1 Am I not free? am I not an apostle? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not you become christians by my labour? 2 if I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you: for your being christians is the proof of my apostleship. 3 my answer to those who call me to account, is this: 4 have we not a right to meat and drink? 5 have not we the liberty to take a christian woman with us in our travels, as well as the rest of the apostles, as the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas did? 6 or I and Barnabas, are we only excluded the privilege of not working? 7 who ever serves in war at his own charges? who plants a vineyard, and does not eat of the fruit? or who feeds a flock, and eats not of the milk of the flock? 8 is this only the voice of reason? does not the law express the same too? 9 for it is written in the law of Moses, "thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn." are oxen the objects of divine care? 10 or is it said, no doubt, for our sakes? for our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he who plows should plow in hope; and that he who thresheth should expect the advantage. 11 if for your benefit we have sown spirituals, is it so extraordinary if we should reap some benefit from your temporals? 12 if others partake of your substance, have not I a better title? nevertheless, I have not made use of this privilege; but bear with any thing rather than obstruct the gospel of Christ. 13 don't you know, that they who prepare the sacrifices, do eat of the sacrifice in the temple? and they who wait at the altar, have their portion from the altar? 14 even so has the Lord ordained, that they who preach the gospel, should live by the gospel.
15 but I have not made use of these advantages. neither have I writ this to obtain such maintenance: for I had rather die for want, than be deprived of such matter of glorying. 16 for in barely preaching the gospel, I have nothing to glory in: because I am under an obligation to do it; yea, wo is unto me if I preach not the gospel. 17 now if I do this willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, it is a dispensation of trust which must be discharged. 18 whence then is my reward? why, from my preaching the gospel of Christ gratis, without making use of the privilege which the gospel gives me.
19 for tho' I am independent of all men, yet have I subjected myself to all, that I might gain the more. 20 to the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without the law, as without that law, (not as being under no law to God, but as under the law to Christ) that I might gain those who are without the law. 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak: I became all things to all men, that I might save all sorts of men. 23 and I do all for the gospel's sake, that I may share in the benefits thereof.
24 You know, that in a race, tho' all run, but one receives the prize: so run, that you may obtain. 25 every one that strives for the mastery, is extremely temperate: now, they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible one. 26 I therefore so run, not as one that is distanc'd: I fight, but not with the air. 27 but I mortify my body, and bring it into subjection: lest after having been a herald to others, I my self should be thrown out.