Malachi 3 and Tithing

Malachi 3 8-10
Malachi 3 is a popular passage that pastors and churches use to defend the practice of the 10% tithe. But when we study the passage in context, a completely different picture emerges.

We looked yesterday at the historical context of Malachi 3, where we saw that the priest Eliashib was stealing the tithes from the temple storehouse. Let us now look at Malachi 3 in the context of the book itself.

The Audience of Malachi

When studying a book of the Bible, one of the primary things to look for is who the book is addressed to. That is, who is written to? Who is the audience? Who did the author have in mind when he wrote?

With Malachi, this question is easily answered, for Malachi refers to them directly several times. In several places, Malachi reveals that he is addressing the priests of Israel (1:6; 2:1), and the sons of Levi (3:3).

And what is it these priests are doing? They sneer at the commands of God, saying such things are “weariness” (1:13). They bring contemptible offerings to God, animals that are stolen, sick, and lame (1:13). They exploit wage earners, widows, and orphans (3:5). And they are robbing God of the tithes and offerings that belong to Him (3:8-10).

So it appears that the section on tithing in Malachi 3:8-10 is not so much addressed to the people of Israel, who apparently were doing a good job of bringing their tithes and offerings to the storehouse, but to the wicked and wayward priests, and specifically Eliashib, who were removing the tithes and offerings from the storehouse for their own personal gain. Maybe they were selling them or hoarding them for themselves.

The Priests are Robbing God and the Nation

That these verses are speaking specifically to the priests is clear from the little phrase at the end of Malachi 3:9. God says that they are not only robbing God, but are robbing the entire nation as well.

Malachi 3:8-10This statement does not make much sense if the people are failing to bring the tithes and offerings into the storehouse. But if they are bringing them in (as Nehemiah indicates that they were), and the priest was stealing them for himself and his friends, then it is easy to see how they were stealing from God and from the nation as well.

So then, in taking Nehemiah 13 and Malachi 3 together, it appears that the people of Israel had brought tithes and offerings into storehouse, but Eliashib had stolen and squandered them. At Nehemiah’s request, the people of Israel bought their tithes and offerings into the storehouse again, so that the temple workers could return to work.

In this case, the rebuke of Malachi is not at all directed toward the people who were failing to tithe, but upon a priest and his friends who were not using the tithe properly, but were selling it or hoarding it all for themselves. They were not giving the full portion that was due to those who worked and ministered in the temple.

It is these priests who were robbing from God and from the nation.

A Rebuke of Spiritual Leaders

This puts the message of Malachi 3 in a different light, does it not? The rebuke is directed at the spiritual leaders for their misuse and mishandling of the tithe which had been brought by the people. The rebuke was not directed at the priests; not at the people.

Now, if the people had failed to bring the tithe, could the rebuke have been directed at them? I suppose it could have been.

However, in such a situation, would God have said that the people were robbing Him? Probably not.

The language of the rebuke might have still contained elements of blessing for obedience, and cursing for disobedience, as these were consequences stated within the law (Deut 28), but it is doubtful that God would have accused the people of robbing Him in the same way that He was accusing the priests.

Malachi 3:8-10 is a rebuke of disobedient priests for stealing the tithes and offerings of the people. If there is a proper application of this text today, it would be better to direct it to the religious leaders in our churches, rather than to the people in the pews. And the message to the priests and pastors would be to ask them how they are spending the tithes and offerings of the people, and whether these offerings are being used for their intended purpose: to take care of the pastor’s needs (if he is really equivalent to a Levitical priest), and to feed the hungry in the community and look after orphans and widows in need (Deut 26:12).

Malachi 3 for Today

So does the passage have any real application for people today who do not tithe, or who give less than the traditional 10% (which is really only 3%, as we saw in a previous post)? Not really.

And even if it was directed at the people, rather than the priests, the blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience were consequences for the people of Israel living under the Mosaic Law. Followers of Jesus are not under the Law of Moses. We are under the Law of Christ, the Law of Freedom and Liberty (Gal 6:2; Jas 2:12). As such, everything we own belongs to God, and He does want us to use what we have and what we earn to help advance His Kingdom through generous giving and by loving and serving others. This is what Jesus and the rest of the New Testament Scriptures teach about giving.

We will begin to look at the New Testament Scriptures on tithing tomorrow. Don’t miss a post… make sure you subscribe.



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Comments

  1. says

    Yes, the argument hinges somewhat on to whom the book was addressed and whom is accused in 3:9 of robbing the entire nation (it does seem strange that the people would be accused of robbing themselves). Regardless of the answer to those questions however, we are not Jewish and pastors are not the equivalent of Levitical priests, in my opinion.

    As you point out from the story of Eliashib, for those churches that consider the tithe an Old Testament mandate, then should not the tithe be used in the manner prescribed there, rather than for buying large properties, covering them with multiple buildings, and in the case of many megachurch pastors and associates, giving them six figure salaries that go far beyond providing for their needs?

  2. says

    Greetings Jeremy,

    I disagree with your analysis because of two reasons (of which I may be wrong on :)):

    1. I suspect that the Malachi switches from his discussion on the priesthood in Mal. 2:10. “Sons of Levi” is stated in 3:3 as part of the messianic prophecy, but it doesn’t seem as if the entire prophecy is focused on the sons of Levi. Therefore, I wouldn’t include that section as referring to only the priest. I see it as referring to priest and people. Well, the nation as a whole.

    2. There are different translations for Mal. 3:9 that suggests that the phrase “even this whole nation,” is being used to say that the nation is robbing God as opposed to a person. Here is why I say that:

    ESV Malachi 3:9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.

    NAB Malachi 3:9 You are indeed accursed, for you, the whole nation, rob me.

    NAU Malachi 3:9 “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!

    NRS Malachi 3:9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me– the whole nation of you!

    NIV Malachi 3:9 You are under a curse– the whole nation of you– because you are robbing me.

    I may be wrong, but it seems that believing 3:9 is saying that the nation is being robbed is based on the word “even” in the KJV/NKJV versions.

    Perhaps I’m wrong altogether, but those things are what needs to be addressed before my slow mind can agree.

    Thanks

    • says

      Jerry,

      Excellent points. I admit that I did not consult the Hebrew on this translation, and you pointing out how different translation have rendered it makes me wonder. I will take a look at it again. You could very well be right. Thanks!

  3. Romel Madlangbayan on Facebook says

    I agree with you Jeremy, we must look at the historical background of the event in order to see as to whom the rebuke was addressed to.
    Anyway, since many churches today are collecting tithes, my question is how come the Biblical principles are not being followed? What about the tithing cycle? What about the 3rd year (the year of tithing -Deutoronomy 26:12). How come it is not distributed to the strangers, the fatherless and the widows within the gates (within the church or local town). How can one truly follow tithing when there are no longer any Levite to receive it? Sad, but these things are not even being taught in most of the churches. We better start looking around us for I believe that God will be more pleased if we will give our tithes to our neighbors in need. Jesus said that whatever we do to one of the least of our neighbors, we do it to Him. Paul also quoted Jesus’ words in Acts 20:35 that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Paul is pertaining to giving here as to support the weak. This is another verse that is often misuse or misunderstood by many. :)

    • says

      Romel,

      Great questions. I have addressed Acts 20:35 in this post: It is More Blessed to Give than Receive.

      As far the tithes and the Levites, there actually are some Jewish Levites today. I work with one. At least, he claims to have traced his lineage back to the tribe of Levi. But there is no Temple and so he has nowhere to go “serve” and so he has a normal job like the rest of us.

      But anyway… even still, we are not Jewish and so the Jewish law does not apply to us, and even among Jews, if they believe in Jesus, they are freed from the Mosaic law as well, as it was designed to lead them to Christ.

      Here is the ultimate point, however: You are absolutely right that more giving needs to go to the strangers, the fatherless, and the widows. Taking care of these people should be a higher priority than paving our parking lot, buying a new sound system, or getting new choir robes. Fantastic point!

  4. Alistair says

    Hi Jeremy,

    I come from a tithing Church (Hillsong) that gets a lot of stick for advocating trying tithing via Malachi 3 and I have always been suspicious because there seems to be no definitive statement anywhere in the new testament saying a Christian should tithe.

    I eventually had to put it to the test, I set up a standing order, cancelled certain benefits I was on and without any for of committed employment committed to God and thus my Church the FIRST 10% of everything I earned. For around 3 months I earned virtually nothing; however at the exact times that I approached my overdraft limit and tithe were due a job would come in that was just enough to pay the tithe and keep me from the end of the overdraft, this went on from around March to July; and I started to realize that God was always going to look after me and told my preacher that whilst I wasn’t going to get rich; but I had tried it and I was always looked after. A week later though things started to change and within 2 weeks a series of financial events occurred that look set to pay off my entire financial debt (about £15,000) in 2 weeks, something I had been striving to do for 100 years.

    I am not a Church groupy that says this kind of stuff to defend my tribe, God has made an honest man out of me and so I can genuinely say I disagree with you fully in Jesus’s name because I have experienced much better from God, and this is just the beginning.

    Love and Blessings,
    Alistair

    • says

      What I enjoyed in your reply is your statement “eventually had to put it to the test.” your testimony started as if you were going to add one more voice to the misleading view points of Jeremy………and then you disappointed him….hahahaha.

      Offering of firstfruits and tithes breaks financial yokes……..that is what God said. That is what I know. Let them write and twists what God said, but those who have the guts to test Him are not disappointed.

      • says

        99% of those who have the guts to test God in the way these false teachers proclaim are disappointed. The only ones who profit are the hucksters at the top of the pyramid teaching these lies from the pulpit. Can you find Bible verses to back you up? Of course! So could Satan.

        • says

          who are these 99% you are now twisting that they tested what false teachers are saying? My problem with your blog is that you write as if you have tested Malachi 3:10 and God failed to honour His Word. False teaching is giving testimony of what you did not even experience, but writing as if you have the Light, and telling people to stop obeying what is written in the Bible; and making people believe that if one tithe God will not honour His promise. This is a more serious spiritual sin of robbing God of His tithes as well because polluting the minds of those that would have tested God on His promise.

          Those obeying tithing are doing so out of what is written in Malachi 3:10 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 there will not be room enough to store it.

          If you have not done this then your writing are based on doubts and not the truth of what God said.

          • says

            I have given more than 10% of my income my entire life, since I was very little all the way up until today. Does this count as “testing” Malachi 3:10? There are millions more just like me. We give. We give generously. We give joyfully. But God does not make us millionaires (or even allow us to keep our jobs and pay all our bills).

          • says

            I suprised at your question – on are you “testing Malachi 3:10″. Do you mean “are you testing God.” definitely you are not testing Malachi 3:10 but God. That is what the verse is saying if you are sincerely doing what you says you have been doing in your entire life which is a lie anyway. Why I said you are not telling the truth is that your entire life means you have been tithing since the day you were born into this sinful world. True Christians do not tell lies. Explain what you mean by your entire life.

  5. Diana Betonselfalways Thomas says

    You said that Followers of Jesus are not under the law of Moses…not so…The Book of Revelations says, Blessed are they that do his commandments, (The TEN COMMANDMENTS) that they may have right to the tree of life…and may enter in through the gates into the city. What was took away, was the sacrificial law, because the Saviour is the ultimate sacrifice. Hebrews 9/14. How much more shall the blood of the messiah, wo through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to YHWH, purge you conscience from dead works, (animal sacrifices) to serve the living YHWH. The almighty Yhwh changes not…he is the same yesterday, today and forever.

  6. Monday Morning QB says

    While several have pointed out that these verses where in fact addressing the Israelites as a whole, we must also not loose sight that the Bible is so much more than an indexed book of topical teaching. In the same way that we must not prop up single passages out of context to support our views, we must also not see entire topics (such as tithing) as independent teaching points that can be disconnected from God’s central message. We are so keen to boil the word of God into bullet point action items (and then argue about what those action items are) so that we may simply act as He wants rather than reading His word in order to BECOME what He wants. His desire for us is to not simply act a certain way, but to actually be transformed into His likeness and BECOME a certain way (returning to His original) designed). In order to become like Him, we must first know what He is like. This requires us to read His word intending to know HIM rather than simply know what actions He’s commanded of us. If someone you don’t know let’s you know that they’d like you to bring them flowers, the questions abound as to what kind, how many, and quite frankly, why. If you know the person making the request (having spent time with them for this purpose) the logistical questions fall away and you find yourself responding according to WHO they are and what you know about them (anniversary, attending a funeral, preparing a garden, etc).

    The video below will take some time to watch but clears up questions on this matter and is worth watching in its entirety. Our tithe is a representation of Jesus. Tithing isn’t about 10%, obedience, honoring God, giving to the local church vs. other good causes etc… (well, it is about ALL of those things but…) like EVERYTHING in the Bible it is REALLY all pointing to Jesus. The Bible is the holistic word of God and carries a consistent message throughout. Cover to cover, it’s about Jesus.

    At 1:06:00 it begins to blow your mind but please take the time to watch it from the beginning as it addresses many common misunderstandings around tithing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlcVo8yOoBw

  7. Andrew Crawley jr says

    Very good way to explain the truth. Remember that most fight and argue based on their feelings and what they have always known instead what the truth is. Thanks again

      • Leti says

        I started tithing consistently almost one year ago. I have been blessed as the Bible says I would be. Over and over again, and in abundance. Before tithing, there was always NEED.

        Today it seems as if they are none existent, because even when they arise, they are filled and I am in peace as I keep my mind stayed on God’s word, trusting His word, praying and praising.

        I do have wants and desires, but many of those too have been received by God who declares in His word that He knew me intimately even before I was born. God has me covered, no circumstance is a news brief to Him and He has prepared the way for me.

        Living and seeing this for myself in any number of ways, I don’t require anyone to affirm His word for me. I made up in my mind to take the chance on God like He invited me to and I went to Him with a sincere heart, in response to my growing love and understanding of His word.

        Yes the blessings are nice, but materialism is not what tithing is about. Instead, tithing is about your personal relationship with God and never about the relationship of someone else with Him.

        Tithing is foremost and always about your personal level of maturity and understanding of God and most of all your trust in Him whose word never fails, whose word is never thwarted and Him who always prevails in all things.

        For those that “want” to choose (that is your right because God gives us all freewill and also because if you are not cheerful in your giving God doesn’t want it anyway; He owns everything in the earth anyway, so you are in no way doing Him any favors, instead it is the other way around, He is blessing you) to believe the Old Testament does not pertain you today, you are seriously mistaken.

        Old Testament is the foundation and prophecy of the New Testament which prophecies what has come and is yet to come when Jesus come to earth to redeem our souls.

        Go back and read your Bible from beginning to end and in order (yes, God is also a God of order!) You can’t have one part of the Bible without the other, just like you as a person can’t be a part of today without having lived yesterday and the day before and so on.

        As you don’t have a family history absent of the parents who brought you into this world and cared for you and loved you. Just like you don’t have a work history without your past by which a perspective employee can gauge your potential as an employee with their form… the examples can go on and on. There is no way that these facts can be denied, just as it is a fact that what God said in the past stands for all times.

        I fail to see why so many people want to try and complicate God when it comes to His word and His relationship to us as humans. On a relationship level where He wants to share in our everyday lives, God is understandable and loving as we should be with our own children, with our mates.

        But once again, a person can only understand that by being truly open to knowing God and can only know God by getting the focus off self and others and putting it on God who we were created for the pleasure of, who we were created to worship.

        For those that say they refuse to tithe because the pastors and preachers are robbing the people. Trust that God will deal with those that do such wicked and despicable things; corrupting God’s name and His image. He is God and He is all knowing and powerful enough to defend Himself and his children. God says that vengeance is His. So you would be doing yourself a favor by keeping focus on God. Stop trying to find loopholes in His word and using those defenses as a stepping stone to disobedience which is sin in the eyes of God and for which there is discipline brought on by our own choices.

        A great example we can all understand is that of a child who disobeys his or her parent. The parent lays out rules and expectations to which the child is expected to obey. I don’t know about you, but my parent told me what to do and I did it. There were no questioning and no speculation on my behalf, I did what my parent said or I was disciplined for my disobedience.

        My parent did not keep telling me the same thing over and over either, because once my parent told me what was expected, it was my duty to not forget it. She said what she meant and she meant was she said, the end.

        Just in case I wanted my parent all I had to do was not do what I was told to do and I quickly came to realization that what was said was real. I had the choice, obey my parent or reap the consequence. Disobeying God or choosing to not accept His word leaves us open to living life without His protection and yes favor and blessings. Don’t you as a parent reward your children when they are obedient to you?

        Really if you think about it there are many people that tithe the world over and live a prosperous life (which is well past just money but includes health, peace and balance in every area of life, along with every “NEED” being met). Why is it working for them and not you? That would be the better meditation to focus on rather than trying to dissect and usurp God’s word and authority.

        Obedience is key with God which means that obedience must be tied in with our salvation. Do I or you for that matter want to take a chance on not hearing well done my good and faithful servant when judgement time arrives since we all will be held accountable for everything that we “ourselves” did or didn’t do?

        At the end of the day you only have control over self and your actions, never the actions of other and you only have the power to see change in your life with the aid of God’s Spirit which will cause you to produce good fruits like love, mercy, goodness kindness…. in your life, cause you to experience the peace of God that transcends the mind.

        We all have issues that we struggle with, and if we could have made ourselves into the perfect person that we are striving to be, then we would have done so but, we can’t and won’t until faith in God (innocent as the faith of a child) graces the suspicious and protective nature that we all have as a result of life, people, and events that have wounded the human spirit.

        Just remember though that God is not like us and He that has begun a good work in each of us will perfect it. If we allow Him.

        God can be viewed in the image of a gentleman. we can all understand what that image looks like right? A gentleman is not going to force himself on you. God is not going to force his help on you either He will allow you to deal with the mess that is going on in your life as long as you want to. Us as people we desert people and shut them off when they don’t want to do follow our advice, but God is there just waiting for you to say you have had enough of of being busted and disgusted and ask Him to help us. He then goes to work, but we must allow Him to do what only He will do. The trials, ups and downs are a result of the work that is going on in your life as you become a willing participant in your change. Change is never present void of some type of action on our part which will define us as well as our goals.

        I have lived life absent of God’s help and now I am living my life offered willingly and earnestly to Him. I wake up daily in anticipation of amazing moments in my life created by God’s love changing, shaping, molding and preparing me. I must say I prefer life with Him.

        This decision and living it out has not been easy, nor do I always get it right. It definitely has not been an overnight process, but my life is better with God than void of Him. If He did if for me He will do it for you!

        • says

          This is a very long comment. Are you able to summarize your point in a sentence or two so that people can interact with you? If you notice, most comments on most blogs are rarely more than a paragraph. This way, people can read and respond.

  8. Leti says

    The tithe is what breaks the curse because that is what we are instructed to bring to God’s storehouse. It is a freewill offering given as you have been blessed to give. There is not a set place in which to plant your offering seed as there is with the tithe. You can use your offerings to bless those that are in need etc.

    • Leti says

      Readdress

      The tithe is what breaks the curse because that is what we are instructed to bring to God’s storehouse. The offering is just that, It is a freewill offering given as you have been blessed to give. There is not a set place in which to plant your offering seed as there is with the tithe. For example you can use your offering to bless those that are in need, maybe a mission that is answering the particular needs of people, while showing them Jesus.

      This is our model of how Jesus lived His life and how He desires for us to live. Jesus is the Way to salvation and therefore eternal life but He also met the everyday needs of those around Him.

      God is still manifesting this in our lives today. Showing us His truth and meeting our need as we trust Him with our lives. We are in turn blessed so that we can be a blessing.

      The message is free, but getting it to the world is not free. Another reason to bring the tithe to the storehouse (the place where your soul is fed, where you are growing up to look and act more like Jesus). If you see this growth in your life, don’t you want it to be shared with as many people as possible the world over?

    • says

      The tithe breaks the curse of Genesis 3? Anyway, I agree that we can use our money to bless those that are in need. This is a great way to use the money that we set aside “for God.”

  9. Leti says

    Final thought, I think God blesses us according to our faithfulness and stewardship. I have witnessed God bring great increase to those that are good stewards of what He has blessed them with.

    Its like the more they are blessed with, the more they want to bless those that are in need. These are people that are tithers first that put God first. As a result their need is met and they have the overflow which can’t be contained that spills into the lives of those that are in need.

    To me, this is what the Parable of Talents looks like in the life of those that are good stewards of the ALL the blessings that God has given unto them. Matthew 25:14-30.

    I don’t live for money, it’s not my daily motivation, it is simply a tool that can help me to live a better life and do more things to bless others. I believe that with the right attitude and obedience to God and His desire for us to help others that it is possible for believers to be come physically rich as we are already spiritually rich in Christ, joint heirs with the Son of God. Children of the Most High who owns everything in the earth and is therefore not poor by any standard. If that is what God wants for me then that is what I desire too.

    God already knows how we will respond to money, if we will forget about Him and allow money, riches and things to become the god that we idolize, which in essence limits what God wants to do in our lives. Why would He only want a few of His children to be rich. He sent Jesus so that we can all have life and have life more abundantly on all levels.

    Please lets stop limiting God. He can do anything, nothing is too hard for Him! He raised Jesus up from the dead!!!

    The question is, can we stand to be blessed like God wants to bless us? We serve a big God and when we allow ourselves to come to the truth of that fact, we will stop dreaming limited dreams for our lives, we will stop boxing God out of our lives and limiting our perception of Him. We will start praising Him that His will on earth is done as it already is in heaven.

  10. Delroy Robinson says

    It is a shame, Many people take The text out of context, and all off a sudden have make a doctrine of it. Paul taught us to give, as we have purposed in our hearts, not sparingly, neither under completion, or reluctantly. For God LOVES a cheerful giver, Sadly many limit God by following the old testament Tithe.

  11. Joel Goodhart says

    I used to tithe (for 18+ years), but I have since seriously questioned the practice. I’ll try to keep it concise, but here are some of my thoughts:
    1. Jesus would not have tithed. He was a carpenter/teacher, and both of those professions were not subject to tithing (only people who kept flocks/fields; aka farmers and herdsmen)
    2. Simon Peter would not have tithed. He was a fisherman, and they were not subject to tithes. Paul, a tentmaker/apostle, would not have tithed either…nor would any of the disciples I think.
    3. Because of the points made in 1 and 2, the righteous poor in the old testament would not have tithed, because they had no fields or flocks of their own.
    4. A lot of people say the tithe was before the law, citing Abraham/Melchizedek and Jacob as proof, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Concerning Abraham, he tithed from the spoils of war not his income. It would look like this > I ransack the house of a wicked neighbor of mine then give 10% of those spoils to an evangelist who was travelling through my town. That isn’t the best example to enforce the way tithing is taught today. Concerning Jacob, he mentioned that he would tithe if God would bring him back to his father’s house (he had the birthright) and provide for him, then he would give a full tithe of everything he received. There is no record that he actually did so, and I get the impression that it was similar to a statement such as (If you will bring me back to my father’s house so I can receive my significant inheritance, then I will give 10% to you)…and there is nowhere anywhere that suggests either Jacob or Abraham tithed repeatedly on a weekly basis…or even more than once.
    5. God actually penalized the giving of money for a tithe. If, instead of bringing food (cattle/produce), you wanted to redeem the tithe as money and give that….then you were supposed to add 20% to it. See Leviticus 27:30-31.
    6. Tithing is definitely not fair. A doctor making $250,000 a year can tithe and not feel anything, but someone like a single mother making $22,000 a year can tithe, and it would be very burdensome. I also don’t like how tithing is dangled in front of the poor as a means to survive. It looks to me like Satan tempting Jesus by saying if he really was the Son of God that he would do such and such. In other words, “If you really are a child of God and want His blessing, you will tithe 10% weekly to your local church leader(s).” It sets off a red flag for me.
    7. I think I agree with Jeremy’s analysis of Malachi. The church I go to now recently did a capital campaign, and they posted the numbers. I think they raised something like $400,000. Of which, $167,000 went to paying for church staff. That’s more than 40%. I’m all for supporting local ministers financially, but tithing seems more about providing for their standard of living then actually giving it to God for His Kingdom purposes. I think the interpretation of Malachi as a warning for religious leaders to not abuse their position with people’s giving is justified.
    8. I haven’t “tithed” for a couple years now, and being a college student, money can get tight…but God still blesses me financially. I have received scholarships out of the blue, and recently my father offered to help pay for part of my tuition, etc. All in all, I will most likely get my 4 year degree from a major university for less than $7500. I feel blessed…not because of my tithing or giving (or my works), but because of who God is. He’s our father, and I think he enjoys providing for his children…if you’ll just trust him instead of your performance.
    9. I realize people have a lot of testimonies from tithing and getting blessed, but I wonder whether that’s because of your tithing, or because, like I said before, God looks after his children.
    10. Final point: Let’s say you’re dead set on giving 10%. I think that’s peachy, but I have an idea. Take 5% and give that to your local church (it’s a good thing to provide for local pastors). Now take the other 5% and physically give it to someone in need. It can be a neighbor, friend, stranger, military personnel, widow, whatever. You will start to experience giving First-Hand…and I think that will make you want to give more…tithing all 10% to a church disconnects the giving, because then it becomes second hand experience…you’ll probably not see to who or where the money goes….much less the reaction as the person bursts into tears because God came through…I think tithing puts giving into a legalistic box and castrates the potential for people to experience cheerful giving…because they tithe and their Christian duty is done, and then anything after that is a struggle/major sacrifice.

    Anyways, those are just my two cents…Sorry of the long post, but I wanted to see what you guys think!

  12. Sam says

    You’ve obviously given this a lot of thought. If a group of people want to hire someone to provide them with goods or services, then it is reasonable to pay those workers a livable wage. Accordingly, if the worker(s) are providing religious services (such as teaching, preaching, conducting weddings and funerals and so on) this rule would apply. If that same group would like to rent or build buildings in which to conduct those activities, then again they should pay for it. I understand some people choose to pay for those things and call that their tithe.

    For my wife and I, however, we choose to share with those who have not. We don’t think of it as a tithe. All we have is ours temporarily, so it really isn’t ours. If we have enough, then would not the example of Jesus show us to share what we have, be it goods, time or love? For us, we find this looks so much more like Jesus.

    • says

      Yes, this is much how we live too. We talk about our “tithe” with Christians because that is the terminology they understand, but in our practice and thinking, we just think of using the money God has given us to help others He places in our path.

      • Sam says

        The easy way is throwing a check in an offering plate. The more difficult way is to get involved enough in the lives of others that we learn their real needs. Those needs may require money, and sometimes they require more than money – they require us and our time. Kudos to you and Wendy for spending yourselves on behalf of others.

  13. Doug W. says

    I have been studying and struggling with this “tithing” issue for a very, very long time.

    After reading these comments I have some questions that I wish some one would please address for me from a Biblical perspective.

    First question: (And this deeply troubles me) : Is not the Bible the best commentary on itself? So my question is this: What is the exact Biblical definition of the word “tithe”? Was it ever money? Or was it other things?

    And if it was NOT money, then h

  14. Doug W. says

    I accidentally pressed “submit” in the middle of posting my comment! Sorry. Seems to be no edit feature.

    As I was saying, was it ever defined in the Bible as money? And if not, I find it deeply disturbing that suddenly in the current century the definition has magically been changed. When and how did THAT happen???

    My question is “What gives us the right and authority to change or pervert the Biblical definition of what the word tithing originally meant?”

    If the Bible is the best commentary on itself, and if it defines “tithing”, what gives us the right to alter it? Isn’t that a perversion of God’s word?

    On the origins of modern day “tithing” did not the Catholics start this change many centuries ago?

    Can somebody PLEASE give me the facts on this? Listen, folks. I am hungering for FACTS. Not opinions, not personal experiences, but just the plain ol’ Joe Friday “Just the facts, m’aam.”

    When did “tithing” go from the old testament giving of crops and animals, etc, to our modern 10% of our paycheck?

    And another question that deeply troubles me is how come preachers never ONCE, (at least that I have heard) preach the scriptures on “eating your tithe”?
    Why do they only preach on a very few select scriptures on the subject of tithing, and leave other ones out?

    Should they not be teaching the entire council of God on the subject?

    I think if I can hear some decent answers on these questions, I will feel a lot better about “tithing” as it is taught in our modern churches.

    Also, I have a few other questions about the subject. but first, to simplify things, I will await answers to the ones I have posted.

    Doug W.

    • says

      Doug,

      Great questions. A whole study could be (and probably has been) written on this subject.

      Essentially, “tithe” means “tenth.” While it is sometimes used in connection with money in the OT, this is not always the case. But we have a more monetary society than they did back then, so money is the primary way of measuring income today, whereas back then, you might measure your income by cows and sheep and grain. So we can’t say that just because money is not mentioned much, it is not about money.

      It is almost always about giving a tenth of your income … whatever form that takes.

      Regardless, the “tithe” itself is an Old Covenant principle for the Jewish people living under the Mosaic Law, and later in a monarchy. We live under the Law of Christ now, as well as the laws of our various governments. So this affect a lot of what the Bible teaches about money.

  15. Doug W. says

    Yes. We live under the law of Christ. Here again, looking in the Bible, I don’t see any scriptural evidence that Jesus tithes. Nor Paul, nor the disiples, nor the new testament believers to whom Paul wrote his epistles.

    Now suddenly in our modern times, tithing is revived. It’s like it has magically “revived” from a Mosaic law that has been otherwise naied to Jesus’ cross, and frankly, I don’t get it.

    I am told by preachers that I need to practice this old testament “principal”, and I am told it is an eternal principle, yet all these others I just listed never did it, and now I’m expected, or rather COMMANDED to do it, or I’m under a curse if I don’t.

    Something is definitely fishy in proverbial Denmark. How did this ancient, dead law suddenly spring back into existence in our modern time? Why am I commanded to do something which even the Apostle Paul never practiced himself? I’ve searched the Scriptures for Paul’s teaching on tithing, and I find ZERO.

    If it’s new testament, why didn’t Paul teach it?

    I’m positive I have read some time back that the “law of tithing” had remained dead and nailed to the cross until a few centuries ago when the young catholic church brought it back as a means of fleecing the flock.

    I wish to heaven I could find that information again, but it’s hurried in the antiquity of my past.

  16. Doug W. says

    There MUST be a way of tracing back the history of it. I know they are able to trace other things. I’ve seen it done. Somebody, SOMEWHERE, has traced the lineage of modern “tithing”, and can offer the facts. I wish I knew who they were. I’m only interested in facts. Just the truth. That’s all I desire.

  17. Doug W. says

    Non sequitur : I attend a church that preaches “tithing” as the “minimum mandatory requirement”. I cringe inside every time they say it, and I bite my tongue in the Lord.

    The first thought that goes through my mind every time they use the word “tithing”, is “How does the Bible itself define the word “tithe”? If the Bible never defines it as money, then are they not using the word incorrectly and adding to the word of God?

    It is an inner struggle for me to keep my mouth shut, and yet I endure and continue to pray and implore God to open their eyes to the truth, But the problem is that I an fighting generations of the traditions of men, and short of the Lord appearing to them personally in a vision saying in a booming voice “I am the Lord God! You are taking my words out of context and perverting my law!!!”, I don’t see any hope.

    *sigh*

    So I continue to soldier on.

    For they are CONVINCED that those in the church who have “tithed” faithfully have been blessed and seen increase and prosperity.

    *double sigh*

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