1 Timothy 5:18
For the scripture said, You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.
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(18) For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.—The quotation is from Deuteronomy 25:4.

The idea in the Apostle’s mind, when he quoted the words of Moses, was: If, in the well-known and loved law of Israel, there was a special reminder to God’s people that the very animals that laboured for them were not to be prevented from enjoying the fruits of their labours, surely men who with zeal and earnestness devoted themselves as God’s servants to their fellows, should be treated with all liberality, and even dignified with especial respect and honour.

And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.—It is possible, though hardly likely, that St. Paul, quoting here a well-known saying of the Lord (see St. Luke 10:7), combines a quotation from a Gospel with a quotation from the Book of Deuteronomy, introducing both with the words “For the Scripture saith”—Scripture (graphè) being always applied by St. Paul to the writings of the Old Testament. It is best and safest to understand these words as simply quoted by St. Paul, as one of the well-remembered precious declarations of the Lord Jesus.

5:17-25 Care must be taken that ministers are maintained. And those who are laborious in this work are worthy of double honour and esteem. It is their just due, as much as the reward of the labourer. The apostle charges Timothy solemnly to guard against partiality. We have great need to watch at all times, that we do not partake of other men's sins. Keep thyself pure, not only from doing the like thyself, but from countenancing it, or any way helping to it in others. The apostle also charges Timothy to take care of his health. As we are not to make our bodies masters, so neither slaves; but to use them so that they may be most helpful to us in the service of God. There are secret, and there are open sins: some men's sins are open before-hand, and going before unto judgment; some they follow after. God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make known the counsels of all hearts. Looking forward to the judgment-day, let us all attend to our proper offices, whether in higher or lower stations, studying that the name and doctrine of God may never be blasphemed on our account.For the Scripture saith - This is adduced as a reason why a church should show all due respect and care for its ministers. The reason is, that as God took care to make provision for the laboring ox, much more should due attention be paid to those who labor for the welfare of the church.

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox - see this passage explained, and its bearing on such an argument shown, in the notes on 1 Corinthians 9:8-10.

And, The labourer is worthy of his reward - This expression is found substantially in Matthew 10:10, and Luke 10:7. It does not occur in so many words in the Old Testament, and yet the apostle adduces it evidently as a quotation from the Scriptures, and as authority in the case. It would seem probable, therefore, that he had seen the Gospel by Matthew or by Luke, and that he quoted this as a part of Scripture, and regarded the Book from which he made the quotation as of the same authority as the Old Testament. If so, then this may be regarded as an attestation of the apostle to the inspiration of the "Gospel" in which it was found.

18. the scripture—(De 25:4; quoted before in 1Co 9:9).

the ox that treadeth out—Greek, An ox while treading.

The labourer is worthy of his reward—or "hire"; quoted from Lu 10:7, whereas Mt 10:10 has "his meat," or "food." If Paul extends the phrase, "Scripture saith," to this second clause, as well as to the first, he will be hereby recognizing the Gospel of Luke, his own helper (whence appears the undesigned appositeness of the quotation), as inspired Scripture. This I think the correct view. The Gospel according to Luke was probably in circulation then about eight or nine years. However, it is possible "Scripture saith" applies only to the passage quoted from De 25:4; and then his quotation will be that of a common proverb, quoted also by the Lord, which commends itself to the approval of all, and is approved by the Lord and His apostle.

This verse maketh it evident that maintenance is part of the double honour that is due to such as labour in the word and doctrine in the first place: and not to them alone, but to any such as are employed in the rule and government of the church. The apostle had made use of Deu 25:4 to the same purpose, 1 Corinthians 9:9: neither of these texts conclude the duty of elders to take maintenance, but the duty of those who are members of churches to give it them, which they may refuse, as Paul himself did, if either the people’s or minister’s circumstances call for or will allow such a thing. In Deuteronomy 25:4

thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn; See Gill on 1 Corinthians 9:9. See Gill on 1 Corinthians 9:10. The ox, for its strength and labour, is a fit emblem of a Gospel minister; and its treading the corn out of the husk and ear aptly represents the beating out, as it were, of Gospel truths, by the ministers of it, their making the doctrines of the Gospel clear, plain, and evident to the understandings of men; wherefore, as the ox was not muzzled when it trod out the corn, but might freely and largely feed upon it, so such who labour in the preaching of the Gospel ought to have a sufficient and competent maintenance: for which purpose this citation is made, as also the following:

and the labourer is worthy of his reward; which seems to be taken from Luke 10:7 which Gospel was now written, and in the hands of the apostle; who here, by two testimonies, the one from Moses, and the other from Christ, supports the right of the honourable maintenance of the ministers of the Gospel.

For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
1 Timothy 5:18 furnishes the reason for the instruction given in 1 Timothy 5:16, a reason which attaches itself to the idea of κοπιῶντες.

λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφή· βοῦν ἀλοῶντα οὐ φιμώσεις] This expression is found in Deuteronomy 25:4. φιμόω, though often used figuratively in the N. T., stands here in its literal meaning. The whole passage, however, is taken figuratively, just as at 1 Corinthians 9:9, where Paul handles it at greater length. Even Philo says (De Sacrif.): οὐ γὰρ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλόγων ὁ νόμος, ἀλλʼ ὑπὲρ τῶν νοῦν καὶ λόγον ἐχόντων.

To these words of Scripture the apostle further adds: καὶ ἄξιος ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ] These words are not quoted from the O. T., for the passages to which attention has been directed at Leviticus 19:13 and Deuteronomy 24:14 run differently; but they are found in the N. T. at Luke 10:7 (similarly Matthew 10:10). Hence Baur and Plitt maintain that they are quoted from Luke.

The λέγει ἡ γραφή does not, however, compel us so to refer the words; the apostle simply adds to the words of Scripture a proverb (Christ, too, in the passage quoted seems to use the phrase as proverbial). So Calvin, also Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Hofmann.

The two sentences, according to the apostle’s meaning, express the same thought; hence it is not improbable that the second was added as an interpretation of the first.1 Timothy 5:18. If this verse is read without critical prejudice, it implies that in the writer’s judgment a quotation from Deuteronomy 25:4 and the Saying, ἄξιος, κ.τ.λ. might be coordinated as ἡ γραφή; just as in Mark 7:10, Acts 1:20, and Hebrews 1:10, two O.T. quotations are coupled by a καί. For this formula of quotation, in addition to the reff., see John 19:37; Romans 4:3; Romans 11:2; Galatians 4:30; Jam 2:23. Jam 4:5.

The question then arises, Is ἄξιος, κ.τ.λ. a proverbial saying carelessly or mistakenly quoted by St. Paul as ἡ γραφή? or, Was St. Paul familiar with its presence in a written document, an early gospel, the subject of which was so sacred as to entitle it to be called ἡ γραφή? The question has been prejudged by supposed necessary limitations as to the earliest possible date for a gospel; and many have thought it safest to adopt Stier’s statement that ἄξιος, κ.τ.λ. was a common proverb made use of both by our Lord (Luke 10:7; Matthew 10:10), and by St. Paul. In that case, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that St. Paul forgot that it was not ἡ γραφή; for here it is not natural to take ἄξιος, κ.τ.λ., as a supplementary or confirmatory statement by the writer in the words of a well-known proverb. The proverb, if it be such, is rather the second item in ἡ γραφή, just as in 2 Timothy 2:19, the “seal” consists of (a) “The Lord knoweth them that are his,” and (b) “Let every one that nameth,” etc. Our Lord no doubt employed proverbs that were current in His time, e.g., Luke 4:23, John 4:37. In both these cases He intimates that He is doing so; but He does not do so in Matthew 10:10, or Luke 10:7. Besides, while the variation here between Matt. (τῆς τροφῆς) and Luke (τοῦ μισθοῦ) is of the same degree as in other cases of varying reports of Sayings from Q common to Matthew and Luke, yet such variation in wording is not likely in the case of a well-known proverb. We may add that it is difficult to know to what ruling of Christ reference is made in 1 Corinthians 9:14 if it be not this Saying. Critical opinion has recently grown inclined to believe that much of the gospel material which underlies the Synoptists was put into writing before our Lord’s earthly ministry closed. (See Sanday, The Life of Christ in Recent Research, p. 172.) The only question, therefore, is not, Could St. Paul have read the Evangelic narrative? but, Could he have coordinated a gospel document with the written oracles of God, venerated by every Hebrew as having a sanctity all their own? The question cannot be considered apart from what we know to have been St. Paul’s conception of the person of Jesus Christ. We may readily grant that it would be a surprising thing if St. Paul thought of the writings of any contemporary apostle as “Scripture,” as 2 Peter 3:16 does; but since he believed that Christ was “the end of the Law” (Romans 10:4), it would be surprising were he not to have esteemed His words to be at least as authoritative as the Law which He superseded.

The order in Deuteronomy 25:4 is οὐ φιμ. βοῦν ἀλο. The same text is quoted, 1 Corinthians 9:9 in the form οὐ κημώσεις βοῦν ἀλο. ([285]*[286]*[287] [288]). St. Paul’s treatment of the command, as pointing to an analogy in the life of human beings, does not need any defence. Our just repudiation of the spirit in which he asks in 1 Cor., “Is it for the oxen that God careth?” must not blind us to the large element of truth in his answer, “Yea, for our sake it was written”.

[285] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[286] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[287] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS.

[288] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels.18. the scripture saith] The quotation is from Deuteronomy 25:4, and goes to the end of the clause only, ‘thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn;’ or, as Dr Farrar renders, ‘thou shalt not muzzle a threshing ox.’ The argument from God’s care of oxen has been used by St Paul before, 1 Corinthians 9:9, where see Mr Lias’s note.

And, The labourer is worthy of his reward] Bp Wordsworth prints the Greek of these words in such a way that they are to be included under ‘the Scripture saith,’ and a common view both in ancient and modern times considers that our Lord’s words as recorded Luke 10:7 are here quoted as Scripture. The R.V. by its full-stop after ‘corn’ regards the words as the citation only of the proverb, in the same way as it is cited by our Lord ‘as a popular and well-known saying.’ This is quite a sufficient view, especially since it is more than doubtful whether by this time the Gospels could be thus authoritatively quoted. They are not quoted even in the Apostolic Fathers.

reward] Better, wages or hire.1 Timothy 5:18. Καὶ, ἄξιος, and, worthy) The apostle quotes this, either as Scripture, or as a proverb approved of by the Lord, Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7.Verse 18. - When he for that, A.V.; hire for reward, A.V. Thou shall not muzzle, etc. This passage, kern Deuteronomy 25, which is quoted and commented upon, in the same souse as here, in 1 Corinthians 9:9, shows distinctly that reward was to go with labor. The ox was not to be hindered from eating some portion of the grain which he was treading out. The preacher of the gospel was to live of the gospel. The laborer is worthy of his hire (ἄξιος ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὑτοῦ). In Matthew 10:10 the words are the same as here, except that τῆς τροφῆς (his meat) is substituted for τοῦ μισθοῦ. But in Luke 10:7 the words are identical with those here used, even to the omission (in the R.T.) of the verb ἔστιν. The conclusion is inevitable that the writer of this Epistle was acquainted with and quoted from St. Luke's Gospel; and further, that he deemed it, or at least the saying of the Lord Jesus recorded, in it, to be of equal authority with " γραφή," the Scripture. If this Epistle was written by St. Paul after his first imprisonment at Rome, we may feel tolerably certain that he was acquainted with the Gospel or St. Luke, so that there is no improbability in his quoting from it. His reference to another saying of the Lord Jesus in Acts 20:35 gives additional probability to it. The passage in 2 Timothy 4:18 seems also to be a direct reference to the Lord's Prayer, as contained in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. St. Paul does not directly call the words ἡ γραφή, only treats them as of equal authority, which, if they were the words of Christ, of course they were. The Scripture (ἡ γραφή)

Comp. 2 Timothy 3:16. To the Jews ἡ γραφή signified the O.T. canon of Scripture; but in most cases ἡ γραφή is used of a particular passage of Scripture which is indicated in the context. See John 7:38, John 7:42; Acts 1:16; Acts 8:32, Acts 8:35; Romans 4:3; Romans 9:17; Romans 10:11; Galatians 3:8. Where the reference is to the sacred writings as a whole, the plural γραφαὶ or αἱ γραφαὶ is used, as Matthew 21:42; Luke 24:32; John 5:39; Romans 15:4. Once γραφαὶ ἅγιαι holy Scriptures, Romans 1:2. Ἑτέρα γραφὴ another or a different Scripture, John 19:37; ἡ γραφὴ αὕτη this Scripture, Luke 4:21; πᾶσα γραφὴ every Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16. See on writings, John 2:22. The passage cited here is Deuteronomy 25:4, also by Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:9.

Thou shalt not muzzle (οὐ φιμώσεις)

In N.T. mostly in the metaphorical sense of putting to silence. See on speechless, Matthew 22:12, and see on put to silence, Matthew 22:34. Also see on Mark 4:39. On the whole passage see note on 1 Corinthians 9:9.

That treadeth out (ἀλοῶντα)

More correctly, while he is treading out. The verb only here and 1 Corinthians 9:9,1 Corinthians 9:10. Comp. ἅλων a threshing-floor, Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17. An analogy to the O.T. injunction may be found in the laws giving to the Athenians by the mythical Triptolemus, one of which was, "Hurt not the laboring beast." Some one having violated this command by slaying a steer which was eating the sacred cake that lay upon the altar, - an expiation-feast, Bouphonia or Diipolta was instituted for the purpose of atoning for this offense, and continued to be celebrated in Athens. Aristophanes refers to it (Clouds, 985). A laboring ox was led to the altar of Zeus on the Acropolis, which was strewn with wheat and barley. As soon as the ox touched the grain, he was killed by a blow from an axe. The priest who struck the blow threw away the axe and fled. The flesh of the ox was then eaten, and the hide was stuffed and set before the plough. Then began the steer-trial before a judicial assembly in the Prytaneum, by which the axe was formally condemned to be thrown into the sea.

The laborer is worthy, etc.

A second scriptural quotation would seem to be indicated, but there is no corresponding passage in the O.T. The words are found Luke 10:7, and, with a slight variation, Matthew 10:10. Some hold that the writer adds to the O.T. citation a popular proverb, and that Christ himself used the words in this way. But while different passages of Scripture are often connected in citation by καὶ, it is not according, to N.T. usage thus to connect Scripture and proverb. Moreover, in such series of citations it is customary to use καὶ πάλιν and again, or πάλιν simply. See Matthew 4:7; Matthew 5:33; John 12:39; Romans 15:9-12; 1 Corinthians 3:20; Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 2:13. According to others, the writer here cites an utterance of Christ from oral tradition, coordinately with the O.T. citation, as Scripture. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 7:10, appeals to a word of the Lord; and in Acts 10:35 he is represented as quoting "it is more blessed to give than to receive" as the words of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 9, in the discussion of this passage from Deuteronomy, Paul adds (1 Corinthians 9:14) "even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel," which resembles the combination here. This last is the more probable explanation.

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