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Tithing and the New Testament

September 5, 2015

First off, I’m a neophyte Christian and simply sharing what I’ve learned up to this point in my journey down the narrow path. For this reason you will likely find ignorance in my understanding of scripture. Please always do your own research, this not only helps ensure you are not mislead but also helps you to grow. This is the primary reason for me authoring this blog. Remember, the Word (scripture) is the authoritative source of all knowledge. Refer to it first and last!

As a new Christian tithing was initially difficult for me. I work hard for my money, and honestly, I part with it somewhat begrudgingly. So my wife and I set a goal in 2014 to find a church and to begin tithing at 10% of our net income.

Always one to question the “why” of something I was curious about exactly what the Bible said regarding tithes and offerings. It was interesting to discover that the answer is not what I expected.

 

Tithing is first mentioned in Genesis 14. Abram had rescued Lot and defeated Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him. Melchizedek, king of Salem and one of those defeated by Abram, visited Abram saying;

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

“Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” (Gen 14:20)

While not specifically tithing, giving is required under the old covenant;

  • Genesis 14:20
  • Genesis 28:20-22
  • Exodus 13:2
  • Numbers 3:13, 18:15-17
  • Deuteronomy 15:19-20, 12:6, 17, 14:23
  • Exodus 23:19, 34:26
  • Nehemiah 10:36
  • Luke 2:23
  • Leviticus 2:14

Tithing is specifically called out and described in the following;

  • Leviticus 27:30, 27:32
  • Numbers 18:12-13, 21, 24
  • 2 Chr. 31:5-6
  • Nehamiah 10:35-39, 12:44
  • Matthew 23:23
  • Luke 11:42
  • Malachi 3:8-10

There are only a few mentions of tithing in the New Testament. But all of these are references to Old Testament law;

  • Luke 11:42, 18:12
  • Matthew 23:23
  • Hebrews 7:1-10

The Old Testament is clear in the requirement of tithing. The Levites were assigned by God as receiving these tithes on his behalf (Numbers 18:21, 24)

A new order was introduced with Jesus Christ. Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood. The old law is obsolete, thus tithing itself is obsolete.

The point of tithing under the old covenant was to support the ministers (Levites). This was done for physical blessings. Giving today under the new covenant is a spiritual blessing and privilege (Matthew 6:21, 2 Cor. 8:1-5).

In the end scripture clearly shows Jesus wants us to have a giving heart. Greed and all it’s trappings can result in an unfruitful soul (Luke 8:14-15). Generosity toward others gains us “treasure in heaven” (Luke 12:33).

My conclusion, as evidenced by my desire to research this topic, is that the fruits of the spirit will result in conviction to give. The church today is enabled by our giving to share the gospel, support missions and ensure we have pastors that can focus full time on teaching and leading their congregation effectively.

A tithe (tenth) seemed like a good place for my wife and I to start. It was enough to push me into discomfort a bit, not because we couldn’t afford it, but because of my negative attachment to wealth. Any less than this and I think it would have been too comfortable to truly push me to a healthier spiritual place closer to God. Of course the amount given is a personal matter and something you should contemplate and pray on.

God Bless!

References;

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