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May Churches Pay Wages to Gospel Preachers?

Paying wages to preachersShould gospel preachers receive financial support from churches? Some religious groups teach that it is wrong for a church to pay preachers. In other cases, preachers get paid so much they become extremely wealthy. What does the Bible say?

The apostle Paul said that the church at Philippi sent more than once to meet his needs - Philippians 4:15,16. In 2 Corinthians 11:8 he said churches sent him wages while he preached in Corinth.

Paul also discussed the support of preachers in 1 Corinthians 9:6-15. Among the several illustrations he used were the following: a soldier is supported by his country, a man plants a vineyard and eats the fruit, another man raises animals and drinks the milk, and a farmer raises a crop and partakes of the harvest. So he concluded in verse 14: "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."

So it is clear that, churches should support gospel preachers. But are some preachers paid too much? 2 Peter 2:3 speaks of men who "through covetousness ... make merchandise of you..." That simply means these men were greedy, and were simply using the people as a way of getting all the money they could. This is the kind of preacher who can be bought for a price. He will preach whatever people want to hear, as long as they pay enough!

Yes, preachers should be paid, because "the laborer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7). But they should not be paid so much they become wealthy and are tempted to become greedy. And most important, preachers should preach to the extent of their ability, regardless of whether or not they get paid, because they love the truth and they love the souls of men!

For more information about the work of preachers, please visit our Bible Instruction web site at /instruct/ and study our free articles on those topics. 

(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2017;

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