Tithes and Offerings: Should We Tithe on This Side of the Cross?
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
- Summary: Tithing was a practice among believers before the Law of Moses, as well as during the time of the Law. During His earthly ministry Jesus reaffirmed the validity of paying tithes. God's word says that "the purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives" (Deuteronomy 14:23, TLB).
Acts 20:33 [The apostle Paul said] I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold.
- •• It is never our intent at South Valley Church to covet your finances.
•• But there is an area of finances that we do covet — that is, that the Lord receive our tithes and offerings.
•• Leviticus 27:30, 32 "A tithe of everything from the land ... BELONGS TO THE LORD..." The tenth (ten percent) of our gross increase belongs to the Lord. Let's first take a broad look at tithes in the bible.
• An OVERVIEW of tithing in the Bible:
- •• Wealthy Abraham, the first great patriarch of Israel, gave tithes centuries before Moses’ Law (Genesis 14).
•• Poor Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, gave his tithes, also before the Law — Genesis 28:22 “And of all that you give me I will give you a TENTH.”
•• In the Law that God gave through Moses to God’s people, there were clear commandments to give tithes —
- • Leviticus 27:30, 32 A tithe of everything from the land ... belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the Lord. ... The entire tithe of the herd and flock — every tenth animal ... — will be holy to the Lord.
• Ten lambs born? They gave the Lord one. Ten bushels of wheat harvested? They gave the Lord one. They tithed — that is, they gave ten percent — on the gross increase, not on the net. I personally believe that these verses answer the question "Should I tithe before or after taxes?" An "entire tithe ... a tithe of everything ... of all...I will give you a tenth" would seem best fulfilled by tithing on the gross before taxes. That's what I practice, and that's what I recommend.
- • People ask: What is a tithe? How much should I tithe? The pattern from the beginning was a tenth of the gross increase.
• According to Scripture, my tithe “belongs [not to me, but] to the Lord.”
• 1,500 years after Moses received the Law, Jesus REAFFIRMED in His day the validity of tithing:
Matthew 23:23 Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
- •• Later on in the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians, ch. 9, the apostle Paul teaches on the financial support of the work of God and uses commands from Moses’ Law as guidelines — 1 Corinthians 9:8 "Doesn’t the Law say the SAME thing?" (referring to how, under the Law, the priests lived on the tithes and offerings). Paul brought the principle of the Levitical tithe — "the SAME thing" — over to the support of New Testament ministry.
- • Should Christians tithe? The words of both Jesus and Paul seem clearly to bring tithing into New Testament times.
- •• In the history of the New Testament Church since the first century, biblical tithing has been commonly, although not universally, taught and practiced.
WHY I BELIEVE IN TITHING:
1. As we have just seen, tithing is a Bible doctrine with CONTINUITY in the Scriptures, before, during, and after Moses’ Law.
2. Leviticus 27:30, 32 A tithe of everything from the land ... BELONGS TO THE LORD; it is holy to the lord.... The entire tithe of the herd and flock ... will be holy to the Lord.
- •• The tithe is not mine to withhold; it belongs to the Lord. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).
3. 2 Chronicles 31:12 Then they FAITHFULLY brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts.
- •• The giving of tithes and offerings is an indicator of our faithfulness. It’s a weekly, semimonthly, or monthly opportunity to demonstrate to God your faithfulness and commitment to His work on earth.
4. 2 Chronicles 31:5 As soon as the order went out, the Israelites GENEROUSLY gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a TITHE of everything.
- •• Giving "the tenth" is an indicator of our generosity. And God takes notice of the attitude of generosity: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) and “A generous man will himself be blessed” (Proverbs 22:9).
5. Numbers 18:21 I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.
- •• Biblical tithing allows God-called ministers to devote themselves fully to the Lord’s work.
•• Levites/priests in the Old Testament, fivefold ministers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) in the New Testament.
Malachi 3:8-10 "Will a man ROB GOD? Yet you rob me.” But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In TITHES AND OFFERINGS. (9)You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. (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 you will not have room enough for it.
6. Why do I believe in tithing (and giving offerings also)? I wouldn’t want to take a chance on God considering me a ROBBER!
7. Why do I believe in giving tithes and offerings? Because God says He wants His “house” to be abundantly supplied.
8. Why tithe? Because the Word of God says if I faithfully obey God's tithes and offerings exhortation spoken by the prophet Malachi, God will open the windows of heaven and pour me out abundant blessings.
Proverbs 3:9-10, KJV Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
9. Why do we tithe? We are honoring the Lord when we give to Him.
- •• Many churches say at the time of the offering: “Now let’s worship the Lord with our giving.”
10. Why give God our ten percent? God in turn grants you abundance.
2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever SOWS GENEROUSLY will also REAP GENEROUSLY.
11. Why give our tithes and offerings? There is a bible principle of sowing and reaping. It should be our intention to sow generously and our humble expectation to reap generously.
Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also.
12. Why do I believe in tithing? Because my heart is in the kingdom of God and in our local church. So there my treasure will be also!
SUMMARY: WHY I BELIEVE IN NEW TESTAMENT TITHING
• Giving your tithes "...teach[es] you always to put God first in your lives" (Deut. 14:23, TLB).
• Tithing is a Bible doctrine with continuity in the Scriptures, before, during, and after Moses’ Law.
• The tithe is not mine to withhold; it belongs to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30).
• Tithing is an indicator of faithfulness to God (2 Chronicles 31:12).
• Tithing is an indicator of our generosity (2 Chronicles 31:5). And “A generous man will himself be blessed” (Prov. 22:9).
• Our tithes allow God-called ministers to devote themselves fully to the Lord’s work (Numbers 18:21; 1 Corin. 9:13f).
• I don’t want God to consider me a robber (Malachi 3:8) for failing to give tithes and offerings.
• God wants His “house”, the church, to be abundantly supplied (Malachi 3:10 with 1 Timothy 3:15).
• God exhorts us to be faithful in tithes and offerings, and He will open the windows of heaven and pour out abundant blessings (Malachi 3:10-12; also Proverbs 3:10).
• We are honoring the Lord when we give to Him (Prov. 3:9).
• There is a bible principle of sowing and reaping (2 Corin. 9:6). As we sow generously, we shall reap generously, both naturally and spiritually.
• Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
May both our treasures (tithes and offerings) and our hearts be in the Lord’s church and in the kingdom of God.
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©2005, 2015, James H. Feeney.