Bible Reading: I Corinthians 9:1-22
Key Verse: Verse 22 - “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
Key Words: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
Now, if I have said it once, I have said it a hundred times, “Keep the Scripture in context.” I often hear people use I Corinthians 9:22b to justify their lack of standards. For example, I have heard some say, “If I need to dress like the world to reach the world, I will so that I might by all means save some.” Still others say, “I act the way I act and go to the places I go so I can witness to them. You see, I want to be like Paul that I might by all means save some.”
But notice with me what Paul is really saying in I Corinthians 9. Notice verse 12 when Paul says that if he needs to suffer all things, he will, so that he might by all means save some. Notice also verse 15 when Paul says he is even willing to die so that he might by all means save some. What about verses 16-18? Paul says that he places himself under the gospel to live by the gospel so that he might by all means save some. Then there is verse 19 when Paul says he is willing to become a servant so that he might by all means save some. In verses 20-21 Paul says that he is willing to place himself under the strictness of the Jewish law that he might by all means save some. As if that is not enough, Paul then says in verse 22a, “To the weak [sickly] became I as weak [sickly].” Paul is saying that he is willing to lose his health so that he might by all means save some.
But Paul is not saying, “If I need to go to the movies to reach others, I will;” nor is he saying “If I need to go to worldly activities and parties to reach my friends, I will.” Why, Paul is not saying, “If I need to let my dress standards go to reach others, I will.” What Paul is saying is, “If I need to…
- live by the gospel,
- be a servant,
- live under the law, or
- lose my health…
What to do:
✞ Keep God’s Word in context. Some suggestions how this can be done:
Ask these questions –
- (To whom is the writer writing?) *
- Why is he writing to them?**
- How does he go about proving his point?***
**He is writing to them because they question his apostleship (verse 1) and his authority (verses 4-5). They question his receiving pay for his work (verses 9-13), and they question his methods for reaching others (verses 20-22).
***He says I will suffer, die, live by the gospel, be a servant, etc.
Asking and answering these three questions will help you keep the Word in context.
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