(Hiring A Man To Preach?) Bible Question
“Please tell me how it is that churches of Christ came about the custom of hiring a man to preach the gospel. I think we should be ready to tell anyone what we know about Jesus, free of charge.”
I agree that any Christian should be willing to tell the story of Jesus and His salvation to any who will listen. But Jesus selected twelve men to be apostles, and told them: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved. . .” (Mark 16:15, 16a; New American Standard Bible).
Later on, when the church was growing and persecution arose, many disciples were forced to leave Jerusalem, “those who had been scattered went aboutpreaching the word” (Acts 8:4). So, the apostles stayed in Jerusalem, and the other Christians “went about preaching the word”.
However, it is clear that congregations of the Lord’s church did have “regular preachers” and paid them wages. Timothy preached at Ephesus and Philippi (2 Timothy 4:12), Titus preached in Crete (Titus 1:4, 5), Tychicus in Ephesus (Ephesians 6:21, 22), Epaphroditus preached in Philippi (Philippians 2:25), etc.
The apostle Paul wrote about preachers and churches paying them wages: “The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him” (Galatians 6:6).
To make it clear that this sharing was the paying of wages, he wrote, “If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? . . . So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:11, 14). The examples used in this same chapter (verses 5 – 10) show that financial support was what he was discussing.
Paul referred to his “wages” while he preached in Corinth . . . “I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you” (2 Corinthians 11:8). If a man would devote his life to preaching, he has to have time to study, develop and prepare. And as the Scriptures above show, it is right and proper for churches to financially support such men as they give their time and efforts to preaching.