9:1Am I not free? Am I not an Ambassador? Have I not seen Jesus our Master? Are you not my accomplishment concerning the Master?9:2Even if I am not an Ambassador to others, I certainly am to you! For you are the official seal of my commission by the Master.
9:3So my defense to those who have put me on trial is this:9:4Do we not have the right to eat and drink?9:5Do we not have the right to take a believing spouse with us, just like the rest of the Ambassadors, the Master’s brothers, and Cephas?9:6What?! Is it only I and Barnabas who do not have the privilege of being supported?9:7Who goes to war but has to supply their own rations? Who plants a vineyard and gets none of the produce? Who tends a flock but gets none of the milk from it?
9:8And I’m not making this up out of my head; the Law says the same thing.9:9For in the law of Moses it is written, “Do not muzzle an ox while it threshes the grain.” Do you really think God only said this for the benefit of oxen?9:10What?! He is obviously saying it to us, for our benefit. For it is written that the one who plows and the one who threshes expect to have a share in the crop.
9:11So since we have planted spiritual things for you, are we asking too much when we expect physical produce from you?9:12If others have this right from you, why not us all the more? But in spite of all that, we do not use these rights; instead we forfeit them all so that we put no obstacle in front of the Gospel of the Anointed.
9:13Do you not know that the ones who work in the temple eat the offerings? Just as those who attend to the altar get a share in the offerings,9:14so also the Master prescribed a living from the Gospel for those who proclaim it.9:15Yet I have not exercised any of these rights— and I’m not writing this so I can start. I’d rather die than be deprived of my boast!9:16For if I am to announce the Gospel, it’s not something for me to brag about, but something I must do, and woe to me if I don’t!9:17If I do this voluntarily I am earning wages, but if I do it involuntarily I am only discharging my duty.9:18So what is my wage? To bring the Gospel free of charge, waiving my rights.
9:19By being free of all obligation I become the slave of all, so as to gain all the more.9:20To the Judeans I became a Judean, in order to win them over. To those under the Law I became under the Law— though I myself am not under it— in order to win them over.9:21To those without the Law I became as without the law— not that I am free from God’s law, since I am the legal property of the Anointed— in order to win them over.9:22To the weak I became weak, to win them over. To everyone I became whatever I needed to become, so that some could be saved.9:23I did it all so I could be a joint partner of the Gospel.
9:24Do you not know that the competitors in a stadium all run the race, but only one gets the prize? You too must run to win the prize.9:25Every athlete trains in order to win a perishable medal, but we are after an imperishable one.9:26So then, I do not run aimlessly; I am not like a poor boxer who only punches the air.9:27Instead, I defeat my body and subdue it, so that in the process of proclaiming the Gospel to others, I don’t find myself disqualified.