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Bible verses about Tithing, Principles of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:18-20   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jacob must have been taught about tithing by his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. Genesis 14 succinctly reveals several principles of tithing. First, the tithe goes to God through His representative, the priest. Second, the Bible repeats that it is one-tenth. Third, this law was in effect long before God commanded it through Moses. Fourth, Abram, blessed for his faithfulness to God, gave tithes in recognition of God's rulership and providence.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 

Genesis 14:20   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Abraham returned from the war against the kings, bringing back a great deal of booty.

The speaker in verse 20 is Melchizedek, and the "he" who gave Him tithes refers to Abraham, as Hebrews 7 clearly states. This occurred around 430 years prior to the making of the Old Covenant. Tithing is not stated here as a law but is introduced into the flow of the story of the Bible as an already ongoing practice, which Abraham already knew. How did Abraham know to give ten percent?

How did Abraham know God's laws, which were formally written 430 years later? By God's own testimony, Abraham kept them and was faithful (Genesis 26:5). There are two possible answers.

First, in James 2:23, Abraham is called "the friend of God," indicating a close relationship. He is the only one in the Book who is called God's friend. In John 15:14, Jesus said to the apostles, "You are My friends. And, do you know what? Because you are My friends, I am going to tell you what I am going to do."

God told Abraham His laws! God says Abraham heard and obeyed in Genesis 26:5. How did he know about tithing? God told him about it. Abraham was God's friend, and God wanted Abraham to act righteously. Because God did not want his life to be a mess, He instructed him in His way, His laws, and commandments!

Secondly, God told Adam and Eve His laws, being their Father. What kind of Parent would He be if He sent them out into life without instruction? That is a parent's responsibility, and God instructed His children.

Consider Genesis 4, in which Cain and Abel made their sacrifices. How did Cain and Abel know what to sacrifice? Did it just pop into their minds? Adam and Eve, who had walked with God in the Garden, told Cain and Abel what the appropriate sacrifices were. When the time came to sacrifice, Abel was obedient, while Cain was not. In Romans 4:15, Paul said that where there is no law there is no transgression. God spoke harshly to Cain, and pronounced a curse on him. If Cain did not know better, then God would have been unjust in His punishment.

Abraham knew God required tithes. If we follow tithing through the Bible, it does not even appear as a law until the book of Leviticus and Numbers 18 for the priesthood.

Next, Jesus Christ commands tithing in Matthew 23:23. Our Lord and Savior was in favor of tithing. He should be, because He gave it at the beginning. He told Abraham about it. He assigned it to the Levitical priesthood. Then, by very strong implication in Hebrews 7, tithing is assigned to the church. There has never been any deviation. Tithing has always been God's manner of financing His educational service.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)


 

Leviticus 27:30   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Israelites gave tithes to the Levites to perform the work of the Tabernacle and later the Temple. Because they were involved in God's work and had no significant land of their own, the Levites had to be supported by the rest of the congregation of Israel.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 

Leviticus 27:30-33   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When we give God His tithe, it is a sign that we trust and believe in Him. Abel brought the best of his flock as an offering (Genesis 4:4). Abraham, the father of the faithful, gave Melchizedek a tenth of all his goods (Genesis 14:18-20). Jacob acknowledged God in His life by promising to give Him a tenth of all. Tithing demonstrates that a person worships God (Genesis 28:20-22). It is an act of faith, a spiritual act like prayer, and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:4, 6).

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: First Tithe


 

Leviticus 27:30   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The first tithe is holy to God and must be used to support the commission God has given His ministry in a way similar to that of the Levitical priesthood (I Corinthians 9:11-14). Jesus confirms that tithing continues, but now God through Christ has made a better covenant with His people, who are no longer limited to the physical nation of Israel. He is now working through His church, the spiritual "Israel of God." Through tithing, God provides abundance for every good work.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: First Tithe


 

Leviticus 27:30-34   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What does "holy to the LORD" mean? The tithe is set apart for God's use. It may not be used for anything else; it is holy to the Lord. The ministry tithes; we all tithe the first tithe. Those who say that tithing has been done away are causing God's people to steal! The first tenth of one's increase is to be set aside and not to do that is to rob God of His tithe.

John O. Reid
Tithing


 

Numbers 18:21   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Does God command three separate tithes, or one tithe merely split into three different uses? God says in Numbers 18:21, "Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacles of meeting." The Hebrew term for "all," kol, means "the entire amount," "the totality," "the whole" of the tithe, not a percentage or part.

Moses uses the same word in Deuteronomy 14:22-23, regarding the festival tithe:

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstlings of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

Just a few verses later, he shows another use for ALL the tithe!

At the end of every third year you shall bring out [kol; see KJV—"all"] the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (verses 28-29)

Here, a third tithe is given for a separate use. It was not to be given to maintain the Tabernacle (church) or spent on oneself at a festival. It was to be stored, implying a use over a period of time for the poor, widows, orphans, etc. Since this third tithe occurred only on the third and sixth years of the seven-year cycle, it had to be stored for the special purpose intended.

For each of the three tithes, God specifies all, or the entire tenth, should be used for the stated purposes. If on the third and sixth years we kept all the tithe for the poor, we would have no money for festival use! Yet the feasts were kept every year as a memorial (Exodus 13:10). This clarifies that all of the three tithes are referred to rather than a splitting of one tithe.

Staff
Common Tithing Questions


 

Deuteronomy 12:11-14   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Israelite set aside the second tithe throughout the year and consumed it at the annual holy festivals of God for whatever his heart desired. This means that he spent the tithe on things that enhanced his glorifying of God or added joy to the feast.

The same applies to our use of second tithe today. Unlike the use of first tithe, the individual who saves second tithe should use it. God wants His people to enjoy the physical abundance He provides at the feasts as they worship Him and learn to reverence and fear Him in ways that please Him. Because of His blessing, many can also help others observe the feasts.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: Second Tithe


 

Deuteronomy 14:22-23   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God instructs Israel to tithe of their increase to Him as the Provider of all things, and verse 23 gives the reason: "that you may learn to fear [reverence] the LORD your God always." He also mentions "eat[ing] before the LORD . . . in the place where He chooses to make His name abide." We know from Leviticus 23:34-43 that He is addressing the period of the Feast of Tabernacles. At first, it seems this has little to do with the previous verses.

Using the tithe for attending and enjoying the Feast is only a part of the entire tithing process, which also involves giving back to God (first tithe) and taking care of the less fortunate (third tithe). Taken as a whole, however, these tithing instructions are an integral part of the total equation of this chapter: taking care of God's chosen people. These verses have expanded the principle outside the personal to include others of God's people and even God Himself.

Staff
Whatever Your Heart Desires


 

Deuteronomy 14:22-27   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is the second tithe. This tithe is to be eaten, or consumed, before the LORD. It is not a tithe that goes to the priest, but it is a tithe for the individual's use at God's feasts, although he is not to forget the Levite.

John O. Reid
Tithing


 

Proverbs 3:9-10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When we give God back the tithe that is His to begin with, He blesses us abundantly spiritually and physically. Notice that God says He commands tithes so "that there may be food in My house" (Malachi 3:10). Tithes are primarily used to feed His people spiritually! If we support the work God is doing through His faithful ministers, He promises to bless us far above anything we could imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21)!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 

Malachi 1:6   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A principle is being brought out here. The priests had let down in their devotion to God, performing their duties in a routine manner, not taking them seriously. Therefore, the people let down also. When the priesthood casts off the truth, then so too do the people.

John O. Reid
Tithing


 

1 Corinthians 9:9-10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

If one muzzles an ox, he cannot eat any food, and his power begins to wane. Very soon, this powerful animal, which God created for man's benefit, is of no use to him. The implication here is that, if we silence the ministry, then who will feed God's church? Who will work to prepare us for God's Kingdom? Through whom will God work to take care of us? This is inspired for our sakes.

John O. Reid
Tithing


 

1 Corinthians 9:10-12   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

If we hire another to paint our houses or to mow our lawns, and we pay him, or we contract out for any other service, are not God's apostles and ministers better than these? They are feeding us spiritual food to ensure our entrance into God's Kingdom.

John O. Reid
Tithing


 

Galatians 6:6-10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The word communicate in the King James version means "to share"—as the New King James has it—"to associate, partake, participate, distribute; to impart." We who are being taught are to impart to those who are teaching. Adam Clark, commenting on the phrase "communicate to him that teaches," remarks:

Contribute to the support of the man who has dedicated himself to teach the work of the ministry, and who gives up his time and his life to preach the gospel. We do not expect the schoolmaster to give up his time to teach our children the alphabet without being paid for it, and can we suppose that it is just for any person to sit under the preaching of the gospel in order to grow wise unto salvation by it and not contribute to the support of the spiritual teacher? It is unjust!

The Expositor's Bible Commentary's entry on Galatians 6:6-10 reads:

Three uses of money are mentioned: 1. the support of the teacher in a Christian congregation [first tithe]; 2. the use of money to build up the Spirit rather than to feed the flesh [This is an arbitrary categorization. I would dare say, however, this is a perfectly lawful use of the second tithe]; 3. the spending of money to help others, particularly Christians [the third tithe fund]. The reference to the one who is taught in the word does not imply a fully developed oral instruction system, such as prevailed in the church later on, but it does point to a class of paid teachers at a surprisingly early date. Paul's policy was apparently to preach the gospel without receiving money, preferring to earn his living as a tent maker. But this was pioneer work. As soon as possible he seemed to have established a more fixed structure.

The apostle Paul did not want anyone to come and say to the Corinthians or to anyone with whom he was working, "You know, he is just teaching you so he can get your tithes. He just wants your money!" Paul did not want this.

In I Corinthians 8, Paul says, "I would not eat meat at all if it were to offend anyone. I would not eat meat for the rest of my life." This is the same principle in which he is instructing the Galatian brethren. Paul did not have an office to run, a car to maintain, or things of the administrative sort we usually have today. The point is that Paul would not accept monetary compensation in order not to offend anyone.

John O. Reid
Tithing


 

Hebrews 7:1-17   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A vital principle to remember concerning the Old and New Covenants is that what did not originate with the Old Covenant did not die with it. The gist of the argument in Hebrews 7 is that, since the Levitical priesthood has no authority under the New Covenant, the ritual laws pertaining to the priesthood are no longer valid. The priesthood has been conferred on Christ, now our High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20). This "change of the law"—the ceremonial law of sacrifices, ritual washings, and other rites pertaining to the Tabernacle/Temple and priesthood—applies only to the administration of tithing (verse 12). Since the tithing law predates the Levitical priesthood, and is thus still in force, tithes are now to be given to Jesus Christ, our High Priest, for use by the church. The church is commissioned to preach the gospel free of charge. The tithe pays for this important responsibility.

The principle of supporting the ministers of God's work is still in force in the New Testament church (Matthew 10:8-10; 24:14; 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; I Corinthians 9:13-14).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 

 




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