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1 Corinthians 9:21

    1 Corinthians 9:21 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    To those without the law I was as one without the law, not as being without law to God, but as under law to Christ, so that I might give the good news to those without the law.

    Webster's Revision

    to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law.

    World English Bible

    to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law.

    Definitions for 1 Corinthians 9:21

    Without - Outside.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:21

    To them that are without law - The Gentiles, who had no written law, though they had the law written in their hearts; see on Romans 2:15 (note).

    Being not without law to God - Instead of Θεῳ, To God, and Χριστῳ, To Christ, the most important MSS. and versions have Θεου, Of God, and Χριστου, Of Christ; being not without the law of God, but under the law of Christ.

    Them that are without law - Dr. Lightfoot thinks the Sadducees may be meant, and that in certain cases, as far as the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion were concerned, he might conform himself to them, not observing such rites and ceremonies, as it is well known that they disregarded them; for the doctor cannot see how the apostle could conform himself in any thing to them that were without law, i.e. the heathen. But,

    1. It is not likely that the apostle could conform himself to the Sadducees; for what success could he expect among a people who denied the resurrection, and consequently a future world, a day of judgment, and all rewards and punishments?

    2. He might among the heathen appear as if he were not a Jew, and discourse with them on the great principles of that eternal law, the outlines of which had been written in their hearts, in order to show them the necessity of embracing that Gospel which was the power of God unto salvation to every one that believed.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Corinthians 9:21

    To them that are without law - To the Gentiles, who have not the law of Moses; see the note at Romans 2:12, note at Romans 2:14.

    As without law - Not practicing the special rites and ceremonies enjoined in the law of Moses. Not insisting on them, or urging them, but showing that the obligation to those rites had been done away; and that they were not binding, though when among the Jews I might still continue to observe them; see the notes at Acts 15; and the argument of Paul in Galatians 2:11-18. I neglected the ceremonial precepts of the Mosaic law, when I was with those who had not heard of the law of Moses, or those who did not observe them, because I knew that the binding obligation of these ceremonial precepts had ceased. I did not, therefore, press them upon the Gentiles, nor did I superstitiously and publicly practice them. In all this, Paul has reference only to those things which he regarded as in themselves indifferent, and not a matter of conscience; and his purpose was not; needlessly to excite the prejudice or the opposition of the world. Nothing is ever gained by provoking opposition for the mere sake of opposition. Nothing tends more to hinder the gospel than that. In all things of conscience and truth a man should be firm, and should lose his life rather than abandon either; in all things of indifference, of mere custom, of prejudice, he should yield, and accomodate himself to the modes of thinking among people, and adapt himself to their views, feelings, and habits of life, that he may win them to Christ.

    Being not without law to God - Not regarding myself as being "absolutely" without law, or as being freed from obligation to obey God. Even in all this, I endeavored so to live as that it might be seen that I felt myself bound by law to God. I was not a despiser, and contemner, and neglector of "law as such," but only regarded myself as not bound by the special ceremonial law of Moses. This is an instance of Paul's conscientiousness. He would not leave room to have it supposed for a moment that he disregarded all law. He was bound to God by law; and in the conduct to which he was referring he felt that he was obeying him. He was bound by higher law than those ceremonial observances which were now to be done away. This passage would destroy all the refuges of the Antinomians. Whatever privileges the gospel has introduced, it has not set us free from the restraints and obligations of law. That is binding still; and no man is at liberty to disregard the moral law of God. Christ came to magnify, strengthen, and to honor the law, not to destroy it.

    But under the law to Christ - Bound by the law enjoined by Christ; under the law of affectionate gratitude and duty to him. I obeyed his commands; followed his instructions; sought his honor; yielded to his will. In this he would violate none of the rules of the moral law. And he here intimates, that his grand object was to yield obedience to the law of the Saviour, and that this was the governing purpose of his life. And this would guide a man right. In doing this, he would never violate any of the precepts of the moral law, for Christ obeyed them, and enjoined their observance. He would never feel that he was without law to God, for Christ obeyed God, and enjoined it on all. He would never feel that religion came to set him free from law, or to authorize licentiousness; for its grand purpose and aim is to make people holy, and to bind them everywhere to the observance of the pure law of the Redeemer.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Corinthians 9:21

    9:21 To them that are without the law - The heathens. As without the law - Neglecting its ceremonies. Being not without the law to God - But as much as ever under its moral precepts. Under the law to Christ - And in this sense all Christians will be under the law for ever.