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I have to admit that I am a bit uncomfortable addressing the part of the verse that says “let pastors (elders) who rule well be counted worthy of double honor.” A pastor who speaks to his congregation about honoring church leaders seems about as tacky as Congress voting themselves a raise.
Be that as it may, Scripture says that the church leader is to be counted worthy of double honor. But what does that mean? As a pastor it might be tempting to interpret this to mean “double pay.” But actually it means “twofold honor” or honor shown in two ways.
First, there is to be an attitude of honor, as in 1 Thess. 5:12-13 where Paul says, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, (13) and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake….”
But beyond this attitude of honor, secondly there is to be literally financial support for them as they work. That is those who’s calling is communicating the truth of Scripture are worthy of the church’s financial support. In fact from this Greek word we get our English word “honorarium,” which refers to money given someone to honor them. In support of his claim that pastoral leadership should be paid he quotes from two unden-iable sources. First he appeals to the Old Testament in verse eighteen, “For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his wages." Paul first quotes Moses from Deuteronomy 25:4. The principle here was that when the farmer brought his oxen onto the threshing floor to separate the wheat from the chaff they were prohibited from muzzling the ox. Instead they were to allow the ox to eat some of the wheat as he works. Although the comparison of pastors to oxen may not be very flattering to us, he is that even the oxen has the right to benefit from his labor, so a leader called to full-time leading and teaching in the church has the tight to the financial support of the church.
Paul later more fully spells out this principle in 1 Corinthians 9:7-12 where he says, Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? (8) Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? (9) For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? (10) Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. (11) If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? (12) If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.”
Paul also quotes Jesus when he says, "The laborer is worthy of his wages." This is a word for word quote of Luke 10:7. Thus Paul uses both an Old Testament and a New Testament quotation to case that churches are to honor there pastors with appropriate pay. So what is appropriate pay? A general rule of thumb would be that pastor (and other full time workers) should be paid on the same scale as
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