1 Corinthians 9

1 Corinthians 9


AmI I not free?II Am I not an apostle?III

Notes on verse 1a

I “am” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
II “free” = eleutheros. Probably from erchomai (to come or go). This is a free person, at liberty, not a slave. Properly, it is unshackled – figuratively, it is one who has the freedom to choose their destiny. Also, it is one who does not have obligation or liability.
III “apostle” = apostolos. From apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for); {probably from histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand firm)}}. This is a messenger – someone sent out on a mission as an envoy or delegate. It can also refer to someone set at liberty. Generally, this is a messenger who is meant to be a representative of the one who sent them. They are thus, set apart on a mission literally or figuratively.

Have I not seenIV JesusV our Lord?VI Are you not my workVII in the Lord? 

Notes on verse 1b

IV “seen” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
V “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
VI “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
VII “work” = ergon. From ergo (to work, accomplish, do). This is work, task, deed, labor, effort.

If I am not an apostle to others,VIII at least I am to you, for you are the sealIX of my apostleshipX in the Lord.

Notes on verse 2

VIII “others” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
IX “seal” = sphragis. 16x in NT. Perhaps from phrasso (to stop, fence in). This is a seal, signet, or signet ring. It is also the impression of that seal; so, the thing attested to by that seal – proof or a signifier of privacy.
X “apostleship” = apostole. Related to “apostle” in v1. 4x in NT. From apostello (see note III above). This is a commission or apostleship.

This is my defenseXI to those who would examineXII me. Do we not haveXIII the rightXIV

Notes on verses 3-4a

XI “defense” = apologia. 8x in NT. From apologeomai (to make an accounting or defend oneself – particularly in court; present proof or evidence using sound logic); {from apo (from, away from) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. This is a verbal defense, especially in a legal setting, that is well reasoned to respond to the issue at hand. It is an apology, clearing, plea, or vindication.
XII “examine” = anakrino. 16x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging). 16x in NT. This is to scrutinize, examine, investigate, judge, or discern. Properly, it refers to very thorough investigation or careful study. It was used to talk about investigating crimes in the ancient world. It can also be used to talk about interrogation that uses torture.
XIII “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
XIV “right” = exousia. Related to “am” in v1. From exesti (to be permitted or lawful); {from ek (out, out of) + eimi (see note I above)}. This is power to act or weight. It especially denotes moral authority or influence. It can mean domain, liberty, freedom, capacity, mastery, right, force, or strength.

to our foodXV and drink?XVI Do we not have the right to be accompanied byXVII a believingXVIII

Notes on verses 4b-5a

XV “food” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
XVI “drink” = pino. This is to drink, literally or figuratively.
XVII “be accompanied by” = periago. 6x in NT. From peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + ago (lead, bring, carry, drive, go). This is to lead around, compass, go about.
XVIII “believing” = adelphe. From adelphos (brother in a literal or figurative sense); {from a (with, sharing) + delphus (womb)}. This is sister in a literal or figurative sense.

wife,XIX as do the otherXX apostles and the brothersXXI of the Lord and Cephas?XXII 

Notes on verse 5b

XIX “wife” = gune. Perhaps from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
XX “other” = loipos. From leipo (to leave behind, be lacking). This is the rest, remained, remnant, other, residue.
XXI “brothers” = adelphos. Related to “believing” in v5. See note XVIII above.
XXII “Cephas” = Kephas. 9x in NT. From Aramaic kepha (stone or rock). This is Cephas, the Aramaic translation of Peter’s name.

Or is it onlyXXIII BarnabasXXIV and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?XXV 

Notes on verse 6

XXIII “only” = monos. Perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is alone, single, remaining, mere, desolate.
XXIV “Barnabas” = Barnabas. Probably from Aramaic Barnabas (Barnabas); {from bar (son); {Aramaic corresponding to ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children)} + nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired)}. This is Barnabas, meaning “son of prophecy” or “representative.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Barnabas.html#.XsduKmhKhPY
XXV “working for a living” = ergazomai. Related to “work” in v1. From ergon (see note VII above). This is to work, labor, perform, toil.

Who at any time pays theXXVI expensesXXVII for doing military service?XXVIII

Notes on verse 7a

XXVI {untranslated} = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
XXVII “expenses” = opsonion. 4x in NT. From the same as opsarion (fish or little fish. It can also refer to a cooked sauce or salted fish served as a condiment); from opson (cooked food) OR from optos (roasted, cooked); {related to hepso (to steep)} + oneomai (to buy); {from onos (a price or sum)}. This is wages, salary, expenses, or provisions. It is purchasing food – used later of stipend for soldiers to get rations. It came to mean wages or other pay and figuratively eternal reward.
XXVIII “doing military service” = strateuo. 7x in NT. From stratos (encamped army) OR from stratia (army; used figuratively for large, organized groups like the angels and the hosts of heaven, which is to say the stars); from the same as strateuo (to wage war, fight, serve as a soldier; used figuratively for spiritual warfare); or from the base of stronnuo (to spread, to spread out like a bed). This is to fight a war, be a soldier, doing military service. It can also mean doing spiritual warfare figuratively.

Who plantsXXIX a vineyardXXX and does not eatXXXI any of its fruit?XXXII

Notes on verse 7b

XXIX “plants” = phuteuo. 11x in NT. From phuton (a plant) OR from the base of phuo (to grow, produce, spring up; perhaps from the sense of puff or blow – to swell up; hence, to germinate; to grow literally or figuratively). This is plant or implant. Figuratively, this word is used for Christian teaching.
XXX “vineyard” = ampelon. From ampelos (vine or grapevine as that which coils around); perhaps from the base of amphoteros (both, all); {from amphi (around) + halon (the threshing floor where grain is rolled to separate from the chaff); {from halos (threshing floor); probably from helisso (to roll up, coil, wrap)}}. This is vineyard. Figuratively, it can be the religious life of the people of Israel or the body of Christ.
XXXI “eat” = esthio. This is to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust.
XXXII “fruit” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.

Or who tendsXXXIII a flockXXXIV and does not getXXXV any of its milk?XXXVI

Notes on verse 7c

XXXIII “tends” = poimaino. 11x in NT. From poimen (shepherd in a literal or figurative sense – one who feeds, protects, rules). This is to tend, care for, shepherd. It focuses on tending, guiding, and protecting rather than feeding. Figuratively, it can mean to govern.
XXXIV “flock” = poimne. Related to “tends” in v7. 5x in NT. Probably from poimen (see note XXXIII above). This is flock or fold in a literal or figurative sense – usually sheep or goats.
XXXV “get” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v7. See note XXXI above.
XXXVI “milk” = gala. 5x in NT. This is milk – it can be literal or figurative. The Greek word for galaxy comes from this word, i.e. “milky way.”

Do I sayXXXVII this on humanXXXVIII authority? Does not the lawXXXIX also sayXL the same? 

Notes on verse 8

XXXVII “say” = laleo. From lalos (talkative). This is to talk, say, or preach.
XXXVIII “human” = anthropos. Related to “seen” in v1. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (see note IV above)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
XXXIX “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
XL “say” = lego. Related to “defense” in v3. See note XI above.

For it is writtenXLI in the law of Moses,XLII “You shall not muzzleXLIII an oxXLIV while it is treading out the grain.”XLV

Notes on verse 9a

XLI “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
XLII “Moses” = Mouses. From Hebrew Mosheh (Moses); from mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
XLIII “muzzle” = phimoo. 8x in NT. From phimos (a muzzle). This is to muzzle so speechless, silence, quiet.
XLIV “ox” = bous. 8x in NT. Perhaps from bosko (to feed or pasture a flock; figuratively, to nourish spiritually) This is a cow, ox, or bull.
XLV “treading out the grain” = aloao. Related to “vineyard” in v7. 3x in NT. From halon (see note XXX above). This is to thresh wheat or corn. It can also refer to the thresher.

Is it for oxen that GodXLVI is concerned?XLVII 10 Or does he not speakXLVIII entirelyXLIX for our sake?

Notes on verses 9b-10a

XLVI “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
XLVII “is concerned” = melo. 10x in NT. This is to think about something, take an interest, to pay attention. It is to care or worry about something.
XLVIII “speak” = lego. Same as “say” in v8. See note XL above.
XLIX “entirely” = pantos. 9x in NT. From pas (all, every, every kind of). This is entirely, all, altogether, undoubtedly.

It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plowsL shouldLI plow in hopeLII and whoever threshesLIII should thresh in hope of a shareLIV in the crop. 

Notes on verse 10b

L “plows” = arotriao. 3x in NT. From arotron (a plow); from aroo (to plow or till). This is to plow or one who plows.
LI “should” = opheilo. Perhaps from the base of ophelos (advantage, gain, profit); from ophello (heaped together, accumulate, increase). This is to be indebted morally or legally – having an obligation one must meet. This term came from the legal world, but was then adopted in reference to morality. In the New Testament it is used for humanity’s ethical responsibility.
LII “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, welcome, expect; usually to anticipate positively). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence faith. The expectation can be abstract or concrete.
LIII “threshes” = aloao. Same as “treading out the grain” in v9. See note XLV above.
LIV “share” = metecho. Related to “have” in v4. 8x in NT. From meta (with, among, behind, beyond) + echo (see note XIII above). This is to share in, participate, belong, eat or drink, be a member.

11 If we have sownLV spiritual thingsLVI among you, is it too muchLVII

Notes on verse 11a

LV “sown” = speiro. Probably from spao (to pull or draw like one draws a sword). This is sowing a seed or scattering. It is sowing in a literal or figurative sense.
LVI “spiritual things” = pneumatikos. From pneuma (wind, breath, or ghost; a breeze or blast of air, a breath; figuratively, a spirit, the human soul or the part of us that is rational; also angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit); from pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is spiritual, spiritual people, or spiritual things – that which is ethereal or divine or religious.
LVII “too much” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.

if we harvestLVIII material things?LIX 12 If othersLX share this rightful claimLXI on you, do not we still more?LXII

Notes on verses 11b-12a

LVIII “harvest” = therizo. From theros (summer; the heat, which implies summer); from thero (to heat). This is to gather or harvest.
LIX “material things” = sarkikos. 7x in NT. From sarx (the body, human nature, being related; not always evil in scripture as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body; generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith; can mean meat from an animal, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit; can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty, physical or moral); may be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse); from sairo (to brush off). This is bodily, material, animal.
LX “others” = allos. Same as “others” in v2. See note VIII above.
LXI “rightful claim” = exousia. Same as “right” in v4. See note XIV above.
LXII “more” = mallon. This is rather, more than, or better.

Nevertheless, we have not made useLXIII of this right, but we endureLXIV anythingLXV rather than putLXVI an obstacleLXVII

Notes on verse 12b

LXIII “made use” = chraomai. 11x in NT. This is to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request.
LXIV “endure” = stego. 4x in NT. Perhaps from stege (a roof of a house that is flat); from tegos (thatch of a building). This is to cover, endure. Literally, it is to put a roof over something. Figuratively, it is being shielded and bearing up because of it.
LXV “anything” = pas. Related to “entirely” in v10. See note XLIX above.
LXVI “put” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
LXVII “obstacle” = egkope. 1x in NT. From egkopto (literally to cut into. So it refers to an obstacle that impedes progress. It is to interrupt, detain, block, prevent); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + kopto (to cut, strike, cut off; beating the chest to lament and so to mourn)}. This is obstacle, hindrance, interruption, incision.

in the way of the gospelLXVIII of Christ.LXIX 13 Do you not knowLXX that those who workLXXI

Notes on verses 12c-13a

LXVIII “gospel” = euaggelion. Related to “be accompanied by” in v5. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel); {from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (see note XVII above)}. This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.
LXIX “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
LXX “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
LXXI “work” = ergazomai. Same as “working for a living” in v6. See note XXV above.

in the temple serviceLXXII get their foodLXXIII from the templeLXXIV and those who serveLXXV at the altarLXXVI

Notes on verse 13b

LXXII “temple service” = hieros. 4x in NT. This is sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart. It is something consecrated to God or a god.
LXXIII “food” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v7. See note XXXI above.
LXXIV “temple” = hieron. Related to “temple” in v13. From hieros (see note LXXII above). This is the word for temple.
LXXV “serve” = prosedreuo. Related to “am” in v1 & “right” in v4. 1x in NT. From pareimi (to be present, have come); {from para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + eimi (see note I above)} OR from pros (at, to, toward, with) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray) + akin to hedraios (sitting, well-seated, immovable; figuratively, steadfast, firm, morally fixed); {from hedra (seat)}. This is to be or sit near. It can be serve or attend to.
LXXVI “altar” = thusiasterion. From thusia (a sacrifice or offering; the act of sacrifice or the thig being sacrificed; a sacrifice in a literal or figurative sense.); from thuo (to breathe violently, seethe, rage; properly, to rush as breathing heavy; so smoke as in offering an animal sacrifice by fire; by extension, killing or slaying in general). This is altar that is used for sacrifice.

share inLXXVII what is sacrificed on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord commandedLXXVIII that those who proclaimLXXIX the gospel should get their livingLXXX by the gospel.

Notes on verses 13c-14

LXXVII “share in” = summerizo. 1x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + merizo (to divide, part, share, distribute, assign; figuratively, to differ); {from meros (part, share, portion figurative or literal); from meiromai (to get your share, receive one’s allotment)}. This is to share jointly or participate with.
LXXVIII “commanded” = diatasso. 16x in NT. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + tasso (to arrange, appoint, determine). This is to arrange thoroughly, charge, appoint, give orders to. It is a command that is a proper order, given with the chain of command and so binding. This is from ancient military language.
LXXIX “proclaim” = kataggello. Related to “be accompanied by” in v5 & “gospel” in v12. 18x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, throughout, among, daily) + aggello (see note LXVIII above). This is to proclaim openly and confidently a very specific message. It can also be celebrate, preach, or teach.
LXXX “get their living” = zao. This is to live literally or figuratively. It is used for life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be appliedLXXXI in my case. LXXXIIIndeed, I would ratherLXXXIII dieLXXXIV than that—

Notes on verse 15a

LXXXI “be applied” = ginomai. Related to “wife” in v5. See note XIX above.
LXXXII {untranslated} = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
LXXXIII “rather” = mallon. Same as “more” in v12. See note LXII above.
LXXXIV “die” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.

no one will depriveLXXXV me of my ground for boasting!LXXXVI 16 If I proclaim the gospel,LXXXVII this givesLXXXVIII me no ground for boasting,

Notes on verses 15b-16a

LXXXV “deprive” = kenoo. 5x in NT. From kenos (properly, something empty or void; hence, worthless, foolish, ineffective, morally void, pretentious, unreal, or false). This is properly to make something empty or void. It is something without recognition that is seen as having no value. Figuratively, this could be to neutralize, falsify, or cause something to be in vain.
LXXXVI “ground for boasting” = kauchema. Related to “serve” in v13. 11x in NT. From kauchaomai (literally holding one’s head high – to boast proudly or to glory, joy, exult, rejoice; can be boasting in a positive or negative sense); perhaps from auchen (neck) OR from aucheo (to boast) + euchomai (see note LXXV above). This is the reason for boasting or the boast itself. It could be confidence or reason for pride/glorying. It looks at the result of the boast.
LXXXVII “proclaim the gospel” = euaggelizo. Related to “be accompanied by” in v5 & “gospel” in v12 & “proclaim” in v14 & to “gospel” in v12. From eu (see note LXVIII above) + aggelos (see note LXVIII above). This is evangelize – literally to preach the good news. It can be those who hear the news, the news, or a way to say gospel.
LXXXVIII “gives” = eimi. Same as “am” in v1. See note I above.

for an obligationLXXXIX is laidXC on me, and woeXCI XCIIto me if I do not proclaim the gospel!XCIII 

Notes on verse 16b

LXXXIX “obligation” = anagke. 18x in NT. From ana (up, again, anew) + agcho (to press tightly, compress) OR related to agkale (the arm, particularly one that is bent to carry a load). This is necessity – something that happens that requires an immediate response. It is generally associated with pain or distress.
XC “laid” = epikeimai. 7x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + keimai (to lie, recline, be placed, lie outstretched, be appointed). This is to lie up, impose, insist, oblige, press on.
XCI “woe” = ouai. This is alas or woe to show grief or to denounce something.
XCII {untranslated} = eimi. Same as “am” in v1. See note I above.
XCIII “proclaim the gospel” = euaggelizo. Same as “proclaim the gospel” in v16. See note LXXXVII above.

17 For if I doXCIV this of my own will,XCV I have a wage,XCVI but if not of my own will,XCVII

Notes on verse 17a

XCIV “do” = prasso. This is to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit. It can also mean to accomplish, attend, or commit.
XCV “own will” = hekon. 2x in NT. This is voluntarily or willingly.
XCVI “wage” = misthos. This is wages, pay, or salary. It can also be reward, recompense, or punishment. It is pay for services rendered in a literal or figurative way, either good or bad.
XCVII “not of my own will” = akon. Related to “own will” in v17. 1x in NT. From a (not, without) + hekon (see note XCV above). This is unwilling or unwillingly. It can also refer to someone who has a different opinion or perspective.

I am entrusted withXCVIII a commission.XCIX 18 What then is my wage? Just this: that in my proclamationC I may makeCI the gospel

Notes on verses 17b-18a

XCVIII “am entrusted with” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
XCIX “commission” = oikonomia. Related to “law” in v8. 9x in NT. From oikonomeo (a steward, manager, or guardian; someone whose job it is to oversee a house; a treasurer or other fiscal agent; figuratively, someone who preaches the good news); {oiokos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple) + nemo (to parcel out)} OR {from oikos (see above) + the base of nomos (see note XXXIX above)}. This is stewardship, management, or administration. It is one who looks after the resources or household affairs for someone else (their house or estate). It can also refer to a religious economy.
C “proclamation” = euaggelizo. Same as “proclaim the gospel” in v16. See note LXXXVII above.
CI “make” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.

free of charge,CII so as not to make full use ofCIII my rights in the gospel.

19 For though I am freeCIV with respect to all,CV

Notes on verses 18b-19a

CII “free of charge” = adapanos. 1x in NT. From a (not, without) + dapane (cost, expense); {from dapto (to devour)}. This is without expense or without cost – free.
CIII “make full use of” = katachraomai. Related to “made use” in v12. 2x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, throughout) + chraomai (see note LXIII above). This is to make full use of. It could also be to overuse or abuse.
CIV “free” = eleutheros. Same as “free” in v1. See note II above.
CV “all” = pas. Same as “anything” in v12. See note LXV above.

I have made myself a slaveCVI to all, so that I might gainCVII all the more.CVIII 

Notes on verse 19b

CVI “made…a slave” = douloo. 8x in NT. From doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else, but could be voluntary to pay off debt or involuntary – captured in war and enslaved; a metaphor for serving Christ); perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is to enslave, cause something to be subject or bound. It focuses on the impact or result of being enslaved. It can be literal or figurative.
CVII “gain” = kerdaino. 17x in NT. From kerdos (profit, gain, advantage). This is to gain, win, or acquire. It is a word from the sphere of bartering and trading. Figuratively, it can mean trading up.
CVIII “more” = pleion. From polus (much, many, abundant). This is many, more, great, having a greater value, more excellent.

20 To the JewsCIX I becameCX as a Jew, in order to gain Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might gain those under the law. 21 To those outside the lawCXI I became as one outside the law (though I am not outside God’s law but am within Christ’s law)CXII so that I might gain those outside the law. 

Notes on verses 20-21

CIX “Jews” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
CX “became” = ginomai. Same as “be applied” in v15. See note LXXXI above.
CXI “outside the law” = anomos. Related to “law” in v8 & “commission” in v17. 10x in NT. From a (not, without) + nomos (see note XXXIX above). This is literally without law. So, it could refer to someone who disregards authority or one who is not under the law (i.e. a Gentile). It can be lawless, wicked, or a transgressor.
CXII “within…law” = ennomos. Related to “law” in v8 & “commission” in v17 & “outside the law” in v21. 2x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + nomos (see note XXXIX above). This is lawful or duly constituted.

22 To the weakCXIII I became weak, so that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all meansCXIV saveCXV some. 23 I doCXVI it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I might become a partnerCXVII in it.

Notes on verses 22-23

CXIII “weak” = asthenes. From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}. This is without strength so weak, sick, helpless, frail, feeble. It can also be unimpressive or impotent. It can be used for physical or moral weakness.
CXIV “by all means” = pantos. Same as “entirely” in v10. See note XLIX above.
CXV “save” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.
CXVI “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
CXVII “partner” = sugkoinonos. 4x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + koinonos (partner, companion, partaker, sharer); {from koinos (common, shared, unclean, ritually profane); probably from sun (with, together with)} This is co-partner, someone with whom you share something together – a close companion.

24 Do you not know that in a raceCXVIII the runnersCXIX allCXX compete,CXXI

Notes on verse 24a

CXVIII “race” = stadion. Related to “apostle” in v1 & “apostleship” in v2. 7x in NT. From the same as histemi (see note III above). This is a stadium, which was a unit of length. By implication, this would refer to a racing track for a foot race.
CXIX “runners” = trecho. To run, make progress, rush. This is running like an athlete in a race. Figuratively, to work quickly towards a goal in a focused way.
CXX {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
CXXI “compete” = trecho. Same as “runners” in v24. See note CXIX above.

but only oneCXXII receivesCXXIII the prize?CXXIV Run in such a way that you may winCXXV it. 

Notes on verse 24b

CXXII “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.
CXXIII “receives” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
CXXIV “prize” = brabeion. 2x in NT. From brabeus (umpire). This is a prize. Originally, it was the prize given to the winner – one that recognized a triumph in public games.
CXXV “win” = katalambano. Related to “receives” in v24. 15x in NT. From kata (down, against, among, throughout) + lambano (see note CXXIII above). This is to take hold of something with great intention for one’s own interest. It can be seize or arrest – grasping forcefully. Figuratively, it can also mean to comprehend, to win, to surprise, or to possess.

25 AthletesCXXVI exercise self-controlCXXVII in all things; theyCXXVIII do it

Notes on verse 25a

CXXVI “athletes” = agonizomai. Related to “be accompanied by” in v5 & “gospel” in v12 & “proclaim” in v14 & “proclaim the gospel” in v16. 8x in NT. From agon (a gathering or contest – as an athletic competition such as a race; also conflict, struggle, opposition or a fight; used figuratively in a positive sense – as fighting the good fight of faith; used in a negative figurative sense for effort or anxiety; properly, refers to a place where people gather, which implies the game or contest); from ago (see note XVII above). This is to struggle, strive, or fight. It could be contending to win a prize or against an adversary or in war. It can also mean striving to accomplish something. This is where the word “agonize” comes from.
CXXVII “exercise self-control” = egkrateuomai. 2x in NT. From egkrates (self-controlled, mastery, have power over, temperate); {from en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised)}. This is having self-control or temperance.
CXXVIII {untranslated} = men. Same as {untranslated} in v24. See note CXX above.

to receive a perishableCXXIX wreath,CXXX but we an imperishableCXXXI one. 

Notes on verse 25b

CXXIX “perishable” = phthartos. 6x in NT. From phtheiro (to destroy, corrupt, ruin, deteriorate, wither; also used of moral corruption); from phthio (perish, waste away). This is perishable or corruptible – what disintegrates.
CXXX “wreath” = stephanos. 18x in NT. From stepho (to twine, encircle). This is something that surrounds i.e. a crown or garland. Properly, this refers to the wreath or garland that the winner of athletic games would win. It symbolized victory and honor from skill as contrasted with a royal crown, which is diadema in Greek. This is the word used for the crown that the saints in heaven wear in, for example, Revelation 4:4.
CXXXI “imperishable” = aphthartos. Related to “perishable” in v25. 8x in NT. From a (not, without) + phtheiro (see note CXXIX above). This is imperishable, undecaying, immortal, incorruptible.

26 So I do not run aimlessly,CXXXII nor do I boxCXXXIII as though beatingCXXXIV the air,CXXXV 

Notes on verse 26

CXXXII “aimlessly” = adelos. 1x in NT. From adelos (unseen, obscure, hidden, indistinct, unrecognized); {from a (not, without) + delos (clear, evident, unmistakable, self-evident)}. This is uncertainly, not easily distinguished.
CXXXIII “box” = pukteuo. 1x in NT. From puktes (a boxer) OR from the same as pugme (fist); {from pux (a fist used as a weapon)}. This is to box or fight as a boxer. It can also figuratively refer to spiritual fighting.
CXXXIV “beating” = dero. 15x in NT. To whip, flog, scourge, beat, thrash.
CXXXV “air” = aer. 7x in NT. From aemi (to breathe or blow). This is air – the atmosphere around us that we breathe.

27 but I punishCXXXVI my bodyCXXXVII and enslaveCXXXVIII it,

Notes on verse 27a

CXXXVI “punish” = hupopiazo. Related to “seen” in v1 & “human” in v8. 2x in NT. From hupopion (under the eyes); {from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + ops (see note XXXVIII above)}. This is to hit hard under the eye – to cause a black eye. Figuratively, it is to disable an opponent by harassing them until they comply, to weary.
CXXXVII “body” = soma. Related to “save” in v22. Perhaps from sozo (see note CXV above). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
CXXXVIII “enslave” = doulagogoe. Related to “be accompanied by” in v5 & “gospel” in v12 & “proclaim” in v14 & “proclaim the gospel” in v16 & “athletes” in v25 & to “made…a slave” in v19. 1x in NT. From doulos (see note CVI above) + ago (see note XVII above). This is to enslave, take away captive, subdue.

so that after proclaimingCXXXIX to othersCXL I myself should not beCXLI disqualified.CXLII

Notes on verse 27b

CXXXIX “proclaiming” = kerusso. This is to proclaim, preach, publish. Properly, it is to act as a herald – announcing something publicly with confidence and/or to persuade.
CXL “others” = allos. Same as “others” in v2. See note VIII above.
CXLI “be” = ginomai. Same as “be applied” in v15. See note LXXXI above.
CXLII “disqualified” = adokimos. 8x in NT. From a (not, without) + dokimos (what passes the test, approved, acceptable, genuine, verified); {from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense) or dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); {from dokos (opinion)}}. This is unapproved, counterfeit, rejected, failed.

Image credit: “Museo Nazionale Romano – Terme di Diocleziano” by @@@@@ exPRO, 2013.

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