33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.

34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.


No, it does not. A common mistake is to take a particular situation or statement by one person and attempt to apply it as a rule to all situations. All this passage means is that Paul worked to provide for his own living while he lived among the Ephesians. Paul did accept provision from others in other cities and at other times. The book of Philippians is in many ways a thank you letter for gifts given.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. Philippians 4:14-17 ESV

He speaks to this again in his first letter to the church in Corinth:

Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” 1 Corinthians 9:6-9 ESV

So, no, this is not a universal principle that no one should ever receive his living from those to whom he ministers. It merely records that a minister does not have to do this, and Paul, in particular, did not do this during one specific place in his ministry, though he did receive compensation elsewhere.

  • 2
    Also I Timothy 5:18 "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer {is} worthy of his reward." – vs06 Jan 22 '14 at 14:55
  • @Narnia I agree that your opening statement is generally true; however, Jesus Christ is the ultimate example, and he has told us repeatedly in scripture to follow His example. I think when it comes to Him, we can apply his example to every situation. In John 14:6 it says: 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the away, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Also, speaking of rewards, does it not say this in Deuteronomy 10:17: For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: – user9652 Jan 23 '14 at 2:20
  • @user9652 Yes, that verse certainly encompasses all people, as He says "no one..." – Narnian Jan 23 '14 at 12:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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