Sign up ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the biblical basis for requiring a minister to be paid for their work?

Put another way, what is the biblical basis for supporting the notion of a solely-vocational pastor?

Note - I am NOT looking for a biblical basis that paying a minister anything is OK: there are myriad passages that could be turned to for that. This is exclusively about a mandate for such recompense.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

The apostle Paulos wrote (1 Cor. 9:14), "Even so the Lord has ordained that those who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel."

On this verse, John Gill writes,

"Even so hath the Lord ordained"

That is, the Lord Jesus Christ (in Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7-8), it is an order and appointment of his that his ministering servants, who labour in preaching his Gospel, should be sufficiently taken care of, as to a comfortable livelihood; he has not indeed fixed it in the same way as the priests and Levites had theirs under the law; but as the one was just and right, that they should be maintained out of the things belonging to the temple and altar, and live on them, so it is his will and pleasure,

"that they which preach the Gospel;"

that continue to do so, that labour, and not loiter in the word and doctrine, who do the work of the ministry fully and faithfully, and not bear the name only of Gospel preachers: should live of the Gospel; not the Gospel itself, which is spiritual, and not corporeal food; but the sense is, that in consideration and because of their preaching the Gospel, they should be supplied with the proper necessaries of life:

I bolded what is of utmost importance. I preach the Gospel, but I do not do so "fully." It is not my sole occupation. I am not fully committed to doing so. But those who are, whose sole purpose is to preach the Gospel, they should be fully supported. Else, how shall they devote themselves to fully laboring in the word?

Paulos even confessed that he had the authority to forbear working (1 Cor. 9:6). Would Christianity have grown and thrived the way it did without Paulos devoting his entire self to preaching the Gospel? Consider that.

share|improve this answer
Paul also didn't take support from the churches in many places - he worked as a tent maker – warren Feb 21 '13 at 22:59
@warren Regarding not taking support from churches... What gives you that idea? He didn't take from the Corinthians because it was a stumbling block to them, but what other instance is there of him refusing support? I know there are passages that indicate that he didn't covet, and others that indicate that no other churches would support him, but that is not relevant to the question of whether they should have. – Jas 3.1 Feb 21 '13 at 23:04
@Jas3.1 - that is the specific example I am thinking of. In addition, he was typically supported (as one *sent) by his sending church. What about all the other ministers in the NT? – warren Feb 21 '13 at 23:43
@warren: Paulos could support himself as a tentmaker when necessary, especially when there was no Church to minister to him with financial support. I mean, let's think about it. During his missionary travels, he was the first one who created the churches in various locations, so obviously, there was no organized church to be able to support him when he abode in a particular location. So, if need be, he could rely on his craft. Otherwise, if there was an organized church (during the later years of his missionary travels), he could rely on them for support. Paul never taking support is erroneous – H3br3wHamm3r81 Feb 22 '13 at 0:23
The spirit of the Christian is that they cheerfully and willingly support their brothers. If Jesus commanded us to give to our enemies when asked, how much more should we be giving, and giving freely, to our own brothers in faith, especially to those whose sole occupation and devotion is saving souls? Also see the spirit of community that the first Church members demonstrated (Acts 2:44-45). – H3br3wHamm3r81 Feb 22 '13 at 0:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.