29 August, 2018

I Corinthians 9:18—“that … I may make the gospel of Christ without charge”

What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel (I Cor. 9:18).

Sometimes appeal is made to the New International Version (NIV) rendition of this verse for proof of the false notion that the gospel is an “offer.” The NIV uses the word “offer.”


Q. 1. “The New International Version (NIV) renders I Corinthians 9:18 as: ‘What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.’”

The word rendered “offer” in the NIV is the Greek word, “τίθημι” (tithémi), which, according to Strong’s definition (5087), means “to place, lay, set.”

A similar word is, interestingly, rendered “present” in the NASB translation of Mark 4:30 (“… by what parable shall we ‘present’ it?”)

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word can (among other things) mean “to set forth”—e.g., Mark 4:30 in the American Standard Version (ASV) and the English Revised Version (ERV): “in what parable shall we set it forth?”

The gospel can be “set forth” or “set before” someone, without the necessary connotations of salvation being dependent upon the will of that person (as indeed would be the case if the gospel is an offer”).

At the end of the day, it is to commit the “Word-Concept Fallacy” to appeal to this text in support of the “Free Offer.” Just because the word “offer” is in the text doesn’t necessitate that the Free Offer is truth.

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