How could THEY question his authority? Their very existence
These other apostles all had one qualification Paul lacked:
personal acquaintance with Christ (cp Act 1:21,22).
A continuation of theme from 1Co 8: "I am strong. I have the
right to eat and drink at your expense. But I choose not to do so, lest I might
hinder you." They must have a similar attitude.
Vv 13,14: "Such men sometimes think that they give all that is
required of them in giving money. This has been one of the great errors of
Christendom, the attempt to buy that which is 'without money and without price'.
It is true that the apostle Paul says something regarding spiritual and carnal
things which seems to suggest reciprocity in these matters. We must not put his
teaching upside down, however. He says that Gentiles who are partakers of
Israel's spiritual riches have a duty to minister in carnal matters. He
certainly does not suggest that carnal wealth can buy the spiritual treasures.
The two kinds of riches are on a different plane. The currency is different and
there is no known rate of exchange. The wealthy man who goes to his chapel with
a feeling that he can purchase anything and a readiness to give of his abundance
if the service pleases him, is not likely to receive any real spiritual food. He
is not in the right condition to appreciate it. Possibly husks please him best.
If so he can buy what he requires" (PrPr).
...I HAVE NOT USED...: 'You boast in your rights. I
boast in foregoing my rights.'
Vv 16-23: Paul humbled self so as to better serve the
TRUST: Or "commission" (RSV).
Vv 20,21: Notice 3 positions: (1) under the Law of Moses, (2)
not under LM, and (3) under Christ's law (v 21). For first two, "hupo" = under
the power of. For the last, "ennomos" = within the sphere of.
V 24: "The New Testament has several allusions in it
likening our life in Christ as a race. This conjures up several images in our
head. In today's heavily competitive environment, we might think of many racers
jockeying for position and using every possible advantage to beat his or her
"The story is told of two men who are walking in the forest
when all of a sudden they spot a large, angry-looking bear charging at them. As
one of the men takes off running, he notices his companion stopping quickly to
take off his boots. As he runs on, the first man yells back to his friend, 'What
are you doing? You can't outrun that bear!' The man, who has just finished
taking off his boots. yells back, 'I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have
to outrun you!'
"Although this verse may give us the impression that we are in
a competition to outrun one another, taking in the whole counsel of God gives us
another lesson altogether. Quite to the contrary, we are not in a race against
each other. In fact, only in helping each other along the way can we help
ourselves in our own race. Paul's point was to urge the brethren in Corinth,
whose main problem was ecclesial schism and factions, that they needed to run
this race for eternal life in a much more focussed and determined fashion. The
point was not to gauge their progress by comparing themselves among themselves,
but to run their very best for Christ -- which would include putting aside these
fleshly problems which beset them.
"This important point escaped the apostle's notice for the
longest time. For all of Jesus' earthly ministry, they argued who would be the
greatest among them. Jesus told them that the one who sought to be the greatest
should seek to be the servant. Those who would be first would be last and those
who would be last would be first. This turns our notions of competition on its
"A few years ago, I had the opportunity to run in a race that
more closely mimics the race for eternal life. It was the 'Run for the Cure' 10K
race raising money for the fight against breast cancer. It was a run/walk,
meaning that you could either run it or walk it. Running time nor athletic
ability did not matter. All that mattered was that you finished. What was
particularly interesting was that everyone who finished was a winner. By the
time I crossed the finish line to the applause of the greeters and my own medal,
the first finishers had probably showered off and gone home. However, it didn't
really matter. Neither did it matter that when I finished, there were still
hundreds of people running their race. We all ran for a common goal which had
nothing to do with besting one another.
"We should all endeavor to run our own race for eternal life
to the best of our ability. It is not a competition pitting brother against
brother. It is a race pitting us against our sinful desires -- one of which is
the desire to be the greatest. The author of the Hebrews gives us the perfect
racing metaphor here: 'Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin
which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set
before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith' (Heb
"At the Olympics the worlds best athletes gather to compete
for the honour of winning and wearing the gold medal. Many of the athletes are
professional and they spend all day training every day. They employ the best
coaches and tone every muscle to get every last little bit of speed or strength
from their bodies. They sacrifice social events, rich foods, time, energy and
money -- and it is all for the short lived pleasure of a medal. The point is,
that for an Olympic competitor, nothing is too much to sacrifice to win that
"Paul says that we are in a race too. In the same way that an
athlete trains and sacrifices, we need to train and sacrifice as Christians. We
have to put as much energy into our training as the athletes do. We, like many
of those athletes are professional Christians. We are supposed to be training to
be like Christ 24 hours a day, 365 days a year no matter what our job, hobbies
or circumstances. We must be aiming to constantly improve our lives aiming for
the high standard of Christ. And in the end there will not be just one winner --
everyone who runs for Christ will win the prize of everlasting life. What a
race! On your marks, Get set, GO!" (RP).
RACE: "Stade", a sprint in a stadium, in ct a
"marathon" in Heb 12:2. Once in NT.
There is a crown of pride (Isa 28:3), which no one should
wear. A crown of thorns (Mat 27:29), which no one can wear. And a crown of life
(Jam 1:12), which everyone may wear. Also, an incorruptible crown (1Co 9:25), a
crown of rejoicing (1Th 2:19), a crown of glory (1Pe 5:4), and a crown to be
kept until Christ's coming (Rev 3:11).
BEATING THE AIR: "Shadow-boxing". Poss background: an
outstanding boxer, named Melankomas, won honors at about this time. According to
early writers, he was known for a style of fighting in which very few blows were
struck, either by himself or his opponents; instead, he won his boxing matches
by extraordinary footwork and defensive maneuvers, which wore down and
frustrated his opponents.
DISQUALIFIED: The word "adokimos" is translated
"reprobate" (Rom 1:28; 2Co 13:5-7, 2Ti 3:8; Tit 1:16), "castaway" (1Co 9:27),
and "rejected" (Heb 6:8). It is used to describe a counterfeit coin, deficient
as to weight or quality of metal. It is also used, figuratively, to describe a
cowardly soldier who fails the test of battle; a candidate rejected for office;
and a stone rejected by the builders. In each case, that which is "reprobate"
has promised something by its outward appearance which it cannot deliver! It
has, perhaps, a "name to live", but it is dead -- like clouds that promise rain,
but give none; like stars in the heavens that appear fixed, but prove to be
"wandering stars", or meteors.