“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
9:17 Willingly - He seems to mean, without receiving anything. St. Paul here speaks in a manner peculiar to himself. Another might have preached willingly, and yet have received a maintenance from the Corinthians. But if he had received anything from them, he would have termed it preaching unwillingly. And so, in the next verse, another might have used that power without abusing it. But his own using it at all, he would have termed abusing it. A dispensation is intrusted to me - Therefore I dare not refrain.
1Co 9:17 If I do this thing willingly. If he preached voluntarily, he might then claim an earthly reward. But if against my will. If Paul does this as a servant of Christ upon whom the service is laid; then he has a dispensation [of the gospel] committed to him. "A stewardship", as in the Revised Version. In that case he has the obligations of a steward. It is his duty to feed the Master's servants.