Tough Issues of Christianity – The Tithe

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem (that is Jerusalem) brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.

20 And blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Genesis 14:18-20)

This is the first mention in the Bible of the giving (or returning) of 10% of what we have or earn to God.

30 A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. 31 If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it. 32 The entire tithe of the herd and flock every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod will be holy to the LORD. 33 He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed. (Lev. 27:30-33)

This is from Mosaic Law.

The New Testament does not specifically mention the Tithe (10%). Yet, as Christians, we know that what we have and what we earn is on loan from God. So, what role does the Tithe play for us today?

Jesus said:

Then he said to them, Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. (Matthew 22:21)

What “belongs” to God?

Paul said:

7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2Cor. 9:7)

Just what does THIS mean…?

Although the responsibility to tithe is widely recognized, there is wide disagreement about just what constitutes the tithe. The vast majority of Christians do not tithe to their church. Why not?

This raises two primary questions for Christians:

1. What is the purpose of the tithe?

2. What constitutes a tithe? Must it be given to the church, or does it include all charity? Does giving to organizations such as the Red Cross count toward the tithe? Does tithing apply only to money (specifically income), or do other things also compose a part of a tithe, such as our time?

It seems every time we turn around, the church is asking for something, often money. All of us have heard grumbling on this topic. Many of us have grumbled ourselves!

Perhaps this is a good time to just step back a moment and re-examine this important topic.



Alive in The Word

About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
This entry was posted in CHRISTIAN LIFE AND THE WORD and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Tough Issues of Christianity – The Tithe

  1. Pingback: Community: The Renewed Mind Appearing in Penn Valley | Nevada County Scooper

  2. writinggomer says:

    I believe tithing to be a good thing, and it matters not that it is not commanded in the New Testament…not to me anyway. All I have is God’s to begin with, I’m just giving back a small piece of what He gave me…which is everything.
    The most important thing is that people give whatever they give, with a cheerful heart, and not out of obligation. We have what we have as God gives, should we not give back to the One who gives us all things?

  3. rickroehm says:


    Before the Law of Moses was given…Abraham “gave” a Tithe. Abraham’s giving was not based on 10% as the Law of Moses demanded. Abraham gave from his heart and was not obligated by the command of God. Abraham live 400 years before the Law or Levitical Priesthood was ordained on Mt. Sinai.

    After the Law of Moses was given…Israel “paid” a Tithe. It was a command of God. It was an obligation to Israel. It was necessary to maintain the Levitical Priesthood.

    Big difference between “giving” and “paying”. Giving comes from within the heart of man. Paying is an obligation. Your electric bill is “paid” out of obligation. Same for a Tithe “under law”…People “paid 10%” out of obligation to the Law of Moses and it was paid to the Levitical Priest. This included 10% of the entire family wealth, crops, livestock, grain, etc.

    The Tithe system of Law was not taught under the Grace covenant after the death of Christ. Why? Giving and offering was the object. Giving and offering came from love not obligation. Christians gave more than 10% because they love Christ and the cause of Christ. Christians do not “give” out of command or obligation or to expect any blessing in return. Christians give because they love God and the cause of Christ. Christians are not cursed if they don’t give either. Love offerings and distribution to the saints of God is scriptural and Biblical in the New Testament under Grace. Giving shows man’s love to God and to humanity.

  4. Henry says:

    Christians only struggle with this topic because they do not know what the Bible say about tithing. Many people have a “mish mash” of ideas about tithing based on what they have heard taught to them but they have never sat down and properly study the scriptures for themselves. Abraham tithe of the spoils of war to Melchizedek. We do not know why he did it and scripture does not say that God commanded him to do it. He tithe on goods that he did not keep a portion of for himself as he returned the rest of it to the original owners (the kings of Sodom etc). We know from Gen 12 that Abraham was such a wealthy man such that he and Lot could not dwell in the same country but there is nothing in scripture to say that Abraham tithe on his wealth or that he practice regularly tithing. To draw any conclusions from this one time event therefore amounts to speculation. Many people however use this to say that because Abraham is our father by faith therefore we must use this one of occassion to tithe not on spoils of war but on our income regularly. This is falsifying scriptures. Abraham did other things such as circumcission and animal sacrifice by faith yet we do not attach the same purpose to circumcission or animal sacrifice as we do to tithing. Why?

    The only place where tithing is given as a command therefore is under the Law. But here again the concept is misunderstood when we attempt to import the tithing law and replicate it in the church. Today Christians are not bound by any part of the Law and to teach otherwise is to deny the work of Christ on the Cross. Christ fulfilled the Law so that we the New Testament converts do not need to seek to try to observe the Law again (Gal 3). Why then do churches invoke Mal 3 to convict believers to tithe? Mal 3 simply restated the requirements of the Law to admonish Israel to return to God’s ordinances as spelt out under the Law and has nothing to do with New Testament believers today. To say again that Jesus endorse tithing is to be deceitful with scriptures (Matt 23:23). Jesus addressed the pharisees here who were still under the Law since it had not yet been fulfilled through Christ’s death. The Law was the old covenant which derived from the Levitical priesthood. Today we have a new covenant (a new law) established in Christ’s blood and deriving from the priesthood of Jesus Christ (Heb 7). A change of the priesthood necessitated a change in the law. How then can you attribute the old covenant (the old law) to the new priesthood of Christ? To do so would be to deny the priesthood of Christ, who’s priesthood is not of the Levitical order, and to ignore the new law in Christ. It is for this reason that Christians do not need to observe the old law and we do not find commandments to tithe, give first fruits offer burnt sacrifices, waive offerings, wood offerings, heave offerings etc in the new Law of Christ. If we understand this then all the other discourse as to what to tithe, whether food, income or time; how much to tithe, whether on gross or net; and where the tithe should go to, whether to the local church or a charity of your choice, will simply disappear. None of this matters as we are called to observe the teachings/commandments of Christ, being faithful stewards of what we have according to what He has commanded us to do. If we love Christ we will obey His commandments (the new Law) and not the old law imparted to Moses. The challenge for us therefore is to ascertain how Jesus instructs us today to be good stewards of what we have.

    God bless

  5. ptl2010 says:

    If we give as unto the Lord, it does not matter how much is required. We owe Him everything! He can take everything whenever He wants.
    Man’s impudence to withhold deprives himself of God’s best.

  6. granbee says:

    Bless you, Art, for good teaching, good choice of Scriptures, and for ending with inviting us to step aside and ponder the importance of giving with a glad heart. Indeed, this is an aspect of Chrisitianity we must settle between ourselves and God privately, first!

  7. I say Amen…..Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

  8. Yes, I agree with you. This is a topic that I believe ALL Christians struggle with. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.