"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Nine OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To be impressed with Paul's own example of restricting his liberty in Christ so as to save others 2) To understand the Biblical authority for supporting those who labor in the preaching of the gospel 3) To see the importance of self-control and the danger of apostasy SUMMARY After warning in chapter eight that the improper exercise of one's liberty in Christ might lead to the damnation of those who are weak in faith and conscience, Paul now illustrates how he was willing to exercise restraint even when it came to the liberties he had as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Though he had the right to have a believing wife and be supported in the preaching the gospel (1-14), he freely chose not to exercise these and other rights. One reason was so he might be able to freely offer some sort of service to the Lord (15-18), but it also was because he desired to save others (19-23). There was also the realization that self-restraint was a necessary quality to assure his own salvation as well (24-27)! OUTLINE I. PAUL'S LIBERTY AS AN APOSTLE (1-14) A. AN AFFIRMATION OF HIS APOSTLESHIP AND LIBERTY (1-2) 1. By virtue of being an eyewitness of the Lord (1a) 2. By virtue of his work among the Corinthians (1b-2) B. VARIOUS LIBERTIES AVAILABLE TO PAUL (3-14) 1. The right to eat and drink (4) 2. The right to take along a believing wife, as other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas were doing (5) 3. The right to refrain from working and be supported by others (6-14) a. Illustrations of a soldier, farmer, and shepherd (7) b. As illustrated by the Law of Moses (8-10) c. An exchange of spiritual things for material things (11) d. If others could, why not Paul, if he wanted? (12) e. The example of priests in the temple (13) f. The clear decree of the Lord Himself (14) II. PAUL'S EXAMPLE OF RESTRICTING HIS LIBERTY TO SAVE OTHERS AND HIMSELF (15-27) A. WHY HE CHOSE NOT TO EXERCISE HIS LIBERTY CONCERNING SUPPORT (15-18) 1. His purpose in writing is not to raise support, for that would make his boasting void (15) 2. Preaching the gospel was a necessity laid upon him by the Lord (16-17) a. He had no choice; he would be lost if he did not (16) b. If he had chosen to preach on his own, he would have a reward (17a) c. But he was like a slave, entrusted with a stewardship regardless of his will (17b) 3. But by choosing to present the gospel without charge, he could have a reward, and also not abuse his authority in the gospel (18) B. HIS EXAMPLE OF SERVITUDE TOWARDS OTHERS (19-23) 1. Though free from all men, he made himself a servant to all to save them (19-22a) a. To the Jews and those under the Law (20) b. To those not under the Law (21) c. To the weak (22a) 2. He became all things to all men, desiring to save them and share the gospel with them (22b-23) C. ANOTHER REASON TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT: THE POSSIBILITY OF APOSTASY (24-27) 1. Not all who run in a race win a prize, so one needs to run so as to win (24) 2. Those who compete for perishable crowns exercise self-control in all things; how much should we who seek for an imperishable crown! (25) 3. So Paul runs his race, and fights the good fight, with determined discipline and control over his own body (26-27a) 4. For he knows he could be lost (disqualified) after preaching to others! (27b)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) List the main points of this chapter. 2) What two things helped to verify Paul's apostleship? (1-2) 3) What were two things that the apostles had the right to do? (5-6) 4) What arguments does Paul make to justify preachers receiving support? (7-14) 5) Why did Paul choose not to accept support? (15-18) 6) Why was Paul willing to make himself a servant to all men? (19,22) 7) What two athletic events did Paul compare with the Christian life? (24-26) 8) Why was Paul so concerned about exercising self-control? (27)