1 Corinthians 9
by Philip Layton
Preaching the gospel and receiving a living
- What do you think caused Paul to write these questions and statements (vv 3-12)?
- How do verses 19-22 and 24-27 apply to you?
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!
Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
Paul wanted to impart good and sound advice to the Corinthians – in order that they keep on the right path. In chapters 4-8 he talks to them and shares how, as fellow servants and apostles of Christ, they are to be a holy people. If immoral people were infiltrating the church, they had to be dealt with. The Corinthians were to be pure in body. In marriages, faithful. Even eating the right food was essential.
Then we come to the passage for today, which speaks of self-sacrifice. It begins with Paul declaring himself to be free in Christ, then going on to say the people of Corinth were the ‘seal’ of his apostleship. It is a beautiful declaration of his caring spirit, wanting them to grow and mature spiritually.
Following Christ does not come naturally, nor without cost. It involves sacrifice, commitment, time, energy and, at times, even patience. Yes, Paul was indeed free in Christ. Yet he says:
I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible (v 19).
The Spirit convicts us; then we need to make ourselves available to walk and work with people. To counsel, mentor, coach, direct, guide. It is self-sacrifice. Yet it comes with such a rich reward – seeing others come into a personal relationship with the Saviour.
In order to do this, we need to be spiritually fit ourselves. Just like the Corinthians would need to be physically fit for their own Isthmian Games – which they hosted every two years – we need to be spiritually fit to run the race of life, in order to obtain the prize. Not for a laurel wreath to be worn that soon withers away, but for the Christian’s crown of eternal fellowship with God. Can we feel it on our head? Some day it will be there – if we prove to be faithful servants of Christ. What bliss. What glory will be ours!
Make me more like you, Jesus.
Photo: Gabriel King Photography (cropped, used under Creative Commons licensing)