Tithing is a practice often neglected today. Often, many would reason that it is only found in the Old Testament Law and thus shouldn’t be practiced today in the New Testament Church.
What is tithing?
The word “tithe” means “tenth”. It’s a specialized noun form of tenth. So a tenth part of something is a tithe.
So what is tithing? Tithing is a transfer of a tenth back to God after He gives you something.
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
God is the One who gives everyone their wealth.
18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Tithing is not charitable giving. It is more understood to be a form of debt to God for giving you wealth. You can call tithe the interest or usury. You give to charities. You don’t give to the IRS or your school loan agency or your bill collectors, you owe the IRS, your school loans, and your bills. Nowhere in the Bible does the tithe ever been equated with charitable giving.
When was the first tithe?
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
The second time in the Bible we see tithing is 14 chapters later, where Abraham’s grandson Jacob makes a promise to tithe to God:
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Why is this important? It is important because it means people tithed long before the Levitical law was instituted.Things that are eternally moral or immoral are spoken of or commanded long before the Law was given. We hear how murder is wrong from Cain’s sin. The Law didn’t have to tell us that. God then institutes the death penalty after the Flood. While the Law has specific death penalties, all governments today have some form of death penalty. The death penalty came before the Law. We also know that fornication and adultery and such other sins are wrong from Genesis, and why it is a big reason why God sent the Flood on Earth. The Law reiterated that.
Jesus Himself uses this line of reasoning. He reasons with the Pharisees concerning marriage and divorce not from the Law, but from before the Law:
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
So in light of that line of reasoning, why one should tithe today, is because it was done from the beginning before the Law.
Furthermore, as Gentile Christians, we are considered children of Abraham. If you’ve ever sang the the song “Father Abraham” in Sunday schools or bus, this is what is being referred to:
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
As a side note, some may see that as to mean that the Church replaces or unites with Israel. That is not so. For one, Abraham was a father of many nations, not just Israel. He fathered many of the Semitic nations we see today. And the Bible calls the Church another nation which is also not a nation. It’s complicated. At any rate, the verse isn’t saying the Church equals to or identical to Israel.
7 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
Here, it clarifies that Jesus is part of the Melchizedek line of priests, not the Levitical line. In verse 8, it says that we tithe to Christ today as He lives forever.
Levi’s descendants tithed to Melchizedek while Levi was in Abraham’s loins. Since we are children of Abraham, we practice the same pattern of tithing.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. In the New Testament, Paul calls the church house the storehouse.
I Corinthians 16:2
Upon the first day (Sunday) of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
The reference to the first day, which is Sunday when we go to church, is not accidental. Please refer to my previous article True Bible Reasons Why Church Is On Sunday Not Saturday for the significance of this.
Referring back to Hebrews, the Levitical tithe was made for the service of their office. Also, I Corinthians state Paul asked for tithes for him coming. So it is obvious that while we tithe to Christ, the actual money goes to the priests and church involved in the work.
100% wrong. You basically took a hatchette to scripture. And no Paul DID NOT ask for Tithes?
You are right Mel…this writer sure did a hatchet job regarding if tithes exist for NT beleivers. He has failed very dismally.
Yes, you are right. Tithes is not in new testament. Tithes was for Israel and not with money. I myself was deaf former independent Baptist pastor.
Your anology that Jacob tithed based on the following scriptures is incorrect, Gen 28:20-22. Jacob promised to give a tenth of all his possesions on the condition that God must first bless him, and then bring him back to his father’s house. Jacob set the conditions not God. Jacob being the grandson of Abraham, and certainly if his grandfather and his father taught Jacob that he should tithe, then it would not have been necessary that Jacob would set down any conditions for God to meet before tithing, he would have tithed automatically. Furthermore there is no indication in the Bible whether Jacob ever kept that vow he made, neither is there evidence or example that Jacob ever tithed [gave a tenth as he promised]. These scriptures cannot be used as proof texed that the New Testament beliver must tithe.
Regarding the Abram tithe in Gen 14: 18-20; the tithes Abram gave to the king of Salem [who was also a priest], Melchisedec was not of his own income or riches, this tithes was from the spoils of war. The custom of the day [which was a pagan practice] was that when the tribes went forth to war against each other, the tribe that conquours voctorious is by custom allowed to take spoils of war. Meaning that the defeated tribe loses their goods, their women, their silver or gold etc. In this case Abram and his trained servants were victorious and therefore entitled to spols of war. Abram being met by the king of Salem, and Melchisedec as priest, Abram realised this man’s importance and gave him a tenth [tithes] of the spoils of war. Nowhere here does it suggest that Abram gave of his own riches. Not only that Abram made the promise that he would not keep the other 90% that was left over, he actually gave it to the king of Sodom. So we see that he kept nothing! How can you even come to the conclusion that this one time event is proof text that the NT believers have to tithe. There is no evidence that Abram did ever tithe to God, as God never gave him such a command to do. The conclusion is that not one of the Patriachs were ever commanded to tithe.
Your anology of Hebrews 7: 1-7; Again Abraham gave a tenth to Melchisedec of the spoils of war, not of his own income, or ten percent of what he owned. He gave 10% of the spoils. Take note that a tenth [tithe as we understand it], is not a spiritual term but a mathematical term. The definition of tithe today is not the same as the Biblical definition.
There is nothing in the scriptures that indicate that Abraham was required to tithe, or give a tenth, other that it was the custom of the day amongst the heathen tribes. Nowhere is this a command from God. One cannot use this as an example to show that tithing was established before the law and therefore, was brought into the New Testament. As Abraham gave nothing of his own, it is scripturally wrong to pull the concept of the tithe out of context, and now apply it to one’s own income or property. In fact Abram’s “tithe” was in fact a free-will gift to Melchisedec. Levi recieved tithes according to the law under the Levitical priesthood. As we read further in Hebrews 7:12, we see the following, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change in the law”. Meaning that the changing of the priesthood [abolishing, annulling] will bring about a change of the law. There were 613 laws by which the Israelites had to live their daily lives, and tithes was one of those 613 laws. Hebrews 7:18 is clear, “for there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitablness thereof”. In other words the command to tithe was disannulled [cancelled]. Eph 2:15, “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law  of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself one new man, so making peace”. Col 2:14, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances [the 613 laws] that was gainst us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”. Confirms that the OT laws [tithes being one of them] were abolished when nailed to the Cross. Gal 4:5, “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might recieve the adoption of sons”. Gal 3:10, : For as many are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, cursed is everyone that continueth under the law not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them”. Meaning that those who reject what Christ did on the cross, and who continue to put themselves under the law are cursed by the law. If one continues putting themselves under the law they are putting themselves under all the laws written in the book. Your assumption that 1 Cor 16:2 that the apostle is asking the saints of Corinth to gather their tithes is way of mark. There is no mention of Paul alluding to tithes, but he is asking for a collection [offerings] to give to the Galatian church.
Lastly your misuse of Malachi 3 again as text proof that NT believer have to tithe is incorrect. Pastors fail to teach their members the entire book of Malachi being chapters 1-3. Who was God through the prophet speaking to. Mal 1:1 clearly states that God was adressing the nation of Israel, [but more clearly to the priests], or was he adressing the the NT Church. Many teachers say that if you don’t bring a tithe of your gross income to the church you are robbing God. But God is clearly speaking to the priests as indicative of verse 6 in Mal 1. God was not adressing the people of Israel as it was not the people who were robbing God. It is very clear from scriptures given here that it was the priests that were robbing God. It is unscriptural that you would even suggest it was the people when it is clear that the priests were robbing God of tghe tithes and offerings. God’s commanded tithe has and always will be agricultre, fruit and herds. Leviticus 27:30-34 is clear as to what God’s commanded tithe is. It was never monetary. God has not transferred his agricularal tithe to a monetary tithe. Mal 3:10 “bring ye all the tithes [agriculture, fruit and herds] into the storehouse [not the temple or a church] , that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing [speaking of physical rain for the harvest]., athat there shall not be room enough to recieve it”. God is speaking of a blessing of harvest that the storehouses will not be able to hold it. Paul was not asking for tithes from the Corinthians to give the Galations saints. There is no proof of him doing that, except ask for donations/offerings. Paul does not call the storehouse the “church”, you are lying. The pastors of today are not Levitical priests and therefore cannot collect tithes. God never transferred the Levitical priesthood to the New Testament Church. The priesthood was ended at the Cross as proven with scripture. Every believer in Christ are priests unto our God. The storehouse is not the church today as the pyhsical storehouses and the Temple was destroyed. Nowhere did God transfer the commanded tithe [agriculture] to a monetary tithe. Jesus never tithed nor did he teach tithing. Paul neither the apostles tithed or taught tithing. Bottom line here is you have used selected scriptures from the OT to justify a monetary in the NT. Yet there is no proof from your anology that NT believers are commanded to tithe, as it was not taught in the NT. The 613 laws of which tithes was one was annulled as proven by scriptures. Like most churches today you have used one of the 613 laws to proof [very lamely I might add] that tithing exists. As scripture clearly states in Gal 2:10 if you practice one law you have to practice all the laws. As the NT Church we are no longer under law [Gal 5:18], as we are under grace [led by the Holy Spirit] which is far more superior that the law ever was.
I would like to ask why my comments refuting your tithe teaching has not yet been posted for comments?
William Cook, you are spot on!
Did the priests pay tithes? No! New Covenant believers are called a Royal Priesthood. Please don’t allow any man to guilt you into giving to their supposed ministry. Priests don’t tithe! You are a Royal Priest! Do you want to give to God, give to St. Jude, give to Tunnels2Towers. That’s how Jesus said that we give to him. Matt. 25:35
I love it when God’s word is dug into and studied. I would like to share scripture with you that the Holy Spirit can use to illuminate and lead us into truth. ” But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:13. I John 2:27 ” As for you , the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you , you abide in him.
Brother, there is one word of God, and there is one God. Malachi 3:6 reads “For I the lord, do not change; therefore you O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. Isaiah 40:8 reads ” the grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of God stands forever.” Jesus, the second person of the trinity is the word…. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God” John 1:1-2 God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. John 1:3 reads “All things came into being through him, apart from him, nothing came into being that has come into being.” All things has to include all things, his word, which is Jesus, Jesus is the word. All of the word, old and new. Jesus said ” Do not think that i came to abolish the law or the prophets; i did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For i truly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18
Where does grace come in? Jesus says in Matthew 23:23 ” Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” Jesus doesn’t say stop tithing, he says in a nut shell that the grace i give should be applied while obeying me. Jesus says in John 14:15 ” if you love me, keep my commandments”. One word, one God. Jesus is God.
Matthew 5:19 ” Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Not a salvation issue, but clearly he reiterates the importance of obedience to ” word of God”
The fact is if we choose to with hold what belongs to God, we are robbing God. We are not to tithe out of fear or obligation, thinking we get anything out of it. We do it because we have a new heart. ” Moreover, i will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and i will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statues, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances.” Ezekiel 36:26-27 Galatians 3:21 ” Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.” Grace… not Grace minus obedience to God’s commands. We obey God because of Christ; he enables us with the power and desire to do so. In 2 Corinthians , apostle Paul refers to Grace giving. He never says to quit tithing and disobey God. ” Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of Joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For i testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this not as we expected, BUT THEY FIRST GAVE THEMSELVES TO THE LORD AND TO US BY THE WILL OF GOD. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 . Paul point out a critical thing of the word… they gave themselves first to the lord.
Jesus says ” if you love me, keep my commandments,” God says ” i am the lord i change not”. They had new hearts and they desired to please God, they saw needs and they met those needs out of the resources that God gave them…. all without robbing God. You can rest assured, if they had misinterpreted God’s word and were robbing God, Paul would have called them out. Now look at this in 2 Corinthians 7-8 ” But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.” The word also appears twice, that means in conjunction with … with what ? Gods word. Christ had them completely … 100% of them belonged to him.
I John 5:3 ” For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not burdensome.:”
” All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The principle of tithing is biblical. We have the examples of saints giving tithe to the Lord, starting from Abraham (first recorded, but may not be the first).
Many say that we are not under law, but under grace. This should mean that we give more, not less.
I find a New Testament teaching on giving helpful 1 Corinthians 16:2 & 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: 1 Corinthians 16:2 says: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” This passage brings out four points: we should give individually, regularly, methodically and proportionately. The matter of your giving is between you and God (not the pastor and/or anyone else), and He always takes into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His kingdom advanced. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” The deeper question, you see, is this: What has priority in our lives? Is Christ really first or do we put ourselves and our own desires first? Make sure Christ is first in your life, and then ask Him to guide you not some preacher.