Donations – BT3
Paul’s financial approach to ministry is unconditional-love
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In 1 Corinthians 9:19-20, Paul really gets to his point: “Though I am free from all (a), I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew in order to win Jews. To those under the Torah Law [of Moses for conditional-favor] I became as one under the Law [of Moses] – though not being myself under the Law [of Moses] (c) in order that I might win those under the Law [of Moses]. [Now] to those outside the Law [as Gentiles would be] I became as one outside the Law [thus like a Gentile] – not being outside the Law of God [this is certainly not the Law of Moses], that is, under the Law of Christ (b) – that I might win those outside the Law [of Moses, thus to win Gentiles]. To the weak I became weak [in faith, thus the Jews], that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel.” <Notes> a) OT commandment, rules, etc. and even their ‘rights’ in Christ, b) “to unconditionally-love one another as I have unconditionally-loved you” – see Only 2 Commandments, c) as Christians aren’t per Romans 6:14.
Paul adapts himself to his audience, motivated by Christ’s unconditional-love, to win them to Christ: “I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved” (a). This is the main point of the 1 Corinthians 9 passage above, not whether pastors should be compensated, or even apostles like Paul! Now we can start to see why Paul’s ministry team won’t exercise an OT “right” to ministry support! Sure, it would “be to his own advantage,” but he wanted absolutely nothing to hinder the gospel! Paul sure isn’t buying into applying OT compensation of priests to supporting NT apostles or any workers of the gospel, but if some claim to have that right, he and Barnabas sure won’t. He doesn’t speak for others, only themselves. They will operate solely out of unconditional-love for others. They won’t take the risk of being accused of “pay for play” as many traveling speakers in that day were! And from the Thessalonians passage, he drives home the point that it is actually the Lord’s command to follow their example. <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 10:33.