“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine”
1 Timothy 5:17
Today’s topic is a major bone of contention in the church. Even non-Christians are emotionally vested in this issue. Should pastors be given money? Should they demand money from us? And so on.
According to today’s text, spiritual leaders are worthy of double honour. Our choice to honour them is not traditional.
It is a biblical concept, not an ‘African thing’. It’s a biblical instruction, and akin to Paul’s instruction in his letter to the church at Thessalonica.
“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”
1 Thessalonica 5:12-13
The bible says that we are to esteem our spiritual leaders highly! They are worthy of our honour and respect. There is an aspect of this instruction that is not immediately obvious.
Honour is translated from the word ‘time’ in the Greek lexicon. It implies ‘value’ and more specifically ‘money paid‘.
This makes it most likely that Paul the Apostle implied that financial partnership and support be granted to spiritual leaders.
It won’t be the first time Paul uses honour to refer to welfare. To Timothy he says:
“Honour widows that are widows indeed” (1 Timothy 5:3). This was referring to welfare.
Proverbs 3:9 says: “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”
So double honour implies financial partnership. The next verse 1 Timothy 5:18 confirms it. It says: “…The labourer is worthy of his reward“
This is also clearly stated in two other epistles.
“Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”
1 Corinthians 9:14
“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things”
Having said all these, the context of ‘double honour’ seems clear. As you go about your day today, do your best to ensure that those who labour over you in the word are well catered for.