First Corinthians 9:19-27
Paul was free (in Christ and
Paul was a Jew but identified with Christ and so says “became like a Jew”
Christ is the end of the Law:
Romans 10:4 and 6:14
Timothy circumcision Acts 16:1-3
To the outlaw Paul became like an outlaw, but still obey God’s law because he is Christ’s inlaw.
refers to those less advanced in their understanding of the gospel or the word
Paul would talk to the elementary Christians as an elementary student and not as a university professor.
In context here “win” refers to leading the younger believers further into an understanding of God’s word, and not necessarily of getting them saved. Although Paul may be switching to an evangelical tone here since he says next “so that by all possible means I might save some.”
When Paul says “I might save some” he is not thinking of himself as the savior but recognizes the fact that if the Corinthians can make the younger believers stumble and so cause them to be lost then Paul can live in such a way that will result in a person’s salvation and spiritual growth.
So, each of us as individuals can be the instrument in someone’s salvation or the road block for that salvation. Paul is focusing on the human side of the witness and is not neglecting Christ’s work of the cross or the Spirit’s work in conviction, illumination or enlightenment.
Notice the use of three “all”:
1) all things
2) to all men
3) all possible means
Result = “might save some”
If you do ALL things for ALL men in ALL possible means
you will still only save SOME!
“I do all this for the sake of the gospel”
but all things I do because the good tidings in order that a joint partaker
of it I may become
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Know you not that the ones in a racecourse running all
indeed run but one receives the prize so run
in order that you may obtain
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
and everyone struggling in all things exercises self-control those
indeed therefore in order that a corruptible crown they may receive but we
“Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.”
I accordingly so run as not unclearly so
I box as not air beating
“No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
but I treat severely of me the body and lead as a slave lest
to others having proclaimed self disapproved I may become