The plowman and the thresher (1 Cor. 9:10)

“Does Moses

Not speak entirely

For our sake?

It was written for our sake.

The plowman

Should plow

In hope.

The thresher


In hope

Of a share in the crop.”

ἢ δι’ ἡμᾶς πάντως λέγει; δι’ ἡμᾶς γὰρ ἐγράφη, ὅτι ὀφείλει ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι ὁ ἀροτριῶν ἀροτριᾶν, καὶ ὁ ἀλοῶν ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι τοῦ μετέχειν.

Paul asked does Moses not speak entirely for all our sakes (ἢ δι’ ἡμᾶς πάντως λέγει)?  Then Paul answered his own question.  It was written for our sake (δι’ ἡμᾶς γὰρ ἐγράφη).  The plowman should plow in hope (ὅτι ὀφείλει ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι ὁ ἀροτριῶν ἀροτριᾶν).  The thresher threshes in hope of a share in the crop (καὶ ὁ ἀλοῶν ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι τοῦ μετέχειν). Only the Pauline letters used this word ἀλοῶν, that means to thresh wheat, and the word μετέχειν, that means to partake of or share in.  Paul once again asked and answered his own question.  What and why was Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 25:4 talking about the oxen?  Paul said that this was relevant for his contemporaries.  Then Paul gave the example of the plowman and the thresher.  Did they work without pay?  Did they expect to get some of the wheat that they were plowing and threshing?  Paul said that they certainly hoped that they would get a portion of their work.  If the ox is able to eat the food he is threshing, so thus should the plowman and the thresher be able to share in the crop.  Thus, the Christian evangelist should hope to receive some compensation for this Christian work.  Do you think Christian ministers should be paid?

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