1 AM I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
2 If to others I am not an apostle, certainly I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defence to those who criticize me is this:
4 Have we not the right to eat and drink?
5 Have we not the right to take about with us a sister as wife, as the rest of the apostles do and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
6 Or am I only, and Barnabas, without the right not to do manual labor?
7 Who ever serves as a soldier and supplies his own pay and rations? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Who keeps a flock and does not drink any of the milk of the flock?
8 Am I saying these things from a man's point of view or does not the Law also say them?
9 For in the Law of Moses it is written, "You shall not muzzle an ox when he is treading out grain." Is God thinking of the oxen?
10 or does he say this wholly for our sakes? For our sakes; for it was written because the plowman ought to plow in hope and the thresher ought to thresh in hope of having a share.
11 If we sowed for you things of the spirit, is it a great matter if we reap your things of the flesh?
12 If others share this right over you, do not we still more? But we have not used this right. No, we endure all things in order not to cause any hindrance to the good news of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those who do the work of the Temple eat the things that come from the Temple, and those who minister at the altar share with the altar?
14 So the Lord has directed that those who proclaim the good news shall have their living from the good news.
15 But I have used none of these rights and I am not writing this in order that it may be done in my case. For it would be better for me to die \'97 No one shall make my boast an empty one!
16 For although I tell the good news I have nothing to boast of. For a necessity is laid upon me. Alas for me if I do not tell the good news!
17 If I do it voluntarily I have a reward, but if reluctantly, I have been charged with a responsibility.
18 What then is my reward? That in telling the good news I make the good news free, and do not take full advantage of my rights in the good news.
19 For though I am free from all I have enslaved myself to all that I may gain the more.
20 I became to the Jews a Jew, to gain the Jews; to those under law as under law, though not myself under law, to gain those who are under law.
21 To those without law, I became as without law, though not without the law of God and under the law of Christ, to gain those who are without law.
22 To the weak I became weak to gain the weak. To all men I became all things in order by all means to save some.
23 I do all things for the sake of the good news that I may become a partner with it.
24 Do you not know that those who run in a stadium all run, yet one gets the prize? Run so as to win.
25 Every one who contends in the games practices self-restraint in all things. They do it to win a fading crown, but we for an unfading one.
26 Thus I run with no uncertain goal: thus I strike, not as if pounding the air.
27 On the contrary, I maul and master my body so that I may not, after preaching to others, become myself unable to stand the test.