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"without charge" 

17-11-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

QUESTION: In the article “Paul was not a beggar,” you wrote that Paul never asked financial support from others. But the same apostle writes in 1Cor.9:14, that the Lord has ‘ruled’ that “they who preach the evangel should live of the evangel.” What is the meaning of a “rule”, when it is not invoked? ANSWER: power It is true that in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul mentions a series of reasons why he, as preacher of the evangel, should not have to provide for his own livelihood: # 1. Paul’s fellow apostles (“the twelve”) did not have to provide for themselves (v.1-6); # 2. In human occupations, as that of a soldier, gardener and shepherd, it is perfectly normal to receive support from the work one does (verse 7); # 3. Under the law, it had been arranged that a threshing ox should not be muzzled. Would it be right to place on a preacher, who in a spiritual sense is occupied with ‘sowing and harvesting’, the extra burden of providing for himself? (verses 8-10); # 4. Is it not reasonable that he who sows in the spirit may, at least, reap some material support from his hearers? (verse 11); # 5. In the temple it was the rule that those who served in the sanctuary, were provided for by the other people (verse 13). # 6. The Lord had stated the rule “that the preachers of the evangel should live of the evangel” (verse 14). without charge Usually, a period is placed, here, and in most translations the pericope ends at verse 14. But make no mistake: only here begins Paul’s statement. In verses 15-18, Paul states: that he always has waived his rights. His critics used this to disqualify him (>”Paul is just an amateur preacher”, see verse 3). But Paul waived his rights very deliberately: by making no claim to support, he showed that he was bringing the evangel to them WITHOUT CHARGE. “The saving grace of God has appeared to all mankind…” and “the living God is a Saviour of all mankind…” (1), without exception and purely without charge. That is the essence of Paul’s Gospel! Paul demonstrated the content of this message by not invoking his right to live of the Evangel. He was grateful for all the support he received, voluntarily, but has never asked for any, leave alone, laid claim to any. Paul asked for nothing and was not dependent on the contributions of people, and was not employed by churches, so that he could justly say: “I am FREE from all men” (verse 19). Summarized: Paul, by first establishing what his powers were as a preacher, makes it that much more clear how special his message of GRACE is, when he gives up his rights. ———————————— footnote: (1) Titus 2:11 en 1Timotheüs 4:10 ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema