by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
May. 20, 2012
“To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.” (1 Corinthians 9:21)
The preaching of the gospel weighed heavily on Paul, and in this passage (vv. 5-23), as well as surrounding chapters (8:1-11:1), he explained the lengths to which he would go to be able to preach and to avoid being a stumbling block to potential hearers. Since he closes the section with the exhortation “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (11:1), we would do well to observe his methods.
The message of the work of Christ Jesus burned within Paul. “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (9:16). He would preach willingly or unwillingly (v. 17), for no financial gain (v. 18), or personal glory (v. 16), but he had to preach. “I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more” (v. 19), he said. He would even make himself acceptable to the Jews (v. 20) by not breaking their law, even though he knew he was no longer bound by it.
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