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3 John 1:5 Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

Why did the missionaries not accept financial assistance from the Gentiles?

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Let us be very clear about Paul's attitude to paying ministers of the Gospel:

1 Cor 9:13-15 - Do you not know that those who work in the temple eat of its food, and those who serve at the altar partake of its offerings? In the same way, the Lord has prescribed that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that something be done for me. Indeed, I would rather die than let anyone nullify my boast.

From this we may deduce two important facts:

  1. Paul believed that the church should support and pay for ministers of the Gospel. This is confirmed by 3 John 8.
  2. Paul, personally, did not want such financial support but always supported himself with his trade of tent-making.

So, what do we make of 3 John 7 about not receiving anything from the gentiles/pagans? The matter is quite simple - ἐθνικός here denotes gentiles or pagans or heathen - unconverted people, see Matt 5:47, 6:7, 18:17. [This is all the other uses of this word and all refer to unconverted people.] Of course, when conversions occur, such people become Christians and become responsible for spreading the Gospel either directly or by support of missionaries, or both.

I see no conflict between 3 John and 2 Cor 9 at all. John is simply saying that support for missionaries should not come from the unconverted; and Paul is say that support should come from the members (who are by definition converted to Christ) of the church.

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Why did the missionaries not accept financial assistance from the Gentiles?

3 John 5-8 (NASB)

5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brothers and sisters, and [a]especially when they are strangers; 6 and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to [b]send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to [c]support such people, so that we may [d]prove to be fellow workers [e]with the truth.

The traveling Christian preachers were ", accepting nothing from the Gentiles" -people of the nations. He obviously wanted the travelling preachers to preach the gospel, without financial burden to the gentiles, whom they were preaching.

1 Corinthians 9:18 (NASB)

18 What, then, is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel..

2 Corinthians 11:7 (NASB)

7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?

1 Thessalonians 2:9 (NASB)

9 For you recall, brothers and sisters, our labor and hardship: it was by working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, that we proclaimed to you the gospel of God

At the same time, Paul urges his fellow Christians to help such traveling preachers, "Vs 8 reads "Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may prove to be fellow workers with the truth." By doing so, they were assisting in furthering the interests of Christianity, thus they proved to be "fellow workers in the truth.

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English Standard Version 3 John 1:7

For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.

Gentiles.
ἐθνικῶν (ethnikōn)
Adjective - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 1482: Pagan, heathen, gentile; subst: a Gentile, non-Jew. From ethnos; national, i.e. a Gentile.

New International Version

It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans.

Matthew 5:47

And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans [ἐθνικοὶ] do that?

Why did the missionaries not accept financial assistance from the Gentiles?

They accepted it from the Gentile Christians but not from pagans.

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