1. Paul’s defense (9:1-18). Evidently, Paul had to defend his right (privilege) in receiving, from the brethren, support as he traveled and preached the Gospel in various places. Is it not a sad thing that even preachers today must defend themselves when others question what the local congregation renders to them by way of support? It is also sad, and most unfortunate, when congregations support the local minister (and his family) with a mere pittance. Paul, however, did not preach for support, but he preached for the Lord. Those who steal support from the local preacher and his family will have an opportunity to defend their actions before the Lord and, I would suggest, it will be a sad day then!
2. Paul’s method (9:19-23). While Paul did not preach for material support, he did recognize the need for it (to survive). He recognized something greater though, and that was his need to preach where the people are at: to the weak, he became weak; to the strong, he was strong. The ones who lived by no law, he operated on the plane they lived in order to penetrate their hearts. What’s important about all this is that he did it for the Lord.
3. Paul’s endurance (9:24-27). Using an illustration from athletic contests, Paul makes a greater point: the prize each Christian strives for is an imperishable crown, one that fades not away with time, but one that endures forever. In order to receive that, Paul says of himself, he disciplines his body, lest he be a hypocrite. Disciplining our body is much more difficult than we like to admit. We teach it, and we teach it well, but the application that each of us make will make all the difference to the depth of our spiritual strength.