Friday, 5 September 2014
Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 1 Corinthians 9:8
After defending his apostleship, Paul has been asking rhetorical questions to bolster his rights as an apostle. He is entitled to partake of the benefits of being an apostle whether he exercises those rights or not. It can be inferred that because he didn’t exercise them, others were using it as evidence that he really wasn’t an apostle.
Because of his apostleship to the gentiles, there was certainly a dislike of his status among those who argued that the gospel was for the Jews, or at least for those who held to the law of Moses. That issue was resolved at the Council of Jerusalem, but it didn’t change the hearts and minds of those in the legalistic faction of Judaizers. In fact, it hasn’t changed them today, 2000 years later. Regardless of this, Paul’s apostleship was valid and he was entitled to the rights and benefits of it.
In order to bolster this, especially in the eyes of those who held to Scripture (meaning what is now called the Old Testament), he will appeal to Scripture itself. He uses this particular formula abundantly in his letters. Instead of relying merely on human reasoning, Scripture will support his claims. In this verse, he uses two separate words to intensify what he is relaying. In his comment “do I say,” the verb is lalo. In the comment “does not the law say” the verb is legei. The first word, lalo, is a general word; as a mere man. The second word, legei, is a more distinguished word; from Scripture itself.
Life application: Paul’s argument from human reason is bolstered and intensified when it is combined with the very words of Scripture. This is an extremely useful point to consider and remember. Defending the faith from science and philosophy is a wonderful way to get people to consider the workings of God. However, only Scripture can specifically bring a person to salvation. One who relies on Scripture first for their worldview will always have a better understanding of the issues which surround us, be they morality, Zionism, the nature of God, or a plethora of other things that swirl around us from day to day.
Lord, there are many ways to look at a given issue, be it morality, prosperity, health, Zionism, the nature of creation, or even the nature of You who created. Because these things can be argued in different ways, I will always first consider them from the perspective of Your word. I know that in doing this, I will have the superior source from which to make my decisions about those issues, regardless of how they may appear in the world around me. I trust Your word above all else to be my light, my guide, and my source of understanding those issues which are addressed by You. Thank You for Your superior word! Amen.