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What Does the Bible Say About..Working Preachers?

The e-mail address of this questioner did not work. I am posting it here in hopes that this person sees the answer here. It may be of interest to others as well.

What do and where can a I find where the Bible talks about preachers not working (pastors)?


"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) Of course, this applies to everybody, not just preachers and not just elders (pastors). But I suspect your question has more to do with whether a preacher has to work at another job in addition to his job of preaching.

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 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; 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. (1 Corinthians 9:6-14)

Apparently there were those in Corinth who were saying that Paul could not be a true preacher because he did not let the Corinthian congregation pay him while there. Instead he supported himself by working as a tentmaker. (Acts 18:3) Paul here argues that he had the right to be paid by the congregation, but chose not to. In some places he might choose not to be paid by the local congregation because they were too poor, or because some people might claim that he was preaching just for the money (2 Corinthians 12:14-19). In some places he was paid by other congregations (Philippians 4:15-16). Nevertheless, he claimed the right to work only as a preacher of the gospel. All preachers have that right.

I know of very few pastors (elders) who get paid for their work as an elder of a congregation. Many in the United States are retired and have a separate retirement income. Nevertheless, there is some indication that elders may also be paid for their work in the congregation. “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.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18) Note that Paul uses the same scripture here as he used to prove he could get paid for preaching.