What does 1 Corinthians 9:1 mean?Paul has not changed the subject from the end of chapter 8. He continues to make the point to the Corinthians that they should willingly surrender their right to eat meat offered to idols, out of love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though eating such meat is not a sin, itself, those with "weaker" consciences do not understand this. If a Christian with a "strong" conscience is careless about how they use their freedom, they risk becoming the cause of sin in the lives of those who follow their example, violating their conscience.
Paul begins with this verse to show that he, too, has given up his rights as an apostle for the sake of others. He starts by asking a series of questions that will demand a "yes" from the Corinthians. Paul is free. He chooses to use his freedom to refrain from eating idol food for the sake of his brothers and sisters. Paul is an apostle, as he stated at the beginning of this letter. Being an apostle brings with it rights that Paul will refuse to claim.
Paul has seen Jesus when Christ called him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–18). Seeing Jesus after the resurrection was one of the requirements for the selection of a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:22). Paul, added as a late apostle, also fulfilled this requirement.
Finally, the Christians in Corinth are the product of Paul's work as an apostle, missionary, and evangelist.