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1 Corinthians 9:15-16

Context
9:15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing these things so that something will be done for me. 1  In fact, it would be better for me to die than – no one will deprive me of my reason for boasting! 2  9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason for boasting, because I am compelled to do this. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

1 tn Grk “so that it will happen in this way in my case.”

2 tc The reading τὸ καύχημά μου οὐδεὶς κενώσει (hto kauchma mou oudei" kenwsei, “than – no one will deprive me of my reason for boasting!”) is syntactically abrupt, but fully in keeping with Pauline style. It is supported by Ì46 א* B D*,c 33 1739 1881 as well as early patristic authors. Most witnesses, especially the later ones (א2 C D2 Ψ Ï lat), have a significantly smoother reading than this: τὸ καύχημά μου ἵνα τις κενώσῃ (or κενώσει); h to kauchma mou {ina ti" kenwsh (or kenwsei), “than that anyone should deprive me of my boasting.” The simple replacement of οὐδείς with ἵνα essentially accomplishes the smoothing out of the text, and as such the ἵνα reading is suspect. Not only is the harder reading in keeping with Pauline style, but it is also found in the earlier and better witnesses.

sn Paul breaks off his thought at mid-sentence (indicated by the dash in the translation) and it is somewhat difficult to determine his reason for boasting. Most likely Paul would rather die than be deprived of the boast that he had offered the gospel free of charge even though as an apostle he had the right to such support (9:14). Did he say this as a way of criticizing his opponents? Perhaps only indirectly. His focus has more to do with not hindering the gospel than what his opponents were doing (9:12).



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