Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 9:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If others be partakers of this power - If those who in any matter serve you have a right to a recompense for that service, surely we who have served you in the most essential matters have a right to our support while thus employed in your service.

We have not used this power - Though we had this right, we have not availed ourselves of it, but have worked with our hands to bear our own charges, lest any of you should think that we preached the Gospel merely to procure a temporal support, and so be prejudiced against us, and thus prevent our success in the salvation of your souls.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

If others - Other teachers living with you. There can be no doubt that the teachers in Corinth urged this right, and received a support.

Be partakers of this power - Of this right to a support and maintenance.

Are not we rather - We the apostles; we who have labored for your conversion; who have founded your church; who have been the first, and the most laborious in instructing you, and imparting to you spiritual blessings? Have not we a better claim than they?.

Nevertheless we have not used this power - We have not urged this claim; we have chosen to forego this right, and to labor for our own support. The reason why they had done this, he states in the subsequent part of the chapter; see 2 Corinthians 11:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:14; compare Acts 18:3; Acts 20:34-35.

But suffer all things - Endure all privations and hardships; we subject ourselves to poverty, want, hunger, thirst, nakedness, rather than urge a “claim” on you, and thus leave the suspicion that we are actuated by mercenary motives. The word used here ( στέγομεν stegomensuffer) means properly “to cover,” to keep off, as rain, etc., and then “to contain, to sustain, tolerate, endure.” Here it means to bear, or endure all hardships; compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 4:11-13.

Lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ - Paul here states the reason why he had not urged a claim to support in preaching the gospel. It was not because he was not entitled to a full support, but it was that by denying himself of this right he could do good, and avoid some evil consequences which would have resulted if he had strenuously urged it. His conduct therefore in this was just one illustration of the principle on which he said 1 Corinthians 8:13 he would always act; a readiness to deny himself of things lawful, if by that he could promote the welfare of others. The reasons why his urging this claim might have hindered the gospel may have been many:

(1) It might have exposed him and the ministry generally to the charge of being mercenary.

(2) it would have prevented his presenting in bold relief the fact that he was bound to preach the gospel at all events, and that he was actuated in it by a simple conviction of its truth.

(3) it might have alienated many minds who might otherwise have been led to embrace it.

(4) it would have prevented the exercise of self-denial in him, and the benefits which resulted from that self-denial, etc., 1 Corinthians 9:17-18, 1 Corinthians 9:23, 1 Corinthians 9:27.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services among them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as to set forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good of others. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 335-6

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul gave the believers instruction regarding the general principles underlying the support of God's work in the earth. Writing of his apostolic labors in their behalf, he inquired: AA 335.1

“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? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. AA 335.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 309.3

The enemy is actively at work, as you will see as you travel on his territory, opening the Word of God to the people. As the last message of mercy is proclaimed by human lips, Satan will try to storm his way to the front. But he cannot prevail against Christ. As we present the truth that shows the people the evil of his delusions, his anger will be aroused, and he will do all in his power to hinder our efforts. But continue to present a “Thus saith the Lord, “remembering that God is your helper. Do not give the enemy the right of way.... TDG 309.3

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