Is it Biblical to Provide for the Pastor?


We’ve discussed the topic of paying ministers before here at Theology Today. I believe one of the Scriptures that is most widely misunderstood and abused in order NOT to support the pastor is 1 Corinthians 9:18 which reads;

1 Corinthians 9:18 NKJV

What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

That was Paul, a man that went over and above what is required of an overseer. Please consider what Paul said prior to verse 18;

1 Corinthians 9: 3-14 NKJV

My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

Paul was an exception not the norm. Jesus command, as Paul states in verse 14 is that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. So why is it that there are those that don’t believe in providing for the pastor?

Here’s another Scripture that gets thrown into the mix as an excuse for not paying the pastor;

Matthew 10: 7-10 NKJV

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

A worker is worthy of his food. Nothing more and certainly nothing less yet some would lead you to believe the above verse claims you are to teach without compensation. They would be wrong.

What Jesus was clearly telling his disciples is they were given Spiritual Gifts freely and they weren’t to charge anyone when they healed the sick or cast out demons, cleansed the lepers or raised the dead. He certainly wasn’t talking about not paying the pastor.

How can you expect a man to basically work 24 hours a day in the full time role of overseer and not provide for his and his families basic needs like food and shelter? If the pastor wants anything other then the basics then he needs to either “make tents” like Paul or find another line of work because he is abusing the role of overseer for personal gain….IOW he is a hireling and there are plenty of those out there.

Of course there are many that abuse the words of Christ and Paul and live like gluttons. Gluttony is a sin kids and there is plenty of that in our churches today. Living off of the gospel doesn’t mean million dollar homes, fancy clothes, cosmetic surgeries and such. It means what it means. Moderation is the key here and there seems to be little if any moderation especially in the WoF Movement.

One other thing to remember is anyone that asks for compensation isn’t worthy and is a hireling. Teaching is a spiritual gift as well and one that shouldn’t come with a price tag and we already know Jesus’ clear commands regarding that.

Any thoughts?







7 thoughts on “Is it Biblical to Provide for the Pastor?

  1. Phil,

    Where people miss it is drawing the line between supporting a pastor and making a pastor rich. The former is Scriptural. The latter is a grave error.


  2. I think I’ll be the first to comment.

    Provide for the pastor?
    Yeah sure. If he is treating serving God and bringing the people the truth as a FULL TIME MISSION.

    HOWEVER, if the Pastor is being provided with…I dont know, lets say a Rolls Royce, Bentley, Million dollar home, and three thousand dollar custom suits. Then THAT church needs to be reminded that there is a difference between “providing for the Pastor” and “Giving the man everthing”

    In a perfect world the pastor wouldn’t have to pay for a place to live, reliable transportation, and food. He would Pastor funerals and wedding for free, and want for nothing but for everyone to know the word of God(thats my world anyway). But so many Pastors now have allowed the people to throw cash at their feet, pay to hear “Special sermons” and requesting Airplanes, expensive cars, and other material things that no Pastor NEEDS.

    Just my opinion haven’t gone to scripture yet but just MY THOUGHTS and they could be wrong.

    Phil: Cop! How are ya dude? Good to see you and your thoughts are perfectly fine with me because your thoughts are good thoughts:-)

  3. Many good men leave the pulpit, some because the church turns them to beggars instead of a double honored elder. I am bi-vocational, but a larger congregation needs a full time steward.

  4. Phil
    Clearly,the ox is not to be muzzled while it treads the corn.It is not unscriptural to support a part-time or full-time Pastor.

  5. Phil you have done an excellent job explaining the issue as has Phil Perkins on his comment about WOF. The abuse of money in the church has and is a topic that I write about many times with a great deal of sarcasm. As a result I have been given the left foot of fellowship on several ocasions.
    I believe we are commanded to share with the brotherhood and honor those who work in the gospel. After all what price would you pay for so great a salvation. One of the joys in the sacrificial preaching of the gospel is the miraculous way in which God provides for those who do. I think this was why Paul speaks of having the authority but chosing not to use it.
    I would give one warning to those who minister the gospel. Do not be quick to accept an offering.

    Phil: Thanks Boyd and sarcasm is welcome here as well as differing views. There’s an old saying I like that goes like this “Where God guides He provides” and I’m living proof of this. Some day I’ll share that with you all.

    Thanks again Boyd for all that you do around here and elsewhere for the Kingdom my friend!!

  6. Hi All,

    Another thing that usually gets left out in these discussions, and I think Phil Perkins has pointed this out before is taking care of these precious saints when they retire. So many pastors preach literally until the day they die because they have little if anything saved for their retirement. It breaks my heart when I see someone with serious health issues crawling up to the pulpit because if they don’t they won’t eat. Shouldn’t we be providing for them as well?

  7. Phil,

    I have no objections to supporting a pastor financially as a decision of the whole congregation. If they want a “full time” minister, then the LOVING thing to do is support him financially. I know pastors that have other “side jobs” as well (like restoring cars, etc., for extra income). I ministered in a church capacity for three years, and the financial support initially was there. When that began to get tight, I started up my business again (eventually I decided to leave that post, as Ihave discussed in another blog here).

    Regardless of the “ministry” I am involved in now, my income is solely that of my own callous hands and hard work. There is something to be said about pastors who fulfill the obligations of the congregation AND who also work outside the church. I would never, ever be comfortable in a million dollar home with cars and boats. Never. I don’t know how these guys can live with themselves. However, I have no issues with being a milliare Christian worker or businessman, so that the fruit of my labors can be used to help and support others. It’s an attitude thing…

Comments are closed.