Posted by: Aaron Allison | August 26, 2009

Tithing is a New Testament Principle

People will often state that “Tithing isn’t New Testament.”   I reject this notion for several reasons:

1.  Jesus specifically said we should tithe – that should settle it  (see Matthew 23:23)

2.  Most of the New Testament Christians still were practicing Jews.   As a practicing Jew, they no doubt would tithe.

3.  If we really want to practice New Testament Christianity, we would go beyond the tithe.  The New Testament Christian would give all their extra money in a general benevolence fund (see Acts 2:44-45).   It does not appear that they accumulated wealth.  Instead, they had a common fund to help those in need.  Therefore, the New Testament takes us way beyond the tithe.

4.  When it comes to the law, the cross absolves, re-defines or leaves unchanged God’s decree.  I see no evidence that the work of the cross changed the principal of tithing.


Responses

  1. SIX MOST QUOTED LIES ABOUIT TITHING
    (1) TITHING WAS BEFORE THE LAW AND IS THEREFORE AN ETERNAL MORAL PRINCIPLE

    A tradition is not automatically an eternal moral principle merely because it is very old, very common and very widespread. The fact that tithing was common in much pagan worship before the Bible was written does not make it a moral principle. Idolatry, worship of astrological bodies, child sacrifice, temple prostitution, witchcraft and necromancy are equally very old, very common and very widespread in pagan cultures. The practice of giving is found in natural law, but an exact percentage is not.

    Abraham tithed before the Law. But that does not prove that tithing is an eternal moral principle. If we followed Abraham’s example (as we are told), (1) we would only tithe spoils gathered from our enemies; (2) we would only tithe once; (3) we would not tithe any of our own property and (4) we would give the 90% to the equivalent of the king of Sodom. See my book, chapter two and my essay, Tithing is Not a Christian Doctrine, point four.

    (2) TITHING IS THE BIBLICAL STANDARD, THE MINIMUM STARTING POINT AND/OR “IT’S A GOOD PLACE TO START”

    This lie is built on two false assumptions: (1) that everybody in the OT was required to begin their level of giving at 10% and (2) that everybody in the OT gave 10% of all increase as a tithe.

    First, only those Israelites who earned a livelihood from farming and herding clean animals inside Israel were required to tithe under the Mosaic Law. All sixteen (16) of sixteen (16) Bible texts which describe the contents of tithes porve tihis point. The tithe increase only came from God’s miracle hand. Second, those whose increase came from their own crafts and skills were not required to tithe products and money. The poor and needy who did not tithe and received from the tithe gave freewill offerings. See my book, chapter one and my essay, point two.

    (3) TITHES ARE THE SAME AS FIRSTFRUITS

    The first-fruit was a very small amount of the first crop harvest and the first-born was the first offspring of animals. The first-fruit was small enough to fit into a hand-held basket (Deut. 26:1-4, 10; Lev. 23:17; Num. 18:13-17; 2 Chron 31:5a).

    First-fruit and first-born offerings went directly to the Temple and were required to be totally consumed by ministering priests only inside the Temple (Neh. 10:35-37a; Ex. 23:19; 34:26; Deut. 18:4). Tithes went directly to the Levitical cities (Neh 10:37b) and a small portion was then taken to the Temple storehouse (Neh 10:38-39).

    Teaching that the first tenth of ones increase must go to the church organization is wrong. It is not taught to the Christian or the Church . It violates the instruction found in 1st Timothy 5:8 that one acts like an infidel if one does not care for family essentials first. And it robs the poorest in society of food, medicine and necessary care.

    (4) TITHES INCLUDE MONEY

    One argument to support non-food tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food must have been used for most transactions. This argument is not biblical. Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. The word shekel also appears often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

    In fact many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); land (Gen 23:9+); freedom (Ex 23:11); court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all); sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+); vows (Lev 27:3-7); poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29).

    According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was only used for barter after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in God’s Word in Leviticus even before tithing. Therefore the argument that money was not prevalent enough for everyday use is false. Yet the tithe contents never include money from non-food products and trades.

    (5) THE CHURCH IS THE STOREHOUSE AND THE TITHE MUST BE TAKEN THERE

    Thie lie can be easily refuted from both the Bible and from early church history. First, the OT Temple which was a literal physical building has been replaced by the body of the individual believer in which the Holy Spirit dwells. Second, the word “church” means “assembly” and not a building. The early church did not even have buildings for over 200 years after Calvary.

    (6) THE FULL TITHE MUST GO TO THE PREACHER

    This lie is a gross distortion of the OT doctrine of tithing under the Law. First, the OT tithe went to the Levites who were both servants to the priests and who also served as government employees. Second, the Levites only gave a tenth of their tenth to the priests. Third, as tithe-recipients neither Levites nor priests were allowed to own or inherit land inside Israel.

    All of these points are discussed in detail both in my book, Should the ChurchTeach Tithing, and in my essay, Tithing is Not a Christian Doctrine.

    Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D.

    …………………………………………………………….

    Reply to Letter, March 4, 2008

    The “10% is a good place to start” is the clarion call of my own Southern Baptist background. They give that reply automatically without any thought whatsoever.

    It sounds good — but it is not biblical. It is based on the false assumption that every OT Hebrew was required to BEGIN his giving at 10% of income —which is not biblical.

    The truth is that 16 of 16 verses which DESCRIBE the CONTENTS of the tithe always only include food from the herds and farms from INSIDE Israel. Tithes were still only food 1000 years later in Malachi 3:10-11 and 1400 years later in Matthew 23:23. Read Alfred Edersheim’s Sketches of Jewish Social Life. A Hebrew who lived outside of Israel could not bring a tithe from other lands. And the INCREASE was not from man’s hand; it was from the herds and lands which God had MIRACULOUSLY increased. The increase can only come from God. That prevents man from claiming that he had a part in crafting the increase. These points are missed by tithe-teachers.

    Is 10% a good starting place, a minimum starting place, training wheels for giving (Randy Alcorn) or a minimum expectation (Southern Baptists)? It sounds good — but it is not from God’s Word. Why? The Mosaic Law required a double portion to the firstborn male. That would make the land portions too small and force most out of land ownership within 4-5 generations. The displaced persons would work as day-laborers for their richer relatives (the first-born lineage) or move into the cities and take up trades for a livelihood.

    The day-laborers would not be required to tithe if the tithe had already been paid by the landowner. And the craftsmen would not be required to tithe because the increase came from their own hand rather from a miracle from God.

    Use 10% as a guideline if you wish. It is better than nothing. But do not say that it is taught in God’s Word. That is what I am saying. In his book on Malachi the esteemed J. Vernon McGee says that the problem with a lot of wealthy tithers is that they stop at 10% when they should give more. I agree and it is hurting the churches. There is no set percentage in the New Covenant. It is probably true that most Christians should give MORE than 10%. That is sacrificial giving.

    My complaint it that many poor are giving sacrificially when they give less than 10% and they should not be made to feel like cursed and second-class church members. Paul tells us in 1st Timothy 5:8 that we are worse than the infidels if we do not take care of our family’s essentials needs FIRST. And the poor who cannot give 10% do not hold church offices even though they may have great spiritual gifts. That is contrary to James, chapter two and 1 Corinthians 12.

    Calling the tithe FIRSTFRUIT is also very wrong. The tithe was the TENTH. The biblical “firstfruits” were extremely small token offerings which must be eaten inside the Temple by the ministering priests per Deu 26:1-5 and Neh 10:35-37.

    “Corban” was a method of taking that which rightfully belonged to the invalid elderly parents and promising it to God. The same kind of “corban” is attached to tithing when it is called “firstfruits.” In the CBS video my own wife was told she would be cursed if she stopped tithing in order to buy medicine for her sick husband. Howard Dayton basically said the same thing to a mother who was drowning in debt; she must continue tithing.

    I do not think that God gets the glory from that kind of false theology. Read the blogs on the CBS site and see how many are out of the church because of that kind of garbage doctrine.

  2. Dr. Kelly –

    Thanks for reading my blog. I don’t agree with all of your perspectives, but I learned some good things from your research.

    I think where you and I would agree is in the way the tithe is misrepresented as a legalistic obligation. People feel bound by this law, instead of free to give joyfully.

    I still believe God has attached His blessing to the tithe, and we will find a positive discipline and much joy in using it as a regular part of our worship.

    Aaron

  3. I don’t really relish the idea of coming on other blogs to critique their doctrine, but your defense of tithing is very weak.

    1. Jesus command was in the context of obeying the Old Testament law. At the beginning of chapter 27, Jesus commanded his disciples to obey the pharisees because they “sit in Moses seat”. So either we look at Jesus words in context or we obey the Pharisees as well.

    2. The new testament Jews still struggled with obeying the law, so if anything, the fact that they practiced tithing would prove against your argument

    3. I don’t understand how sacrificial, sprit-led giving in the new testament is an argument to make the tithe even more relevant for us? Wouldn’t your argument make tithing irrelevant, and sprit-led giving relevant. If the new testament created a higher standard than the law, than you just proved that implementing commands from the law actually suppresses new testament giving.

    4. The cross left us with Spiritual gifts, and one of them is giving. it is a gift that is operated and instructed by the Holy Spirit. How can we call ‘giving’ a Spiritual gift if it is still suppose to operate under the confinement of tithing rules? The cross left us with a new example of giving. We see Jesus giving everything for the will of the Father.

    – jared

  4. OK Jared – you pointed out some good things. One, I agree that my argument isn’t this strong, irrefutable defense. I never present the tithe that way – as a law that you have to preserve. I think it is an important Biblical principal that has impacted my life positively. Having stated that, we must be careful to not condemn people to legalism to the tithe.

    1. I still see Jesus as endorsing the tithe. I don’t see that Mt. 23:23 is taken out of context.

    2. Yes, the NT Christian struggled with the law. However, Acts 15 shows that they still had a responsibility to some parts of the law out of obedience. We are not condemned by the law (we are free), but we are still obligated to obedience.

    3. You are correct, that sacrificial, Spirit-giving does call us to give well above the tithe. My point was that not only should we tithe, but give more. Since only a small percentage of Christians give at least 10%, it seems that the vast majority are not even close to reaching the New Testament precedent.

    4. I like your reminder of the spiritual gift of giving. I would identify people with that gift as blessed by the Lord to acquire money and willing to give it sacrificial. Obviously this can apply to more than money, but that is the commodity Americans exchange the most. I have no statistics to prove this, but I am certain that those with the spiritual gift of giving contribute well beyond the tithe.

    Thanks for taking time to read my blog and commenting.

    • Arron. We must remember that in Matthew 23:23 at this time they were still under the old covenant and still under the Law of the tithe. The New covenant was not yet established till Christ died and rose from the dead. They were still under the Mosaic Law at this time and therefore still obligated to tithe.

  5. If God wanted christians to follow the old testament ways of atonement for sins,Jesus Christ should not have come to make the mosaic law null and void.My explainations:

    1.Tithing is a mosaic practice and certain churches build their revenues from it just to enrich themselves..
    Lets read Hebrews chapter 7 and chapter 8,
    Jesus is from the tribe of Juda and not a levite,moses never had the idea that God is bringing a priest to annul the old ways of doing things.
    Please let stop enburdening people and ripping them off their wages,
    None of the so called pastors and bishops and what have you is a levite but wants to take tithe?
    The old testament was not perfect and was faulty and that was why Christ came.
    If they want to collect tithes,then let do all that the old testament saints were doing………..slaughtering of bulls for sin atonement,confessing of sins to the high priests and what have you………………

    Anyway…do we STILL HAVE THE HOLY OF HOLIEST in our churches after the death of Christ?????????????????

  6. i can sum it up in 3 words. grace, grace, grace. god has already provided every blessing we would ever need on the cross through jesus. we are already blessed. if we received a blessing through giving a tithe, that would make grace null and void. and grace is either 100%, or zero%. you can’t add anything to it. or you take away what jesus did. we didn’t even have the faith it took to get saved. god provided that faith for us too. now i do agree that “giving” is new covenant. and giving with a cheerful heart. but i believe that the spirit of god will speak to each of us about what to give. some may be more than a mere 10%, according to your wealth. there are more scriptures dealing with money in the NT than anything else. why? if god’s got your money, he’s got your heart. i believe there is a planting of seed and a harvest. but that god will speak to individuals regarding that. it’s the fact that we’re “too busy” to listen. that’s why the church is teaching wrong. math 23:23 is before jesus went to the cross. that was still mosaic law. the new covenant didn’t begin until acts, really. when jesus was resurrected. then, you have a new covenant. just because man has labeled the book the NT, doesn’t mean that is where the new covenant began. remember. it’s all about what jesus DID, and never about what we could ever do to “get him” to bless us. he did everything on the cross. the word says “he hath (past tense) blessed us with all spiritual blessing.” we should give with a grateful heart to perpetuate those blessings. not to get them. remember how much god loves us. don’t try to earn anything. it’s grace.

    • To Dayles comment, “Matt 23:23 is before jesus went to the Cross…” Does that mean we do not adhere to what Jesus said before he was crucified? If that is your “case”, then aren’t you trying to nullify Jesus teachings pre-cross? Everything Jesus said pre and post cross he said because God the Father wanted hm to.

      Yes we are partakers of the New Covenant under grace, and yet we must remember that Jesus came to fulfill or complete the law not abolish it or even amend it.

      All of what Jesus spoke no matter when spoken or to whom it was spoken is to be adhered to.

  7. Hebrews 8:6
    But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

    Hebrews 7
    For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    The word speaks for itself along with these three words “Paid in Full”

    • Jesus paid your “sin’ penalty in full. He did not remove all other reponsibilities.

  8. Jesus did indeed command tithing. God did say to tithe in Malachi the third Chapter however, God and Jesus both were talking to Jews under Old Covenant Contract!!!! All NONE Jews (Gentiles) were shut out of this contract and not allowed in, except for a hand full of women who converted by marriage (Ruth, (Bathsheba, Rehab the Harlot).
    Think People think! Why all the focus on one law when there were 613 others including Sabbath-keeping (no work or play all day From Friday night to Saturday night) and circumcise your male child on the eight day, no ham or certain unclean foods?

  9. Hi I believe it all comes down to
    what God puts on your heart to
    do in all things

    God bless all

    • Yes, however God will not put anything in your heart OUTSIDE His word, which we have in written form; i.e. THE BIBLE

  10. The writer should go beyond mere mentioning of tithe but try and explain the origin snd practice of the act in the old testament. It is clear that all requirements to make heaven are clearly stated in the new testament: holiness, cheerful giver, bountiful giver, sanctification, holy communion, being hot for God, evangelism, holy Ghost baptism etc. No record shows tithing Christ’s crusade. Like I stated before in old testament: who paid tithes? for what and who? The consumers of tithes were the tithers plus the levites, widows, ophans etc. Jesus Christ was surely refering to the standard practice of tithing in the land in this reference and not the way many Christian assemblies do it today. Deut 14:22-29

    • Requirements? There is only one requirement; “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Nothing can be added to the faith God gave us to believe on the Lord and his atoning blood for our salvation. Your list is what we should long for, or in the case of baptism and communion, something we should do to obey the Lord. There is nowhere in scripture that states that we must be baptized in the Holy Spirit to be saved. If there was one thing we could add to Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, salvation would be by works and Christ died in vain.

      • Rick –

        I completely agree that there is only one requirement to be saved, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” In no way do I believe tithing is attached to salvation. Also, I believe the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” happens with salvation, so again, no works.

  11. I have been giving tithes since I getting an allowance from my parents,and I have gotten into debt and run short at times, I tithed yes out of joy at times but sometime I have tithed being taught that if I don’t I will be cursed by God and that I will run short and I did run short even though i tithed. Tithing to me should be taken not as a law, the arguments brought up by all these guys are true tithing can not be easily proven from the scriptures. I feel what you give to God is between you and God, God does bless the giver but will not curse you if you really can’t afford to give.
    God loves us :)

  12. Matthew 23:23 has nothing to do with tithing except Jesus berating the religious elders for their duplicity. As a matter of fact, the entire chapter was a rebuke to the religious leaders of those days for their holding the law and things they did to gain personal recognition above what Jesus called the weightier matters of the law – see verse 23.

    The tithe was given to the Hebrews under the law. The New Testament giving principle is giving cheerfully even if the Lord would ask you to give everything. It has to do with giving yourself, giving your possessions, giving your family time, giving money, and whatever else the Lord would require of you. Since everything we have is his, and we are not our own(1 Corinthians 6:19-20), we are just stewards of what he entrusts us with. Nothing more and nothing less.

  13. also check the catholic encyclopaedia, tithing was introduced by the catholic church 500+ years after the church began.Even Martin Luther said tithing is only for the jews in Israel. SO the teachings today about tithing are just rip off s from catholic theologians who even state that the practice was adopted to provide a permanent support system for the church, With regard to the the verses you quoted in Acts, the church lived together hence the wealth had to be shared. 2 Cor 9: 7 : Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Tithing violates the above text and should NOT be practiced by Christians. Ministers use phrases like Giving to God. But our money is not going to God ,its going to an organisation which is OK, but a curse shouldnt be used to threatened people to demand an amount.

  14. John 10:112,13 is far more relevant here than most comments reveal. The whole reason for the Catholic support method (tithing vs. giving) is regularly taught with exacerbation by our “clergy” today because by their very nature they are in it for a “career”. The business machine MAN has created and called “the Church” needs money just like any other mammon-serving business The career boys need to think: they are in an untenable and unscriptural dilemma. They are hirelings– why else would our LORD find it necessary to warn His followers “you cannot serve God and mammon (the Money System)”? Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13. BTW- Our LORD says he hates the “clergy vs. laity system”, too: Revelation 2:6 and 2:15– Nicolaitans (Greek nicao=to lord over; laitan Greek laos=(common) people) Is anybody really a lord over God’s people besides Christ Himself? Only the ever-greedy hirelings that must find a continuing support mechanism for their man-made machines. The ecclesia is a living organism! It is not, nor was it ever intended to be a business. Jesus’ disposition toward the money element is “graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever” by His well-documented choice of His earthly “treasurer”. Think about it, Professionals. We all stand accountable to the same Judge.

    • While I find your remarks a bit harsh, as a vocational pastor, I used it as an opportunity to check my motives.

      I Corinthians 9:16-18
      16 For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because an obligation is placed on me. And woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward, but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? To preach the gospel and offer it free of charge and not make full use of my authority in the gospel.

  15. your defense like steward said is very very weak. you need to do better than that to convince me to pay tithes. we have all been made kings and priest in the book of revelations1:6. and Jesus Christ is our High priest representing God. Aaron was the high priest of the Israelites and the levites(priests) paid tithes to him. so should i a priest pay tithes to a fellow priest, who is not my high priest? also God is no longer living in a certain building because you talked about maintaining Gods institutions. hey listen the gospel is every body’s responsibility and if i see you preaching the gospel i can decide to help you. please read the pauline letters to see his tone in appealing for funds. see the way he thanked the Christians that supported him. it indicates to you that in no way were they obligated to Paul to give to him. but today when you are a member of a church and you don’t give they make you feel as though you don’t love God and you are not a christian. today we are obligated to give tithes. also giving is higher than paying tithes. some have argued that tithing is before the law. but abraham did not PAY TO ANYONE, RATHER HE GAVE a tenth of all. JACOB ALSO DID THESAME THING. THEY ALL GAVE WILLINGLY NOT PAY SOMETHING TO SOME ONE. this is what God wants for all of us. shalom

    • Elijah –

      I’m not trying to convince you to tithe, I am just suggesting that it is a great exercise in my life, and I believe God loves it when people tithe. On the contrary, in no way have I suggested or do I believe that someone who does not tithe does not “love God and you are not a christian.” I pray we all our led by the Spirit in our giving, and give beyond the 10 percent.

      Aaron

      • Elijah,
        I’m challenging you right now in front of all these readers.

        Provide a single scripture showing a Christian Tithing in the New Testament.

        Provide a single scripture where the tithe was money.

        Provide a single reference from church history prior to the 6th Century indicating tithing was practiced by the early church prior to its Roman Catholic mandate.

        If you cannot atleast provide scriptures to back up your claims for the first 2 points, you have apologise and reject this false teaching.

        Side Note, in Matthew Jesus is telling jews they should tithe and in this case like all others the Tithe is food(mint ,herbs) according to levitcal law. Abraham only gave a tithe of his plunder not his household income (Hebrews 7: 4) he took no plunder for himself, his men took some and the rest he gave back to the king of sodom. (Genesis 14 21-24) this has no relation to tithing of ones income.

        For more info

        http://christiancontroversy101.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-facts-about-tithing-biggest-lie-of.html

        http://christiancontroversy101.blogspot.com/2013/12/combat-tithing-scripture-list.html

      • I understand your points, but still don’t feel my position is wrong or damaging. God bless you for sharing your insightful perspective.

      • thanks for the reponse, However brother, its alway wrong and damaging to say God said something he did not say. We both can’t be right. I pray God helps you to dig deeper into his word, to atleast challenge ur own view. Take Care

  16. sorry, i meant to challenge Aaron not Elijah :-/


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