“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #95
“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:13-14).
Thus far Paul has argued that natural law requires a just payment for ministers, and that an argument by analogy from the Old Testament law requires it. If the ox should not be muzzled in his work, how much less should a minister of the gospel be muzzled in his?
At this place in his argument, Paul steps it up, making it as strong as he can make it. The word translated ordained here is diatasso. Various translations give us the force of it—commanded (NKJV), commanded (ESV), and directed (NASB). In any case, it is not that the Lord is leaving us without authoritative direction on how we should pay our ministers. And how is that? The answer is by means of the tithe. A tithe based support is a commanded support. Everything is just suggestion, juiced by inspiration, surrounded by flowery language.
We see this in the words at the beginning of v. 14—even so. Kai houtos, even so, in the same way as, in the same manner. Christian ministers should be paid in the same manner as Old Covenant ministers were paid, and that was by means of the tithe. The system which enabled the ministers of the temple and altar to live was a system of tithing. Do it that way, Paul says. This makes good sense because the prophet Isaiah predicted that in the days to come, the Gentiles would worship the Lord, calling Him by a new name (Is. 62:2), and in that day God would call priests and Levites “out of all nations” (Is. 66:20-21). With God having called these priests and Levites out, Paul teaches us here that they should be paid in much the same way that the older priests and Levites were.