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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Biblical Tithing

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Audienceof1
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Joined: 2019/8/9
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 Biblical Tithing

I have a question regarding tithing. My Church, still teaches on a 10% in regards to tithing. I believe, the NT does teach giving generously.

Is the church's stance on this, unbiblical?

 2019/8/9 18:57Profile
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 Re: Biblical Tithing


Dear brother,

I believe if it is a pressured thing then that is wrong but if its something you feel from your heart to do then this is liberty and God's way through your heart. The main thing is to have confidence in your local church that the money is being used for the spread of the gospel.

If you are in an unfortunate place of not being in a strong local biblical church or house church then consider to give money as God leads you to ministries that are doing God's work filling the lack in local church outreach etc.

Acts 20:32-35

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”


May God free us from the love of money and surely it is still more blessed to give then receive.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2019/8/9 19:25Profile
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 Re: Grace vs law

I'm thinking tithing should be taught and done as a grace God gives instead of one feeling under compulsion and under a law of sorts. God loves a cheerful giver is not the disposition of one tithing because they are under a law.


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David Winter

 2019/8/10 3:32Profile
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 Re: Biblical Tithing

I see nowhere in the new covenant that tithing (giving 10%) is taught as a requirement. But giving out of the generosity of your heart as God leads you to give is definitely taught. Perhaps a couple of examples might best illustrate how I see this.

Well God, you require 10% of my increase, so here is what I owe to You. I guess now my finances will be blessed and You will be pleased with me.

Well God, I am absolutely overjoyed that your mercy and grace are extended to me. I so want to give you everything that I am and that I have because of what You have given me. So I want to give of my resources to further Your kingdom. Where can I give Lord? How much would you have me to give? I am so blessed and overjoyed to be able to give to Your kingdom.

The first is a legalistic perspective. The second is a heart changed by God and out of an overflow of love desiring to give to the kingdom.


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Travis

 2019/8/10 20:38Profile
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 Re:

I agree. The counterargument is that tithing existed long before the Law of Moses -- going back (at least) to Abraham and Melchizedek.

Of course, the Sabbath was followed prior to the written or spoken Law too; yet, most of us do not feel that we are bound to a single designated day of rest (or the requirements associated with it).

I believe that the New Testament is clear that we are not to give out of necessity or compulsion (II Corinthians 9:7). Rather, we give as we "purposed in our heart" (same verse).

I think that a tenth is a good example. Still, the Biblical tithe was so very different from the economic systems set today anyway.

Do we offer the fruit from our trees or the flowers from our bushes? Do we offer the first of our animals? No. Most simply offer a portion of the modern money that they've taken from their paycheck. They view the tithe as, essentially, a tax from God.


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Christopher

 2019/8/12 21:32Profile
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 Re:

If my attitude is that everything I have received is God's and that I am only made a steward of what is supplied to me, and if my heart is to see His Kingdom advanced, then I will be filled with joy to use as much of His provision as He desires me to use in whatever aspect of the Kingdom that He calls me to use it. This would apply to money, possessions, etc.


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Travis

 2019/8/13 14:19Profile
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 Re: Biblical Tithing

The tithe is a principal issue, not a sin issue.


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Mr. Bill

 2019/9/14 16:29Profile
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 Re:

I used to attend a church that we had to tell the eldership what we made so they new we were tithing 10% to be members of the church. I left after they made the men do this.


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Doug R

 2019/9/14 16:36Profile
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 Re:

Is Tithing For Christians?

by Steve Gregg

It is commonly taught in churches that Christians should tithe (a word meaning the giving of “a tenth” of their income) to their local church. Christians are sometimes told that they owe the first ten percent of their income to the church where they attend, and that any giving to other needy persons or ministries falls into a separate category called “offerings” and should be given only after the first tenth has been given to the church. Preachers sometimes speak as if the Bible actually teaches such a thing, although the Bible nowhere mentions what we today call a “local church,” and the New Testament never applies any duty of tithing to Christians.

Tithing was commanded to the children of Israel for the support of the Levites (Num.18:21). The Levites, who were consecrated to full-time ministry and could not be profitably employed, would enjoy a standard of living that approximated or was slightly higher than the national average. The Levites, in turn, contributed a tenth of their income to the priests for their support (Num.18:26-28). The system was designed to free-up a large number of men to minister in things of the tabernacle/temple and to teach the law to the people. The fraction “a tenth” was not arbitrary, but corresponded to the needs of the number of full-time ministers requiring support.

Ever since God abolished the temple and the Levitical priesthood, there remains no obvious reason why the tithe should continue to define a Christian’s measure of giving to God. The church generally does not release one full-time minister for every ten families (though this ratio would not be excessive), so there is no biblical or logical reason why the same percentage of the Christian’s income should be devoted to the church’s coffers as was required of the Israelites in their support of the temple clergy. This is, no doubt, why neither Jesus nor the apostles ever so much as suggested this duty to the disciples. The tithe was for the support of the ritual system of Israel. These ceremonial aspects of the Law were done away with in the coming of a better covenant.

Sometimes it is argued that tithing did not “go out with the Law” for the simple reason that it was practiced prior to the giving of the Law, and has, therefore, a validity of its own independent of the Law. The total evidence that tithing was practiced before the time of Moses consists of two passages in Genesis. In Genesis 14:20, Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils of his recent conquest against Chedolaomer to the priest Melchisedek. Also, in Genesis 28:20-22, Jacob, awaking from his famous dream, vowed to give God a tenth of whatever prosperity God might give him in the time of his absence from Canaan. Do these passages teach or even hint that godly individuals regularly devoted ten percent of their wealth to God? Two isolated cases cannot establish such a pattern, since we never read of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Isaac, Judah or Joseph observing any such practice. Nor do we have record of Abraham or Jacob ever doing so on occasions other than these two recorded cases. We have no reason to believe that Abraham tithed regularly.Therefore, none can establish from Scripture that tithing was a recognized or mandated practice prior to the time of Moses. Furthermore, even if we did have a biblical basis for such a teaching, it does not follow that tithing continues as a duty into the New Covenant. Remember, circumcision and animal sacrifices (both commanded in the Law of Moses) were definitely regular practices prior to the giving of the Law, but this does not provide an argument for their continuance after the time of Christ.

Tithing is mentioned in the New Testament in three connections. Hebrews 7 simply recounts the story of Abraham and Melchisedek, without reference to any duty in this matter accruing to others. The Gospels record the saying of Christ that the scribes and Pharisees meticulously paid their tithes, while neglecting “weightier maters of the law” (Matt.23:23/Luke 11:42). Jesus states that they should have done both (i.e. paid tithes and observed the weightier matters), but this only states what was required of the Pharisees as men living under the Old Testament law, and tells us nothing of any ongoing duty for Christian disciples. Finally, we have the self-congratulating “prayer” of a Pharisee in a parable (Luke 18:12), who boasts of paying tithes of all that he possesses, but the parable does not go on to make this man a model for Christians to emulate.

It is not surprising that advocates of tithing do not make much use of these New Testament verses. The preaching usually centers upon the classic Old Testament rebuke of those who neglected to “bring all of the tithes into the storehouse” (Mal.3:10). The argument goes something like this:

“The storehouse is where you go to get your food. Spiritually, you get your feeding from your local church. Therefore, God commands you to give ten percent of your income to the church of which you are a member. Anything over that amount that you give is not your tithe, but an offering.”

One can easily speculate as to the motivation churches might have for teaching along this line. The only thing wrong with the above argument is that there is not one legitimate scriptural point contained in it. First, the “storehouse” was not where the Jews went to get their food. The storehouse refers to the storage rooms in the Jerusalem temple (Neh.10:38) where food was stored for the priests. They ate it there, and any surplus was given to the poor (Deut.26:12), but the idea was not that of a private pantry from which the tithing worshipper provided for his own sustenance. Further, it is not a given that every Christian gets his primary spiritual feeding from his local church. It is the very negligence of such feeding by the churches that has led to the proliferation on non-ecclesiastical ministries (sometimes called parachurch ) to make up for this deficiency. Finally, nothing in the passage is addressed to New Testament believers. The Christian’s standards for giving are defined in entirely different terms.

Those terms are found in the teaching of Christ, that one who would follow Christ must forsake “all that he has” (Luke 14:33/ cf. Matt.13:44-46). The ceremonial law served as a foreshadowing of the Christian revelation. The latter teaches that all of God’s people, having been “bought with a price,” are not their own, but are owned lock, stock and barrel by Jesus Christ (1 Cor.6:19-20). All of the believer’s time and all of his possessions belong to God—a fact foreshadowed in ceremonial law by the requirement of giving Him a representative token of each (one day of his week, and one tenth of his possessions).

In place of “tithing” the New Testament teaches “stewardship” (Luke 12:42; 16:1ff; 19:12-13/ Matt.25:14/ Titus 1:7). The Christian is a “steward”, or “manager,” of somebody else’s (God’s) possessions. He is not in a partnership with God in which God holds 10 shares and he holds 90. In coming to Christ, the repentant sinner surrenders everything to God, and claims ownership of nothing (Acts 4:32). From the moment of his conversion, the believer becomes responsible to manage every asset (monetary or otherwise) in the interests of his Master’s profit. Those seeking to reserve a share of their lives for themselves need not apply (Luke 9:23).

What, then, is the steward’s responsibility? He must discharge his trust in exactly the manner that his Master would do if He were in His steward’s shoes. What would God spend His money on? Well, the Scriptures give us all the guidance we need on this matter. Throughout Scripture, God expresses His concern for the plight of the helpless poor and the support of those who minister the Word of God. A timely gift to the poor is a gift to God Himself (Prov.19:17/Matt.25:37-40), and is the prescribed method of depositing treasures in heaven (Mark 10:21/Luke 12:33). Giving to the needy is merely an expression of the mandate to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27-37).

The support of the Kingdom’s ministers is similarly an expression of our duty to love God, to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt.6:33). These ministers include those who teach the Word of God (as the Levites were to do—Gal.6:6/1 Cor.9:11/1 Tim.5:17-18). This would include the pastor of one’s church (if he teaches God’s Word) as well as others from whom one receives spiritual direction and nourishment. It also would include traveling ministers and missionaries (Luke 8:2-3/Phil.4:16-18/3 John 5-8). There is such a variety of ministry—some more- and some less-needy, and some more-, some less-worthy of support—that a conscientious steward will do a bit of prayerful research before committing the Master’s funds to a given appeal for assistance. In the end, the discharge of one’s stewardship requires a great deal of prayer and leading of the Holy Spirit. It is nothing like such a simple matter as writing a check to the local assembly (which might be looking to replace the carpeting for the third time this decade) for a tenth of one’s paycheck.

We must also acknowledge that God would provide for the needs of His servants and their families. Therefore, a certain amount of our income must be devoted to the feeding, housing and clothing of our families (1 Tim.5:8). Nor is there any forbidding of a few things for enjoyment alone (1 Tim.6:17). How many such things? That is between the steward and his Master, and is not for another to judge (Rom.14:4). However, we must be on our guard against our own pervasive tendency to judge our own actions (and expenditures) more favorably than the facts would suggest. In eternity, our rejoicing will be proportionate to our self-denial in this life and our generosity to the poor and to the work of God.

In the century following the apostolic age, the Christians understood that tithing had been replaced by full surrender to God. In Against Heresies, Irenaeus wrote, “[The Old Testament saints] offered their tithes; but those who have received liberty set apart everything they have for the Lord’s use, cheerfully and freely giving them, not as small things in hope of greater, but like that poor widow, who put her whole livelihood into the treasury of God.” The Didache (early second century) certainly has Scripture on its side when it counsels, “Do not hesitate to give, and do not give with a bad grace; for you will discover who He is that repays you. . .Do not turn your back on the needy, but share everything with your brother and call nothing your own.”


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Todd

 2019/9/15 8:32Profile





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