¶ Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Iesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord. If I be not an apostle unto other, yet am I unto you. For the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that ask me, is this: Have we not power to eat and to drink? Either have we not power to lead about a sister to wife as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Either only I and Barnabas have not power this to do? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own cost? who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of the fruit? or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milk?
¶ Say I these things after the manner of men? or sayth not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses: Thou shall not mosell the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth god take thought for oxen? Either saith he it not all together for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt this is written: that he which eareth should ear in hope: and that he which throsheth in hope, should be part taker of his hope. If we sow unto you spiritual things: is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things? If other be part takers of this power over you? wherefore are not we rather.
¶ Nevertheless we have not used this power: but suffer all things lest we should hinder the gospell of Christ. Do ye not understand how that they which minister in the temple: have their finding of the temple? And they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so also did the Lord ordain, that they which preach the gospell, should live of the gospell: But I have used none of these things.
¶ Neither wrote I these things that it should be so done unto me. It were better for me to die than any man should take this rejoicing from me. In that I preach the gospell I have nothing to rejoice of. For necessity is put unto me. Woe is it unto me if I preach not the gospell. If I do it with a good will, I have a reward. If I do it against my will, an office is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that when I preach the gospell, I make the gospell of Christ free, that I misuse not mine authority in the gospell.
¶ For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all men, that I might win the more. And unto the iewes, I became as a iewe, to win the iewes. To them that were under the law, was I made as though I had been under the law, to win them that were under the law. To them that were without law, became I as though I had been without law (when I was not without law as pertaining to god, but under a law as concerning Christ) to win them that were without law. To the weak became I as weak, to win the weak. In all thing I fashioned myself to all men, to save at the leastway some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might have my part thereof.
¶ Perceive ye not how that they which run in a course, run all, yet but one receiveth the reward? So run that ye may obtain. Every man that proveth masteries abstaineth from all things. And they do it to obtain a corruptible crown: but we to obtain an everlasting crown: I therefore so run, not as at an uncertain thing. So fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I tame my body and bring him into subjection, lest after that I have preached to other, I myself should be a castaway.
© Faith of God
William Tyndale 1526