No Right to Tithes
by Ronald W Robey
(written August 18, 2019)

Many today claim that the text of 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 is proof that pastors are to receive tithes of their congregations. 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 says,

“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? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

The context of 1 Corinthians 9 shows that the apostle Paul was speaking of the rights of an apostolic missionary to receive food and lodging from those they ministered to on their missionary journeys.

Paul was affirming the rights that Jesus Christ bestowed upon those He sent out in the mission field to preach the Gospel in Luke 10…the right to receive food and lodging from those they ministered to on their missionary journey. They were not to demand anything from those they preached to, but were to accept any food and lodging that the people offered.

At the time that Paul wrote his first epistle to the church at Corinth, the Mosaic Law was still being observed by Christ-rejecting Jews. We know this, because in the epistle written to the Hebrews seven years later, the apostle wrote,

Hebrews 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

Seven years after the apostle’s first epistle to the church at Corinth, tithes were still according to the Law. The Law stated that God’s holy tithe was to be agricultural; only to be given after becoming a citizen of the land of Canaan; (Israel today) and only to be given to four classes of people;

a) the Levitic tribe
b) widows
c) orphans
d) foreigners in the land

The apostle Paul, being from the tribe of Benjamin, did not qualify to receive God’s commanded tithe. This is how we know he could not have been speaking of tithes in 1 Corinthians 9. He was speaking of his rights as an apostolic missionary. The apostles had no right to tithes.

Not once in the Gospels do we find Jesus telling anyone He commissioned to preach on His behest to receive tithes of those they preached to.