Because I'm not a pastor, the question of a pastor's pay doesn't affect me directly. But as a college teacher, I have an opportunity to talk with students considering seminary, and I hear them ask, "Will I be able to earn enough to support my family?" I also know that some of my former seminary classmates who are now pastors often wonder if they'll ever earn enough to give their wives the freedom to choose not to work.

These facts began to trouble me enough that I decided to try to answer the question, "How much should a pastor be paid?"

People often disagree about this question, largely because they're not sure just what the Bible teaches about it. In fact, the Bible does not give us a simple formula to arrive at the proper amount. But when I examined the two key New Testament passages on this subject, I found they taught a principle of abundant generosity that was far greater than I had imagined.

The first passage is I Timothy 5:17, 18:

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