Paying The Preacher 1 Cor 9

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1.    Illustration:  It is attributed to Roy Deaver, that he was once preaching for a congregation in a gospel meeting and the elders of that congregation asked him to come and be their full time preacher.  Roy responded that he could not do that for he was happy where he was at.  The elders said, “We will pay you what you are worth.”  Roy is reported to have responded, “Boys they are paying me more that that right now!”

2.    Preachers are on the receiving end of many a joke when it comes to the subject of their work week or their paycheck!

(1)             Illustrations – Debbie’s comments.

(2)             Three boys.  1st My dad’s a grocer and we get our groceries for nothing.  2nd – My dad’s a barber and we get our hair cut for nothing.  3rd – Oh yeah well my dad’s a preacher,  my dad’s a preacher, Awwww he’snot good for nothing.

3.    Read Text: 1 Corinthians 9:1-27.

4.    Regarding Text:

(1)          Paul in the previous chapter showed his willingness to deny himself if that meant benefit to others (1 Cor. 8:13).

(2)          Paul here continues to illustrate the principle of chapter 8 with an example of his own (the illustration may also have served the purpose of meeting objections made against him).

(3)          In other words, Paul was under attack without cause.

A.     He refused monetary support for preaching because he did not want to cast a stumbling block.

B.     Some interpreted his actions to mean that he was not an apostle.

(a)    #1 – They said he had not seen Jesus Christ (9:1).

(b)    #2 – He didn’t live like other apostles (unmarried, wanderer, etc).

(c)     #3 – They said he & Barnabas, being conscious of the fact that Paul was not an apostle (nor Barnabas), they were compelled to work to support themselves (cf. 9:6).

(d)    #4 – Because he did not apply to Christians for support, nor urge it as his right, to them showed Paul knew he was no apostle.

(4)          To all this he replies in this chapter, and the main drift and design of his reply is, to show that he acted on the principle suggested in 1 Cor 8:13, that of denying himself; and though he had a RIGHT to maintenance, the fact that he did not URGE that right was no proof that he was not sent from God.

5.    There are some who feel it is wrong for a preacher to be supported out of the church treasury.  Our brother Paul asserts otherwise:



1.       Paul had seen Jesus Christ and was qualified as an apostle (9:1).

2.       Paul could partake of common enjoyments of life.  He had that right (9:4).

3.       Paul could have a wife like others, but chose not to (9:5).  Didn’t prove he wasn’t an apostle.

4.       Paul didn’t work with his own hands because he had to (he had every right to depend on brethren for support) but because he chose to (9:6).

(1)          It was not a matter of conscious.


1.       Custom says, a Soldier who goes to war is entitled to be paid (v. 7).

(1)          This is a powerful illustration if we think about it.

(2)          Christian life is likened to a battle / warfare  and especially preachers are likened to soldiers (1 Tim. 1:18).

A. Soldier devotes energy, strength, talents to defense of his country.

B. Soldier devotes life, youth, health for the benefit of others.

C. Does not a preacher do the same for the kingdom’s sake?

2.       Custom is, a man who plants a vineyard expects something from the vineyard for his efforts.  He is free to partake of the fruits thereof.

3.       A Shepherd customarily expects to partake of the milk of the flock.

(1)          He spends time guarding from danger.

(2)          He leads to greener pastures.

(3)          He labors for their comfort.

4.       Paul points out that it isn’t just “custom” that reasons this way.  God’s law upholds the idea (vv. 8-10).

(1)          “Muzzling the ox” is a citation of Deut. 25:4.  Ox was entitled to eat as he labored for his master.

(2)          The Bible is not a handbook on how to care for animals.  The point is clear, “God didn’t put this in for the beasts sake, but because God cares for us (v. 10).


1.       The contrast here is upon spiritual VS carnal (physical).

(1)          If Paul or any preacher planted for them a wheat field, wouldn’t he be entitled to some of the wheat?

(2)          Paul planted something of greater consequence.  Spiritual consequence.  Paul planted the gospel.

(3)          In comparison, the idea of reaping material support pales in comparison to what is sown and reaped spiritually.

2.       Other teachers (perhaps even some false teachers) demanded support (v. 12).  Paul claimed a greater right to this support than them.

3.       However Paul saw fit not to exercise this right (v. 12).

(1)          If the support was pleasing, how could the gospel be hindered?

(2)          Paul had opposition at Corinth and some were ready to question his motives if he took support.

(3)          Rather than hinder others, Paul underwent hardship and deprivation.

(4)          Paul did not allow the Corinthians to support him though others did (2 Cor. 11:8).


1.       Paul worked instead of worrying the brethren (v. 15).

(1)          Paul didn’t write these things to get the brethren to change their view of the matter and start supporting him.

(2)          Paul’s reasons were more important than life!

A. He was preaching the gospel without expense to them.

B. He had in this process of poverty, learned self denial.

2.       Paul would have been miserable if he kept his mouth shut (v. 16).

(1)          Necessity = constraint.

(2)          Paul would be a wretched person if he did not preach.

A.        His conscience would condemn him if he didn’t.

B.        His heart would pain him if he didn’t.

C.        His judgment would condemn him.

3.       Paul’s reward was sufficient (v. 17-18).

(1)          “This thing” = preaching without Corinth’s monetary support (v. 17).

(2)          Paul’s reward = preach the gospel without charge.

V.       THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES OF PAUL’S MOTIVATION.   We’ve already addressed Paul’s addressing question of conscience and the unfounded accusation against him.

1.       There is greatness in serving others (v. 19).

(1)          No one can demand it of us!   Yet, we labor for other’s welfare.

(2)          We serve because Jesus did (Mt. 20:27).

(3)          In your prayers remember to give thanks for the serving spirit of so many in this congregation (i.e. deacons, members).

2.       Some things are indifferent (v. 20)!!!

(1)          No wonder Paul faced great opposition and criticism.

(2)          Paul would comply as far as he could with the rites and customs of the Jews as he could without transgressing the doctrine of Christ.

A.        Paul took Timothy and circumcised him (Acts 16:3).

B.        Paul had his head shorn at Cenchrea (Acts 18:18).

C.        Paul’s purification with the four men at Jerusalem (Acts 21:21-27).

D.        Paul’s acknowledment of the high priest in Acts 23:1-6.

(3)         Yet when with Gentiles Paul did not practice nor insist such be practiced.  In fact Paul taught that the law had been fulfilled and nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14).

3.       Paul became all things to all men for the gospels sake (vv. 22-23).

(1)         Paul yielded to his weaker brethren (chapter 8).

(2)         Paul sought to gain men by the gospel and was willing to go to great lengths to do so.  Doctrinal compromise was not an option, but yielding in matters of indifference is.  Paul yielded.


1.       Paul pictures our response to God as the running of a race (v. 24).

2.       Self-denial must be involved to save one’s own soul and the souls of others (v. 25)

3.       Paul made every blow count (v. 26).

4.       Paul knew that he could apostatize.  So too can we (v. 27).


1.   I personally do not know a single preacher living in the “lap of luxury or superfluous riches” but I do personally know many who are handicapped to various degree by their lack thereof. 

      (1)   If a man is a soldier, husbandmen, and shepherd towards the kingdom of God, he ought to be liberally compensated.

      (2)   Brethren joke about overpaying the preacher, BUT  If a preacher is a man of truth (in word and deed) he cannot be paid what he is worth.

2.   Paul affirms clearly that the New Testament authorizes the support of preachers. 

3.   In addition Paul affirms that he will not do anything that hinders the work of the church.

      (1)   In fact Paul would keep every urge under control that he might win a crown.

      (2)   2 Tim. 4:6

4.   To what lengths are you willing to go for the cause of Christ and for the good of your brethren?

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