Tuesday

“I do it all for the sake of the gospel ...” (v. 23)

1 Corinthians 9:16-23 Tuesday 24 February 2015

Psalm: Psalm 116


Background

Just prior to this passage, Paul has argued thatapostles deserve to be economically supported (most probably by theCorinthian house churches). Yet he himself does not receive suchsupport, indeed he would rather die than rely on their resources!He is obligated to no one. Paul passionately justifies hisindependence as essential for his proclamation of the gospel (thegood news about Jesus).

The question of whether those who claim to proclaim God's wordcan be trusted is an old one. If they are beholden to others, mightthese obligations potentially distort the message they proclaim?For example in Jeremiah 14:13-18;23:9-40 there is the question of whether the words ofprofessional prophets can be relied upon. Paul is clear that he isfree to preach the gospel without being swayed or compromised byother obligations.

In Pauline thought no one culture had ultimate authority, andPaul often crossed or challenged cultural boundaries and identifiedwith those whose lifestyles were very different from his own. Atall times, the gospel remained his motivation and focus. "For thesake of the gospel" he could be "all things to all people" withintegrity, and offer faithful witness. For Paul, community inChrist took priority over any community defined by humans. Paul hasonly one allegiance, and that is to God through his son, Jesus.


To Ponder

  • When have your actions or words have been negatively affectedby fear of, dependency on, or obligation to others?
  • What helps you to maintain your integrity as a follower ofJesus?
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