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1Cor9:1-18

[Paul finished up chapter 8 saying he would rather give up meat then cause a brethren to stumble. Some Corinthians thought they had the right to eat meat, because of their knowledge.]

Opening of 9 is a follow-up to that thought. With rhetorical questions, Paul again establishes his apostolic authority and spiritual fathership to Corinth. Implying - heh - if I (an apostle and your spiritual father) am willing to give up meat, why aren't you? Is your knowledge greater than an apostles?

Speaking of apostleship and spiritual fatherhood, don't Barnabas and I have the right to the support other church founders are given?

I stayed out of the pay ministers debate a while back, but I do not see how anyone can read verses 9:7-12 and not understand that ministers have the right to be supported by the assembly. Have looked at several Greek texts, and even if a word or verse can be interpreted to mean "not compensated", the context of the paragraph would seem to say "they should be compensated". I say this with the idea that the compensation is to be decided by the elders not the pastor, and that like Paul - preachers have the right to refuse compensation.

[NOTE: Given the paragraph and the whole point of this chapter, if there is a supposed contradictory verse, my advice would be to re-examine the content, context, and language of that verse - I am sure any apparent contradiction can be resolved.]

1Cor9:12 "If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more?" NIV

Again Corinthians like most Greeks were in love with wisdom and man's knowledge - so much so, that they paid large fees to visiting orators, lecturers, and teachers of various topics.

Ex. Sophists - historically garnered large fees for displaying their rhetoric and debate techniques in public, and offering to teach the same.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophist

Ex. Herodotos allegedly held a bias against Corinth because they refused to pay him for a lecture in the city.

The citizens would be so enamored with the stlye, eloquence and mental gymnastics of good speakers they would often give standing ovations at the end of a discourse. Explains why Apollos was a crowd favorite - this was right up his alley.

If debaters and orators were being paid - how much worthier was one who brought the message of Christ and "eternal life"?

Look no further than the temple priests who also were compensated, and most importantly Jesus commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the Gospel (Matt10:10, Luke 10:8).

Yet Barnabas and I do not. Paul accepted gifts and money in other situations - but here in Corinth perhaps it was too close to being associated with Sophists (whose debate trickery was eventually condemned by Greeks), or pay for hire religious entrpreneurs that went from city to city. Maybe Paul thought it wiser not to accept money lest it hinder the Gospel.

Lest some would say, 'Paul, well isn't he like those other guys that go around speaking for money? He is just doing his for a living. So don't take him so seriously.'

"We might think this would make Paul and Barnabas more respected in the sight of the Corinthian Christians. But curiously, it made them less respected. It was almost as if the Corinthian Christians would say, “if Paul and Barnabas were real apostles, we would support them, but since they are not supported, we suppose they aren’t real apostles.” - David Guzik

Nehemiah 8 (NKJV)
9
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
10
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
11
So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12
And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

Nehemiah 9 (NKJV)
1
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. [Literally earth on them]
2
Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
3
And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.

16
“But they and our fathers acted proudly, hardened their necks, and did not heed Your commandments.

20
You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.
21
Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out [Compare Deuteronomy 29:5] and their feet did not swell.

NOTE:
I thank God that there is ALWAYS hope in the middle of true repentance. Having tried to repent out of my own effort, I can tell you it creates a very depressing and hopeless situation.

We cannot even repent without laying ourselves before the Holy Spirit and praying something like this: “Lord, I see I need to repent, and I want to repent. Please grant me the grace of a deep, lasting, and true repentance. I cannot even repent without Your help.”

God allows us the freedom and responsibility to repent and to follow Him—THANK GOD for that. But we can only really make that choice with the help of the Holy Spirit. And certainly we are not able to sustain our choice and do God’s will without the Holy Spirit.

Romans 7 (NKJV)
18
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
~~~

It is unfortunate that many of the elders of Israel “hardened their necks, and did not heed [God’s] commandments.”

It is wonderful to see that their children finally began to get the message. They, too, needed to depend on the refreshing Presence of the Holy Spirit. “You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them.”

WE NEED REGULAR TIMES OF WORSHIP, PRAISE, AND REPENTANCE. May we all follow that example in our personal lives and as congregations, and as the Body of Christ in each nation and in each country of the world.

I Corinthians 9 (NKJV)
18
What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

NOTE:
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible has this comment:
“It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may [waive] his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support. (1Co 9:15-23).”

I thank God for ministers who share God’s Word with the right spirit—whether they accept offerings or not. I recall an evangelist and traveling minister from Africa who came to speak at our service. The pastor of our congregation asked us to give a special offering for him, the African traveling minister then explained that he wanted to give that offering back to the congregation. He then asked for prayer, and the elders and our pastor prayed for him as he was on his knees.

It was a very touching moment to see that this traveling minister wanted to make sure that he kept a pure heart, and that he wanted to preach and live in the anointing.

Psalm 33 (NKJV)
13
The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.
14
From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth;
15
He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

20
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
21
For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.
22
Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in You.

NOTE:
May I—and may we—give ourselves over as living sacrifices of worship and obedience to the Lord. May we allow the Lord to fashion us as He wills.

True joy in the Lord—the joy that is our strength—comes out of a determined faith that exercises our soul in seeking, depending, and relying on the Lord.

May Your Mercy—steadfast unfailing covenant love—and May Your Grace rest on us every day!

Proverbs 21 (NKJV)
11
When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise; but when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.

NOTE:
May we listen and repent quickly. May we always keep ourselves in an attitude worship always. Sorrow will come. Either at the beginning—a willing sorrow to grieve over my heart when it is hard—or it will come as a destructive and harsh taskmaster as a result of sin.

I Peter 4 (NKJV)
1
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin
~~~

May we seek godly sorrow which works repentance which leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7). True comfort and joy in the Lord will come only as we insist that ONLY JESUS and HIS SPIRIT will be our joy and comfort.

In this world where God has provided blessings for the body and soul (beautiful sunsets, food, etc.), may we never forget that Christ alone is our Peace.

Vance

Although I am not against the idea of setting aside 10% as a 'tithe', for the life of me, I see no mention of 'tithing' as we have come to speak of it in 1 corinthians 9 or in any of Paul's other writings on 'giving'. If anything Paul says later in 1 corinthians 16 that 'each of you should put aside some amount of money n relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering.'

I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest but I think we would all do well to check our traditions 'at the door' and make sure we think biblically about giving. Without getting into a big debate I highly recommend Gary Friesen's book DecisionMaking and the will of God, where he gives some sane advice on the issue of tithing a 'full tithe' vs proportionate grace giving, etc. I am weary of religious leaders imposing yet another $$$ tax on Christians under the guise of being 'faithful stewards'. What if we teach that a full tithe is to go to the local church only, what does that do to kingdom ministries all around the world that are doing works of dealing with injustice, serving the poor, helping children, reaching university students, doing bible translation, and many other ministries that the Spirit of God gave birth to.

I'm sure someone out there will be able to lay out all the old testament patterns for 'tithing'. Apart from Jesus' mention of tithing just ONCE in Matthew 23 (and that in a comment referencing the old testament), where else is tithing taught in the New Testament. If we just focus on tithing then the one who makes $500000 a year is getting off easy having to give only 10% of that, but what about the single mom who makes less than $30000 a year and gives 10% of that, who is really sacrificing? This issue is complex. I see no problem in sharing a 10% plan to give, an 10% plan to save, and live on the rest, but let's make sure we separate 'practical realities' from what our traditions teach.

Luciano, I heard a sermon preached one time that I would never forget. Pastor Shackleford of the Lutheran church I attended, which had many young military families in it that lived on very limited income addressed the need of tithing 10 percent of what you have – not specifically of money. He talked about giving monetarily all that you could without damaging the well being of your family and then to give of your time to make up for what you couldn’t give monetarily. He said that it is important to give what you can financially in order to support the church and pay the church staff but God did not intend for families to go without the necessities – food, shelter, utilities, clothing, transportation, medication, education – to tithe 10 percent of their income. God realizes that He has children that are able financially to give 10 percent or more of their income and that He has other children who are barely able make it from one paycheck to the next and struggle financially just to have enough to meet their daily needs. We do not all live under the same economic umbrella but we all are given the same minutes in a day. Where some may be able to tithe their money, others may be able to tithe of their time to make up for what they can’t give monetarily. God looks at our ability to pay, our desire to give of what we have toward the support of His ministry, and the actions we take after talking it over with Him. Maybe this will help you in some way with the idea of tithing. It sure was a comfort to me as I was one of those young military families at the time.

God Bless!
Pat

pat

your thoughtful words speak wisdom borne of compassion. I think sometimes some well intentioned (and not so well intentioned) people strain at a gnat to 'get people to give more' without fully appreciating the plight of their parsiohers. I honestly believe that we could all give a lot more than we are giving, and that 10% is a good start pointing, but my concern is when tithing is taught as the 11th commandment...you know the one that says, "Thou shalt tithe 10% of your gross income to the Lord, and specifically to OUR local church..."

Just read through Acts, since it's the blueprint that everyone in church growth circles likes to reference, and watch the 'giving patterns'. In a book of the Bible that is so freely drawn upon for 'church growth' has anyone ever seen a mention of tithing. Giving is very prevalent. Just witness Barnabas generosity and Lydia's, as well as the early chapters of Acts, but this was born of giving from the heart and 'not under compulsion as we'll see later in 2 Corinthians 9:5-9.

thanks again for your good words Pat.

I am one of those single mothers (living on $10.00 per hour/40 hours per week with no health or retirement). I know that God is my Provider & He has shown Himself truly able & willing to keep me. If I should have money problems I go to Him & He has never ever failed me.

NOW...I don't tithe (hope I'm not stoned for saying that); I tithe my time to Him & sit at His feet & minister to those that He sends my way - even to the point of laying down my life & losing jobs over witnessing.

The church I came out of (megachurch with mega bills) has always taught that God does not bless you but curses you if you don't tithe & there is scripture to back it up in Malachi. I have never been cursed by God for not tithing actually just the opposite - I am very very blessed in so many many ways. Don't get me wrong - through out my life I have tithed faithfully & over & beyond what I was supposed to/10% - so maybe my bank account is balanced in other ways. I also know there are many many blessings in giving/tithing whatever you want to call it of your money & you will get a return in some way or another - when you need it & not when you want it & sometimes when you least expect it (surprise from Him - His unfailing love & mercy).

I am not tithing per se/10% of my money but in other ways - sitting at His feet adoring Him & passing that adoration on to others - impartation of my love for Him & I am truly blessed & not cursed for sure.

He knows the condition of our hearts & pocket books & deals out justly - I am so thankful it is Him & not the "church" doing it. Or I would be a cursed red headed step child for sure!!! :)

jano

Offerings

I believe in proportionate giving (as Luch mentioned), and I thought that was taught in New Testament??? in a place we have not gotten to yet?

I have been blessed financially (pre and post salvation), and post-salvation I know it is not mine.

What I "offer" I do not miss. Yet my family thinks I am crazy.

I do believe that "offerings" of whatever amount should be made by young Christians, college students, and people struggling. The amount should be between them and the Lord. If someone gives of their time to help ministries, then I see no problem with that offsetting offerings.

If the offering cannot be given joyfully and freely, then I do not believe it should be given at all.

I have to comment on this, because I consider myself a good person, yet I ended up in jail for making a wrong decision. But I knew God had a purpose for me, and while I was there I learned more than I ever would have had I not gone. I'm thankful that I had that time to learn, without the distractions of everyday life. God put me there for a reason, and I made it through and became a better person in the process. I pray now for everyone that's still locked up, because it's a very hard thing to go through.

Peace,
amanda

Amanda, thank you for sharing & I believe that many people find salvation/deliverance in prison & probably are more free than the people on the outside.

God knows what it will take to get our attention & that is what He does & as you can now see - you look back & thank Him for the expereice - your salvation & deliverance.

Think of Joseph & many other very prominent Biblical characters/people that endured prison many times & it was God's will for sure.

jan

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