In a previous post, evidence for the historicity of the miracles performed by Christ was presented.1)See Heath Henning, “Proof Christ Performed Miracles,” March 22, 2016; http://truthwatchers.com/proof-christ-performed-miracles/ It is notable that those who opposed Jesus Christ accused Him of performing sorcery but never denied He did miraculous works. The Jewish leaders accused Christ of working miracles by the power of Beelzebub (Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15); and later rabbinic authorities repeated similar charges (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 69;2) The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 1, p. 233 Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 5.3).3)The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 7, p. 139 Robert E. Van Voorst relates that “the Tannaitic [A.D. 70-200] and Amoraic [A.D. 3rd -6th centuries] rabbis correctly saw the importance of healing and other miracles in Christianity (e.g., t. Hullin 2.22-23; y. Abodah Zarah 2.2), it is not surprising that they portrayed Jesus primarily as a magician.”4)Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI: 2000), p. 132 If they noted the miracles of Christians, they would also have been equated with magicians as Christ was (Matthew 10:25).

According to Middle Assyrian laws dating back to 12th century B.C., “If either man or a woman made up magical preparations and they were found in their possession, when they have prosecuted them (and) convicted them, they shall put the maker of the magical preparation to death.”5)Middle Assyrian Laws (Trans. Theophile J. Meeks), in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ed. James B. Pritchard) 3rd Edition, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ: 1969), p. 184 Hittite laws demanded cases of sorcery to be brought directly to the King to judge (Hittite Laws, Tablet 1.44;6)Hittite Laws (trans. by Albrecht Goetze) in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ed. James B. Pritchard) 3rd Edition, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ: 1969), p. 189 Tablet 2.111).7)Hittite Laws (trans. by Albrecht Goetze) in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ed. James B. Pritchard) 3rd Edition, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ: 1969), p. 194 Some have considered such laws to be the influence on the origin of the Hebrew laws, but it is more likely the Mosaic law was produced as a polemic against Egyptian culture (Leviticus 18:3-4; Josephus, Against Apion 1.240;8)Josephus, Against Apion, Book 1, para. 26; in The New Complete Works of Josephus (Revised and Expanded) (Trans. William Whiston, Introduction and Commentary by Paul L. Maier), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI: 1999), p. 951 Antiquities of the Jews 3.212-213)9)Anitiquities of the Jews, Book 3, chapt. 8, para. 8; in he New Complete Works of Josephus (Revised and Expanded) (Trans. William Whiston, Introduction and Commentary by Paul L. Maier), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI: 1999), p. 129 which promoted magic. According to Jewish law, sorcery carried a punishment of death (Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 13:10; 18:10). This remained true after the first century according to the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7:10-11),10) The Mishnah (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 393 and was considered deserving of eternal punishment (2 Enoch 10:4).11) The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Ed. James H. Charlesworth) Doubleday (New York, NY: 1983), Vol. 1, p. 119  More relevant to the time of Jesus Christ, first century Roman law concurred with these sentiments toward magic. Martin Hegel, referencing Paulus Sentantiae (5.19.2; 21.4; 23.2; 16; 25.1; 30b. I), reported, “At the same time the Sententiae give catalogues of crimes which are punished by crucifixion, including desertion to the enemy, the betraying of secrets, incitement to rebellion, murder, prophecy about the welfare of rulers (de salute dominorum), nocturnal impiety (sacra impia nocturna), magic (ars magica), serious cases of the falsification of wills, etc.”12)Martin Hegel, Crucifixion In the ancient world and the folly of the message of the cross, Fortress Press (Philadelphia, PA: 1977,1978),  pp. 33-34 Craig Keener also mentioned, “some ancients considered it morally just to punish deceivers (Rhet .Alex. 1, 1422b.5-8) and to execute a diviner who deliberately lied about omens (Val. Max. 7.2.5). Crowds might also seek to burn someone alive who employed dangerous magic (Lucian Lucius 54).”13) Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: Introduction and 3:1-14:28, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol. 2, p. 2010-2011 Roman culture distinguished between beneficial or deceptive and dangerous magic. Pontius Pilate himself was involved with divination and even had a coin minted with an augur’s wand14)David Hendin, Guide to Biblical Coins (Third Edition), Amphora (New York, NY: 1996), p. 156 which may explain why he was hesitant to crucify Christ (Luke 23:14-16, 20 ; John 19:12).

The legal accusation the Jews presented to Pilate against Christ was that he was a “malefactor” (John 18:30), which in Greek κακοποιός carries the meaning “evil-doer, criminal, sorcerer.15) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (ed. Walter Bauer and trans. Wm. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. Danker, University of Chicago Press  (Chicago, IL: 1979), p. 397 Later rabbis in the Talmud repeated the charge that Christ was crucified “because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a).16) accessible at http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_43.html#43a_34 John Welch argues that a generalized indictment such as simply calling Christ a “malefactor” is too ambiguous to account for the death penalty, therefore it must carry the technical charge of sorcery.17) John W. Welch, “Miracle, Maleficium, and Maiestas in the Trial of Jesus,” in Jesus and Archaeology (Ed. James H. Charlesworth), Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI: 2006), p. 376 “Even more definitively, in 1 Pet 4:13-16 ‘Christians’ were exhorted to share the suffering of Christ, but not as a murder, a thief, a kakopoios, or a fourth kind of offender (the nature of which is more general and indeterminable). Clustered grammatically together with the first two very serious offenses in this list, the word kakopoios points to a particular crime of unacceptable magnitude, not merely a general indicator of moral misconduct.”18) John W. Welch, “Miracle, Maleficium, and Maiestas in the Trial of Jesus,” in Jesus and Archaeology (Ed. James H. Charlesworth), Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI: 2006), p. 378 There is definitely grammatical and historical evidence to support the position that the charge against Jesus Christ was on grounds of sorcery, which apparently was extended to Christians during the apostolic era (1 Peter 2:12; 4:15).

Alfred Edersheim writing about the Jewish opinion of demonology during the time of Christ, recorded, “Demons may imitate or perform all that the prophets or great men of old had wrought. The magicians of Egypt had imitated the miracles of Moses by demonical power (Shem. R. 9). So general at the time of our Lord was the belief in demons and in the power of employing them, that even Josephus (Ant. viii. 2, 5) contended that the power of conjuring up, and driving out demons, and of magical cures had been derived from King Hezekiah, to whom God had given it. Josephus declares himself to have been an eye-witness of such a wonderful cure by the repetition of a magical formula. This illustrates the contention of the Scribes that the miraculous cures of our Lord were due to demoniac agency.”19) Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Macdonald Publishing Co. (Mclean, VA: 1883, 1886), Vol. 2, p. 762 The Jewish view of magic and magicians during the time of Christ acknowledged that in principle divination was condemned with death, but in practice provision was made to permit magical formulas as lawful. A long standing Jewish tradition from before Christ’s time expressed praise to King Solomon for practicing magic (Wisdom of Solomon 7:15-22;20)The Apocrypha (Ed. Manuel Komroff), Barnes & Noble Books (New York, NY: 1992), p. 137 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 8.42-45;21)The New Complete Works of Josephus (Revised and Expanded) (Trans. William Whiston, Introduction and Commentary by Paul L. Maier), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI: 1999), p. 269-270 Testament of Solomon;22)The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Ed. James H. Charlesworth) Doubleday (New York, NY: 1983), Vol. 1, pp. 960-987 Pseudo-Philo’s, Biblical Antiquities 60.3;23)The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Ed. James H. Charlesworth) Doubleday (New York, NY: 1985), Vol. 2, p. 373 Apocalypse of Adam 7:13-16),24)The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Ed. James H. Charlesworth) Doubleday (New York, NY: 1983), Vol. 1, p. 716 which later Gnostic texts identified also (The Testimony of Truth 69,32-70,24).25)The Nag Hammadi Scriptrues: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts (Ed. Marvin Meyer), HarperOne (New York, NY: 2008), p. 626 Edersheim notes, “Here it may be interesting to refer to some of the strange ideas which Rabbinism attached to the early Christians, as showing both the intercourse between the two parties, and that the Jews did not deny the gift of miracles in the Church, only ascribing its exercise to magic.”26) Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Macdonald Publishing Co. (Mclean, VA: 1883, 1886), Vol. 2, p. 772 The Lord promised to endue His disciples with power (Matthew 10:1; Mark 3:14-15; 6:7; 16:17-18; Luke 9:1; 10:19; 24:49; Acts 1:7-8; 3:12-13; etc.), and early Jewish authors confirmed that Christians did indeed have such power. Since this power was given to the apostles by the Lord, the evidence that points to the historicity of Christ performing miracle can be carried over to His apostles as well; though there is less evidence outside of Christian sources for later followers engaging in miracles. “Thus, regardless of their philosophic assumptions about divine activity in miracle claims, most scholars today grant that Jesus’ contemporaries viewed him as a healer and exorcist.”27) Craig S. Keener, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI: 2009, 2012), p. 241-242 Since most modern scholar accept the claims about Christ, there is no reason to reject that for the apostles.

Notably, the accusation of the Apostles being magicians appear in the early Apocryphal Acts.28)David Aune, The New Testament in Its Literary Environment, Westminster Press (Philadelphia, PA: 1987, 1989), p. 149 Paul is called a “magician” in Acts of Paul and Thecla,29)Acts of Paul and Thecla, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 8, p. 488 while Peter was accused of making “seditious murmurings” and is called “a wizard and a cheat” because many were “wondering at his miracles” in Acts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.30)Acts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 8, p. 480 Peter is also considered “a great sorcerer” in Acts of Peter and Andrew,31)Acts of Peter and Andrew, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 8, p. 527 and the Apostle Thomas was charged as “the sorcerer, who has come for evil into this city,” in Acts of the Apostle Thomas.32)Acts of the Apostle Thomas in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 8. 538 These Christian Apocryphal texts imply that the Christians in the  early centuries were routinely exposed to such indictments by their opponents against the Apostles. Irenaeus (who likely had in mind the testimony from Polycarp who personally knew the apostles) forcefully argued the miracles that Christians were known to have performed were not “by means of angelic invocation, or by incantations, or by any other wicked curious art” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 2.32.5).33)The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 1, p. 409 Similarly, Origen argued against Celsus that “Christians employed no spells or incantations” (Origen, Against Celsus, 1.6).34)The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 4, p. 399 Tertullian contrasted “the power of God” exhibited through “Christ, or of the apostles,” against the “arrogant pretensions of sorcerers” who signs were “of fraudulence” (Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul 57).35)The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 3, p. 234 The Apostles being incited as sorcerers is so common that In the canonical Acts when Paul and Barnabas healed an impotent man and were thought to be gods by the pagans in Lystra but was shortly after stoned by the same crowd (Acts 14:8-19), it is assumed by scholars that their opponents from Antioch and Iconium had accused them as “dangerous magicians.”36)Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, InteVarsity Press (Downers Grove, IL: 1993), p. 363; also Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: Introduction and 3:1-14:28, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol. 2, p. 2176

Craig Keener recognized, “Some magicians were recognized as charlatans.”37) Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: Introduction and 3:1-14:28, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol. 2, p. 1502 Paul warned Timothy about “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). The Greek word for “seducers” γόητες is defined as “sorcerer, juggler… in our lit. more in the sense swindler, cheat.”38) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (ed. Walter Bauer and trans. Wm. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. Danker, University of Chicago Press  (Chicago, IL: 1979), p. 164 Delling suggests, “in a strict sense of a ‘magician,’ esp. one who worked with verbal formula. Those who believe in demons take him quite seriously, though he is sometimes detested, esp. by the educated…. It thus comes to denote the ‘charlatan’ in a more general sense[.]”39) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ed. Gerhard Kittel; trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley) WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI: 1964-1976) Vol. 1, p. 737 Philo grouped this term along with “likely falsehoods, from which all the sophists of Egypt, and all the augurs, and ventriloquists, and sorcerers spring; men skillful in juggling, and in incantations, and in tricks of all kinds, from whose treacherous arts it is very difficult to escape.”40)Philo, On Dreams, 1.220; in The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged New Updated Version (Trans. C. D. Yonge), (Peabody, MA: 1997), p. 385 In the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Judah is recorded as warning his children “on account of the licentiousness and witchcraft and idolatry that you practice contrary to the kingship, following ventriloquists, omen dispensers, and demons of deceit.”41)Testament of Judah 23:1; in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Ed. James H. Charlesworth) Doubleday (New York, NY: 1983), Vol. 1, p. 801 Some who made such practices were considered demonic while others were harmless illusionists. “‘The sorcerer’—he that performs some act is culpable, and not he that [only] deceives the eyes” (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 7.11).42) The Mishnah (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 393 Keener recognized this factor, mentioning, “Rabbis also knew of workers of illusions and considered them far less dangerous than genuine sorcerers (Spire Deut. 171.6.1).43) Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: Introduction and 3:1-14:28, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol. 2, p. 1503

What we find in the view of the ancient world is a negative opinion of magicians particularly over their greed for profit. The Old Testament condemned those who marketed their spiritual service for hire. The prophet Micah spoke of “the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money” (Micah 3:11). Elisha’s disciple Gehazi was rebuked and cursed with leprosy for receiving a reward after a miraculous healing (2 Kings 5:25-27). Balaam was a soothsayer (Joshua 13:22), whose greed for “rewards of divination” (Numbers 22:7) led to his destruction (Deuteronomy 23:4; Nehemiah 13:2; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11). Josephus acknowledged that Balaam spoke “by inspiration, as not being in his own power, but moved to say what he did by the Divine Spirit.” (Antiquities of the Jews 4.118)44)Josephus, The New Complete Works of Josephus (Revised and Expanded) (Trans. William Whiston, Introduction and Commentary by Paul L. Maier), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI: 1999), p. 148 Josephus even considered Moses gave Balaam “great honor, by setting down his prophecies in writing” (Antiquities of the Jews 4.157).45) Josephus, The New Complete Works of Josephus (Revised and Expanded) (Trans. William Whiston, Introduction and Commentary by Paul L. Maier), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI: 1999), p. 151 Jewish tradition says Balaam has “no share in the world to come” (Mishna, Sanhedrin 10.2).46) The Mishna (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 397 Some Rabbinic references to Balaam have been interpreted as cryptic references to Jesus (The Mishna, Aboth 5.19;47)The Mishna (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 458 Babylonains Talmud, Gittin 57a;48) http://www.come-and-hear.com/gittin/gittin_57.html Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 106a-106b)49)http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_106.html being generally rejected by modern scholars,50)Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI: 2000), pp. 110-111, 115-116 though a comparable opinion seems to have been shared for Balaam and Jesus Christ. Craig Keener’s comments about the ancient attitude elaborate this factor which caused the negative outlook of these money mongering magicians. “Thus, for Apollonius (Vit. Apoll. 1.34), various criteria distinguished magic from miracle working, but most important is the issue of greed. Charges of magic were common against all who did miracles… but the best answer to them is to keep using miraculous power without seeming to desire it and without seeming greedy.”51) Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: Introduction and 3:1-14:28, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol. 2, p. 1500-1501 He later states, “More commonly, many pagans were aware of charlatan prophets with a profit motive; a fee was also a prerequisite for oracle consultation at the shrines.”52) Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: Introduction and 15:1-23:35, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol. 3, p. 2429

In the New Testament we find a slave girl with the spirit of divination making “much gain by soothsaying” for her master (Acts 16:16). The Apostle Paul understood the popular impression of the culture he ministered within. Though he acknowledges his own miracles (Romans 15:18-19; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 3:5; Hebrews 2:4); he worked to earn his own living (Acts 18:3; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9). Non-canonical Christian text from the first century also caution of “prophets” seeking money. “But whoever saith in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, ye shall not listen to him” (Didache 11:12).53) The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 7, p. 381 In the second century, Irenaeus emphasized Christians had done miracles, “neither practicing deception upon any, nor taking any reward from them” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 2.32.4).54)The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Edited by Alexander Roberts, D.D., & James, Donaldson, LL.D., Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA: 2012), vol. 1, p.409 Paul generally refused to receive money for his support (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Corinthians 9:3-18; 2 Corinthians 11:7-9; 12:13-16), and the money he earned working he spent on those he served in ministry (2 Corinthians 12:15). Barnabas is also said to have wrought miracles (Acts 15:12), and deserved to receive wages for his ministry but did not (1 Corinthians 9:6). The Apostle Peter was also severely opposed to obtaining financial gain through his spiritual power (Acts 8:18, 20). This perspective of ministry comes from the Lord Jesus Christ who taught His Apostles to abandon possessions (Mark 6:8-9; Luke 9:3, 58; 10:4; 12:33; 14:33; 18:29). The Apostles lived and served with this spiritual labor of love, knowing that the culture would view them as charlatans if they were witnessed performing miracles and receiving financial support. In order to avoid any appearance of evil that might hinder the gospel (1 Thessalonians 5:22), they live destitute of possessions and in poverty (1 Corinthians 9:11-12; Philippians 4:11-13).

The question that all this evidence comes down to is what changed for the successors of the Apostles ministries? Why would they teach that it was acceptable for the next generation of pastors to earn a living from their service in ministry (1 Corinthians 9:6-19; 1 Timothy 5:17-18)? What was to change so dramatically in the second century that Paul would encourage financial support be provided to those laboring over spiritual things? Ultimately the answer is the fact that the Apostolic sign gifts would end with the ministry of the Apostles (Acts 2:43; 5:12; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrew 2:4). Since the miraculous events would no longer continue after the Apostles, there would no longer be a concern of the accusation that the pastors in the next generation were sorcerers seeking monetary gain. The purpose of the miracles was to attest to the divine authority behind the message of the gospel. Once that divine authority was established in the completion of the inspired Scripture, there no longer was a need to demonstrate the authority through miracles.

Two potential arguments against this premise for cessationism are foreseeable and worthy of a rebuttal.  First, the idea that modern charismatic churches may exist today wherein the pastor does not receive an income for his ministry but is perceived to perform miracles must prove he is truly producing miracles according to the criteria established above. Ultimately this is a pragmatic argument and does not negate the Scriptural fact that Paul taught ministers should be compensated financially (1 Corinthians 9:6-19), indicating the historical concern of an accusation of sorcery ceased when the Apostles passed from the scene. The second argument is that ancient Jewish tradition from Hillel the Elder (first century B.C.) expressed that scribes were not to profit in worldly things from teaching the law (Mishnah, Aboth 1.13;55)The Mishna (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 447 4.5).56)The Mishna (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 453 Scribes were only permitted compensation at a later date,57)Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (trans. F. H. and C. H. Cave), Fortress Press (Philadelphia, PA: 1967, 1989), p. 112 to make up for what income they would have earned if not being distracted from their secular labor (Mishnah, Bekhoroth 4.6).58)The Mishnah (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 534 It seems likely that in the Mishnah (Aboth 3.5)59)The Mishna (Trans. Herbert Danby), Hendrickson Pub. (Peabody, MA: 1933, 2016), p. 450 an apparent discrepancy is explained by a matter of the disciples of a scribe may be generous to aid the teacher through hospitality (Mark 15:41; Luke 8:1-3; 9:4; 10:7-8; John 12:6; Galatians 6:6), which even Paul received from the Philippians (Philippians 4:16-18; 2 Corinthians 11:9). From this it may be argued that Paul followed this common Jewish opinion as a teacher of the Scripture and his reason for not receiving payment for ministry had nothing to do with avoiding the accusation of sorcery. However, the general view of scribes by the first century Jews was that they were covetous gluttons (Luke 16:14; 20:47; Mark 12:40; Testament of Moses 7:3-8).60)The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Ed. James H. Charlesworth) Doubleday (New York, NY: 1983), Vol. 1, p. 930 Furthermore, it remains the fact that Paul taught that ministers were supposed to receive, not merely from the students generosity, but as on a regular payroll using the analogy from general principles of agricultural laborers (1 Corinthians 9:7-10) and of the priests (1 Corinthians 9:13) who received a regular tithe from the people they ministered for (Numbers 18:8-24). “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). Thus, the practice of Jewish scribes was nowhere in the thought of Paul’s point or self denial of financial support.

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Heath Henning
Heath's Testimony Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and nine children.