I Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
There is a blessed jewel in this passage that will strengthen your belief in the authority of Scripture. The chapter begins with Paul giving instructions to the church on caring for widows and who should receive continual financial support from the church. Now, he turns his focus to the pastors. The church has a responsibility to care for their pastor financially as he cares for them spiritually. Those that labor in the Bible and doctrine do a good work, and they are worthy of the church’s support. Most people bristle at this passage because it talks about the pastor and money. Paul had to deal with accusations of being “in it for the money” so he worked a job to support himself, proving he wasn’t a prophet for profit. Paul does what any man who labors in word and doctrine worth his salt does when addressing an issue – he brings the book.
“For the scripture saith.” Paul shows from the Bible the principle of supporting the pastor from two unlikely places. He first illustrates that it is an act of love and mercy to support your pastor. Deuteronomy 25:4 says you shouldn’t put a muzzle on the ox that you use when threshing the corn. It was cruel and counter-productive to starve out your ox while he is working for you. Don’t get greedy about mouth full of corn he’ll eat, and work him hungry. The ox is worthy of taking some of the fruit of his labor. The application is not that your pastor is a big dumb ox, but rather don’t starve out your pastor to keep him humble and at least treat him as well as you do your livestock.
Here is the verse that I wanted you to see. “The labourer is worthy of his reward.” Paul quotes Luke 10:7. This is a big deal because he refers to the gospel of Luke as Scripture – the written word of God. Paul did not viewed the writings of his friend, Dr. Luke, as the inspired word of God. Luke’s gospel, for Paul, has the same weight and authority as Deuteronomy! Paul at once shows that both the Old Testament and the newly penned gospels and epistles are authoritative for the Christian. All of Luke’s gospel is Scripture; the virgin birth, the life and ministry of Jesus, His miracles, and His death and resurrection. The New Testament writers knew their writings were inspired of God and quoted each other while submitting to that word. When you open the gospel of Luke, you can know that it is God’s word and have faith in its message as not the words of men, but the very words of God.