by A.E. Knoch

AS GRACE is the essential element and chief characteristic of the present administration, it behooves us to inquire thoroughly as to its part in the service of the saints. We have dwelt much upon the greatness of the grace which God has granted to us, especially in the evangel of our salvation, but have neglected to emphasize the grace that we should show in giving it to others. Let us then inquire what the Scriptures have to say as to the manner and method of conveying this grace to those whom God has chosen, whether it be the evangel, for their salvation, or the spiritual blessings among the celestials, in Christ Jesus.

When the twelve apostles were commissioned to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to herald the nearness of the kingdom and to do marvels, then Jesus said to them, "Gratuitously you got, gratuitously be giving" (Matt.10:6-8). This saying is usually diverted and applied to the support of the preaching of the gospel today, especially in raising funds for "the Lord's work." But note that our Lord was speaking to His apostles, not to those who heard them. They were to give gratuitously, not money, which they were not allowed to carry, but the evangel of the kingdom. Even if they did not herald the evangel of the grace of God, nevertheless, they were exhorted to herald without charge. How much more should we, who have a much greater grace to give, do it gratuitously!

Paul also uses this word, gratuitous, of his service to the nations. To the Corinthians he wrote that he brought the evangel to them gratuitously (2 Cor.11:7). When he went to them, he found a Jew, named Aquila, who was a tentmaker by occupation. Being of a like trade, he remained with him and worked (Acts 18:3). He stayed in Corinth a year and a half. When he was in want at times, he was replenished by brethren from Macedonia. False apostles, fraudulent workers, also came there, who enslaved and devoured the saints and obtained from them, yet he differed from them in this matter in being more exceedingly weary than they (2 Cor.11:13,20,23). So also in Thessalonica. He toiled and labored, working night and day, so as not to be burdensome to any of them (1 Thess.2:9).


Paul was not a rich man. Indeed, he was very poor in the ordinary sense of the word. Yet who, except Christ, among the millions of mortals who have inhabited this mundane sphere, have given the world so much as he? And how much was he paid for this toil and travail, this suffering and sorrow? How much did he get for the celestial gratuities which he so graciously gave to all who would accept them? Nothing that the world could call gain. The Jews stoned him to death. The gentiles arrested him. And his own disciples forsook him. Such was his salary, his stipend, his emoluments.

Very early in my life of faith I was given a strong desire to emulate Paul's spirit in this particular. It seems certain now that the reason that I was privileged to regain so much of Paul's riches of grace, was an ardent longing to dispense it gratuitously to others. During a long life since then, I have observed that those who did not dispense according to this motive, either could not grasp the grace which Paul preached, or were not able to retain it, if they did not give it out gratuitously. Even in Paul's day there were those who taught what they must not, on behalf of sordid gain (Titus 1:11). The money received in this way is shameful or vile, but how few realize this! Almost all consider it hallowed now.


In spiritual wealth, Paul was the richest of all ordinary mortals. To him was entrusted the dispensation of the greatest of all treasures, that is, the evangel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). As he himself said, as poor, he made many rich, as having nothing, yet retaining all (2 Cor.6:10). This is our privilege also. However little of earth's riches we may possess, yet we are in a position to dispense unlimited celestial gratuities to all who will accept them. Blessed, indeed, is it to enjoy God's grace ourselves, but is it not much more blessed to be able to impart it freely to others?


We may think that we are not able to earn much more than is necessary for food and shelter, so that we can give little for the Lord's work in the way of money or earthly goods, but we must remember that celestial values are reckoned according to that which one has not, rather than what one has. The widow's mite was worth more than all the rest. Even small amounts may grow great in God's sight if they are used according to this principle. Used for tracts, or for free literature which really does set forth the grace that Paul preached, they may increase your spiritual donations enormously. Used for tracts or literature which evades or denies the grace of the present administration, they may be profitless, or even harmful, to both the one who gives and to those who get. It is grace that multiplies the value of our gifts and service.


Even the saints, as a rule, are so far from Pauline motives and methods that almost all consider them impractical and even wrong. Paul himself recognized this, and gave quite a few good arguments against his own position. Now these are quoted freely in order to nullify his real teaching. We pray that our readers will bear with us when we seek to show that the dispensation of grace should be gracious, not through professional hirelings, but by those who, like Paul, their model, work, in order that they may eat their own bread. Paul gave gratuitously, but did not eat gratuitously (2 Thess.3:8).


Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to put themselves from every brother who did not imitate him, for he did not eat his bread gratuitously, from anyone. He said: "with toil and labor are we working night and day...that we may be giving ourselves as a model for you to be imitating us." While he was with them, he gave this charge to them, "If anyone is not willing to work, neither let him eat." Furthermore, he wrote, "If anyone is not obeying our word through this epistle, let it be a sign to you as to this man, not to commingle with him." The whole passage should be read and pondered by those who wish to give their gifts in accord with God's counsel (2 Thess.3:6-16). We cannot expect to have our gifts credited to our account in that day if we ignore Paul's example and practice. If, however, this were applied to the churches today, what would become of the "ministry?"


The apostle Paul himself gave us the best arguments in favor of a supported ministry. He asked, "Who is warring at any time and supplying his own rations? Who is planting a vineyard and not eating of its fruit" (1 Cor.9:7)? It was written also that the plower ought to be plowing in expectation, and the thresher to partake of his expectation. To the Corinthians Paul expostulates, "If in expectation, we sow the spiritual in you, is it a great thing if we shall reap of your fleshly things? If others are partaking of this right from you, are not rather we? Nevertheless, WE DO NOT USE THIS RIGHT, but we, are foregoing all, lest we may be giving any HINDRANCE to the evangel of Christ."

The word hindrance seems harsh in this connection. Can a collection and the acceptance of it by the preacher ever hinder the evangel? Indeed, it can! To preach and explain how graciously God justifies and conciliates, and then pass the hat, and take payment even from those who have not accepted it, throws a dark pall over the message which no eloquence can explain away. The preacher who told his congregation that the evangel, indeed, was free, but they just had to pay the freight, only made his position ridiculous. How many times have some sinners not only heard what is supposed to be the "free" gospel, and have even paid the freight, yet this very thing has hindered them from realizing its graciousness! They become gospel-hardened. Then, when it comes to them from an untaxed, untainted source, it dawns upon them as freely as the rising sun!


Even stronger arguments may be based on the divine ministry of the temple. "Are you not aware that the workers at the sacred things are eating of the things of the sanctuary? Those settling beside the altar have their portion with the alter. Thus the Lord also prescribes that those who are announcing the evangel are to be living of the evangel. Yet I do not use any of these things...What, then is my wage? That, in bringing the evangel, I should be placing the evangel WITHOUT EXPENSE..." (1 Cor.9:13-18). What shall we think of those who use the arguments Paul used to his right to a living, and then fail to add that he refused to use them? Let us hope that no one who reads these lines has this on his conscience!


In this administration of transcendent grace the right thing may not be ideal. We have no real right to any of the spiritual blessings we enjoy, such as the owner of a vineyard has to eat its fruit, or a Levite to the sacrifices on the altar. We are more like a man who is given the privilege of distributing a large sum absolutely gratis, when he has already received his own portion. Would it not spoil the graciousness of the transaction if he demanded a handout?

An elder in an ecclesia who presides, especially one who toils in the word and teaching, is worthy of double honor. He evidently works for the ecclesia, and is like the threshing ox, which is not to be muzzled. He is worthy of his wages (1 Tim.5:17,18), and may be supported, if he needs it and desires it.

On the other hand, to Timothy, a young man, not an elder, Paul gives advice which may seem contrary to his words elsewhere. Under the figure of a soldier, he warns him not to become involved in the business of a livelihood. Too many, in these days put all their time and strength into a business, leaving very little for the Lord's work. This should be avoided (2 Tim.2:4).

Looked at as a contestant in the games, Timothy is warned to obey the rules. This is most applicable in these days, when religious work is judged solely by results, without considering whether the methods were scriptural or not.

As a farmer who grows fruit for others, must first feed himself with it, so it is with the Lord's servant. Unless he himself first enjoys the precious truth, he is in no position to present it to others for their delectation. Timothy concerns young men, not elders.


Long experience has shown that, usually, the saint who serves for hire subconsciously loses his sense of God's grace, and finds it impossible to really believe or teach the full truth for today. Realizing the situation in Christendom, we have great sympathy for those who are caught and carried along by the traditional tide. One pastor confided to me that he was never so happy as when working for a living. We have tried to save some from its grasp, but the adversary, who is back of the current apostasy, has many stratagems, and seeks to uphold them in their unscriptural practices, for very few of the saints are spiritual enough to help them. They rather confirm them in their apostasy and contribute to their hire. In this way the saints are robbed of their most precious possession, the enjoyment of the transcendent grace which is theirs in Christ Jesus.


When there was a brother who would not work for his food, Paul advised the Thessalonians that they should not have fellowship with him, that it might abash him and lead him to earn his keep. At present the opposite course is pursued. We are exhorted to contribute regularly to his support. Today young people are trained as church workers by special schools and institutions. I am told that a part of the curriculum is, in coarse language, "How to get the money." They are not taught to give gratuitously, but to get generously. Some of them have even come to us and tried to teach us the most successful methods to this end, but we could not help abhorring such dubious devices. How far has even the cream of Christendom fallen from the path of Paul! Many of their instructions are clearly contrary to the spirit inculcated in his epistles, and subversive of the motive which inspired our pattern apostle (2 Tim.3:10).

Those who do not realize the vital value of grace in practicing, as well as preaching the evangel for today may think this too trivial a matter to lead to the loss of fellowship. At present, however, the fruits of tolerating and encouraging it are clearly seen in the curse of clericalism, which, in turn, has led to the almost total lack of light on the transcendent grace of this administration. This should convince us that it is a vital matter. It is especially important in the beginning of any fresh endeavor to enlighten the saints, and supremely so, when this new light seeks to reveal the transcendent grace of God. In beginning our witness we sought to be gracious even to those who didn't see this truth, or would not act upon it, but they have conclusively convinced us that, if we do not practice grace we cannot effectively preach it, and we are in danger of falling from it ourselves.


All of God's saints are His ambassadors today. It requires no elaborate training to entreat and beseech people to be conciliated to God (2 Cor.5:20). This is the true "gospel" that they need. Yet where is the evangelist who does this? Tremendous sums are expended on campaigns and preachers with the object of "winning souls" by horrible threats and emotional upheavals, the very reverse of the preaching of peace with God through the sacrifice of Christ. It has come to the point when we could almost say that none of the gospel preachers are ambassadors, but threateners, and the converts are held by fear rather than love.


The machinery of modern Christendom demands immense sums for salaries, buildings, etc., so there is a constant call for contributions, and there are many "plans" for extracting money from the communicants. Some assess each member with a definite amount, and even drop from their rolls those who do not pay. In one case a very poor woman, whom the neighbors helped to survive, was expelled from membership on this account, and it nearly broke her heart. It drove me from that Sunday School, even though I was not a believer then. So the question arises, "To whom and how much should each one, contribute to the Lord's work?"


Some seek to "go by the Bible," so practice tithing. They "give a tenth," in the confident expectation that, as it was in Israel, God will more than make it up to them. This was quite the thing to do under law, but it is altogether out of line with the present grace. Paul, who gives us the truth for today, does not even mention tithing. He certainly did not get a tenth of the income of all his converts! What a vast fortune that would have been! He practiced his own precept, and gave as gratuitously as he had received.


The only tune that Paul called for a "collection," it was not for himself or for his fellow workers, but for the Jewish saints. Moreover, he would not allow one to be taken when he was present (1 Cor.16:2). How much did he call for? No definite amount, no percentage was demanded, only as God had prospered each one. As this was credited to them according to that which they did not have, each one could give as much as anyone else. This is the simple course which allows all to freely express their feeling of thankfulness to God. The same principle is apparent in another passage, where giving was according to how they thrived, or even beyond, as the poor ecclesias of Macedonia, who had to entreat Paul to take it from them (Acts 11:29)!

But a collection of this character is quite out of date today. In those days the saints among the nations participated in Israel's spiritual things, so were indebted to them. Hence they ministered to the poor saints in Jerusalem (Rom.15:25). We are not indebted to the Jews today for our spiritual riches, especially not our celestial blessings. All these are ours direct from God, as joint tenants, with equal rights and privileges. Now Jewish saints are joint tenants of our spiritual allotment, so we are not called upon to give them a special place in material things.


The grace of God was bestowed on the ecclesias of Macedonia in a special way. In a test of much affliction, the superabundance of their joy and the corresponding depth of their poverty, superabounded in the riches of their generosity, for, according to their ability, and beyond their ability, of their own accord, with much entreaty they besought Paul for the grace and fellowship of the service for the saints, and not according as Paul expected, but themselves they gave first to the Lord, and to him through the will of God (2 Cor.8:2-5). After all, God is not so much interested in the apparent amount of the gift as its comparative size, and the extent in which it involves the giver. Because the widow's mite represented her whole livelihood, it amounted to more than the oblations of all the rest. God values the attitude of the heart, not the size of the sum. He does not need aught but the response of love.


It should be borne in mind that there was no such thing in the early days as a collection in a church, such as we know it. Yet, in the collection that was made for the Jews there was much which is helpful for us today, notably the spirit in which the gifts were given. This is especially true of the passage in 2 Cor.9:6,7, which reads: "who is sowing sparingly, sparingly shall be reaping also, and who is sowing bountifully, bountifully shall he be reaping also, each according as he has proposed in his heart, not sorrowfully, nor of compulsion, for the gleeful giver is loved by God."

When Paul was in Corinth and in want, the brethren from Macedonia supplied his needs (2 Cor.11:9). This shows us God's method of sustaining His work, without giving it the taint of commercialism. When anyone, like Paul, is doing a gratuitous work in which others would like to have a part, not being able to do it themselves, it is their privilege to aid him, by whatever means in their power. This may look like hire from without, but it is totally different in spirit, though few may be able to discern this. Today there may be many circumstances which require the cooperation of others, such as missionary work, but there should never be a charge, or a request, or a "collection" from those who are benefitted, lest it seem that God is selling His grace for sordid gain (Titus 1:11).


The Macedonians gave to Paul, who was giving gratuitously. Is not this a good rule to follow? He doubtless applied their gifts to his own needs, yet it enabled him to give all the more. Thus this gracious spirit is preserved. They did not benefit, neither did Paul. The Corinthians did. Yet they paid nothing. This seems to be the ideal method of giving for those who cannot take a public part in spreading the truth. Paul had answered the Macedonian cry and helped them. They, in turn wish to help the Corinthians, and do it through Paul. So today, those who are helped should help their helper to help others.


As we have seen, the Macedonians participated with Paul, as he tells them in his epistle to the Philippians (Phil.4:15). This same word occurs in Galatians 6:6 which now reads, "Now let him who is being instructed in the word be contributing to him who is instructing in all good things." Here English idiom seems to demand the word contributing, which might be construed as giving to him, instead of sharing or participating with him in his work of teaching others. The Philippians did not "contribute" to Paul as payment for teaching them, but participated with him in teaching the Corinthians, who evidently did not contribute anything.

To test this matter we give all the pertinent passages, so that the reader, by actual trial will see that contribute to does not give the correct sense.

We are to participate with teachers, in their teaching others, not to pay them for instructing us, but to help them to teach others without charge, as Paul did. We will correct the Concordant Version accordingly in the next edition. It was impossible for us to escape the influence of the customs of Christendom in this case, but we are eager to correct any such aberrations when we discover them.

Rom. 12:13 participating in (filling) the needs of the saints Rom. 15:27 if the nations participate in their spiritual things 1 Tim. 5:22 nor yet be participating in the sins of others. Heb. 2:14 the little children have participated in blood and 1 Peter 4:13 you are participating in the sufferings of Christ 2 John 1:11 participating in his wicked acts. Gal. 6: 6 Let him who is being instructed in the Word be participating with him who is instructing, in all good things. (CV Revised text)

Today, of course, it would be considered very wrong, after anyone has spent years in a theological institution in order to learn the preaching profession, to require him to serve for nothing. We are not asking anyone to do this. Nor are we asking anyone to do right. We are beseeching all to be gracious. The Adversary has made it so that almost all who professionally preach the evangel are forced to accept hire for their efforts. They have our profound sympathy. Even should they insist on the absolute graciousness of the evangel, their acts speak louder than their words, and deny this, and thus they hinder the reception of the conciliation. That is why this precious truth has become an enigma to Christendom today.


Negatively, we should not support any institution which is not recognized in the Scriptures. It cannot help being like a Bible School which wished to indicate that it was founded on the Bible. So it was pictured by a big building built on a closed Bible. But alas! the building was so big that the Bible could not be opened! So with most theological institutions, especially if they train their students not to give out the evangel gratis. But, you say, must preachers and teachers not be trained before they can fulfill their function? They should know the evangel and as much else of the Scriptures as possible. But how few of these schools teach even the leading elements of the evangel, justification and reconciliation! Yet thousands have learned of these truths without entering an institution of learning. They are far more fitted to make it known than a professional, whose training hinders him from accepting the Scriptures.


We have been asked to start a school, to prepare preachers to proclaim the true evangel. But this not only has no example in the Scriptures, but involves an unnecessary expense. A true evangelist, called by God, can learn the truth from the Version, along with written expositions. Instead of a school, we provide our friends with a concordant version, which is the best text book, without a theological veil, so that the truth can be seen and understood. And it provides teaching by means of printed notes and expositions which help the reader to understand what is written, including this and other subjects which are usually overlooked elsewhere.


Dear old Dr. William H. Walker used to thank God for what he called "paper ministry," that is, the use of the printed page in place of preaching by word of mouth. An audience was usually confined to those in one place, within hearing distance of the speaker. This limited its scope. The printed page may be spread world-wide. In these last days it may seem almost a hopeless task to reach very many with the ministry confided to us. The number of believers is limited, and the number who are open to further light or who are mature enough to enjoy the transcendent truths which we teach is comparatively small, and they are scattered all over the world. Yet it is not nearly so seemingly hopeless as Paul in a Roman prison, seeking to make known the transcendent truth for today with nothing but a pen and a few parchments.

It is a striking circumstance that the special truth for today was never preached by Paul. It was made known by letters. So, also, the revival of this truth today is spread mostly by the written and printed word. Long experience has shown that this is by far the most fruitful and inexpensive way of reaching those whom the Lord has prepared to receive it. In some lands, where printing and even mimeographing is forbidden, our friends still send out hand-written articles, and those who receive them must make a written copy for themselves, then pass it on to others! Yet they value the truth all the more. Those among them who are clerics are not allowed to spread them.

From the beginning we realized that, if we were to reach any considerable number, it could be done only with the printed page, by free tracts and publications, and the cooperation of those who, like ourselves, wished to give gratuitously. Therefore we not only give freely as much as we are prospered, but seek to enable our friends to do the same by publishing for them the literature that they need. Few of them are able to spread the truth by speaking, but nearly all can use the printed word. Thus we really enable many evangelists and teachers, who otherwise could have little opportunity to exercise their office of ambassador or teacher, to fulfill the service to which they are called.

There are some unavoidable expenses in connection with "paper ministry," which only a rich man could normally overcome, that is, the cost of publishing and postage. Of course, even an oral ministry usually has expenses, such as the rent of an auditorium, and this is usually provided by others who are in sympathy. But the cost of printed matter is too great for an ordinary workman to provide. So we have sought to preserve the gracious spirit by giving to those who cannot pay, when possible, and by enlarging our work into a non-profit "Concern," in which others share the necessary expenses with us. So it is possible to expand without limit.

The postage, also, is an unavoidable expense. It would be much higher if the magazine were not listed as second-class matter. To do this, however, we must have a subscription price. But this is so low that few cannot pay it, and to them it is sent gratis.

As the work grew, and it became impossible to get the difficult type-work done, we did some of it ourselves at half price. Then the office work demanded full time, so that it is now on a salary. As the Hebrew version cannot well be done by others, we have bought a machine and hope to do our type setting better and more economically ourselves. In this way the Concern seeks to get the most out of the funds confided to it, and enables its supporters and others to preach on paper without pay.

The literary and translation work, however, we hope to keep gratuitous, though, at times it seems beyond our powers. But God has always intervened hitherto, and marvelously blessed our little store, so that we have had enough, and could even share with others in distress. But the enormous labor and time spent in making concordances and indexes, and checking the version was done, and is still being done, by a number of faithful, tireless associates, whose names are unknown and whose "salary" waits until that day when we all will receive a reward according to the graciousness and selflessness of our service for Him.

We hope our readers will realize and appreciate the fact that, even if they pay for our literature, especially the version and related books, the price, as a rule, does not cover the cost of publishing and distributing, because our market is comparatively limited. But the much greater effort devoted to laborious research, etc., is given freely, as we are able, "without money and without price." We, and our many associates and helpers delight in giving gratuitously, and trust that those who benefit by our labors will receive it in that spirit. We realize that, if we preach grace, we must practice it, if we wish others to receive it.

Now that we are about to publish parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, it may lead to special financial strains. The price of printing and binding is now so excessive that it would ordinarily cost more than double what it formerly did. There is quite a demand, which will help some. Yet we ask our friends to join us in prayer, that we may be given the strength and the help and the means to present the saints with a complete Concordant Version. Beyond this there should be a Hebrew text (in Latin letters) with sublinear, as well as concordances, as in the case of the Greek. We can think of nothing of greater value to the saints of God, than these aids to the knowledge of His inspired revelation.

The great truths which God has so lovingly confided to us, which feature transcendent grace, demand a far more gracious spirit and gratuitous method in making it known than any other of God's dispensations. If the twelve apostles were told to give as freely as they had received, surely we, who have obtained a much greater grace, should excel them in this matter. Paul went even further. He paid for the privilege in suffering and distress. The tragic feature of this is that, if the message is not given gratuitously, it loses its grace. Almost always, those who take hire fall out of grace. Some merit is demanded of the recipient, so that it loses its force and flavor. This has characterized the course of Christendom. May God preserve us from it in the future!


Compared to the great religious groups and other agencies in the world today, our work is as nothing. They collect billions in order to broadcast their dubious doctrines, and support vast organizations to spread much error and confusion, along with the measure of truth which all possess. But we seek, in our minute measure, to enhance the spiritual value of the sums confided to us, by using them to make known the transcendent grace with which we are blessed. This, we feel sure, multiplies their value many times.


Paul kept the faith (2 Tim.4:7). That was much easier for him, in some ways, than it is for us today, for he had it given to him from above, while we had to begin with much error, which we had to discard. He used the language of inspiration. We had to use translations, and most of these are already far from the faith on vital themes. When we seek to make one to conform to the faith, the clergy and laity of Christendom, even though split into so many conflicting sects, are almost unanimous in rejecting and denouncing it, for, in most cases, their very livelihood depends on preserving error. Gracious giving might have hindered, or even healed this disastrous development in Christendom, and seems the only practical preventive and means of recovery. Only so can the motive be unmixed with selfish interests.

We are well aware how unacceptable this course is, and how contrary to the trend of the times. Nevertheless, we pray that our friends will be given grace and strength to stem the tide of popular opinion, and stand with us in our efforts, not only to recover and reveal the gratuitous grace of God, but to practice it in our lives and in our service for Him. Has not God graced us with a greater measure of His light in order that we may share it with others? Is it not only our duty, but our privilege, to make it known in such a way as accords with its character? Only thus can we hope to give God the greatest glory, and gain the praise of our Lord at the dais of Christ. Oh! that God would give us men who will give out God's grace gratuitously!

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