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1 Timothy 5:17-18 states:

Elders who provide effective leadership must be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. For the scripture says,

Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,

and,

“The worker deserves his pay.”

What does "double honor" mean in this passage. Is it connected to/referring to the pay of an elder, or is this unconnected. In other words, is paying the pastor an imperative vis-à-vis the "double-honor" or does this merely instruct the reader not to prevent paying the elder?

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"Double honor" does not necessarily mean double pay because the verses Paul quoted in verse 18 do not emphasize anything being doubled. The emphasis is simply on recognizing their excellence in faithfully doing their work for the Lord. How that recognition is expressed is up to each congregation and as God prospers them. But as for the excellent elder and teacher, his motivation should always be what Peter said in his first letter:

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1st Peter 5:1-4)

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  • +1. I wish you would've made the "double honor" expression even clearer by saying something to the effect that "The first honor is the respect he commands by being a good elder who preaches and teaches. The second honor is a salary/stipend/honorarium (or whatever you want to call it)." Each honor--respect and remuneration-- is a reward. The elder can waive the latter, however, when circumstances warrant it. If and when circumstances change, I see no reason why he shouldn't ask for the second honor. The apostle Paul obviously did both, each at different times, according to circumstances. Don Jan 6 '16 at 22:33
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    @rhetorician - except that's incorrect
    – warren
    Jan 7 '16 at 4:03
  • @warren: IYHO, yes? Jan 7 '16 at 16:46
  • @rhetorician no more than your opinion (and Pilgrim37 agrees with every commentary I've found on this, too)
    – warren
    Jan 7 '16 at 18:10

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