1 Corinthians 9:14
Even so has the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
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(14) Even so.—These words explain why the Apostle again referred to Jewish law, after having in 1Corinthians 9:9 already made use of an appeal to the Law as an argument. It is now again referred to only to introduce the crowning argument that Christ Himself perpetuated this law in its application to the Christian ministry. (See Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7.)

They which preach the gospel.—The preaching of the gospel is in the Christian ministry the function which corresponds to the offering of sacrifice in the Jewish priesthood. Bengel well remarks, “If the Mass were a sacrifice, Paul would undoubtedly have accommodated to it the apodosis here.”

9:1-14 It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services among them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as to set forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good of others. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.Even so - In the same manner, and for the same reasons.

Hath the Lord ordained - Hath the Lord appointed, commanded, "arranged" that it should be so (διέταξε dietaxe). The word here means that he has made this a law, or has required it. The word "Lord" here doubtless refers to the Lord Jesus, who has sent forth his ministers to labor in the great harvest of the world.

That they which preach the gospel - They who are sent forth by him; who devote their lives to this work; who are called and employed by him in this service. This refers, therefore, not only to the apostles, but to all who are duly called to this work, and who are his ambassadors.

Should live of the gospel - Should be supported and maintained in this work. Paul here probably refers to the appointment of the Lord Jesus, when he sent forth his disciples to preach, Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:8; compare Galatians 6:6. The man may be said to "live in the gospel" who is supported while he preaches it, or wire derives his maintenance in that work. Here we may observe:

(1) That the command is that they shall "live" (ζῇν zēn) of the gospel. It is not that they should grow rich, or lay up treasures, or speculate in it, or become merchants, farmers, teachers, or bookmakers for a living; but it is that they should have such a maintenance as to constitute a livelihood. They should be made comfortable; not rich. They should receive so much as to keep their minds from being harassed with cares, and their families from want not so much as to lead them to forget their dependence on God, or on the people. Probably the true rule is, that they should be able to live as the mass of the people among whom they labor live; that they should be able to receive and entertain the poor, and be willing to do it; and so that the rich also may not despise them, or turn away from their dwelling.

(2) this is a command of the Lord Jesus; and if it is a command, it should be obeyed as much as any other law of the Redeemer. And if this is a command, then the minister is entitled to a support; and then also a people are not at liberty to withhold it. Further, there are as strong reasons why they should support him, as there are why they should pay a schoolmaster, a lawyer, a physician, or a day-laborer. The minister usually toils as hard as others; expends as much in preparing for his work; and does as much good. And there is even a higher claim in this case. God has given an express command in this case; he has not in the others.

(3) the salary of a minister should not be regarded as a "gift" merely, any more than the pay of a congressman, a physician, or a lawyer. He has a claim to it; and God has commanded that it should be paid. It is, moreover, a matter of stipulation and of compact, by which a people agree to compensate him for his services. And yet, is there anything in the shape of "debt" where there is so much looseness as in regard to this subject? Are people usually as conscientious in this as they are in paying a physician or a merchant? Are not ministers often in distress for that which has been promised them, and which they have a right to expect? And is not their usefulness, and the happiness of the people, and the honor of religion intimately connected with obeying the rule of the Lord Jesus in this respect?

14. Even so—The only inference to be drawn from this passage is, not that the Christian ministry is of a sacrificial character as the Jewish priesthood, but simply, that as the latter was supported by the contributions of the people, so should the former. The stipends of the clergy were at first from voluntary offerings at the Lord's Supper. At the love-feast preceding it every believer, according to his ability, offered a gift; and when the expense of the table had been defrayed, the bishop laid aside a portion for himself, the presbyters, and deacons; and with the rest relieved widows, orphans, confessors, and the poor generally [Tertullian, Apology, 39]. The stipend was in proportion to the dignity and merits of the several bishops, presbyters, and deacons [Cyprian, c. 4, ep. 6].

preach … gospel—plainly marked as the duty of the Christian minister, in contrast to the ministering about sacrifices (Greek) and waiting at the altar of the Jewish priesthood and Levites (1Co 9:13). If the Lord's Supper were a sacrifice (as the Mass is supposed to be), this fourteenth verse would certainly have been worded so, to answer to 1Co 9:13. Note the same Lord Christ "ordains" the ordinances in the Old and in the New Testaments (Mt 10:10; Lu 10:7).

God’s will is the same under the New Testament that it was under the Old; it is not as to the people a matter of liberty, so as men may choose whether they will maintain their ministers or not, there is an ordinance of God in the case: it is the will of God, that those who are taken off from worldly employments, and spend their time in the study and preaching of the gospel, should have a livelihood from their labour. Even so hath the Lord ordained,.... That is, the Lord Jesus Christ, in Matthew 10:10 it is an order and appointment of his that his ministering servants, who labour in preaching his Gospel, should be sufficiently taken care of, as to a comfortable livelihood; he has not indeed fixed it in the same way as the priests and Levites had theirs under the law; but as the one was just and right, that they should be maintained out of the things belonging to the temple and altar, and live on them, so it is his will and pleasure,

that they which preach the Gospel; that continue to do so, that labour, and not loiter in the word and doctrine, who do the work of the ministry fully and faithfully, and not bear the name only of Gospel preachers: should live of the Gospel; not the Gospel itself, which is spiritual, and not corporeal food; but the sense is, that in consideration and because of their preaching the Gospel, they should be supplied with the proper necessaries of life: the learned Mr. Mede has proved, by various instances, that the word here rendered "Gospel", and which signifies good news and glad tidings, is in other writers used for a reward, given to such that bring good tidings; and has rightly observed, that the Hebrew word which signifies the same, is used in a like sense in 2 Samuel 4:10 and accordingly the sense here will be, that it is the ordination of Christ, that such who faithfully bring the news and glad tidings of salvation to sinners, should, as a reward for such good news, be provided for with a comfortable maintenance, on which they should live.

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live {n} of the gospel.

(n) Because they preach the Gospel. It follows by this place, that Paul received no living, neither would have any other man receive, by a commodity of masses, or any other such superstitious nonsense.

14. Even so hath the Lord ordained] In St Matthew 10:10, and St Luke 10:7.1 Corinthians 9:14. Ὁ Κύριος, the Lord) Christ Matthew 10:10.Verse 14. - Hath the Lord ordained (Matthew 10:10;.Luke 10:7). The reference has special interest, because it shows that St. Paul was at least orally familiar with the discourses of Christ. Indeed, there is nothing impossible or improbable in the supposition that some of these were already being circulated in manuscript. Should live of the gospel. If, that is, they desired and had need to do so. He does not say, "to live of the altar," because Christians have no "altar" except in the metaphorical sense in which the cross is called an altar in Hebrews 13:10.
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