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Verse 12. 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 laboured 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 labour for our own support. The reason why they had done this, he states in the subsequent part of the chapter. See 2 Co 11:7-9; 12:14. Comp. Ac 18:3; Ac 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 (stegomen, suffer) 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. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 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 Co 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 Co 9:17,18,23,27.


{*} "power" "right" {a} "Nevertheless" 2 Co 11:7-9; 12:14

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