What is the most positive verse in 1 Corinthians 9? The question is a subjective one, of course, so that each may choose his own favorite, but I found mine at the end of the chapter. In the discussion about support for “those performing the holy services,” Paul concludes with this affirmation.
Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27 NET).
What!? This is the most positive verse, you ask? See why:
Using the figure of competitive sports, Paul makes it clear that he refuses to receive financial support from the church in Corinth as one of the means by which he disciplines himself. So he exercises his liberty, through discipline. In this way, he has more options in his service to Christ. That’s positive, right?
Through this discipline, as well, he becomes all things to all men, in order to win the greatest number of people possible. There’s a connection, therefore, between evangelism and discipline. (Maybe that’s why we have less evangelism in the church, reckon?) Paul manages to win more people through discipline. Also positive, isn’t it?
This discipline causes the apostle to be saved himself. Through it, Paul applies the truths of the gospel to his life. The submission of the body to the Lordship of Christ aligns his life with the eternal hope. What can be more positive than that?
Last, Paul puts himself forward as an example to be imitated. How marvelous to treat one’s own life and one’s own body in such a way as to be able to offer oneself to others as a model! Everything positive here!
Have I convinced you yet?
God and Father, may I find strength to discipline body and mind, thoughts and actions, so that Christ may be evident in me, and I may apply in my life the great principles and truths that lead to the eternal home.