William Hendriksen summarises the approach of Paul and his companions:-
Paul’s stand may be summarized in the following ten propositions:
- Titus 1:11: He definitely does not want to give any occasion for being placed in a class with “vain talkers” who are interested in “filthy lucre.”
- 1 Cor. 9:6–15: He, nevertheless, emphatically asserts the right to receive remuneration from the church for performing spiritual work, and to receive it even from the converts themselves (see especially verse 11). Nevertheless, as far as the latter group is concerned (the converts), he has decided not to make use of that right (see verse 15).
- Acts 20:33: He will now be able to say, “I coveted no man’s silver, gold, or apparel.”
- 2 Cor. 11:8: He does at times “take wages” from already established churches, while he is working in a new field.(5) Phil. 4:10–20: He accepts gifts from an already established church (Philippi).
- Acts 20:34, 35; 1 Thess. 2:9 and 2 Thess. 3:8: Most of all, he provides for his own needs (and even for the needs of others) by laboring with his own hands.
- Acts 18:3: He is tent-maker by trade.
- 1 Cor. 6:12; 8:9, 13; 9:12; 10:23: The principle on which he insists again and again (applying it to various questions) is this: All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful: there are a good many things which I have a right to do, but that does not mean that I should therefore do them! The real question is always: “What course of action will be most useful in promoting the work of the kingdom and the glory of God?”
- 2 Cor. 11:7: Even so, in spite of this carefully worked out plan with respect to work and wages, he does not escape criticism. If he takes money, or if his enemies suspect that he does, they are ready to charge him with selfishness, greed; if he does not, they accuse him of making a show of his humility.
- 1 Cor. 4:12; Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8, 10: He (and the Holy Spirit through him!) dignifies labor, and proclaims the great principle: “If any man will not work neither let him eat.”
(New Testament Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:9)