First Corinthians 9:19-27



Paul was free (in Christ and in Rome) but willing made himself a slave for other’s benefit.



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

Under law:

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.



weak” refers to those less advanced in their understanding of the gospel or the word of God.
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”


πάντα       δε       ποιω       δια      το       ευαγγελιον           ινα                   συγκοινωνος

but all things     I do      because  the      good tidings      in order that     a joint partaker


αυτου        γενωμαι

 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.”


ουκ     οιδατε       οτι           οι            εν               σταδιω               τρεχοντες              παντες

Know you not     that     the ones     in            a racecourse          running                 all


μεν        τρεχουσιν       εις        δε        λαμβανει       το        βραβειον         ουτως        τρεχετε

indeed      run               but      one       receives         the         prize             so               run


ινα                  καταλαβητε

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.”


πας         δε       ο             αγωνιζομενος              παντα              εγκρατευεται              εκεινοι

and    everyone              struggling                 in all things       exercises self-control      those


μεν             ουν                ινα            φθαρτον           στεφανον           λαβωσιν            ημεις       

indeed    therefore   in order that   a corruptible      crown          they may receive     but we


δε      αφθαρτον

       an incorruptible




“Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.”


εγω          τοινυν        ουτως       τρεχω         ως         ουκ         αδηλως               ουτως

I             accordingly     so           run             as       not         unclearly             so


πυκτευω        ως       ουκ         αερα            δερων

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.”


αλλ          υπωπιαζω           μου         το         σωμα        και         δουλαγωγω         μη    πως

but           I treat severely    of me   the       body         and       lead as a slave        lest


αλλοις         κηρυξας                       αυτος               αδοκιμος                 γενωμαι

to others      having proclaimed     self                   disapproved         I may become