Scriptures

Tithing

Introduction

Some religious groups require their members to tithe. Among our brethren, you may have heard someone say, “If the Jews were required to give a tenth, then Christians should give no less than a tenth because we live under a better covenant.”

This raises the question are Christians required to give a tenth today?

The first case of giving a tenth in the Bible was Abraham who gave a tenth of the spoils of war to Melchizedek, Genesis 14:20. Jacob vowed a tenth, Genesis 28:20-22.

The Bible gives no hint as to when or to whom he gave his tenth.

After Moses received the law, the people were required to give a tenth in order to support the Levites. The Levites in turn gave a tenth to support the priests who were descendants of Aaron who was also a Levites, Numbers 18:21-24 / Numbers 18:28

At the time of the conquest, the Levites received no tribal inheritance but were given forty-eight cities with their pastures to live in. They were caretakers of the Tabernacle and later the Temple and assisted the priests. In addition, they served as teachers and even judges.

The tithe, which the other tribes paid, was the means of support for the Levites. Israel was a “Theocracy” (a nation ruled by God). The tithe was a form of income tax, which supported their theocracy. At times Israel failed in their tithing. For example, Malachi severely rebuked them for not bringing the “whole tithe into the storehouse.” Malachi 3:8-12.

He says they had robbed the Lord in their failure to bring in their tithe. In other words, they were cheating on their income tax.

The above Malachi passage is a favourite passage for those who want to bind tithing upon people today but what they are doing is not robbing God but robbing those who feel they need to tithe.

Ask yourself, to whom was Malachi written?

It was written to Old Testament Israel NOT Christians. So, using these verses to make people tithe today is going beyond what is written. 1 Corinthians 4:6.

Hebrews 7:5 ‘Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham.’

We are not Jews and the ‘pastor’ is not a son of Levi. Ask your ‘pastor’ if he tithes and get him to prove it. I doubt very much if he will.

We are not under the Law anymore, Galatians 5:4. Tithing was required until after the death of Christ, which ended the old law regarding the Levites, and inaugurated the new covenant, Hebrews 9:15-17.

Today Christians pay taxes to the state (civil government) which has replaced Israel’s theocracy. Romans 13:6-7.

When it comes to the church and the giving of the members the sky is the limit. We are not required to give a fixed specific amount but according to how much we figure we have prospered. Nowhere does the New Testament require Christians to tithe. It is a matter between each individual (or couple) and God.

It is to be according to how we think we have been prospered. Our giving takes place on the first day of the week, 1 Corinthians 16:2.

This means the amount will vary with each individual. Giving should be planned ahead of time and not as an afterthought, 2 Corinthians 9:7.

It should not be done grudgingly but cheerfully, 2 Corinthians 9:5 / 2 Corinthians 9:7.

As we give we should keep in mind that we reap in proportion to what we sow, 2 Corinthians 9:6 and that ultimately, we must give an account of our deeds, Romans 14:12.

Sometimes an emergency may arise or some special cause may present an opportunity that causes us to want to give in addition to our regular giving. This might occur at a time other than the first day of the week.

Now, remember that 1 Corinthians 16:2 isn’t used as our authority for giving each week, the real authority for giving is found in Acts 2:42 ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’

The word fellowship is ‘koinonia’ in Greek and carries with it the idea of giving and receiving. This is what the very first Christians practised as they shared what they had with each other as the need arose.

Is it a collection or an offering?

The first time the word ‘worship’ is used in the Old Testament is in Genesis 22 when Abraham was about to offer Isaac up to the Lord on a mountain and says to his servants, “I’m going go up to that mountain and worship God.” Genesis 22:5

And the first time the word ‘worship’ is used in the New Testament is in Matthew 2 when wise men bring gold and incense and myrrh and they lay it at the feet of the baby and they kneel and they worship him. Matthew 2:2.

And we are introduced in the Old Testament and the New Testament to this very important truth and that is the worship of God, is bringing your very best to God and laying it at his feet to honour and praise him.

A collection is when you go and do everything you want to do, you take care of all your passions and desires and if there is anything left over you give it to the Lord, that’s a collection. An offering is when you take the very best and you honour God with the firstfruits and you say, “God, you’re first in my life, I’m going to bow down and lay this at your feet, this is my best treasure and it’s for your glory.”

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;'"

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