Proclamation, Invitation, & Warning

Support for Evangelists - Honor for Elders - Good things for Teachers

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

Deut 25:4

The above words of God spoken through Moses are quoted twice in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 9:9 and 1 Timothy 5:18

In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out the twelve to preach the Gospel:

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Matt 10:5-10

In Luke 10, Jesus sends out seventy disciples to preach the Gospel. Jesus told them not to be burdened by provisions but to trust God for support from the hosts in whose homes they stayed:

And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

Luke 10:7

Support for Evangelists

For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

1 Corinthians 9:1-10

Paul, as an Apostle, a missionary, an evangelist, is saying that it is reasonable for brothers and sisters in Christ to provide physical support for him. He quotes Moses' words showing that God intended them to be symbolic, not literally out of concern for the oxen, but out of concern for those who minister on behalf of God. Paul goes on to say

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the alter are partakers with the alter? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

1 Corinthians 9:11-19

Paul says in verse 14, above, that Jesus, "ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." Paul could be referring to Jesus' words in sending out the twelve, "for the workman is worthy of his meat", and his sending out the seventy, "for the laborer is worthy of his hire". 

Again, Paul, as an Apostle, a missionary, an evangelist, is saying that those who are SENT OUT to preach the Gospel, to be missionaries and evangelists; these should live from the Gospel. They should receive support from God's people for the purpose of furthering the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Honor for Elders 

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul writes about Elders (presbuteros) who rule well be given "double honor":

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.

1 Tim 5:17-18

And to justify the double honor to these brothers who are elders, Paul quotes both Deuteronomy 25:4 and (apparently) Luke 10:7. 

It may be that, in this case, the double honor is figuratively being likened to food and monetary support. This section of scripture does not expressly refer to physical support.

It is possible that the double honor does include food and monetary reward.

Good things for Teachers

Paul says in Galatians:

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

Gal 6:6

The Greek word translated "communicate" is koinoneo, which means to share with others (from Strongs). And what Christians are to share with teachers are "all good things". This can mean that we are to share the benefits we gain from the truth that teachers teach us; the fruit, the encouragement, the fellowship of our lives. It can also mean that we are to share food and support and the benefits of living, with our teachers. 

The above scriptures that deal with evangelists, elders, and teachers are often read with the previous indoctrination of institutionalism and the professional clergy system in mind. Because of the indoctrination of the traditions of men, we read the above scriptures and just assume that they are talking about a system of paid professional clergymen.

But none of these scriptures are talking about a professional clergy system! No where in the New Testament is there taught that the Body of Christ should set up a system of professional clergy!

It's important to realize that when the Bible is talking about evangelists, it's talking about just plain brothers-in-Christ who are called and equipped and used by God to preach the Gospel to the unsaved, to be missionaries among the pagans. When the Bible refers to elders, it's referring to brothers-in-Christ who are called and equipped and used by the Lord Jesus Christ to oversee a congregation of believers. And when teachers are referred to, these are just brothers who are used by God to open the scriptures to others; to encourage others to be Bereans; to help others to study the Word for themselves; to help others to understand the Bible.

None of these are referring to professional clergy. Even if 1 Timothy 5:17-18 is referring to monetary "double honor" it is not teaching a professional clergy system.

And realize that some are called to be evangelists, some elders, some teachers. But the same brother who serves in one capacity may or may not serve in the other capacities.

The support and the benefits that evangelists or elders or teachers are to receive from the Body of Christ are to be given to WHO EVER serves in these capacities and has nothing to do with whether they are "ordained" clergy or "just laymen". In the New Testament there are no such distinctions. 

May the Lord Jesus set us free from the traditions of men and the way in which these traditions pervert our understanding of God's Word. May we be set free to encourage one another according to the words of these scriptures!

Proclamation, Invitation, & Warning