1 Corinthians 9:4 MEANING

1 Corinthians 9:4
(4) Have we not power . . .?--This follows 1 Corinthians 6 after the parenthetical argument contained in 1 Corinthians 9:2-3. Having established his right to be called an Apostle by the fact that he had seen the Lord, and had been instrumental in their conversion, he now in the same interrogative style asserts his rights as an Apostle. The use of the plural "we" carries on the thought that he is claiming this right as being one of the Apostles--all of whom have, as Apostles, such a right. The form in which the question is asked implies, Surely we have this right. This verse, taken in connection with 1 Corinthians 8:9, where the same word in the Greek, "liberty," occurs in connection with eating, shows how this line of thought has grown out of the preceding subject. The question there, however, was that of eating meat offered to idols; the question here is the right to eat and drink (i.e., live) at the expense of the Church (Luke 10:7).

Verse 4. - To eat and to drink. To be supported by those to whom we preach (Luke 10:7).

9:1-14 It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services among them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as to set forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good of others. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.Have we not power to eat and to drink? Having proved his apostleship, he proceeds to establish his right to a maintenance as a Gospel minister; which he expresses by various phrases, and confirms by divers arguments: by a "power to eat and drink", he does not mean the common power and right of mankind to perform such actions, which everyone has, provided he acts temperately, and to the glory of God; nor a liberty of eating and drinking things indifferent, or which were prohibited under the ceremonial law; but a comfortable livelihood at the public charge, or at the expense of the persons to whom he ministered; and he seems to have in view the words of Christ, Luke 10:7.
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