I was reading through some of the articles on giving and tithing at Crown Financial Ministries the other day.
I was struck by something that both saddened and angered me at the same time.
Many of their articles ask and answer questions like
“Should I tithe on my Social Security checks?”, “Should I tithe on alimony or child support payments?”, and “Should I tithe on life insurance payouts?”.
The problem with these types of questions is that they tend to ignore the joy of giving and get caught up in the technicalities of exactly how we can please God.
I believe many people with these questions honestly want to honor God in their giving.
But when they get focused on whether they’re doing it just right they are missing the point.
Rather than giving being a joyful expression of their love for God and God’s love in them, it becomes a burdensome task filled with fear of making a mistake.
This is one of the reasons I don’t teach tithing as a giving standard for Christians.
It has such terrible potential to become a matter of observing strict, heartless laws that we can become blind to the reasons God wants us to give in the first place.
It turns something that should be a beautiful picture of our response to Jesus’ teaching into an ugly argument between believers.
The Heart of Giving
After Jesus’ death, you will find no instructions in the New Testament that use tithing as the example or standard Christians should use when it comes to giving.
Instead, the apostles always point to Jesus’ love and sacrifice as our ultimate motivation and example.
The heart of giving goes back to the cross and what happened there. It’s focused on having an eternal view of life and the true value of riches.
Giving revolves around an understanding of who God is, what He has done for us, and what He wants us to do for each other.
This view of giving is so much more powerful than clinging to a strict, stifling view of tithing. We think we’re doing people a favor when we teach tithing. It’s a relatively simple guideline (though people do have a tendency to complicate it). It makes us feel more confident that the church will be able to pay its bills (assuming everyone tithes).
We think we can motivate people to give by teaching tithing, telling them about the blessings and curses, and pointing to Old Testament verses that declare it as a commandment.
Giving As A Response To What Jesus Did For Us
Look at those ideas in comparison to Jesus as the central example for giving.
Tithing didn’t suffer for us.
Tithing doesn’t get us to heaven.
And tithing never loved us.
But Jesus did suffer for us. He offers us eternal life. And He loves us so very, very much – even to the point of death.
How can our response to Him be anything other than love? And how can that love – God’s love – produce anything in us other than astonishing, extravagant generosity?
It’s easy for us to dismiss tithing because it’s so impersonal. We can come up with excuses for why we can’t tithe just now. But we cannot ignore the gift of Jesus – the gift of His death for our sins so that we can have eternal life. There is no excuse that can overcome that gift. If Jesus is our focus for giving, then the Holy Spirit will continually compel us to give generously.
And the joy we’ll have in that giving! Every moment of generosity can be an opportunity to reflect on God’s amazing love for us. It gives us a chance to share God’s love as we help others. It becomes an exciting part of our walk with Christ rather than a dreaded task of worrying about calculating everything to perfection.
Giving As A Generous, Cheerful, Sacrificial Act
I know many of you will not like that I’ve taken a stance against tithing.
It’s become such an ingrained part of the Christian culture in America that it’s almost a sin to speak against it. But why can’t we see that giving based on the life and death of Jesus will result in more generous, more sacrificial, and more cheerful Christian givers than teaching based on tithing?
What a great post!!
And I just recently wrote an article about what is the right amout to give.
You’re right, God wants us to have “giving” in our hearts.
And if there is a sinner who has turned their back on The Lord but still makes sure they give 10% to try to get in heaven, and there’s a millonaire who truly has giving in his heart but may not make the 10% threshold, I think its pretty easy to see whose getting in!
Paul Williams says
Yeah, David – it really gets down to your motives for giving. If you’re just doing it out of fear, then it won’t profit you anything. Love must be the primary reason – God’s love working in you. Thanks for commenting!
It seems to me there is a difference between tithing and giving. Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law. He actually taught us to take the extra step (ex: adultery is not only doing the act, but it’s lusting after someone else; murder is the same as hate, etc.). It is the same with tithing. Not only are we to continue to tithe, but we are to give on top of the required first fruits. That first 10% is still God’s.
Paul Williams says
Hi, Rachel! You’re right that Jesus did not come to destroy/abolish the Law. But He did come to fulfill it. It may be good for you to study what that means. I’d recommend Galatians to start. My concern with those who teach tithing is the often found mis-emphasis on Malachi 3:8-9 and how you will be cursed if you do not tithe.
I do not disagree that we ought to give. And I do not disagree that many of us (especially in America) ought to give more than 10%. But I think many would do well to take Jesus rebuke of the Pharisees’ devouring widow’s houses to heart.
Gary Arnold says
Here’s my take on Matthew 5:17 (NIV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
We are talking about the law here, so we need to choose the proper definition for fulfill. Here is an example:
If you hire a contractor to build a barn, once the contractor has completed the barn and has been paid, the contract has been fulfilled. The work is complete. It ends. The contractor did not abolish the contract, he established it. He fulfilled it.
Jesus didn’t abolished the law, he fulfilled it. He completed everything needed to establish it. It is done with.
Paul Williams says
Gary, I think that’s a good explanation consistent with Scripture (especially Galatians). Thanks for sharing!
I agree Rachel. If we were to give as much as Christ loved us we would be giving above and beyond 10% but instead, factually less than 10% of christians are even tithing! Our giving is a sign of our spiritual health. And how about the promises God makes if we are obedient in tithing? Also, this is the only place God challenges us to TEST HIM!
Gary Arnold says
Great article, Paul.
I also teach the topic of giving as well as point out that tithing really ended at the cross along with the Levitical priesthood.
I believe the New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.
As you say, the motive behind the giving is what really matters.
Paul Williams says
Thanks for commenting, Gary! I agree with you, except that there were actually two other tithes (which still only applied to farmers) in the OT. I did a series on tithing a while back, mostly to look at the question of whether we’re still under the tithe but also to actually look at what the Bible says about tithing and not men.
I think Jesus made it quite clear that your motives are more important than carefully observing laws.
Love this article. Giving with a joyful heart is SUPER important. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the most important pieces of managing money. Whenever I start to stress about the monthly tithe. I just remember that God gave me everything, so for him to only ask for 10% back I should definitely be able to make it happen.
Paul Williams says
Right on, Ninja! I don’t know how we can give any way but joyfully when we consider all that Christ did for us when He died on the cross. Such great sacrifice and love should move us to give generously to help others!
Peter Anderson says
I can honestly say, while I sometimes struggle with tithing, every time I drop that check in the offering plate I get that immediate sense of joy in giving back to God what is his, and a sense of freedom in knowing that it’s all His anyway. It so much easier to give when you realize it’s for your own good, and that God wants us to give in order to feel his Love, and to feel the release of not having to hold on so tight to “things”.
Paul Williams says
Giving is one way we can loosen our grip on the things of this world, but I think finding our contentment in Christ and our heavenly reward is paramount. Once we have those in view, everything here on Earth looks like absolute garbage!
Dean VanDruff says
“The tithe” as part of the Law is no more applicable to us than making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year is. It is mentioned in the New Testament only a couple of times, generally in the context of rebuke to the Pharisees concerning fastidious observance of the ceremonial Law.
If God had intended to carry tithing over into the New Covenant, then the chance was missed in Acts 15. You will note tithing is not mentioned in the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council rulings; though for modern legalists this is a favorite extra-biblical “exception” or “carryover” from the Old Covenant Law.
Christians in general reject the idea that we are “under the law”, yet tithing somehow gets exempted. But it is all or nothing, when it comes to the law, is it not?
Gal 5:1 (NKJ) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Gal 3:10 (NRS) All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Gal 4:21 (NIV) Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?
So clearly, to embrace old covenant tithing is a dangerous thing indeed, however popular.
But there is another problem as well, and that is in the understanding of what the tithe really is. To find this out, Acts 17:11’s advice would lead an honest inquirer to Deut 14:22, if it could be found… (Yes, I will explain.) The reality and fulfillment of the biblical tithe will likely shock a few, but is useful to understand in the new covenant.
The tithe is perhaps one of the most artificially twisted doctrines in the modern church. In fact, I detect a minor conspiracy. As evidence of this, please note that you will not find Deut 14:22 and the rest of the chapter–the largest single text in scripture concerning the tithe and its formal definition (it is even so headed in many versions)–in most Bible concordances. I have checked a dozen or so Bibles around the house here, and not one of them has this text listed under “tithe”. Hmmm…
Here is a sample from the middle of the text of interest, but you ought to read the whole and in context–thus, I am deliberately leaving out the meat of it. I encourage you to stop now, go get your Bible, and read Deut 14:22 and onwards with your own eyes…
Here is a section giving specific instructions concerning “the tithe”:
Deut 14:26 (NAS) “And you may spend the money for whatever your heart desires, for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.”
As you can see, the Lord in the Old Testament Torah describes a very different practice of the tithe than what we moderns have been taught in our religious traditions of men.
For the Jews the tithe was a “party” (or feast, if you like) and was to be “consumed in the sight of the Lord”. God’s command to tithe includes consuming “whatever your heart desires”, including “strong drink”! Imagine using up a tenth of your agricultural increase every year in a single party! Wasteful, extravagant, and flesh mortifying; yet God’s clear command. With this Jewish (and historic) perspective, no wonder the prophet Malachi (3:8-11) asks: “How have we robbed from You, Lord, by not tithing?” If you understand the Jewish idea of party-tithing, you will appreciate his question. God commands His people to enjoy themselves by bringing the bounty together so that “There may be food in my house” and then feasting and enjoying themselves in His sight.
Beyond debunking modern misconceptions, understanding the tithe properly makes for a richer understanding of scripture. As you read Deuteronomy 14 and see the concepts of “throwing a feast”, and “not forgetting the poor” and making sure to invite “the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows”… does this not have a familiar ring with teachings of Jesus? For yet another example, Moses wanted “to go the place our Lord has commanded” to… guess what? The feast of Shavuot; to tithe (Ex 5:1), and this staged the basis of the ensuing conflict. Pharaoh said “OK, but only the men… without the livestock… at the place I [Pharaoh] choose…,” and Moses said, “No, we have to go to the place God selects… with all.”
Rom 15:4 (NIV) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us…
Let us consider for a moment the spiritual meaning of the Old Covenant Law of the tithe. God commands the Jews to consume a tenth of the year’s agricultural increase in festive and lavish celebration. Think about the ramifications of this in actual fact. A father might spend this much money on a wedding for many guests, but consider if everyone present were spending the same amount. Some reception, eh? It would be hard to figure out how to spend it all! The message is clear… God wants His people to enjoy themselves in His presence. From a carnal point of view, it would seem better and more pragmatic to horde and/or save for a rainy day. Why should this money and wealth be wasted? While God does not discourage good planning, savings and thrift, it would seem that with the tithe He is also trying to get us to see how ephemeral this world is. “Go ahead and use it up before I burn it up,” seems to be the message. “He who dies with the most hoarded… loses!”
And Jesus says, “When you throw a feast [party], do not just invite those who can pay you back or help you share expenses. Rather… do not forget the poor…” (Luke 14:13). Hmmm… Sound familiar?
Jesus was accused of being a “winebibber” and glutton, and of associating with low-life people (Luke 7:34) while on earth.
“Use your mammon to buy friends for yourself in heavenly places…” (Luke 16:9)
I must return, unfortunately, to the conspiracy of deliberate collusion to maintain false “religious” notions and man-made traditions about the tithe. The pathological twist usually goes something like this. “The Bible speaks more about money than about prayer” (true). “Thus, my sermon today is on tithing…” (All wrong–about tithing–of course… and a great leap from money (oft spoken of) to an emphasis on a subject largely absent from New Testament teaching–excepting a few (negative?) references in rebuke to the Pharisees or concerning the law.) And here we must be more sober-minded than we may like, and see the situation as it really is; for many of these preachers and teachers have been to seminary, have read the Bible (including Deuteronomy 14) many times, and so ostensibly know better. Perhaps it is time to recognize that the Holy Spirit was/is right and that there are “many false prophets” among us… preferring the way of Balaam (a prophet for profit)–just as Jesus told us there would be.
Hey, the way of Balaam has paid off many a church mortgage!
Sin breeds even more sin…
2 Cor 2:17 (NIV) Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
The New Testament–and the whole of scripture–encourages giving and offerings of many kinds, just as the Old Testament has other forms of tithing, taxation, and spoils-of-war sharing as well. Generosity is a personality trait of those who have been born from above. God has proven Himself rich and lavish in His grace and loving care towards us, and if we really have His life in us, then we will be like Him.
In fact, the New Testament teaching is much more radical than the paltry Old Testament tithe. We have an entire Bible study on Money posted–accurate to the proportionate emphasis on how money is spoken of in Scripture, at: http://www.acts17-11.com/money.html if you have not seen it already.
The verse that most sums up the New Testament teaching on giving is:
2 Cor 9:7 (NAS) Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
This is a good one-verse answer to give to the tithing legalists spreading their leaven among us nowadays. And let us admit that there is something in us that hankers to be “under the law,” even if just a little bit.
2 Cor 9:7 (NIV) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
The verse is clear enough. Each one must give what the Holy Spirit has led him/her to in each and every situation with two conditions: never grudgingly, and never under manipulation (compulsion). It is impossible to imagine how legalistic adherence to the Old Testament tithe (and that woefully misunderstand!) could be compatible with this instruction.
The teaching of 2 Cor 9:7 is much more difficult than “rue and mint and cumin” at 10%. It is a John 3:8 sort of thing. There is no “law” about it (Gal 5:23b), this new wine will surely break the old wine skin. God wants us to give what He is asking now!
And this amount may be all, as in the case of Acts 5. God made a rather deadly point to underscore how serious He is about the new instruction of giving that was instituted in the New Covenant.
Heb 8:13 (NAS) When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
Let us not, then, trifle with the form of things. The reality is here. Jesus is our Sabbath rest, our tithe feast, our Lamb of sacrifice, and our leader, example, and reason for sacrificial giving and living.
Tithing is no more appropriate for believers than killing a bull in our front yards next Saturday as an “offering” with the idea that “Hey, it is commanded in the Bible, isn’t it?” (Isa 66:3). God has no interest in such (Ps 50:8-9,13) and to hanker after things like the tithe may well be an indication that we like the old wine better than the new (Luke 5:39).
Gal 5:9 (NRS) A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.
James 2:10 (NIV) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
2 Cor 9:6-7 (NIV) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Paul Williams says
Wow, Dean! That’s got to be the longest comment I’ve ever had on a post. :)
I appreciate that you’ve studied this topic so thoroughly. You and I have many of the same conclusions. I don’t believe I found anything in your comment that I don’t agree with or have ever written against.
I especially liked what you said here:
“2 Cor 9:7 (NAS) Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
This is a good one-verse answer to give to the tithing legalists spreading their leaven among us nowadays. And let us admit that there is something in us that hankers to be “under the law,” even if just a little bit.”
I find that many people still want to use the tithe as an easy guideline because they’re not sure how else to figure out what they should give. In that case, I think it may be fine to start there, but you need to be frequently praying for the guidance of the Spirit as to the appropriate amount God wants you to give. It may be much more than 10%, or it could possibly be less.
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts so completely. I’d love to have you check out my other stuff at Provident Planning sometime and hear your thoughts.
Gary Arnold says
Actually Dean, God commanded three different tithes. Here are the three definitions and ordinances:
1 – The Levitical Tithe aka The Lord’s Tithe. This is the tithe church leaders twist and change when they teach tithing today:
Leviticus 27:30-34 (KJV)
30And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.
31And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
32And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
33He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Notice the tithe is a tenth of the crops (not the first tenth) and every tenth animal (not the first, but the last of the tenth). Those are assets that come from God’s hand, NOT income from man’s labor. God NEVER commanded anyone to tithe on income.
The ordinances for this tithe are in Numbers 18 where God commands this tithe be taken to the Levites, forever.
2 – The Festival Tithe
Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (KJV)
22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Notice the Festival Tithe was a tenth of the crops. That’s it. Nothing else. However, for the feast, they were also to include the firstborn animals, but not a tenth. Again, the tithe was on assets, not income.
3 – The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (KJV)
28At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Notice the 3-year tithe was a tenth of crops only. Again, assets, not income.
Since all three tithes included a tenth of the crops, Leviticus 25:3-7 comes into play as there was the seven-year sabbath rest for the land; thus, no tithing of crops in the seventh year.
Church leaders ignor God’s definitions of the tithe, and they ignor God’s ordinances (instructions) for the tithes.
Most who teach tithing today are incorrect in 100% of what they teach.
Preacher: You tithe on the first ten percent of your income.
God’s Word: You tithe on crops, and every tenth animal that passes under the rod. NOT the first, but the tenth. See Leviticus 27:30-33. Preachers are mixing firstfruits with the tithe and they are NOT the same. In Nehemiah 10:37-38 we learn that the firstfruits were taken to the temple for the priests, and the tithe was taken to the Levites to go into their cities.
Preacher: The Levites worked full-time at The Temple.
God’s Word: The Levities and priests were divided into “24 courses” and they rotated working at The Temple one week out of every 24 weeks. Therefore, the priests and Levites actually worked at The Temple about two weeks a year. The rest of the time they had regular jobs. See First Chronicles 24 for the priests and chapters 25 and 26 for the Levites.
Preacher: You tithe the BEST to God.
God’s Word: You tithe every tenth animal whether that animal be good OR BAD. See Leviticus 27:30-33.
Preacher: The firstfruits of your income belong to God.
God’s Word: In the Old Testament, every time a firstfruits offering is mentioned it is referring to the first of the crop, assets that came from God’s hand, not man’s labor. Firstfruits offerings has nothing to do with income.
Preacher: The tithe was taken to The Temple.
God’s Word: The tithe was taken to the Levites to go into their cities. See Nehemiah 10:37-38.
Preacher: Malachi 3:10 Take all the tithes to the storehouse.
God’s Word: The Levites received the tithe, and they were required to take a tenth of the tithe to the priests. ONLY that tithe went to the storehouse, NOT the tithe from the people. Again, see Nehemiah 10:37-38.
Preacher: You are robbing God if you don’t bring your tithe to the church. Malachi 3:8-10.
God’s Word: The priests were robbing God, not the people. The priests robbed God of the tithe by stealing the Levites portion (Nehemiah 13). The priests robbed God of the offerings by giving the worst and keeping the best (Malachi 1).
God defined His tithe in Leviticus 27:30-33 as HOLY. How can anyone change God’s definition and then call a tenth of their income a HOLY tithe!
Paul Williams says
Ah, Gary – I see you already know about the other two tithes. :) I didn’t see this before I replied to your first comment.
You are very accurate in your representation of the mis-teachings about tithing that are so prevalent today. I’ve voiced many of the same concerns in the series I did on tithing in the Bible.
I always try to follow up to such discussions by pointing out that this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give or that many of us shouldn’t be giving more than 10% (often much more). But the way tithing is taught today is very much against what Scripture says unless you twist things a lot. It’s also a very stifling view of giving when contrasted with following the example of Jesus Christ. Thinking about God’s love for me moves me to give much more than a sermon on tithing ever will.
That was a good article by Paul. I subscribe to his blog on provident planning. I don’t think most people understand the purpose of God’s grace. Our human nature wants control, so therefore we fear others who are outside of our influence. We seek ways to provide consistency and security by implementing minimum requirements instead of allowing God’s grace to influence their giving.
Paul Williams says
Thanks for commenting, Jared! I think we’re often scared of grace. We’re not sure how to handle it or fully understand it. We’re not sure how to extend it to others. And we don’t like dealing with something we’re don’t completely understand.
I think guidelines can be helpful as we try to serve God, but we must always strive to understand grace more and consider those guidelines through the eyes of God’s grace.
Jeremy Walter says
Great article. What I think has unfortunately become a result of this “10% giving” mindset in the Church is that the remaining 90%, or whatever figure each household “keeps” is considered ours, and not God’s. The truth is that 100% of our money is God’s, not just the 10% we “give” back to him – it’s his in the first place!
I believe sacrificial giving is critical to all of us because it reminds us that it’s not our paychecks that provide for us – it’s God. And quite honestly, he doesn’t need our tithes and our givings – he’s got the cattle on the thousand hills, and as Larry Burkett said, he owns the hills too.
Keep up the great writing, I’ve enjoyed your guest blogs as well as your Provident Planning work.
Paul Williams says
Thanks for commenting, Jeremy!
You’re right. That thinking is one danger of the 10% mindset among others. I think it also borders on the “How little can I give and still make God happy?” question instead of “How much can I give to honor God, who has given me so much?”.
Thanks for the encouragement, and I look forward to hearing from you again!
You mentioned that the new testament doesn’t say anything about tithing, but it says that Abraham was justified by his works in the book of James, and the book of Hebrews tells us he gave a tenth of all his spoils to the high priest of his time, but now Jesus receives our tithes according to Hebrews, the one who “liveth” it says receives tithes now. We must be careful not to vear from the word of God. If Abraham, the father of faith, was justified by works and he tithed, we must have tithes paid as well if we are his children of faith.
Paul Williams says
Hi, Rich. What I actually said was, “After Jesus’ death, you will find no instructions in the New Testament that use tithing as the example or standard Christians should use when it comes to giving.” And this is true. Hebrews 7 is not an instructional passage on how we Christians should tithe. I’ve written on this before, you can read it here: http://www.providentplan.com/973/tithing-in-the-bible-change-of-the-priesthood-change-of-the-law-hebrews-7/
But even if you are correct – that we should tithe as Abram did – then no one needs to worry anyway. I haven’t met a single person yet who didn’t tithe from their spoils of war.
Gary Arnold says
Hebrews 7:8 (KJV) And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
And here men that die receive tithes – the Levites receive tithes. The Book of Hebrews was written before the Temple was destroyed and the Jews kept tithing to the Levitical priesthood until such time.
But there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth – Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:5,12,18 tells us that the tithe (along with the Levitical priesthood) was disannulled.
Your premise is that there is nothing written about tithing after Christ’ death – so should we also dismiss any other fundamental that is not implicitly written in the last third of the Bible?
Are we then to arbitrarily give whatever tickles the heart? This lends to give when you can and what you want but according to what standard?
Tithing does not guarantee prosperity but honours covenant or if you prefer the word relationship. Should we not go to Church on Sunday? Perhaps the cross is the wrong symbol for Christianity or is that open for interpretation and opinion as well?
Perhaps then no one should speak in tongues or prophecy – does that also cut against your grain? Just becuase you are not comfortable with something, does not make it incorrect.
There is much joy in tithing. It provides consistency in honouring the relationship (covenant) we have with the Father. You also position tithing as legalistic – is that because it provides a regimented approach or becuase it eliminates our own input? Then apply the same treatment to all areas of your walk with Christ – Question everything that you do because couldnt it all be classfied as legalistic?
There has to be absolutes – sunrise and sunset, tide in tide out, seasons and the Yankees having the highest payroll in baseball! Will every absolute be questioned – yes! BUT as Christians, will we agree with the absolute truth of the Word?
We could be a Bible battle and correctly exegise the Word but not my goal here.
Your closed view of tithing is the anti-thesis American views? What about the rest of the world who really aren’t being led by the Church in America? I guess they have it all wrong as well.
If someone is saving 5% every cheque and then all of a sudden does 2 then 7 then 11 then 1 the 2 then 3 then 5%, it probably represents what? Maybe a lack of commitment to longterm savings but definitely a lack of consistency. So why do you have a challenge with tithing? What is so fundamentally wrong with it that you would even lead others away from its structure?
As a financial advisor, would you then also lead your clients away from structured and disciplined investing/saving?
Have you thoughts however teachers are held to a greater accountability. You better be 100% before you post thoughts that could lead others away from the absolute of the Word.
Paul Williams says
Hi, Shiraz. My premise was not that nothing was written about tithing after Jesus’ death. Specifically, I said, “After Jesus’ death, you will find no instructions in the New Testament that use tithing as the example or standard Christians should use when it comes to giving.” Instead, the example given is God’s love for us through Christ and how that love should live in us and cause us to be overwhelmingly generous to others.
By the way, that sentence I quoted could just have easily read, “Before Jesus’ death, you will find no instructions in the New Testament that use tithing as the example or standard Christians should use when it comes to giving.” Tithing in the Old Testament was for the Israelites. And the Law was very clear on the requirements, which is why no Jew today tithes. It’s not even possible for them to tithe because there is no temple and because most of them aren’t in the land of Israel.
I’m sorry you think I’m so against giving, consistency, or generosity. That’s not my point at all. I find great joy in giving more than a tithe, and I don’t need a specific law to make me do it. The Law of Christ (the Law of Love) is enough to motivate generosity in me. And I strongly believe that if it were the focus instead of the law of tithing, then it would ignite a passion for generosity in many others as well.
Blessings to you.
Ananias and sapphira. We do need healthy fear of the Lord in our giving. Tithing isnt always pleasant and that defines our love.
Latonia Smith says
I agree with you 100 percent. I was in bondage for many years because the church taught that if you didn’t tithe, you would be cursed. I struggled so much trying to be committed to tithing until I finally told God that he was going to have to help me stay committed because I just couldn’t do it. I told him that I would give as much as I could until he blessed me to give more. Ever since then, He has met all of my financial needs even without tithing consistently. I realized that God is more pleased with our faith.
I thank you and other Christians who have examined the scriptures on tithing because so many people are in bondage over this issue. Everybody is not in a position to tithe and shouldn’t be condemned because they are not able to do it consistently.
I am having problems wanting to tithe. In the past month, my church has sent me 4 letters asking me to do it online or set up an automatic account. The last letter asked if I needed to meet so I could figure out why I’m not tithing. At church I prefer to give cash and pray in regards to it since it is hard for me. I don’t give joyfully. I do give in other ways to people and have given money to other causes which help people outside of my church. It’s easier when I know exactly that I can have the impact that I see helps others most. I sometimes think some practices are somewhat wasteful in my church. I don’t know what to do. I feel this makes me question if I love God enough. I feel tortured about this.
Please see the issue of tithing so from this perspective. The first record ever of tithing was when Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20).
Your tithe is your own part to seal the covenant blessings of God into your life. Gen14: 19-20
The Tithe came before the law, it was not just done under Old Testament law. Abraham’s tithing was done more than 400 years before the law was given.
New Testament believers also tithed and gave offerings from their income (1 Corinthians 16:2. Luke 18:12-13).
Your tithe under the Law was a command however in the New testament it is an obligation. Mat22:21
The Lord Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, and if you believe he lives forever then it is to him your tithes go to not to the one standing before you most times. Heb 7:22-24
Tithing is for your own benefit not for the benefit of another. Phil4:17-19
Your tithe registers and activates God’s blessings over your finances.
If you are a tither then your blessing is a covenant matter, it is not dependent of the systems of men, salary and the world economy. Your tithes is the key to take your personal life economy out of the hands of the forces and systems of the world. Genesis 14: 22-24
Tithes and offerings are important to God. If a person fails to tithe, it is considered robbing God: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8.).
When you tithe you honour the Lord Prob3:9-10
If you are a tither there is a greater power available to you on covenant grounds when it comes to your finances.
God blesses those who tithe.
Your tithing is a form of giving to God and it commands blessings. Acts 20:35, Luke6:38, 2Cor 9;6-8
When you tithe, it is you putting Gods kingdom first in your life. Mat6:33
FALLACIES ABOUT THE TITHE:
It is gone with the old testament. Heb7, Gal 3:13.
If Jesus came after the order of Melchizedek the high priest of God, and Christ Jesus is the one also who redeemed us from the curse of the law, that the blessings of Abram may come upon us, and Melchizedek received tithes of Abram and blessed him, and the old testament is a shadow of the new. Then it stands to reason that tithing is a critical component of entering into the blessings.
How to tithe correctly
1. Do it by faith: Heb 11:6. God Is only pleased when we walk by faith and not by fear. Most believers tithe out of the fear of not wanting the devourer to attack their goods so they do it unwillingly and out of fear. Scriptures tells us that if we are willing and obedient we shall eat the good of the land. Not fearful and obedient or unwillingly but obedient. There is no blessing in tithing out of fear. Do it by faith in the Lord.
2. Do it rejoicing: 2Cor9:7, Mal3:10 knowing that it’s a privilege and it is a key to abundance. It is a covenant act where God has said prove me.
3. Separate the first tenth, not just a tenth.
4. Do it speaking words: Deut 26:2.
I have been a Christian all of my life. I have lived my life with dedication to the Lord and also to spread the word that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and how he died on the cross for all of our sins so we all be saved. I did this by teaching from the Bible, through worship with other Christians, giving my praise to Him and by tithes and offerings. 10% of my income. And I am truly blessed, thank you, Father God. But I’m struggling now with uncertainty this past Spring was not good for me. In March I lost my husband unexpectedly to Cancer. 56 days after that my dear Mother passed away. The three of us had all been living together for the last 7 years. Now I have been given peace by the Lord to get me through. Here’s my issue I always give 10% of all incomes into tithes but am I supposed to give 10% of death insurance payouts this comes from the loss of my husband, the love of my life! I’d give it all back if I could have my husband back with me. I’m tired.