You will not find this anywhere in the Bible, for the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about the FREE GIFT of salvation and those who preach the gospel are to do so FREELY. When Jesus sent out His disciples with the first message of the gospel (the “gospel of the kingdom”) He said this, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’….FREELY you have received, FREELY give” (Matthew 10:7-8). Later, after Jesus had died and rose again, He sent His disciples out again with the message of salvation and here’s what He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). He does not mention anything about “charging the people to preach to them.” Again, the gospel of Jesus Christ declares to the sinner that SALVATION IS A GIFT and thus it would contradict that message to “charge someone to hear it.” Romans 6:23 declares, “For the WAGES OF SIN is death, but the GIFT OF GOD is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I believe this thought (of charging people to preach to them) began with seminaries and Bible schools being built. Bible teachers were then HIRED to teach Bible students the Word of God and after these students graduated they were then HIRED by local churches to teach the Word of God to their congregations. With this “system” in place the people were actually “being charged to have the gospel and other Bible truths preached to them.” Are these practices scriptural? No! You will not find one scripture throughout the New Testament that speaks of Bible seminaries or universities, or of men being hired by a local church to teach the Word of God to those who attend that church.

So, how did men learn the Word of God? We know that the Apostles learned the Word of God directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. They literally, like Mary of old, “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word” (see Luke 10:39). Those apostles then taught all the people the Word of God, and we saw they were told, “FREELY you have received, FREELY give.” After the church of God was born (on the Day of Pentecost) we read that believers “continued steadfastly IN THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE and in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” This verse outlines the various meetings of the local church and the first thing mentioned is the BIBLE STUDY where they continued to learn “the apostles’ doctrine.” They didn’t hire one man to teach them; they came together and pored over the scriptures together and relied on the Divine Teacher (the Holy Spirit) to teach them through gifted teachers. We read of this Divine Teacher and men who had the gift to teach in 1st Corinthians 2:12-13 and Ephesians 4:11-12: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been FREELY given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those TAUGHT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT…And He Himself gave some as apostles, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and TEACHERS, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (NASB).

How were these teachers (and evangelists who preached the gospel throughout the world) supported? They all “lived by faith” and were supported by contributions freely given to them by other believers in Christ. They NEVER ASKED FOR MONEY, and they were NOT GIVEN A STIPULATED SALARY. They relied upon fellow-believers to see the work they were doing in the Lord’s service and then to support their work with voluntary offerings to meet their temporal needs. They were indeed worthy of such support, as we see in the Apostle Paul’s words in 1st Corinthians 9:11, 13-14, “If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?…Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that THOSE WHO PREACH THE GOSPEL SHOULD LIVE FROM THE GOSPEL.” But again, this financial support is NOT solicited and thus teachers and evangelists are NOT “charging people to preach the gospel and other Bible truths.” They are truly “living by faith” and counting on the Lord to meet their needs through His people’s voluntary contributions to them. I will close by quoting the words of the Apostle John who was encouraging fellow-believers to support Christian workers: “Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because THEY WENT FORTH FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE, TAKING NOTHING FROM THE GENTILES.  We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth” (3rd John 5-8).  (409.3)  (DO)