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1 Corinthians 9:4

    1 Corinthians 9:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Have we not power to eat and to drink?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Have we not power to eat and to drink?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Have we no right to eat and to drink?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Have we no right to take food and drink?

    Webster's Revision

    Have we no right to eat and to drink?

    World English Bible

    Have we no right to eat and to drink?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Have we no right to eat and to drink?

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:4

    Have we not power to eat and to drink? - Have we not authority, or right, εξουσιαν, to expect sustenance, while we are labouring for your salvation? Meat and drink, the necessaries, not the superfluities, of life, were what those primitive messengers of Christ required; it was just that they who labored in the Gospel should live by the Gospel; they did not wish to make a fortune, or accumulate wealth; a living was all they desired. It was probably in reference to the same moderate and reasonable desire that the provision made for the clergy in this country was called a living; and their work for which they got this living was called the cure of souls. Whether we derive the word cure from cura, care, as signifying that the care of all the souls in a particular parish or place devolves on the minister, who is to instruct them in the things of salvation, and lead them to heaven; or whether we consider the term as implying that the souls in that district are in a state of spiritual disease, and the minister is a spiritual physician, to whom the cure of these souls is intrusted; still we must consider that such a laborer is worthy of his hire; and he that preaches the Gospel should live by the Gospel.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Corinthians 9:4

    Have we not power - (ἐξουσίαν exousian) Have we not the "right." The word "power" here is evidently used in the sense of "right" (compare John 1:12, "margin"); and the apostle means to say that though they had not exercised this "right by demanding" a maintenance, yet it was not because they were conscious that they had no such right, but because they chose to forego it for wise and important purposes.

    To eat and to drink - To be maintained at the expense of those among whom we labor. Have we not a right to demand that they shall yield us a proper support? By the interrogative form of the statement, Paul intends more strongly to affirm that they had such a right. The interrogative mode is often adopted to express the strongest affirmation. The objection here urged seems to have been this, "You, Paul and Barnabas, labor with your own hands. Acts 18:3. Other religious teachers lay claim to maintenance, and are supported without personal labor. This is the case with pagan and Jewish priests, and with Christian teachers among us. You must be conscious, therefore, that you are not apostles, and that you have no claim or right to support." To this the answer of Paul is, "We admit that we labor with our own hands. But your inference does not follow. It is not because we have not a right to such support, and it is not because we are conscious that we have no such claim, but it is for a higher purpose. It is because it will do good if we should not urge this right, and enforce this claim." That they had such a right, Paul proves at length in the subsequent part of the chapter.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Corinthians 9:4

    9:4 Have we not power - I and my fellowlabourers. To eat and to drink - At the expense of those among whom we labour.