Tithing: Biblical teaching vs tradition

The Biblical teaching of tithing is usually not taught in many churches. Tithing is an Old Testament teaching.

The laws given by God on tithing that are to be followed are found in Deuteronomy chapters 12 and 14. There are two different types of law on tithing.

A summary of the first type of tithe found in 12:4-19 and 14:22-27 is shown below:

Done annually (crops produce once a year)

Food or animals only were tithed

You ate your tithe with your family, menservants and maidservants and Levites

You rejoiced while eating your tithe

All this was done before the Lord in a place of His choosing

A summary of the second type of tithe found in 14:28,29 is shown below:

Done once every three years

Food only was tithed for eating

 The tithe was stored for the Levites, aliens, fatherless and widows to eat

The Lord would bless the work of their hands.

Every other scripture on tithing revolves around these two laws. Let’s look at one often used Scripture.

Malachi 3 vs 8, 10. This is the scripture most used, but in isolation, encouraging people to tithe. It reads starting from verse 7: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, “How do we rob You?” “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test Me in this, “ says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit…”

Let’s point out some facts from these scriptures:

The Lord talks about the tithe going into the storehouse. This is the second type of tithe – the tithe every three years

There is a reward for this type of tithing but as they did not tithe every three years as stipulated they were under a curse.

 The storehouse was to gather “food”, not “money”.

The problem was no “food” in my house, not “money”.

The reward was blessing on the crops, vineyards and fruit (food items not business, work etc).

There is definitely no remotest thought of weekly or monthly giving your earnings / money gained by working at a profession to an established organisational structure for the leaders to use as they see fit!

New Testament principles

Jesus Christ is now after a living relationship with His body (1 Corinthians 12 v 27). He wants to know us and for us to know Him (Matthew 7 v 23; Galatians 4 v 8; etc). There is a freedom in Christ that sets us free from bondages (laws) like tithing (Galatians 5 v 1). As the head we listen to Him, relate to Him, obey Him only. He is our loving Lord and Master. We are no longer subject to laws and demands put on us by others but submit to Jesus Christ in everything. He is our focus of attention. Jesus Christ has our devotion.

We are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14 etc) NOT by need, emotions, organised church wants etc Therefore we flow with Him, give where, how much and when He tells us to give. That way we grow in listening to Him and obeying Him and getting to know Him. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He tells you what to do and where and how much to give. Do not give under compulsion (2 Corinthians 9 v 7).

Some basic guidelines that Jesus and the writers in the New Testament have taught include giving to the needy (Matthew 6:2), the poor (Matthew 19:21), to help gain friends (Luke 16:9), the weak (Acts 20:34,35), the family of believers (Galatians 6:10) etc.

I will conclude with Mark 7 v 8: ”You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Are we holding to the tradition of tithing or to Biblical teachings?

Post published in: Faith

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