Christian Basics Bible Sampler - Page 22

1 Corinthians 9 • page 1312
that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who
claims to know all the answers doesn’t
real­ly know very much. 3But the person who
loves God is the one whom God recognizes.*
So, what about eating meat that has
been offered to idols? Well, we all know that
an idol is not real­ly a god and that there is
only one God. 5 There may be so-called gods
both in heaven and on earth, and some
people actually worship many gods and
many lords. 6 But for us,
There is one God, the Father,
by whom all things were created,
and for whom we live.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things were created,
and through whom we live.
However, not all believers know this.
Some are accustomed to thinking of idols
as being real, so when they eat food that
has been offered to idols, they think of it
as the worship of real gods, and their weak
consciences are violated. 8 It’s true that we
can’t win God’s approval by what we eat.
We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and
we don’t gain anything if we do.
But you must be careful so that your
freedom does not cause others with a
weaker conscience to stumble. 10For if others
see you—with your “superior knowledge”—
eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be
encouraged to violate their conscience by
eating food that has been offered to an idol?
So because of your superior knowledge, a
weak believer* for whom Christ died will
be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against
other believers* by encouraging them to
do something they believe is wrong, you
are sinning against Christ. 13 So if what I eat
causes another believer to sin, I will never
eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t
want to cause another believer to stumble.
Paul Gives Up His Rights
Am I not as free as anyone else? Am
I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen J­esus
our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because
of my work that you belong to the Lord?
Even if others think I am not an apostle,
I certainly am to you. You yourselves are
proof that I am the Lord’s apostle.
This is my answer to those who question
my authority.* 4 Don’t we have the right to
live in your homes and share your meals?
Don’t we have the right to bring a believing
wife* with us as the other apostles and the
Lord’s brothers do, and as Pe­ter* does? 6 Or
is it only Bar­na­bas and I who have to work
to support ourselves?
What soldier has to pay his own ex­
penses? What farmer plants a vineyard and
doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit?
What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep
and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk?
Am I expressing merely a human opinion,
or does the law say the same thing? 9 For the
law of ­Moses says, “You must not muzzle
an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out
the grain.”* Was God thinking only about
oxen when he said this? 10 Wasn’t he actu­
ally speaking to us? Yes, it was written for
us, so that the one who plows and the one
who threshes the grain might both expect a
share of the harvest.
Since we have planted spiritual seed
among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest
of physical food and drink? 12 If you support
others who preach to you, shouldn’t we
have an even greater right to be supported?
But we have never used this right. We would
rather put up with anything than be an ob­
stacle to the Good News about Christ.
Don’t you realize that those who work
in the temple get their meals from the offer­
ings brought to the temple? And those who
serve at the altar get a share of the sacrifi­
cial offerings. 14 In the same way, the Lord
ordered that those who preach the Good
News should be supported by those who
benefit from it. 15 Yet I have never used any
of these rights. And I am not writing this
to suggest that I want to start now. In fact,
I would rather die than lose my right to
boast about preaching without charge. 16 Yet
preaching the Good News is not something
I can boast about. I am compelled by God to
do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach
the Good News!
If I were doing this on my own initia­
tive, I would deserve payment. But I have
no choice, for God has given me this sa­cred
trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the op­
portunity to preach the Good News without
charging anyone. That’s why I never demand
my rights when I preach the Good News.
Even though I am a free man with no
master, I have become a slave to all people
to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with
the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews

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