2018-08, Bible.org Newsletter: How Was Paul Supported in His Ministry?
The question is important for us at Bible.org because we, too, must make decisions regarding how we pay the bills for sustaining this ministry. The answer for Paul is found in Scripture:
After this Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome. Paul approached them, 3 and because he worked at the same trade, he stayed with them and worked with them (for they were tentmakers by trade). 4 He addressed both Jews and Greeks in the synagogue every Sabbath, attempting to persuade them. 5 Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:1-5 NET).
Paul’s goal was to minister the gospel free of charge, even though he had the right to expect Christians to support him (1 Corinthians 9:3-18; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9). Who could possibly accuse Paul of preaching the gospel for his own profit when he supported himself? And yet, ironically, there were those who disregarded his ministry because it was free of charge (2 Corinthians 11:7-9). Indeed, rather than to be supported in his ministry, his preference was to support others (Acts 20:33-35). Paul accomplished this by making tents. When Paul received gifts of support (which were apparently not that frequent; see Philippians 4:15), as he did in Acts 18:5, then he devoted himself completely to preaching the gospel.
Some may wonder why Bible.org has ads (we do not have them on our home page, or on our Lumina study site), which can be distracting to some degree. Our desire is to minister as Paul did, free of charge. We have a good number of faithful supporters, like the Philippians, who contribute to our ministry, but these gifts are not nearly enough to pay the bills. Our “tentmaking endeavor” is displaying ads compatible with our ministry. This is what enables us to pay the bills and to provide Bible teaching to many with limited financial resources, free of charge. If and when sufficient donations are received that meet our needs, we will, like Paul, focus more completely on the improvement and ongoing ministry of Bible.org.
We are thankful to our faithful users who have pointed out inappropriate ads. We have an ad filter that only allows wholesome ad categories. When inappropriate ads appear from time to time, these have been posted contrary to our explicit policy and directives. The problem is that unethical advertisers claim their ads to be in a category that they are not. For example, recently a dating site (which we disallow) classified their content as Home and Décor and so their ad slipped through our filter which allows Home/Décor. This is why we have an “inappropriate ads link.” Clicking the “ Report Inappropriate Ad” link will notify us of this violation, and we will promptly respond by telling our ad supplier to specifically delete that company. IF you have any other questions on ads send us a note.
We covet your ongoing prayers and support for this ministry, so that God’s Word may be proclaimed world-wide.
The Bible.org staff