Food, Drink, and Lodging…Not Monetary Payment
by Ronald W Robey

1 Corinthians 9:13-14 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? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
Many have used the above verses to teach that Paul was telling local church members that their church leaders are to be supported financially through tithing of their monetary wages and household income. They claim that Pastors should not work secular jobs, but should attend to the matters of the church alone and be provided for by tithes brought into the church.
However, is that really what the apostle is saying in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14? I contend that it is not. Paul is not speaking of local church leadership at all…he is speaking of the right of apostles to food, drink, and lodging in the houses of those they minister to.
At the beginning of the chapter, Paul establishes the fact that he is an apostle of Christ. He then establishes the fact that as an apostle, he has the right, as do others who do the work of the apostles, to food, drink, and lodging. He goes on to say that he has not exercised that right but chose to work to support himself.
He basically preached the same message to church leaders in Acts 20. There, we read:
Acts 20:33-35 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. Acts 20:35 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.
Interestingly, historians place the meeting with the church leaders in Ephesus (Acts 20) a year AFTER the first epistle to the church at Corinth was written. Since the apostle stated that church leaders should work to support themselves and the weak a year after saying “they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel,” he could not have been speaking of church leaders being supported by the congregation through tithes.
Paul was not a double-minded man.
Read the first twelve verses of 1 Corinthians 9. Compare them with the first twelve verses of Luke 10. The language in the two chapters is almost identical. Apostles are sent out to preach the Gospel have a right to food and drink. The seventy that were sent out to preach the Gospel in Luke 10 had a right to food and drink.
But notice also in the text of Luke 10:4…those sent were to take neither purse nor wallet with them. This indicates that they were not to accept any money for their preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Taking money for preaching the Gospel was forbidden by Jesus Christ. And the apostle Paul would not take money for preaching the Gospel either.
He had no right to require money for his preaching. But, he did have a right to food, drink, and lodging. However, he did not exercise that right. He worked with his hands to provide for himself as an example for others to follow.