Yesterday in chapter 8, Paul emphasized the need to sometimes deny one's own personal liberties for the sake of others. In chapter 9, he demonstrates how he's done this in his own life.
v1-18 - Paul establishes his right to be paid for his work as an apostle, a right which he's freely given up.
Some people we're stating that Paul wasn't a 'real' apostle since he wasn't around during Jesus' ministry on earth.
The Corinthians' faith demonstrates that he's a genuine apostle.
Therefore, Paul should have the same rights and authority as the other apostles.
Paul voluntarily gave up this right, a fact that he's very proud of.
He feels 'compelled' to preach,
And his ability to preach for free is his reward.
v19-23 - Paul is obligated to no one, but has given up his independent desires to live in ways that help him identify with everyone.
Paul lived in such a way that he was genuinely able to converse with every different demographic he encountered.
He gave up his own lifestyle preferences in order to put himself in better positions to share the gospel and save some.
v24-27 - Another big similarity between the Corinthian culture and our own was their admiration for athletes. In this final passage, Paul demonstrates how Christians must use the same techniques an athlete uses to excel in how we carryout our personal Spiritual Disciplines (watch the Spiritual Disciplines refresher video).
Run in such a way as to get the prize (v24).
You are competing in life for a "crown that will last forever (v25)," so go into "strict" Spiritual training.
This is why we call them Spiritual Disciplines, because, just like with physical exercise, you must discipline yourself to work hard. (BTW, doing what you're doing right now is a great start!)
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Proverbs 5:21-23 contrast the easy ways of the wicked with the disciplined ways of the Godly.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Bible: What did Paul say was his reward for willingly preaching the gospel? (See verse 17–18.)
Review verses 24–27, especially keeping in mind verse 24. What do you feel are the most important factors for you personally that will determine whether or not you’ll be a winner in life?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father in heaven, whose name is holy.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will run in such a way that you will win the prize - the reward God desires to give you (v24).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: