As a soldier
At his own expense
At any time?
Who plants a vineyard
Any of its fruit?
Who tends a flock
Without getting to drink
Some of the milk?”
τίς στρατεύεται ἰδίοις ὀψωνίοις ποτέ; τίς φυτεύει ἀμπελῶνα καὶ τὸν καρπὸν αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐσθίει; ἢ τίς ποιμαίνει ποίμνην καὶ ἐκ τοῦ γάλακτος τῆς ποίμνης οὐκ ἐσθίει;
Paul once again asked a series of questions. “Who serves as a soldier at (τίς στρατεύεται) his own expense at any time (ἰδίοις ὀψωνίοις ποτέ)? Who plants a vineyard (τίς φυτεύει ἀμπελῶνα) without eating any of its fruit (καὶ τὸν καρπὸν αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐσθίει)? Who tends a flock (ἢ τίς ποιμαίνει ποίμνην) without getting to drink some of the milk (καὶ ἐκ τοῦ γάλακτος τῆς ποίμνης οὐκ ἐσθίει? The obvious answer was no one. Paul indicated that workers should be rewarded or compensated. if you were a soldier, someone would pay you. If you planted a vineyard, you would receive some of the fruit of the vineyard. If you tended a flock, you would get to drink the milk of the animals. Thus, Paul was referring to the ministerial leaders in Corinth. They deserved some compensation for the work that they were doing in this Christian community. Should Christian ministers be paid?
“Or is it only Barnabas
Who have no right
For a living?”
ἢ μόνος ἐγὼ καὶ Βαρνάβας οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι;
Paul asked another question. “Is it only Barnabas and I (ἢ μόνος ἐγὼ καὶ Βαρνάβας) who have no right to (οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν) refrain from working for a living (μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι)?” Paul mentioned Barnabas, who was with him in the Acts. He had defended Paul in Acts, chapter 9:27, went with Paul to Jerusalem in Acts, chapter 11:30. He also went with Paul on his first missionary journey in Acts, chapter 13-14, as well as accompanied Paul to the Jerusalem Council in Acts, chapter 15. Nevertheless, Paul and Barnabas separated before his second missionary journey in Acts, chapter 15:36-41. However, Barnabas at some point came to see Paul in Corinth, since he was there a year and a half, Acts, 18:11. Perhaps Barnabas was not married either. What kind of work Barnabas did was not clear, but Paul was a tent maker, according to Acts, 18:3. Do you think that people are entitled to a job?
“Do we not have the right
To be accompanied
By a wife,
A believing sister,
As the other apostles,
Of the Lord,
μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιάγειν, ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Κηφᾶς;
Paul once again asked a pointed question. “Do we not have the right (μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν) to be accompanied (περιάγειν) by a wife (γυναῖκα), a believing sister (ἀδελφὴν), just as the other apostles (ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι) and the believing brothers of the Lord (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ Κυρίου) and Cephas (καὶ Κηφᾶς)?” Paul wanted the Christian Corinthians to know that he had the right to have a wife or a believing sister accompany him on his travels. He pointed out that the other apostles were married including Cephas or Peter. Paul continued to call Peter Cephas, “the Rock”. Paul also indicated that many believing brothers of the Lord also had wives. Paul said he had the right to a wife, but he did not have one. Did Paul mean that they should take care of the wives of the apostles? Paul asked questions when he knew what the answers would be, since this was his way of making a point. Do people have the right to get married?
“Do we not have the right
To our food
μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν;
Paul asked “Do we not have the right (μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν) to food (φαγεῖν) and drink (καὶ πεῖν)?” Paul added further that he expected the support from the Christian community at Corinth. He asked them if he did not have the right to food and drink. Of course, he did. His question implied a positive answer. Do you think that people have the right to food and drink?
“This is my defense
To those who would examine me.”
Ἡ ἐμὴ ἀπολογία τοῖς ἐμὲ ἀνακρίνουσίν ἐστιν αὕτη.
Paul explained that this was his defense (Ἡ ἐμὴ ἀπολογία) to those who would examine him (τοῖς ἐμὲ ἀνακρίνουσίν ἐστιν αὕτη). Paul explained that this was his apologia or defense to anyone who questioned him. Paul seemed offended that anyone would even question his apostolic authority. The Lord Jesus had called him to be an apostle to the gentiles, the non-Jewish people. This was the end of that discussion. Has anyone ever questioned your motives?
“If to others,
I am not an apostle,
I am to you.
You are the seal
Of my apostleship
In the Lord.”
εἰ ἄλλοις οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος, ἀλλά γε ὑμῖν εἰμι· ἡ γὰρ σφραγίς μου τῆς ἀποστολῆς ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν Κυρίῳ.
Paul said if to others (εἰ ἄλλοις), he was not an apostle (οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος), but at least he was to them (ἀλλά γε ὑμῖν εἰμι). They were his seal (ἡ γὰρ σφραγίς μου) of apostleship in the Lord (τῆς ἀποστολῆς ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν Κυρίῳ). At least Paul had been an apostle to the people at Corinth. Even if other people did not think he was an apostle. After all, he was not one of the original twelve apostles. However, for the Christians at Corinth, he certainly was the apostle who brought them to Jesus Christ. They were the seal, the σφραγίς, the authentic seal in Roman society, for these Corinthians. The Book of Revelation would use this term a lot. Sometimes, σφραγίς was used to indicate the real coming of the Holy Spirit. Were they sealed with the Holy Spirit? This Christian community at Corinth was a sign or seal of Paul’s apostolic work among them. Has someone ever doubted your Christian work?
“Am I not free?
Am I not an apostle?
Have I not seen Jesus
Are not you my work
In the Lord?”
Οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐλεύθερος; οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος; οὐχὶ Ἰησοῦν τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν ἑόρακα; οὐ τὸ ἔργον μου ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν Κυρίῳ;
Paul asked a series of questions to get his point across. “Am I not free (Οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐλεύθερος)? Am I not an apostle (οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος)? Have I not seen Jesus Our Lord (οὐχὶ Ἰησοῦν τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν ἑόρακα)? Are you not my work (οὐ τὸ ἔργον μου ὑμεῖς ἐστε) in the Lord (ἐν Κυρίῳ)?” Paul got defensive. By asking these questions, he was stating that he was set free as an apostle. He had seen the Lord Jesus Christ. They were the result of his work in the Lord. He wanted the Christian Corinthians to understand his authority and credentials. Paul was a Christian apostle who had seen Jesus Christ in a vision. He had worked to spread the word about Jesus Christ among them in Corinth. There should be no questions about these things. The answer to all his questions was “Yes” on all counts. Do you get defensive at times?
If food is a cause
Of my brother’s falling,
I will never eat meat,
Lest I cause
My brother to fall.”
διόπερ εἰ βρῶμα σκανδαλίζει τὸν ἀδελφόν μου, οὐ μὴ φάγω κρέα εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, ἵνα μὴ τὸν ἀδελφόν μου σκανδαλίσω.
Paul said therefore (διόπερ), if food (εἰ βρῶμα) is a cause of my brother’s falling (σκανδαλίζει τὸν ἀδελφόν μου), I will never eat meat (οὐ μὴ φάγω κρέα εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα), lest I cause my brother to fall (ἵνα μὴ τὸν ἀδελφόν μου σκανδαλίσω). Only the Pauline letters used this word, κρέα, that means flesh, pieces of flesh, or kinds of flesh. Only the Pauline letters used this word κρέα, that means flesh, pieces of flesh, kinds of flesh. Paul did not want to offend anyone. If his eating some kind of food caused his believing brothers to stumble, he would not eat meat or flesh if that offended them. He said that if his eating of any kind of food led to the downfall of one of his believing brothers, he would stop eating any meat or flesh at all. Meat sold in the marketplace was used in the pagan idol sacrifices. Paul pointed out that love was more important than freedom. He did not want to cause any kind of problem for other believing Christians. Do you cause problems for your fellow believing Christians?
When you sin
Against your brothers,
You are wounding
When it is weak.
οὕτως δὲ ἁμαρτάνοντες εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τύπτοντες αὐτῶν τὴν συνείδησιν ἀσθενοῦσαν εἰς Χριστὸν ἁμαρτάνετε.
Paul said that when they were sinning (οὕτως δὲ ἁμαρτάνοντες) against their brothers (εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς) and wounding (καὶ τύπτοντες) their conscience (αὐτῶν τὴν συνείδησιν) when it is weak. They were sinning (ἁμαρτάνετε) against Christ (εἰς Χριστὸν). Paul told the Corinthians that when they sinned against their brothers, they were wounding their weak conscience. If they were sinning against their brothers, they were also sinning against Jesus Christ. To sin against a Christian brother is to sin against Jesus. They just had to be more careful in how they conducted themselves as regards those pagan idol worship foods. Are you careful in your everyday life?
“By your knowledge,
This weak man
The brother for whom Christ died.”
ἀπόλλυται γὰρ ὁ ἀσθενῶν ἐν τῇ σῇ γνώσει, ὁ ἀδελφὸς δι’ ὃν Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν.
Paul said that by your knowledge (ἐν τῇ σῇ γνώσει), this weak man (γὰρ ὁ ἀσθενῶν) was destroyed (ἀπόλλυται), the brother (ὁ ἀδελφὸς) for whom Christ died (δι’ ὃν Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν). Paul pointed out that the wise and knowledgeable Christians in Corinth were destroying their fellow weak Christians by their example. They were hurting a Christian brother for whom Christ had died. Therefore, they should be more careful. Are you careful how you conduct your life as a Christian?