Monday, April 1, 2013

A Dispensation of the Gospel - 1 Corinthians 9:17

In response to my request for help in understanding 1 Corinthians 9:17, where the apostle Paul writes, "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me," Brian Kelson of Bible Understanding wrote the following:
"Chapter 9 of 1 Corinthians is about service and the obligation of those who receive the ministrations to support the ones serving. It begins with the claim that there are those who are criticizing Paul, and he defends his apostleship and his rights to have the same support as anyone else.
But Paul makes no such claim upon them lest he hinder the gospel. He goes on to say, that he could glory if he had served of his own volition (9:17) but since it was not his will but the Lord's, because a dispensation or stewardship of the gospel was committed to him (by the Lord), he then claims his reward was to preach without charge lest he abuse his power in the gospel. This is the context. This is not about a new dispensation hitherto hidden in God, it is about the commissioned ministry Paul had received during Acts which made him serve without charge.
Thus Paul says he is free from all men because his Gospel and commission were directly from the Lord, (Gals.1, not, neither but), given him by a revelation or revealing of the Lord to Paul. He was in Arabia and taught by the Lord. Paul, thus is servant to all (without charge) for the gospel's sake. It is interesting in this context, that Paul runs and fights to receive his prize, his body under subjection, lest he should be disqualified or found reprobate which is what castaway means. For every occurrence of this Greek word adokimos (castaway) see Roms.1:28, 2Cor.13:5-7, 2Tim.3:8, Tit.1:16 = reprobate(s) and Hebs.6:8=rejected.
Paul was commissioned and responsibly ministered independently and supported himself as opposed to others because there was a prize in view which was far more reward than financial support.
Remember Roms.15:17-20 where Paul worked in virgin areas rather than build upon someone else's foundations (which shows that he could have built upon someone else's foundation if he so chose, which means the others were preaching that upon which Paul could build, they were not preaching something so opposed to Paul that he couldn't, get my drift?).

In summary, Paul's preaching and gospel was by direct revelation of the Lord, thus he would not charge because he served, looking for the Lord's reward which would be his in that Day.  But this "dispensation of the gospel" means stewardship in the gospel of Christ (9:18) – not the dispensation of the grace of God."

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