Taking Wages For Service

By Johnie Edwards

The apostle Paul wrote the Corinthians, “I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service” (2 Cor. 11:8). Some look upon the gospel preacher as an object of charity or benevolence. Not so! The law of Moses provided for the ox, when it was said, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn” (Deut. 25:4). Timothy, a young gospel preacher was told,.. The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1 Tim. 5:18).

Paul Took Wages As A Preacher

In order to do service to the church at Corinth, Paul “took wages” from other churches (2 Cor. 11:8). This word “wages” means a stipulated amount, like a soldier’s pay. The non-located preacher doctrine says that a preacher cannot know in advance as to what his wages will be.

They Which Preach Should Live of the Gospel

Paul discusses that those who minister about holy things live of the things of the temple and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar. Then he said, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14). Just as those who served under the Jewish law were supported by such, so, those who devote their lives to gospel preaching are to live of the gospel. That is, they are to be supported as they use their time and talents in preaching the word of God.

Collections Help Support Gospel Preaching

Some have said that when early saints met to worship, there was no pulpiteer (preacher) to support and if no immediate monetary need existed, no collection was taken. If I read 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 correctly, Paul said, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store…” Every week has a first day, doesn’t it? Since there is no other passage that tells the Lord’s church to raise its funds to do its work, this is the way wages for gospel preaching was raised. If not, why not? The early church did use its funds to support gospel preaching (2 Cor. 11:8; Phil. 4:15-16).

Young Preachers Need To Be Supported Well

Often young preachers, with families, are hardly paid enough to support their families. I have seen places where the brethren live in fine homes, drive expensive automobiles, and fuss about paying the preacher a decent wage. More churches need to be like those of Philippi. Paul said of their support, “. . . I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18). Most workers are paid increases once or twice a year plus a bonus and contributions to other employee funds. The gospel preacher often has none of these and when he is too old to preach, what then? Let’s have a change in attitude toward the faithful gospel preacher!

Guardian of Truth XLI: 24 p. 15
December 18, 1997