SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW)

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Chapter 9

13-18 (ch. 1:1). Working for Souls, Not for Money—Paul did not vacillate. He was established and grounded in the faith. But as far as possible he sought to make himself one with those for whom he labored. 6BC 1088.7

As a gospel minister, it was Paul's privilege to claim a support from those for whom he labored. But though he became the servant of all, yet he worked with his hands to support himself, that none might find occasion to charge him with selfishness. He did not receive wages for his labor, though as a minister of the gospel this was his right. Thus he made it evident that he was working for souls, not for money. 6BC 1088.8

“What is my reward then?” he asks. “Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” 6BC 1088.9

Paul did not depend upon man for his ordination. He had received from the Lord his commission and ordination. He regarded his ministerial labor as a privilege. To him it was not a duty performed in return for money. He labored for the souls of men. “For though I preach the gospel,” he said, “I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me: yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” He studied constantly how to make his testimony of the greatest effect. He sought the approval of God. 6BC 1088.10

Would that today men might be found with faith to do as Paul did, men who would preach the gospel, not looking to men for their reward, but willing to receive their reward in souls (Manuscript 74, 1903). 6BC 1088.11

20-23. Paul's Manner of Labor—[1 Corinthians 9:20-23 quoted.] We know that the apostle did not sacrifice one jot of principle. He did not allow himself to be led away by the sophistry and maxims of men. He was not to coincide with the suppositions and assurances of men who were teaching for doctrine the commandments of men; because iniquity and transgression were in the ascendancy and advancing, he did not allow his love to wax cold. All zeal and earnestness are to be retained; but at the same time some features of our faith, if expressed, would, by the elements with which you have to deal, arouse prejudice at once. 6BC 1088.12

Paul could be as zealous as any of the most zealous, in his allegiance to the law of God, and show that he was perfectly familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures. He could dwell upon the types and shadows that typified Christ; he could exalt Christ, and tell all about Christ and His special work in behalf of humanity, and what a field he had to explore. He could advance most precious light upon the prophecies, that they had not seen; and yet he would not offend them. Thus the foundation was laid nicely, that when the time came that their spirits softened, he could say in the language of John, Behold in Jesus Christ, who was made flesh, and dwelt among us, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. 6BC 1089.1

To the Gentiles, he preached Christ as their only hope of salvation, but did not at first have anything to say upon the law. But after their hearts were warmed with the presentation of Christ as the gift of God to our world, and what was comprehended in the work of the Redeemer in the costly sacrifice to manifest the love of God to man, in the most eloquent simplicity he showed that love for all mankind—Jew and Gentile—that they might be saved by surrendering their hearts to Him. Thus when, melted and subdued, they gave themselves to the Lord, he presented the law of God as the test of their obedience. This was the manner of his working—adapting his methods to win souls. Had he been abrupt and unskillful in handling the Word, he would not have reached either Jew or Gentile. 6BC 1089.2

He led the Gentiles along to view the stupendous truths of the love of God, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us; and how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? The question was asked why such an immense sacrifice was required, and then he went back to the types, and down through the Old Testament Scripture, revealing Christ in the law, and they were converted to Christ and to the law (Special Testimonies, Series A, 6:54, 55). 6BC 1089.3

24-27 (1 Peter 2:11). A Contest in Which All May Win—[1 Corinthians 9:24-27 quoted.] This glorious contest is before us. The apostle seeks to inspire us to enter into a noble emulation, a competition in which will be seen no selfishness, unfairness, or underhanded work. We are to use every spiritual nerve and muscle in the contest for the crown of life. No one who does his best will fail in this contest. 6BC 1089.4

All who seek for the prize are to place themselves under strict discipline. “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” Those who enter into a contest of physical strength for a corruptible prize realize the necessity of rigid abstinence from every indulgence that would weaken the physical powers. They eat simple food at regular hours. 6BC 1089.5

How much more should those who enter for the gospel race, restrain themselves from the unlawful indulgence of appetite and “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” They must be temperate at all times. The same restraint that gives them the power to obtain the victory at one time will, if practiced constantly, give them a great advantage in the race for the crown of life (Manuscript 74, 1903). 6BC 1089.6

(Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5.) Under Discipline to God—[1 Corinthians 9:24-27 quoted.] Thus Paul presents the conditions which God imposes upon every soul who enlists in His service. The apostle fears for himself, lest he shall fail of bearing the examination test, and be found wanting, and he places himself under severe training. So the Christian today needs to keep strict guard over his appetite. He needs to subject himself to severe training, that he may not run uncertainly or at random, without seeing his standard and striving to reach it. He must obey the laws of God. The physical, mental, and moral powers must be kept in the most perfect condition if he would obtain the approval of God. “I keep under my body,” the apostle says. This means literally to beat back its desires and impulses and passions by severe discipline, even as did those competing for an earthly prize (Manuscript 93, 1899). 6BC 1089.7

27 (see EGW on 2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Paul on Guard—[1 Corinthians 9:26, 27 quoted.] Paul was ever on the watch lest evil propensities should get the better of him. He guarded well his appetites and passions and evil propensities (Letter 27, 1906). 6BC 1089.8