What does 1 Corinthians 9:23 mean?
ESV: I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
NIV: I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
NASB: I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
CSB: Now I do all this because of the gospel, so that I may share in the blessings.
NLT: I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
KJV: And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
NKJV: Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has been describing how he limits his own rights and freedoms in order to win others to Christ. He voluntary participates in the Jewish religious system in some ways in order to lead more law-following Jewish people to Christ. He openly lives as one under no obligation to the law in order to win Gentiles to Christ. He even becomes weak, in some sense, for the sake of those who are weak in faith (1 Corinthians 8:4–7).

Now he sums it up by saying that he does all of this for sake of the gospel. Paul is crystal clear in his motivations. He exists to serve God by serving the mission he has been given to win as many as possible to faith in Christ. He places greater value on this mission than on any claim to his personal rights and freedoms. Those sacrifices are costly, but they are worth the benefits.

He mentions one of those benefits: Sharing in the blessings of the gospel with those who believe. Some misread this phrase to mean that Paul believes he himself will be saved only by completing his mission. Instead, he seems to be saying that he will enjoy the blessings of faith in Christ with all those who believe along with him.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 9:19–23 describes how Paul has made himself a slave to everyone. He limits his own rights and freedoms in order to connect with others. He becomes ''all things to all people'' so that some will be won to faith in Christ. He becomes as a Jewish person under the law to win law-following Jewish people. He becomes like a person not under the law to win others, such as Gentiles. He even becomes weak for the sake of the weak. He does all of this for sake of the gospel, encouraging others to do the same.
Chapter Summary:
Paul encourages Christians to willingly give up their ''rights'' for the good of those who are weak in their faith. Paul shows that he, too, has given up his rights, including the right as an apostle to receive financial support from those he serves. Instead, he boasts that he serves the Corinthians without any compensation, even at great cost to himself. Paul describes himself as an athlete competing for the prize of a crown in eternity. His point is for believers to pursue godliness, and the good of others, with that kind of commitment.
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 8 ended with Paul's declaration that he would give up his right to eat any meat rather than cause a brother in Christ to stumble. He shows in this chapter that he is already giving up his right as an apostle to be financially supported by those he serves. He doesn't want anything to get in the way of anyone believing the gospel. He limits his freedoms further by becoming all things to all people to win some for Christ. He disciplines himself like an athlete in training, to get a prize and to avoid being disqualified. The next passages will expand on this idea of distinguishing what is ''allowed'' from what is ''best.''
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/26/2024 5:56:37 PM
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