to the apostolic ministry of Paul, although, for the sake of the gospel, he does not make a claim on this right, v11-12. The logic of v11 is as follows: "If the one who sows spiritually has a right to expect a harvest of spiritual benefits, how much more does that person have a right to receive material benefits, which are far less important", Garland.

ei + ind. "if" - if, [as is the case, we sowed the spiritual things to you], then is it a great thing if [as is the case, we will reap the things of the flesh = material things of you]? The apodosis of the first conditional clause is the second conditional clause. Both conditional clauses are 1st. class where the condition is assumed to be true. The question is obviously facetious; "is it such an extraordinary thing if we should reap a financial benefit from you?"

hJmeiV "we" - Emphatic by position and use.

uJmin dat. pro. "among you" - to you. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage.

mega adj. "is it too much" - The adjective serves as a substantive, predicate nominative of an implied verb to-be; "is it a great matter ....", Moffatt, "is it an unfair thing", TH.

ta sarkika adj. "a material harvest" - things of the flesh. The adjective serves as a substantive; "if we reap material benefits from you", TEV, ie., material support for Paul and his missionary team.

uJmwn gen. pro. "from you" - of you. The genitive is probably ablative, expressing source / origin, as NIV.


ei + ind. "if" - if, [as is the case, others share the/this right of you, then not more we]? Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true. Again ouk indicates the question implies an affirmative answer.

thV ... exousiaV (a) "this right of support" - the right, authority = patronage. Genitive of direct object after the verb metecw, "to share", which takes a genitive of the thing shared; "if others share the patronage ...." "Others", such as Apollos, obviously already accept patronage. By not accepting it Paul may be seen by some as possessing a lower rank in apostolic status.

uJmwn gen. pro. "from you" - of you. Commentators divide over whether this is a subjective or objective genitive. NIV, "from you" = subjective, "share in the patronage you bestow", "what you grant them as a right", Thiselton. This seems the best approach, even just adjectival, possessive, "your patronage", ie., "your right / freedom to bestow your largesse as you see fit." Again, as a verbal genitive, it may be treated as objective, "share in rights over you", ie., "reap the benefits of the rights that are theirs by virtue of their ministry among you", Fee, so R&P; "if others share this rightful claim on you, should not we all the more so?", Fitzmyer.

ou "shouldn't [we have it all the more]?" - not [we more]? The negation introduces a rhetorical question expecting the answer "Yes".

all "but" - Strong adversative.

th exousia/ (a) dat. "[we did not use this] right" - Dative of direct object after the verb craomai, "to use"; dative of the thing used. The verb is aorist possibly indicating that Paul has in mind a single particular use, namely, the time of his ministry in the church at Corinth, so "I didn't seek patronage from you when I was ministering to you."

alla "on the contrary" - but [we did not make use of this right] but. Strong adversative.

iJna mh + subj. "rather than [hinder]" - [we endure all things] lest / in order that not [we should give / cause a certain / any hindrance / obstacle to the gospel of christ]. Introducing a negated purpose clause. "So that we may not cause any obstacle to the gospel of Christ"

tw/ euaggeliw (on) dat. "the gospel" - to the news, important message. Dative of indirect object / interest, disadvantage.

tou Cristou (oV) gen. "of Christ" - The genitive is most often taken as verbal, either subjective, the important news from Christ to humanity, or objective, the important news believers proclaim about Christ, "for the message about Christ", CEV. Of course, the genitive may be treated as ablative, source origin, "the important news from Christ", or better, adjectival, attributive / epexegetic / idiomatic, "the important news which speaks of Christ and what he has done for us."


v] As a temple worker is rightly recompensed, so is a minister of the gospel, v13-14. Paul continues to argue for his proposition that it is right for a minister of the gospel to receive material support toward that ministry. Support for this proposition may be deduced from established temple practice.

ouk "[Do]n't [you know]" - [do you] not [know]. The negation indicates that the question expects an affirmative answer.

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what they should know.

oiJ .... ergazomenoi (ergazomai) pres. part. "those who serve" - the ones working = performing [temple services]. The participle serves as a substantive.

ta "their food" - [eats] the things [of the temple]. The variant article serves as a nominalizer, turning the prepositional phrase ek tou ierou, "of the temple", into a substantive, direct object of the verb "to eat." If ta is read, then ek is partitive, but if not, then ek expresses source / origin.

ta iJera adj. "the temple" - the holy, sacred = temple services. The adjective serves as a substantive: plural = "sacrifices", and singular = "temple", so "those who perform the sacrifices, eat from the temple" = "those who are engaged in temple service eat the temple offerings", REB.

oiJ .... paredreuonteV (paredreuw) pres. part. "those who serve at" - the ones attending to, occupying themselves with = serving beside, serving. The participle serves as a substantive.

tw/ qusiasthriw/ (on) dat. "the alter" - the alter. Dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to attend to."

tw/ qusiasthriw/ (on) dat. "[share in] what is offered on the altar" - [share with] the altar. Dative of direct object after the sun prefix verb "to share with."


ouJtwV adv. "in the same way" - so. Possibly leaning toward an inferential sense, "thus", but better comparative, "in the same way", so, as those who serve the temple receive their living from the temple, so those who serve the gospel receive their living from the gospel.

kai "-" - and. Adjunctive; "in the same way also."

kataggellousin (kataggellw) dat. pres. part. "those who preach" - [the lord commanded that] the ones communicating [the news]. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of direct object after the dia prefix verb to "give directions to", which takes a dative of persons.

zhn (zaw) pres. inf. "should receive their living" - [from the news] to live. The infinitive forms an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the Lord commands, namely "that the ones who preach the news should live from the news" = "the Master directed that those who spread the message be supported by those who believe the message", Peterson.

ek + gen. "from" - Expressing source / origin.


vi] Paul's reward is found in fulfilling his commission free of charge, v15-18. Although the right to a living belongs to those in gospel ministry, Paul has chosen not to take up this right, but his comments on this subject should not be construed as an attempt to attain financial support, v15. Although Paul may boast about his strategy of offering the gospel free of charge, he certainly can't boast of his service as apostle to the Gentiles because this service is a calling of the Lord, v16. If Paul's apostleship were of his own design, he may properly expect some kind of reward, but he is only doing what the Lord requires, v17. Yet, he does have a reward of sorts, namely, the pride in knowing he offers the gospel free of charge, v18.

egw pro. "[but] I" - [but/and] i. Emphatic by use and position.

ou ..... ouk ... "not .... not ....." - [i have] not [used nothing of these things and] nor [do i write these things]. Coordinate.

oudeni dat. adj. "any of these things" - nothing. Dative of direct object after the verb "to use." Note the double negative, ou ... oudeni, which, in Gk., usually do not cancel each other (the example in v6 is unusual) = "I have not used anything."

toutwn gen. pro. "of these rights" - of these things. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

iJna + subj. "in the hope that" - that. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that ..."; "in order to claim any such provision."

ouJtwV adv. "[you will do] such things" - [it might be] thus. Comparative; "to secure any such provision", ESV.

en dat. "for [me]" - in [me]. The preposition en with the personal pronoun will often give the sense "in my case", Robertson, Grammar, p587, ie., "exemplary", Moule.

gar "for" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul is not angling for material support, "because ....." The causal clause is somewhat complex prompting textual variants.

moi dat. pro. "I" - [it is better] for me. Dative of interest, advantage.

mallon .... h[ "rather [die] than" - rather [to die] than use these rights. This construction is probably contrastive, although Paul doesn't conclude the contrast, so "it is good for me to die rather than - . Something like "rather than receive material support for my ministry"; "I'd rather die than be paid to preach the gospel". Paul then reinforces his assumed contrast with "the boast / pride of me no one will make empty" = "no one will nullify my boast of ministering the gospel free of charge." It is possible that there is no ellipsis, no assumed contrast, and that mallon ..... h[ is comparative; "because either (instead of "rather than") it is good for me to die or the boast of me no one will make empty." In the exercise of his ministry, Paul accepts only two options, either he dies, in which case no one will need to support him, or he lives and supports himself, ie., he continues his "boast / pride" in supporting himself and does not allow anyone to make it void through material support of his ministry. Either way, Paul's point is clear; "I would rather die than let someone rob me of the right to take pride in ministering the gospel to the Gentiles free of charge."

apoqanein (apoqnhskw) aor. inf. "die" - to die - The infinitive serves as a substantive, subject of an assumed impersonal verb to-be, "it is"; "for to die is better for me" = "for it is better for me to die." "It is better for me rather to die than use any of these rights. Look here! No one will make void my boast."

to kauchma (a atoV) "this boast" - [be sure of this, no one will make void, deprive] the/this basis for pride, reason for being proud [of me]. Paul certainly does not have a reason for boasting in his appointment as apostle to the Gentiles, since his calling is a gift of grace to one who persecuted the church. His gospel, the gospel of grace, is directly from Christ for Gentile ears, and he but does what he is asked to do, he proclaims. But Paul does have one small corner in his life for which he can be proud; he offers the gospel of God's free grace freely, without charge. God gives freely, and Paul makes his own little contribution to that end, and he is determined that no one will take this "boast" from him.


Paul may be able to boast about his missionary financing program, but as for the mission itself, this is all down to Christ; Paul is but the Lord's servant.

gar "yet / for" - for. Certainly not adversative, as NIV, and more reason than cause. It is likely that Paul now explains the last phrase of v15, "no one will nullify my boast", so "Let me explain, if ....."

ean + subj. "if" - if [as the case may be, i communicate / preach the gospel, then it is not for me a boast]. Introducing a 3rd. class conditional clause where the condition has the possibility of coming true. Paul states clearly he has no ground for boasting when it comes to his role as apostle to the Gentiles. This role is down to God's grace in Christ.

moi dat. pro. "I" - for me. Dative of interest, advantage / possession. "There is no ground for me to boast", ie., a person's calling is not a basis for pride.

gar "for / since" - because. Possibly introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul has no ground for pride in his calling as apostle to the Gentiles, as NIV, but this and the following gar may simply be mirroring the first usage in the sentence which was explanatory rather than causal. Taken this way, the second and third usage are best left untranslated; "It is simply a necessity which is laid upon me. It would go hard with me indeed were I not to preach the gospel", Cassirer.

moi dat. pro. "I [am compelled to preach]" - [necessity is laid on] me. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to lie on."

moi dat. pro. "[woe] to me" - [for woe is] to me. Dative of interest, disadvantage. Barclay's "for me it would be heartbreak" tends to underplay the true nature of "woe". The sense here is surely of the divine judgment that would hang over Paul if he were not to fulfill his apostolic mission of proclaiming the gospel of grace to the Gentiles.

ean + subj. "if" - if [as may be the case, i did not communicate / preach the news / gospel then it is woe to me]. Introducing a 3rd. class conditional clause where the condition has the possibility of coming true.


If Paul's apostolic ministry were of his own devising then he may be due a reward, but as the Lord's servant, no reward is due for just doing what he is asked to do.

gar "-" - for. As above, reason rather than cause and so not translated.

ei + ind. "if" - if [as is the case, i willingly do this, then, i have a reward]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true.

ekwn adj. "voluntarily" - willing. The adjective is used here as an adverb, so "willingly". So also akwn, "unwilling, = "unwillingly". "If it is my own choice that I serve as apostle to the Gentiles then I am due a reward, but ......."

de "but" - Transitional, indicating a step to a contrast; "on the other hand."

ei + ind. "if" - if [unwillingly]. This second 1st. class conditional clause is somewhat problematic since the apodosis (the then clause) may be read two ways. The NIV, as with most translations read "but] if [as is the case, unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship = commission]"; "But if I had no choice (then) I am simply being obedient to my responsibility", Barnett. Although Paul uses the inferential oun in v18, where ara would be expected, cf., 15:14, the apodosis may well be v18a, "then what is my reward?" "If without choice of my own I have been entrusted with a charge, what then is my reward?", Fee. This translation is favored by Barrett.

oikonomian pepisteumai "I am simply discharging the trust committed to me" - i have been entrusted with the responsibility of household management. The language here is taken from slavery, the implication is that Paul does what he is required to do by his master; "I am undertaking a commission and therefore have no right to a reward."


Paul has an eternal reward, as do all believers in Christ, but that is not the reward he has in mind here (contra Gardner, The Gifts of God and the Authentication of a Christian, who sees the "reward" as eschatological). There is certainly no reward for doing what the Lord asks him to do, but he does have a reward of sorts, it is his "boast / pride", the ground of which is his practice of ministering the gospel free of charge. Paul is chuffed at his self-help program, particularly as it fits so neatly with the gospel - what is freely given he freely gives; "I get the satisfaction of telling the good news without it costing anyone a penny", Barclay.

tiV pro. "what" - Predicate nominative.

oun "therefore" - then [is my reward]. Inferential.

iJna + subj. "just this" - that. Here recitative, introducing a dependent statement answering a direct question, "what then is my reward / pay? Namely that ....."

euaggelizomenoV (euaggelizw) pres. mid. part. "in preaching the gospel" - preaching, communicating the gospel. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, "when I preach the gospel."

adapanon adj. "free of charge" - [i make the news / gospel without charge]. The adjective serves as a substantive, complement of the object "news / gospel", standing in a double accusative construction.

eiV to mh + inf. "and so not [make full use of]" - that not [to make use of]. This construction either introduces a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that", or a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that / so that."

th/ exousia/ (a) dat. "[my] rights" - the rights [of me]. Dative of direct object after the kata prefix verb "to make full use of."

en + dat. "as [a preacher of the gospel]" - in [the news = gospel]. The preposition here is probably instrumental, expressing means, "by the gospel", so "by preaching the gospel"; "not making use to the full of the rights to which gospel-preaching entitles me", Cassirer.


1 Corinthians Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]