Is the Tithe Relevant for Today?



Tithing has been a lukewarm to hot discussion for several years.  Donald Carson wrote an article almost twenty years ago. 


People today are still searching for answers; Some wanting to justify the teaching of the tithe to encourage Christians to live biblically, while some seek the knowledge for the truth.


Not to go down a rabbit trail. 


We know the scripture says, you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.  The major lesson within context deals with salvation from sin, but a minor lesson is that a person that desires to live in truth, will have a conscious that will place one in an uncomfortable place.  But when truth is found and followed, one will find freedom.  May God be praised!


Coming back around to searching for the answer of tithing… Some just want to justify their actions when it comes to the question that bothers their soul…Should I be giving the tenth?  Could it be less?


Opening the Scriptures we find as K. Dale Miller wrote: 

Q:The tithe is clearly taught in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament it seems to be downplayed. Are those of us who give 10 percent of our income doing something not required?

Donald Carson responds by saying

A: A simple yes or no to this question would be horribly misleading.

Trans:  The first Question…


I.  Where does the tithe originate?

     Before I answer this question, I hear a little voice in my head, say…  God didn’t require Adam or Eve, or their three children to tithe.  But let me certainly say that they were required to give of their first fruits and that some offerings were seen as more valuable to God; seeing that Abel gave a better offering than Cain.


But what’s interesting is that the tithe when we first observe the tenth being given, is that no command of it has been instituted. 


I think this is the first place we can establish that giving is a heart issue and consider this word picture illustration. 

Abraham is justified by faith. 


After a battle the King of Sodom and Abram meet. 

Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).


And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.

19  And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;

20  And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tenth of all.

Abraham is the Father of faith.  It is good to be about one’s Father’s business when it is sown in righteousness. 


The Tenth continues to have it’s establishment with Jacob and his dream about the ladder.  When he awoke, made a prayer with a vow. 


If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

21  So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

22  And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.


Trans:  The second question

II.  Who and When Instituted the Tithe?

We know that the law of Moses mandated the tithe Lev. 27:30:  ’Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD.


There were only two types of income that were tithable: One was from agricultural production. "All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s" (Leviticus 27:30). This meant that a tenth of all agricultural produce of the land of Israel, whether fruits or vegetables, had to be tithed. The second type of tithable income was the increase of animals. "All the tithe of the herd or flock, whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord" (verse 32). Only these two specific income producers were subject to the tithe.


Wait a minute, let’s not forget that the first born was the Lord’s.  Some teach that you only tithed the tenth animal that went under the rod.  Check again this is where first fruits comes into focus.  Further, some have advocated that only farmers of land and livestock tithed, but realize that people were under a barter system.


It is the tenth of increase. 


This was to be the practice, this was life. 


To do otherwise was considered robbing from God. 


But the third question that comes to mind is

 III.  What Does Jesus Say About Tithing?

6. When Jesus affirmed the tithe, it was before the dawn of the new covenant.

Some defend tithing by saying Jesus praised tithing, even if he said it was less important than other things (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42). 


Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.




Transition:  I believe the best question when it comes to our personal tithe is this…


IV.  What does the New Testament lead us to Believe About Tithing and Giving to God. 


1.  Jesus in the least recognizing tithing as a righteous activity to faith.

    Recognizing that the Pharisees were careful to give the tenth of cumin and other small things.  Remember that to be found faithful in small things, God would give greater things.  


2.  Jesus taught that giving to the poor was a godly activity that was to continue.

    Certainly Judas was fully away of Jesus teaching on giving to the poor,  He reiterated it for his own purpose, when Jesus was anointed with the costly perfume. 


When Christians are instructed to give to the poor, they aren’t commanded to give “the poor tithe.” Instead, they are instructed to be generous in helping those in need


3.  The Church practicing giving generously.


(Acts 2:43–47; They shared all things in common and And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;

45  and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

46  Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.


4:32–37; And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

34  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35  And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.


11:27–30; And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.


Gal. 2:10; Paul was eager to care and give to the poor


1 Cor. 16:1–4; Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.

2  On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.


2 Cor. 8:1–9:15).


For example, 1 Corinthians 16:1–4—a passage often cited in popular circles in support—doesn’t mention tithing; it relates to a one-time gift for poor saints in Jerusalem.


Certainly we see this in the New Testament



4.  The writers of the New Testament strongly lead and commend the generous hearts that give to the work of the Lord

Give Generously

Even though tithing isn’t required today, it does not follow that believers should hoard their possessions.

We are commanded to support those who preach the gospel

(Matt. 10:10; or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

Luke 10:7; "Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

1 Cor. 9:6–14; Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?

7  Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?

1 Tim. 5:17–18). And while we should enjoy the good things God gives us, we are also called to be generous to those in need

(1 Tim. 6:17–19;  Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

18  Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

2 Cor. 8–9). Wealth can so easily become an idol, leading us to abandon the Lord.

Since God is to be our treasure, believers are to give generously and freely. For many in the West, this will mean giving more than 10 percent.

We understand that there are people that are dealing with unfortunate circumstances.  That they might be like the financially challenged in the OT that were to give meager offering, like the pigeon or dove.  Or like the widow who had only a little.  That’s why it was so significate for her to give the two drachmas, it was all she had to live. 


God knows your finances, he desires to guide you in your giving.  I believe that God will reward those who give with spiritual guidance leading with good stewardship. 


Jesus Calls Us to Desire More

Happiness Beatitudes Dreams

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-10-18

Author: Mitchell Dillon



When I was a boy, I always looked forward to our summer trips from San Francisco to West Texas to spend vacation time with extended family.  My two younger brothers and I would pile into our un-air-conditioned car, anxious to begin the long trek across the Southwest.  At the end of each day’s journey, the three of us would beeline our way to the hotel pool to re-hydrate—something we really looked forward to after hours of being blasted in the back seat by the hot desert air.  These were great adventures filled with the excitement of seeing new places and the extravagance of eating out (something we never did back home).

One year during our journey, my youngest brother did something completely out of character for his normally compliant nature.  Despite a tight budget and strict instructions to the contrary, James defiantly placed the same order every time we stopped to eat.  “I’ll have what Dad is having,” he would insist.  Apparently, my little brother had noticed that the plate of food placed in front of our father always looked a lot more appealing than the one typically placed in front of him.  That was all it took.  From then on, all he wanted was what our father was having.  At five years of age, my little brother didn’t know much, but he knew that anything Dad ordered would be better than what he knew to order off the Kiddie Menu.  Genius!