1 Corinthians 9: Obtain Your Reward

Why should people benefit from our message?

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1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not God’s messenger of my own free will? Haven’t I seen our Lord Jesus Christ, and you are his followers because of my effort?
King James
1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

What effect should God’s message have upon people?

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1 Corinthians 9:2 Others may think I am not his messenger, but your relationship with the Lord proves that I am.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

Why do you think people questioned Paul’s authority?

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1 Corinthians 9:3 This is what I say to those who question my message and authority:
King James
1 Corinthians 9:3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,

Other than food and lodging, what might Paul have sought for himself and his companions?

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1 Corinthians 9:4 at least have the right to ask for food and drink
9:5 and include a traveling companion like other messengers have, as do Peter and Jesus’ brothers.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?
9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

Why do you think Paul and Barnabas gave so much of their time for ministry and not money?

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1 Corinthians 9:6 Are Barnabas and I the only ones who don’t spend all their time supporting themselves?
King James
1 Corinthians 9:6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

If we’re working for the Lord, to what extent do you think he will work to satisfy our needs?

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1 Corinthians 9:7 No soldier has to pay his own expenses. One who plants a vineyard is entitled to some of the grapes. Isn’t a shepherd allowed to drink some of the sheep’s milk?
Philippians 4:19 Out of his glorious resources in Christ Jesus, my God will take care of everything you need.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

What laws and social principles support the idea that a laborer is worthy of pay?

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Deuteronomy 25:4 Don’t muzzle the ox that threshes the grain.
Luke 10:7 Do not move from house to house, but remain in the same place, accepting their hospitality as workers deserving their pay.
1 Corinthians 9:8 his is more than human philosophy. The Law presents the same principle,
9:9 for Moses wrote: Don’t muzzle the ox that threshes the grain.
9:10 Was that written for our benefit? Absolutely. Hope for sharing the harvest gives the plowman and the reaper reason to do the work.
King James
Deuteronomy 25:4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
1 Corinthians 9:8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
9:10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

Of what value are “spiritual seeds” compared to “physical benefits”?

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1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have planted spiritual seeds among you, is it too much to think we should reap a few physical benefits? Of course not.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

Upon what basis should we judge whether we should be paid for our effort?

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1 Corinthians 9:12 If others have exercised this right, shouldn’t we? But we haven’t done that, not wanting to hinder spreading the good news about Jesus Christ.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

To what extent do you think the priests and workers in the Temple depended on sacrifices of money and food to support their families?

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1 Corinthians 9:13 Those who work in the Temple get support from the offerings. The priests who offer sacrifices receive of the food that is placed on the altar.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

If Paul isn’t looking for the Corinthians to support his ministry, why does he encourage them to support those who preach the good news?

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1 Corinthians 9:14 In the same way, God wants his messengers to benefit from preaching the good news.
9:15 I’ve not asked for your support, and that’s not my purpose for writing this. I’d rather die than put people in a position to say they are the reason for my wellbeing.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
9:15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

Why do you think Paul didn’t want people to say they were responsible for his doing so well?

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Genesis 14:22 His right hand raised, Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I swear before the most high God, possessor of Heaven and Earth,
14:23 I will accept nothing from you, not even a strap from your sandal. You will give nothing to me, because I don’t want to hear you say, ‘I have made Abram rich.'”
Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that you are a slave to whatever you obey? Either you serve sin and will die, or you serve God in complete obedience, choosing to do what is, to the best of your knowledge, most pleasing to him.
1 Corinthians 9:15 I’ve not asked for your support, and that’s not my purpose for writing this. I’d rather die than put people in a position to say they are the reason for my wellbeing.
King James
Genesis 14:22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
14:23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
1 Corinthians 9:15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

What kinds of rewards are worth more than money?

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1 Corinthians 9:16 In spreading the message about Jesus, my reward is doing the work he sent me to do. If I didn’t do that, I couldn’t live with myself.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

Why is working for ourselves of less benefit than working for the Lord?

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Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your good deeds publicly so others will admire you. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
6:2 When you give to the needy, do not call attention to yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and streets. They want people to praise them. Without a doubt, they have received all the reward they will ever get.
6:3 Instead, when you help someone, do it quietly, without fanfare.
6:4 Then your Father will see what you have done in secret and will reward you.
6:5 Do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so people will see them. I assure you, they already have their reward.
1 Corinthians 9:17 If I followed a self-serving initiative, what I have on Earth is all the reward I would get. By making myself a slave to whatever God wants, I reap a greater benefit.
King James
Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

What is the reward when we forsake everything to follow the Lord and do his will?

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Mark 10:29 Jesus said, “Those who have sacrificed their homes, relatives, or possessions for my sake and for the good news
10:30 will receive a hundred times more and will have eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 9:18 Given the fact that I receive no pay, never asking for what I have a right to ask when I preach the good news about Jesus, what is my reward?
King James
Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

Why should we serve people who can do nothing for us?

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1 Corinthians 9:19 I owe no man anything, yet I make myself a servant to everyone, hoping that I may bring many to Christ.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

What is the benefit in reaching out to others as opposed to waiting for them to reach out to us?

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1 Corinthians 9:20 I must reach out to wherever people are. To help Jews, I must be Jewish, understanding their convictions and motivations. With the legalists, I must reason with them in legalistic terms.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.

Why is it important to meet people on their terms and not our own?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 9:20 I must reach out to wherever people are. To help Jews, I must be Jewish, understanding their convictions and motivations. With the legalists, I must reason with them in legalistic terms.
9:21 For those who seek to please God without regard to the law, I must speak from their perspective.
9:22 When people are weak, I empathize with their fragile faith in order to bring them to Christ. I do my best to find common ground with everyone, seeking to help them get from where they are to where God wants them to be.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

How do you think Paul felt rewarded when others received the blessing, not him?

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1 Corinthians 9:23 My great reward in preaching about Jesus is to know I have helped you walk with the Lord and be blessed.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

If we don’t believe in the prize, what reason do we have to run at all? What does this say to you about the importance of maintaining our faith in God?

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1 Corinthians 9:24 Like those running a race see themselves as the one who will win the prize, keep running to obtain your reward.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

What do you think are the greatest rewards?

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John 4:34 “My food,” Jesus said, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.”
1 Corinthians 9:25 Athletes give their lives in strenuous training for a short-lived glory, but we strive for a reward that will last forever.
King James
John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

How do earthly rewards compare to eternal rewards in value and the sacrifice of time, money, and effort to achieve them?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 9:25 Athletes give their lives in strenuous training for a short-lived glory, but we strive for a reward that will last forever.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

How would you describe Paul’s commitment to serve the Lord?

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1 Corinthians 9:26 I run the race with relentless determination. I don’t fight like the boxer who throws punches at the air,
9:27 but I surrender my body, making myself a captive to Christ, lest I should miss the truth of my own preaching.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

What do you think Paul’s greatest obstacles were?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 9:26 I run the race with relentless determination. I don’t fight like the boxer who throws punches at the air,
9:27 but I surrender my body, making myself a captive to Christ, lest I should miss the truth of my own preaching.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.