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1 Corinthians 9:15-22

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! 9:17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward. But if I do it unwillingly, I am entrusted with a responsibility. 9:18 What then is my reward? That when I preach the gospel I may offer the gospel free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights in the gospel.

9:19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 3  9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) 4  to gain those under the law. 9:21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 9:22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.

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).

3 tn Or “more converts.” The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. It has been supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning.

4 tc The Byzantine text, as well as a few other witnesses (D2 [L] Ψ 1881 Ï) lack this parenthetical material, while geographically widespread, early, and diverse witnesses have the words (so א A B C D* F G P 33 104 365 1175 1505 1739 al latt). The phrase may have dropped out accidentally through homoioteleuton (note that both the preceding phrase and the parenthesis end in ὑπὸ νόμον [Jupo nomon, “under the law”]), or intentionally by overscrupulous scribes who felt that the statement “I myself am not under the law” could have led to license.



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