1 Corinthians 9:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 9:7, NIV: Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?

1 Corinthians 9:7, ESV: Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

1 Corinthians 9:7, KJV: Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

1 Corinthians 9:7, NASB: Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not consume some of the milk of the flock?

1 Corinthians 9:7, NLT: What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn't have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn't allowed to drink some of the milk?

1 Corinthians 9:7, CSB: Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not drink the milk from the flock?

What does 1 Corinthians 9:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has asked if he has the right as an apostle to receive financial support from the people he serves. He has indicated that other apostles do this (1 Corinthians 9:4–6). He appears to be challenging the Corinthians for not supporting him with money. In truth, he has refused to take money from the people to whom he delivers the gospel.

In order to make his greater point, Paul indicates this is unusual, almost unnatural. He makes this point in a series of questions: people in most professions receive pay for the work they do. No soldier pays his own way in a war. Nobody faults the vineyard worker for eating some of the fruit. No farmer refuses milk from the flock he tends.

The reason for this comparison is to support Paul's earlier teaching: that it is good for a Christian to give up their "rights" for the spiritual benefit of others (1 Corinthians 8:7–13). If Paul is willing to demonstrate this in such a dramatic way, the believers in Corinth have no excuse for not doing the same.