1 Cor. 9:1-14
Money is one of the most controversial issue not only in secular world but also within the church.
The Apostle Paul here explains to the Corinthians and to us now, the reasons why ministers should
not only be loved, honoured, but must be supported financially. While he was in Corinth, he took no
support from the church though he has all the rights and privileges. On the first part of our text, Paul
depends his apostleship and then give the five reasons why the ministers must be, and have the
right to receive financial support from the church.
Illustration 1: Missionary Offering
A missionary, speaking of the need on the foreign fields, was to receive an offering to help out with
the work. A man was sitting next to the aisle about halfway up. He had folded his arms and sat with
a grim look, a scowl and a frown. He evidently didn’t want to be there. Perhaps his wife had made
him come. When the usher held the plate in front of him, he just shook his head. The usher jiggled
the plate invitingly. Still the only response was the head shake. The usher leaned over and
whispered, “It’s for missions, you know.” Still the scowl and a mumbled sentence, “I don’t believe in
them”. This usher was a sharp man.
He leaned down and said, “Then you take some out. It’s for the heathen, anyway.”
I. Paul’s Apostleship (1 Cor 9:1-6)
A. The word apostle means “one “sent under commission,” and refers primarily to the
12 Apostles and Paul. These men had a special commission, along with the New
Testament prophets, to lay the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20).
1. One of the qualifications for being an apostle was a personal experience of
seeing the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:21-22). Paul saw the Lord when he was
traveling to Damascus to arrest Christians (Acts 9:1-9).
2. The Apostles were to be witnesses of Christs resurrection (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32;
B. The Apostles also were given the ability to perform special signs and wonders to
authenticate the message that they preached (Heb. 2:4).
1. Paul had performed such miracles during his ministry in Corinth (2 Cor 12:12). In
fact, Paul considered the Corinthian church a very special place of his ministry as
an apostle. Corinth was a difficult city to minister and yet Paul accomplished a
great work because of the Lord’s enablement (see Acts 18:1-17).
C. As an apostle, Paul had the right to receive support from the people to whom he
ministered. (The word power is used six times in this chapter, and means “authority,
1. The apostle was the representative of Christ; he deserved to be welcomed and
cared for. Paul was unmarried; but if he’d had a wife, she too would have had
the right to be supported by the church.
2. Peter was a married man (Mark 1:30), and his wife travelled with him. Paul had
the same right, but he did not use it.
D. Paul also had the right to devote his full time to the ministry of the Word. He did not
have to make tents. The other Apostles did not work to support themselves because
they gave themselves completely to the ministry of the Word. However, both Paul
and Barnabas laboured with their own hands to support not only themselves, but
also the men who laboured with them.
II. Reasons why ministers should be supported for their works (1 Cor. 9:7-14)
A. By Custom (1 Cor. 9:7)
1. To give proof of his right to receive pay for preaching, Paul uses the illustrations
of the soldier (verse 7), the husbandman (verse 7), the shepherd (verse 7), the
ox treading out the grain (verse 8), the ploughman (verse 10), and the priests in
the temple (13). These are proof enough in all conscience, and yet still not
enough for some churches who even today starve their preachers.
B. By law (1 Cor. 9:8-11)
1. The Law of Moses allowed wages for work. It provides that an ox should not be
muzzled when treading out grain (verse 9). The Lord did not intend by the
prohibition to make provision merely for oxen, but to teach men the principle
that the laborer should have his reward, that one who plows or threshes should
share in what his labor has produced (verse 10). Therefore, it was natural that
he should receive material support from the Corinthian church. God will not
forget His ministers (Matt. 6:26-32)
2. “If we have sown unto you spiritual thing… reap your carnal things?” (1 Cor.
9:11): Paul was then founder of the church at Corinth He had preached the
gospel, converted them and brought them up in Christ. It’s just fair enough for
the believers there to give him material support in exchanged for what he has
C. By precedent (1 Cor. 9:12).
1. “If others be partakers… we have not used this power” (1 Cor 9:12): The Corinth
church was supporting other Christians. While other men burdened the church,
Paul had renounced his claim as founder of the church and an apostle. He
endured privation and hardship so as not to give one an occasion for criticism
or complaint, which might have embarrassed his work. Paul chose not to use
this power or right to receive wages.
D. By the priesthood (1 Cor. 9:13).
1. They which minister about holy things live… of the temple” (1 Cor. 9:13): This is
reference to God’s provision for the Old Testament priests (Num. 18:8-13; Deut.
8:1). The Jewish priests were supported by offerings that were brought to the
Temple and were allotted portion of the animals sacrificed.
E. Defended by the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 9:14).
1. Even so hath the Lord ordained…” (1 Cor. 9:14): Just as God gave orders about
the priests in the temple, so did the Lord Jesus give orders for those who
“preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Paul was evidently familiar with
the words of Jesus that “The laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke
Illustration 2: Proper Motives
Proper motives are essential in Christian service. This is especially true in the giving of our money.
The Lord is more concerned with shy we give than with how much we give. We must have a right
heart attitude. Therefore, we should never give in order to receive the praise of others, but because
we love God and desire to see His name honoured and glorified.
An experience in the life of English preacher and theologian Andrew Fuller illustrates this truth.
James Duff, in Flashes of Truth, told of a time when Fuller went back to his hometown to collect
money for foreign missions. One of his contacts was an old friend. When presented with the need,
the man said, “Well, Andrew, seeing it’s you, I’ll give you five dollars.” “No,” said Fuller, “I can’t take
your money for my cause, seeing it is for me,” and he handed the money back. The man saw his
point. “Andrew, you are right. Here’s ten dollars, seeing it is for Jesus Christ.” Duff concluded, “Let us
remember, it is not the amount we give toward helping the Lord’s work; it is the motive He looks at.”
When we have the opportunity to contribute to some worthy Christian cause, may we do so with the
right purpose in mind. We should never give just because we feel obligated to organizations or
persons, nor because we desire to receive selfish recognition or reward. The apostle Paul said,
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity;
for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). We should honestly say, “It’s for the Lord!” –
Our Daily Bread, August 15
Illustration 3: Annual Check-up
When you go to a doctor for your annual check-up, he or she will often begin to poke, prod, and
press various places, all the while asking, “Does this hurt? How about this?” If you cry out in pain,
one of two things have happened. Either the doctor has pushed too hard, without the right
sensitivity. Or, more likely, there’s something wrong, and the doctor will say, “We’d better do some
more tests. It’s not supposed to hurt there!”
So, it is when pastors preach on financial responsibility, and certain members cry out in discomfort,
criticizing the message and the messenger. Eiter the pastor has pushed too hard. Or perhaps
there’s something wrong. In that case, I say, “My friend, we’re in need of the Great Physician
because it’s not supposed to hurt there.” – Ben Rogers Source unknown
The Word of God is very clear. We must support the ministers of the gospel. It’s a
command from the Lord and its an obligation. The thing is will you obey it? Will you
support your pastor? The choice is always yours.