Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1 Corinthians 9

Paul Surrenders His Rights

Paul points out that workers of a field eat some of the crops, those who tend animals take some of the milk, etc. So why shouldn't those who tend the spiritual lives of people take some material things from them? This is the right of the clergy, and yet Paul does not partake because he thinks this will result in even more people converting.

This is a really interesting passage, the more I think about it, the more I think this is a fine message. The spiritual leaders among you are working to provide you a service. You think the service is valuable, why not give them some material items so they can get by. The reason I think this is ok, is that the message seems to be talking about making a living, not getting rich. There are 2 problems I can think of here. One is if someone uses the message to get rich (mega-churches for example), the other is when poor people are manipulated to give more money to their church than they can really afford, like the prosperity gospel. However, both of these objections would have to be a distortion of this verse, or perhaps just drawing on other sources.

The other part of this message is that he has a claim to their money but he isn't taking it. He is basically saying that saving their soul is better than taking their money, and if he can refuse some of what is coming to him to save a few more souls it is worth it. This is a good message. Of course I don't believe in the soul or anything myself, but the basic message here it to help each other out, and that I like.


After I wrote this post, it occurred to me that this is a letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He's not there preaching, he's at a far away place. It seems to me that the modern equivalent is the guys at the Vatican telling us that they deserve some money from the churches all over the world. This I'm not much of a fan of.

For the Corinthians Overview Post:

9:12 It is better to save a soul than make some money 


  1. It would seem that most Christian sects choose to ignore that part of the NT...Let's be honest and call religion what it is...a big business. Many pastors do fairly well. Sure the Catholic priests and nuns lose out, but the RCC as a whole brings in a ton of dough...

    This is just another example of the hypocrisy that is Christianity.

    1. This is an interesting comment because part of me wants to agree with you and part of me wants to challenge it a bit. There is certainly a huge part of it that is big business. Some people get very rich off of religion, for them it is big business for sure.

      However, there are also a lot of small time preachers who are honest, they take in money for their church, have a modest salary and give the rest back to the community. (the way they give back I would probably take issue with sometimes, for example if they are using the money to buy bibles to give away or something, but in their mind they are just helping people). For those people, religion is not big business.

      I guess the other problem is that the people who do make religion big business can use these small time people as a shield. If you have only ever seen religion be small time, there will be a disconnect when we criticize the big guys.

      Not sure if I have a point exactly, a little food for thought at the very least.

    2. I agree with both of you here. Some preachers and pastors make tons of dough, but others don't. The ones that do, make me pretty sick. I lived in a small mountain town for about two and a half years and worked with a local pastor on quite a few projects. My job was at the community resource center. The guy would be out chopping firewood that he'd give to the center to give to people who needed it, no questions asked. You could tell the guy didn't take much more than he needed from the church. He drove a really crummy car and had a small house. It was cool to see a guy that would just take what he needed and used to rest for community programs.

      On another note, do either of you understand what verse 20 means? It sounds almost like lying is okay, but I feel like it can also be read as "meet people where they are at."

    3. I agree with you about verse 20. The most generous thing I can think of would be to call it spin, but even that sounds like a stretch to me.


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