1 Corinthians 9:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 9:12, NIV: If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:12, ESV: If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:12, KJV: If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:12, NASB: If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:12, NLT: If you support others who preach to you, shouldn't we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:12, CSB: If others have this right to receive benefits from you, don't we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right; instead, we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ.

What does 1 Corinthians 9:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul continues to give arguments for why he, as the founder of the church in Corinth and a kind of spiritual father, has the right to expect financial support from them. Now he writes that others share this claim, apparently suggesting that they have given financial support to other spiritual leaders. He may have in mind Apollos or Peter. Finally, though, Paul admits that "we," he and his coworkers, have not demanded this right. That is, they have not asked the Corinthians to give them money even though they would have been justified in doing so.

Their reason for refusing to be paid by the Corinthians is simple: They do not want to put any obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. In part, this is meant to demonstrate the principle Paul explained at the end of chapter 8 (1 Corinthians 8:7–13). It's more important to consider the spiritual benefit of others than to demand what we are "owed."

Paul may also be concerned about the question of motive. If someone suspected his work in Corinth was about a paycheck, they may have walked away from the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ. Paul is committed to avoid creating reasons for others to doubt the sincerity of his mission.

The following verses clarify that Paul is not suggesting that others who ministered to the Corinthians were wrong to receive money. On the contrary, it's a natural and sensible thing. He simply chose not to do so for the reasons he will explain.