Can Elders be Paid from the Church Treasury?

Can Elders be Paid from the Church Treasury?

The Bible teaches that each congregation of the Lord’s church is autonomous and is to be overseen by elders (Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23; Phil 1:1), men who meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  The elders are elsewhere called “overseers” (Acts 20:28), “bishops” (1 Timothy 3:1-2), “pastors” (Eph 4:11).  The word translated “pastors” in Ephesians 4:11 is the Greek poimaine (Strong’s #4166).  It appears 18 times in the New Testament and is translated “shepherd” 17 of the 18 times.  Incidentally, the verb form of this word appears 11 times in the New Testament is translated “feed” 7 times and “rule” 4 times.

1 Timothy 5:17-18 provides Divine authority for paying shepherds who serve the church in a full-time capacity.  The word “double honor” must be understood in the context of the discussion at hand, which is the conditions under which the church is to provide financial relief and support for widows (vv 3-16). 

Since widows are to be “honored” (v 3), and this honor has reference to the providing of financial support, “double honor” would certainly mean the church could financially support an elder in his work.  In fact, 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes the same passage (Deut 25:4) that authorizes the church to provide financial support for her preachers (1 Corinthians 9:4-14).   

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