Many today feel that they shouldn’t have to work a second job while serving as pastor of a Church.   They seem to want the Church to provide for their every need.  House payments, car payments, utilities, medical, vacations, etc..  

Does the Bible allow for pastors to take a salary from the Church?  Let us look, shall we?…

Acts 20:33-35 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostle Paul told the Elders of the Church that he did not have a “You owe me” type of attitude, but rather that he worked with his own hands to provide for himself and those in his company. He went on to tell the Elders that his working was an example that he was setting forth that they ought to follow.

They ought to…  Was this an imperative? or a suggestion?   

The Greek word that is translated “ought” in verse 35 is the word “dei”. (pronounced die)  It is the same word used in Matthew 23:23 when Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees concerning tithing, “This ye ought to have done and not to have left the other undone.”  Was Jesus suggesting that the Scribes and Pharisees tithe?  Not at all!  He told them they were to tithe because by the Mosaic Law they were required to.  It was not a suggestion, but an imperative…. a command.  

So it is in Acts 20:35… the Elders of the Church are to follow Paul’s instruction and work outside of the Church.  They were not to depend on the Church to support them, but rather they were to support themselves through work, making enough to provide for the weak as well.

Paul clearly told the Elders to have an occupation that would provide for their food and shelter… not to depend on others.  He basically told the Church at Thessalonika the same when he wrote his second epistle to them.  There, we read:

2 Thessalonians 3:8-12 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

Paul said that he did not just accept food from people for nothing but worked with much labour for that food, so that no man would have occasion to say Paul and his company were freeloaders.  Paul said that as missionaries, they had the right to take food without working, but would not do so for a reason… that they could show an example to those in Thessalonika an example.  Man is to work for his food.  

Man is supposed to provide for himself. Yet too many today want a comfortable lifestyle.  Congregations need to wake up.  Pastors are not supposed to get paid for their sermons.  Paul said they are to work with their hands.

What about Galatians 6:6?  Doesn’t it say we are to pay our pastors?  Let’s see…

Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Now, upon first glance, and if the verse stood alone, it might seem that Paul is saying “Pay the preacher for his sermons.”  But in its proper context, we find it is not speaking of paying pastors at all.  Notice:

Galatians 6:1-6 
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

When read and studied in its proper context, we find that this is not speaking necessarily of pastors, but rather of “ye which are spiritual”. And the one who is to “communicate unto him that teacheth” is speaking of the one who is overtaken in a fault in verse one.  The spiritual one is to teach the one overtaken in a fault the right way in the spirit of meekness… restoring him to fellowship.  This passage has nothing to do with salary for a pastor.

Yet so many will pull that one verse out of its proper context to establish a false doctrine in order to prove they don’t have to work to support themselves.  Shame on those pastors who do such!

One more verse that many like to use is found in the pastoral epistles. There, we read:

1 Timothy 5:17-18 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.

Many will say that this verse is proof that pastors should be salaried.  Yet, if “honor” here means salary, then we must also preach that the word “honor” in the next chapter also means salary.  There, we find Paul writing that “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”

How many of those pastors that teach that “honor” means monetary remuneration in chapter 5 will be consistent and say it means monetary remuneration in chapter 6 as well?  How many tell their congregation members that when they work for an employer they must pay that employer who hired them? I am willing to bet that none would teach that.  

And yet, 1 Timothy clearly says that is how is should be.  That is, if honor truly means monetary remuneration. In reality, it does not mean monetary remuneration.  It is merely speaking of respect.  Just as a farmer should respect the ox that is plowing, not muzzling the ox, the congregation should not prevent the pastor from eating.  

The Bible does not contradict itself. Paul does not contradict himself.  In Acts, Galatians, and 2 Thessalonians,  Paul instructs the Elders as well as the Saints to work. Why would he turn around and give them an excuse not to work in his epistle to Timothy?  

The answer is clear… he wouldn