What does the Bible say about the remuneration of the pastor (priest) of the local church? (9 truths)


Can you develop an article on the payment of a pastor in a local church? How should the assessment, remuneration be done, which is the standard of living in financial terms of a pastor in relation to the flock he leads? Should the salary of the pastor be correlated with the income of the members of the local church? Probably there are many things to consider in this matter but I would be very pleased to hear your opinion Thank you!

There are several biblical passages where this issue is addressed. Based on them I want to emphasize some important truths.

Remuneration of the pastor

1. The remuneration of the ministers in the Gospel is Christ’s command

The Apostle Paul has devoted chapter 9 of the First Epistle to the Corinthian to this subject, because some Christians in Corinth were judging him and Barnabas, saying that they were not entitled to be remunerated by the Church. Arguing the Christian minister’s right to be supported by the Church, the Apostle made a comparison with the ministry of the Temple in the Old Testament and said:

Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel toget their living from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:13-14)(NASB)

So, Lord Jesus ordained (directed, set up) that those who preach the Gospel should get their living from the Gospel, that means to be supported from this.

2. Ministers in the Gospel must obey Christ’s command in humility

I know ministers and gospel workers who refuse to live from the Gospel, that means they refuse to be remunerated by the Church and thus, they go to another place of work or start a business, just like to have the support from this business and that no one may reproach or judge them unfairly. But both they and the Church must understand that you can not do several things at once and do them all well. The work of the pastor is very difficult and requires much time and effort. Therefore, every pastor, priest, every worker must obey the Lord Jesus who has directed that those who proclaim the Gospel should live from the gospel.

3. Fulfilling the needs of the ministers in the Gospel

Since the beginning of chapter 9 of I Corinthians, the Apostle Paul writes:

My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Whoplants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? (1 Corinthians 9:3-7)(NASB)

All written above are rhetorical questions that Paul addressed the Christians of Corinth and by asking them he wants to communicate that:

  • financial support given to the workers in the Gospel must fulfill their needs and their families, so as they would not need to work at another job
  • It involves food, travel costs related to the gospel (together with his wife) and what is necessary for his ministry, just as when a soldier goes to war needs weapons that he can not get at his expense.

4. According to the spiritual goods which he sows

Because the Corinthians thought thy were required too much when they had to provide support for the ministers in the Gospel, the Apostle Paul and asked them a rhetorical question:

If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? (1 Corinthians 9:11)(NASB)

If a Christian is honest and compares the value of spiritual things which he receives from those who serve in the gospel to the value of material things that he gave them, he will see that it’s a big difference. So, when it comes to offer support to those working to building us up spiritually, it is good to think at the value of spiritual things that we have received and receive from them.

5. According to the ability

Even if he writes about helping the saints in Jerusalem, in the second Epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul gives them some principles that are important and necessary to take into account when the local church establishes the remuneration of a minister in the gospel. The Apostle writes:

But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was thereadiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality. (2 Corinthians 8:11-13)(NASB)

The Church must establish the remuneration of a worker in the Gospel according to their ability. It is obvious that there will be differences between the financial means of a small church and of a large one, but it will also be a difference in the number of workers in the Gospel which must fulfill the spiritual needs of those churches.

6. With generosity

This is a very important principle. The Church must be aware and each member must understand that they have a duty to those who serve them in the gospel, that’s why they must share their property with generosity and kindness, as it is acceptable before God, as written:

So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as abountiful gift and not affected by covetousness. Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, notgrudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:5-7)(NASB)

7. Every Christian has a personal obligation to the servants who teach him the Word of God

In the Epistle to Galatians, Paul wrote:

The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. (Galatians 6:6)(NASB)

The command is directly addressed to the one receiving teaching from the Word and he is required to share all good things with the one who teaches him. A true Christian will never despise this aspect of discipleship. Immediately after giving this teaching the Apostle Paul writes:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reapcorruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. (Galatians 6:7-9)(NASB)

According to this verse, how do you think a Christian sows when he shares all good things with him who teaches him the Word of God? But how does the Christian sow if he neglects this important aspect of the Christian life?

8. Some ministers are worthy of double honor

When he teaches Timothy how to set up the remuneration of the workers in the Church, the Apostle Paul wrote:

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18)(NASB)

It was also apostle Paul who explained the significance of the symbol on the on who is threshing, when he wrote:

For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING ” God is not concerned aboutoxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:9-14)(NASB)

So, when he says that elders who rule well are worthy of double honor, the Apostle refers to a double salary, which is a manifestation of honor, or respect that the church has for these people as for workers who are worthy of their their payment. And this admonition is especially true for elders, i.e.. gospel workers, who labor in preaching and teaching others.

9. Appreciate those who labor among us

In the First Epistle to the Thessalonians the apostle wrote:

But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)(NASB)

The salary which the church offers the pastors (priests) is a manifestation of the esteem and the love they have for their elders.

Put all these principles together and, with prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit, set for your pastor (priest) a remuneration worthy of him, of you as Church and of the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has ordained that those who preach the gospel should live from the Gospel.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru