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These studies examine the traditional doctrines held by the Church of Christ to see if they are actually taught in the scriptures. This is not an "anti-Church of Christ" site. I was reared in the Church of Christ and have preached in the Church of Christ since 1968. My desire is that we walk righteously before God, not according to traditions of men. Bernie Parsons
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Paying The Preacher
By Bernie Parsons - February 04, 2002 Rev 01-18-2009
I have heard many discussions on whether or not the preacher should be "paid". Some say that it is the thing to do, while others argue that it is unscriptural to do so. This argument, but the way, springs from opposition to what some call a "located preacher"--that is, a preacher who settles in with one congregation and preaches to them, often taking over, or being assigned, duties that should be discharged by the overseeing elders, deacons, and church members in general. Further clouding the subject are the denominational radio, television, and print evangelists and preachers who beg for our money all the time. What do the scriptures have to say about this topic?
The Old Testament scriptures can be instructional on this topic, as on many others. Those laws and examples of old can show us the mind of God and the behavior of His people. Most things that Jesus and His apostles and disciples taught are contained in Old Testament scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All scripture is given by inspiration
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly
furnished unto all good works."
We first notice that when God first separated the Levites to be His priests and caretakers of the Holy things, they were given a donation of money from the other Israelites.
Numbers 3:44-51 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the LORD.
"And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites; Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:) And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons.
"And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites: Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses."The tithe from the other eleven tribes of Israel was to help support the Levites, the keepers of the tabernacle of worship.
Numbers 18:23-26 "But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe."
When the Israelites defeated an enemy, a percentage of the spoils went to the Levites.
Numbers 31:25-30: "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation: And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation: And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep: Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for an heave offering of the LORD. And of the children of Israel's half, thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites, which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD."The other tribes of Israel were to donate cities to the Levites, who were God's priests.
Numbers 35:1-4 "And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them. And the cities shall they have to dwell in; and the suburbs of them shall be for their cattle, and for their goods, and for all their beasts. And the suburbs of the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about."
The Levites (priests) were to be fed by the other Israelites.
Deuteronomy 18:1-8 "The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever. And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose; Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD. They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony."
Deuteronomy 14:27-29 "And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest."
The collections of goods, houses, and money were shared with the priests and all the Levites, as well as with the poor and needy. God took care of those who performed the special duties of the tabernacle and temple by having their Israelite brethren donate to them a portion of that with which they were prospered, or increased. We see the Apostle Paul relying upon these scriptural principles when he wrote to the churches regarding assistance for himself and others who preached the gospel of Christ.
1 Corinthians 9:6-14 "Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
"For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox (Deuteronomy 25:4) that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope (Leviticus 26:5-6, Amos 9:13-15); and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
"If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
In these passages, the apostle Paul clearly demonstrates that supporting the preacher is the right thing to do. First, he points out that he and Barnabas, preachers of the gospel, have the power--that is the right--to "forbear", or as the word meant in the time that the KJV was translated, "to do without", working. After giving several Old Testament quotations to support his statement, he points out that other preachers were being paid for their services--"if others be partakers of this power over you"--but he and Barnabas refused the Corinthian believers' financial support so that they could not be accused of performing service for the financial gain. He concludes these thoughts here by reminding them that, under the Law of Moses, those who ministered concerning the holy things of the tabernacle, and later, the temple, were supported by those gifts brought to the altar. In like manner, Paul says, the Lord has ordained--that is, appointed--that the preachers of the gospel should "live of the gospel", which means to be supported by other Christians. Paul stated that the preachers sowed the seed of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and that it was not unexpected that they should benefit from the believers' material things.
Jesus taught that the traveling ministers were to be supported by those who would listen and believe. He said that the laborer is worth his hire--in other words, the preachers deserved support.
Matthew 10:7-11 "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence."
Luke 10:1-9 "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
Jesus, and His entourage of apostles and other Christians, were supported by well-to-do converts.
Luke 8:1-3 "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."
Mark 15: 40-41 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
Paul encouraged the sharing of wealth with the teachers of the gospel. He wrote to the Galatians in the same vein in which he addressed the Corinthians.
Galatians 6:6-9 "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
John also wrote of supporting preachers and teachers of the gospel in:
3 John 1:5-8 "Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth."
Not only did Jesus, Paul, and John state that the churches were to share with the evangelists and traveling preachers, but Paul wrote that the local elders were also to be given donations from the other church members!
1 Timothy 5:17-18 "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."
Double honor here plainly refers to a double portion of something of value. Today, we often think of honor as respect. In the KJV, honor sometimes refers to payment, or something of value. Those who vehemently oppose financing preachers and elders argue that honor has nothing to do with finances, especially regarding elders who labor in the spiritual work of the Lord. However, Paul couples his comment to Timothy with two phrases that definitely do refer to a form of compensation: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward". An ox who treads the grain is rewarded by being allowed to eat some of the grain, something that it normally would not be given. It is a special reward for a hard job well done. By the same token, the worker is worth of his reward--his wage or salary. Those who argue against the financial support of elders who do a good job of overseeing the local body of believers, and who work hard to spread the gospel and to teach the congregation, do so at their own peril--for this is clearly the intent in this passage! You have to take it in its context.
The writer of Hebrews also advocated support of the church elders/teachers/pastors.
Hebrews 13:16-17 "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
To "communicate" in the KJV means to "impart"--that is, to share. In addition, the fact that elders were expected to be paid was accepted, so that warnings were issued against elders performing their duties merely for the financial rewards.
1 Peter 5:1-3 "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
Titus 1:7-11 "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
1 Timothy 3:1-3 "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;"
Filthy lucre carries the connotation of ill-gotten gain, or dirty money. Throughout the ages of mankind, there are always those who render judgments, that is decide cases, in favor of one or another because of an illegal or immoral bribe. The elders (older men) who oversee the local congregations of believers are not to favor one member or another in order to receive such ill-gotten gain, or tainted money; nor, to receive a bribe, and then render an unfair judgment. God warned about this throughout time.
Exodus 23:6-8: "Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause. Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous."
Deuteronomy 16:19: "Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou
shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the
eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous."
Proverbs 17:23: "A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment."
Micah: 3:9-11: "Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us."
1 Samuel 8;1: "And it came to pass, when Samuel was old,
that he made his sons judges over Israel.
It was not that those who did the spiritual work of the people were not financially supported--they were. In fact, the entire idea of compensation for spiritual service rendered is to head off bribery and perversion of judgment. Rather, the admonition is not to turn a spiritual, godly work into a twisted "message for money" scheme. We see that with most of the radio, television, and print evangelists and preachers in our time. The apostles had to contend with these kinds of people in their day.
1 Timothy 6:5-6:" Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain."
2 Timothy 4:3-4: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
Some argue that we should not pay preachers because Paul refused payment. This is not true, and shows the lack of diligent study of the scriptures by those who make such statements. Paul mentions two specific congregations where he refused local support--Thessalonica and Corinth. These congregations of the church seemed to be on the selfish side, and the evidence points to the probability that some among them were accusing Paul of preaching only for profit. Yet Paul accepted assistance from the Philippian church while he was at Thessalonica.
Philippians 4:10-18 "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."
Paul refused support from the church at Corinth because of false preachers who had come in among them, preying upon their love and goodwill. Paul was not against churches supporting the preacher, as several churches supported his ministry--he merely refused support from certain churches in order to counter claims that he was in it for the money! The following scriptures indicate that, while Paul rejected funding from the Corinthians, he accepted aid from Macedonia while he was at Corinth.
2 Corinthians 11:7-15 "Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
Some corrupt and evil men preached only for financial gain (beware of media evangelists with their hands always thrust out!), and Paul warned a young evangelist, Timothy, to avoid the snare of lusting after money. There is a difference between fair compensation and lusting for--coveting--more than is fair, which can lead to a person saying or doing things that they ought not, in order to obtain even more money or valuables.
Romans 16:17-18 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
Philippians 3:17-19 "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"
1 Timothy 6:3-12 "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
Jude also had somewhat to say about these corrupt teachers and preachers, these gainsayers!
Jude 1:10-19 "But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit."
The corruption was so bad at times that the corrupt teachers and preachers took from those who could least afford it! We still see this in the false preachers today who preach only for money or fame and glory! They prey upon poor folks and widows on pensions, who donate to their ungodly causes!
Mark 12:38-44 "And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
2 Timothy 3:1-13 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Corinthians 12:13-20 "For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:"
Acts 20: 28-35 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Some say that scriptures that I have presented above prove that the apostles and early evangelists only took food and shelter. This is not true. Notice remarks in which Paul and John said that the saints in certain cities funded their travel expenses, and the travel expenses of other evangelists and their fellow travelers--they did not travel or work alone--as well.
1 Corinthians 16:6: "And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go."
Titus 3:13: "Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them."
3 John 1:5: "Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever
thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
Not only did the believers furnish early evangelists with bed and board, they also funded their travels. Beyond that, they also supplied necessities and wants of Jesus, the apostle Paul, other apostles, evangelists, and those who assisted them.
Paul commended those churches and individual Christians who had ministered to his needs and wants.
Philippians 2:19-30 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
1 Timothy 1:15-18 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
It is no wonder that Jesus told His preaching disciples that they would receive a hundredfold increase in houses, lands, and goods while in this life! It is because those Christians who own property make it available to those who preach the gospel.
Matthew 19:27-30:" Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."
On top of all this--the bed and board, the travel expenses, the needs and wants, Paul also intimated that he could support a wife--which could have resulted in children that also needed support--by preaching the gospel. Of necessity, that would mean that the believers would give Paul enough, not only for his needs during his travels while preaching the gospel, but to support a wife, and perhaps, children. This is similar to what took place under the Law of Moses, when all who attended to the spiritual things of the Israelites--the high priest, the priests, and the men who assisted them, which were the offspring of Levi--as well as their wives and children, were funded and supported by the other eleven tribes of the Israelites.
Corinthians 9:4: "Have we not power to eat and to drink?
Paul said that he and Barnabas had the right to forego, or leave off, working. Who would support them, and a wife and children, if they so chose? In context, Paul is speaking of financial support from the believing brethren. It was their spiritual duty to do so.
The goal of preaching is not to plunder the church in order to make the preachers filthy rich. The goal of preaching is to take the gospel into all the world, so that souls may be saved. The responsibility of the general church membership is that they support these preachers--and their families--and the preaching of the gospel.
The goal of the elders is to maintain a healthy congregation, building up the church in the most holy faith. They serve and support the congregation spiritually. The responsibility of the general church membership is to support these elders in order to maintain the healthy body of Christ.
Should we pay the preacher? Of course! If not, we stand in violation of the very teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit-inspired Apostles of Christ. After all is said and done, why would we not want to finance the saving of souls and the spiritual maintenance of the congregation? God has spoken throughout the ages on this subject, and His word has been consistent.
Love, in Christ,