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Bible verses about Tithing
(From Forerunner Commentary)

All of God's tithes reflect His great love for us as individuals and collectively as a church. The world will not admit that God owns everything (Haggai 2:8) and that He gives us all that we have (I Corinthians 4:7). He asks only for a small amount in return for our benefit and our brethren's. What a wonderful financial system God has set up for everyone's good!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing: God's Financial System


 

The biblical system of tithing has been a point of controversy among Christians for years. Its opponents claim it is part of the Old Covenant, and thus, it was instituted solely for the support of the Levitical priesthood. They often acknowledge that the principle of giving to support the ministry is still valid, but say God does not command paying a set percentage of one's income. Yet this ignores clear passages throughout the Bible.

From Genesis to Revelation, tithing is the only financial system God endorses. He shows that blessings accrue to those who faithfully tithe of the increase God has bestowed upon them. Through the tithing system, God provides for the preaching of the gospel and the feeding of the flock (Matthew 28:19-20). In so doing, faithful tithing expresses love toward God and love toward neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing (1995)


 

Since the instruction is to tithe the produce of agricultural work, is tithing to be done only by farmers and ranchers?

Within the fabric of many of these scriptures lies the answer to the question of whether we should tithe only agricultural produce. The argument in Hebrews 7:1-10 refers to Abraham's example of tithing (Genesis 14:18-20) and applies it to the New Testament church! Here, Abraham does not tithe of his flocks and herds but of the work of his hand. His work at the time involved the slaughter of the kings—war! The spoils of war include gold, silver, apparel, and any other items the victors judge valuable. This prime example of tithing shows Abraham giving ten percent of a non-agricultural endeavor to God.

Jacob's example in Genesis 28:20-22 is similar. He promised to give God a tenth if God would give him protection, food, and raiment "in this way that I am going"—that is, as he traveled, not as he farmed. This section also shows that he knew about tithing. He could have picked 9, 37, or 86 percent instead of 10 percent had he not known the tithing principle. It is likely that Abraham passed this knowledge to Isaac, who passed it to Jacob.

Paul is writing to the Corinthian church when he says that he could take tithes of them (I Corinthians 9:7-15). In Paul's day, the city of Corinth was a large trading and industrial center, a major seaport, and the capital of the Roman province of Achaia, not a farming community. The people in the church there worked at "city" jobs.

Christ condemned the Pharisees for forgetting the major points of the law while meticulously counting their spice seeds to determine their tithes (Matthew 23:23). These Pharisees were not farmers. The "land and inheritance" rules of Joshua's administration had long since passed into disuse. They had probably ceased to be functional after the Babylonian captivity 500 years before this account. In Babylon, people forgot who owned what land, and in the meantime, foreigners had moved onto it. Upon returning from the captivity, the Judeans had to assimilate into the population of those who had replaced them. They had to buy land, work for others, or go into commerce to survive. Even so, tithing was in effect.

The same principle applies to Malachi 3:8-12. Malachi wrote after the captivity, probably contemporary to or just after Nehemiah, and he mentions only agricultural products. This only emphasizes that God intended Israel to be an agricultural economy, and this may be a primary reason He initially tied increase to agriculture. In the World Tomorrow, the world will return to an agriculturally based economy; everyone will have his own vine and fig tree (Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10).

Meanwhile, is it logical to assume that a farmer working with his hands for a living would tithe when a carpenter, who also works with his hands for a living, would not? God obviously highly endorses agriculture throughout the Bible, yet how many would want to pursue agriculture when they would be "penalized" 20 percent—and in some years 30 percent—for farming? If they did not have to tithe, how would city folk attend the Feast? If it had no income from tithes, how would the church take care of its widows, poor, and strangers?

God is not a respecter of persons; He requires the same from everyone. We need to remember that the tithing law was a total financial package that ran the nation of Israel. It is this principle that we must apply to today's circumstances.

Another point to consider is that Malachi is an end-time prophecy written to the end-time church. It fully endorses tithing as requisite to God's blessings and protection. He mentions wage earners, widows, the fatherless, and strangers as categories of people we should help (verse 5). God wants the people to repent and return to Him in tithing so that His end-time church can remedy these inequities and show His kind of love! In this day, very few church members are farmers or ranchers. God knew this would be the case when He inspired Malachi's prophecy. Yet He still emphasized tithing as a major teaching, knowing it would be of the increase of the work of our hand in areas other than agriculture.

Staff
Common Tithing Questions


 

It has been said that the Old Covenant is gone and that tithing is gone with it. The ending of the Old Covenant cannot take away what it did not bring. Tithing was God's law hundreds of years before the Old Covenant began. Tithing was God's law from the beginning, continued through the Mosaic dispensation, and is to be followed today.

The tithing system God has set in place gives each of us an opportunity to share with each other and with God. With our tithes, we support each other spiritually and physically, and we share with God. This is what God wants. This is His system by which we support the work He is doing on this earth, and it is also in place for the perfecting of the saints, to prepare them in the ministering divine things. This is what the tithing system is all about. Again, from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: "In this amazing system of tithing, the economics of God's people becomes a channel for expressing love to God and love to neighbors."

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Genesis 14:18-20

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

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)


 

Genesis 28:22

Tithing, in its simplest form, is returning one-tenth of one's income to God for His use. The patriarch Jacob, knowing about God's command to tithe, promises to give God a tenth of his blessing or increase.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing (1995)


 

Leviticus 27:30-33

God's Word reveals we are to tithe on the increase (profit) we receive as a result of our productive effort (Leviticus 27:30-33; Deuteronomy 14:22). Therefore, a person working for wages—the vast majority of us—would tithe one tenth of the total amount of his pay before income tax, Social Security, or other deductions are removed. Other tithable income would include capital gains from investments, dividends from stock, and interest from bank accounts. The value of products used out of the garden or field should be included in figuring total income also (Matthew 23:23).

Income that is not tithable include Social Security benefits, welfare, gifts, unemployment or disability compensation, and loans that must be repaid. A general rule of thumb is that any income not earned is not tithable.

A farmer or person in business for himself should tithe on the income from his crops or business after operating expenses but before deducting personal living expenses or taxes.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing: God's Financial System


 

Leviticus 27:30

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

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 27:30-33

God has always used giving as a means to carry out whatever commission He gives to His people. The Bible first mentions tithing when Abraham gives tithes to Melchizedek, a priesthood that predates even the patriarchs (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-10). By the time of the Exodus, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had grown from a small patriarchal family to a great multitude of upwards of two million people. The size of the population dictated the need for a written code of law, yet the principles of giving remained the same. Numbers 18 records that God turned His tithe over to the Levitical priesthood for their use in the administration and conduct of His work (Numbers 18:20-24). By the time God formally instituted Israel's civil code, tithing had long been an ongoing financial law.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: First Tithe


 

Leviticus 27:30

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

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 (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Leviticus 27:30-34

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (vol. 4, p. 863) lists three tithes. It is amazing to see how many commentaries and dictionaries list the same three tithes with regard to Leviticus 27:30-34 and Deuteronomy 14:22-29:

Jewish tradition and some more recent studies (e.g., Landrell, p. 36) have identified two or three different tithes in these passages. (1) A first tithe consisted of the tithe to the Levites. . .; of this, one tenth was passed on to the priest or to the house of God. (2) A second tithe (from the remaining nine tenths) was set apart and eaten by the household, presumably in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 14:22-26 . . .). Those living far from Jerusalem could change the tithe of the land into money . . . [for] food, drink, or oil. . . . Landsell refers to this tithe as the tithe for the sacred celebration. [This is exactly what it is—the tithe for the sacred celebration!] (3) The third tithe, according to Jewish tradition (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews iv.8.22 [240-243]; cf. also Landsell) was the tithe for the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28f), which occurred only in the third year. According to some of these possible scenarios, the tithing rate could run as high as thirty percent! (Emphasis added.)

Eerdmans Family Encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 147), under "Tithing":

Each year a tithe (a tenth of one's produce) was given to God for the upkeep of the priests. A second [tithe] was used for a sacrificial meal, in which the worshipper and his family shared at one of the festivals. A third [tithe] was used to help the poor.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ibid.), under "Tithing: Theological Implications":

No institution in Israel, including tithing, existed merely to carry out a political, economic, or humanitarian function. By giving the tithe, the Israelites were declaring solemnly that they were giving a portion back to the Lord who had prospered them (Deuteronomy 26:10-15). By giving the tithe they also recognized the validity of the priests' and Levites' role as God's representatives and acknowledged their right to receive support for the spiritual service they performed on the people's behalf. The tithe ritual afforded the Israelites an opportunity to remember Yahweh's blessings as He had remembered them, and to imitate their God's care for slaves, the poor, orphans, and widows. The tithe demanded that the Israelites serve their God at a significant cost to themselves. In this amazing system of tithing, Israel's economics became a channel for expressing love to God and love to neighbors the heart of the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Leviticus 19:18).

What are the greatest commandments of the law in Matthew 22:36-40? They are to love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus says that on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. This is what God's tithing law is to do.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia adds: "[T]ithing helped to set Israel apart as Yahweh's people and His alone, a people holy to Him." This is because of their obedience to God. Of course, we know that other signs identifying God's people are keeping God's Sabbath, obeying the laws of clean and unclean meats, keeping the holy days—these are, along with simply obeying God in all He tells us to do, true signs of God's people.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Numbers 18:21

Tithes were given to Levi to do the work of God: to cover living expenses, equipment, upkeep of the tabernacle and its accouterments, etc. Today, our first tithe goes to church headquarters to do the same thing—to do God's work.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing: God's Financial System


 

Numbers 18:21

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


 

Numbers 18:21

The first tithe was paid to the Levite. Israel paid this tithe to their ministry, who in turn interceded to God on their behalf. The priests told them how God wanted them to live, which produced a properly-lived, safer, happier, more meaningful life, which in turn brought many national and individual blessings, the greatest of which was a close relationship with God.

Today, the ministry is to perform the same function, except that there is more on the line because we have God's Spirit. As the ministry teaches us how to live and how to conduct our lives, we will be physically blessed for proving and following these instructions, but there is more at stake than this. We are to be changed inside, spiritually. We must have a right heart, be converted, and have the mind of God. God desires us to have perfect, godly character! The ministry today is much more important in this respect. The role of the ministry is to help perfect those whom God places in their care (Ephesians 4:11-12)

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Deuteronomy 12:5-6

Moses addresses Deuteronomy 12 to Israel on the east side of the Jordan River. He tells them that, instead of having altars and high places throughout the country, they should bring their required and free-will offerings, other sacrifices, firstlings, and tithes (plural in verses 6, 11) to the place where God put His name. There, the people were to eat before Him.

The second tithe here is in addition to the tithe commanded in Numbers 18. It was to be eaten by the individual Israelite, but not at home ("not . . . within your gates," Deuteronomy 12:17). This tithe was not to come out of the first tithe, because the latter was the Levites' inheritance. The Levites lived off the first tithe in all their cities throughout the year. Therefore, the first tithe that they normally lived on cannot have been the second tithe that God forbids all to eat in their homes. The Bible nowhere states that the Levite had to bring a special tithe to eat at the feasts (such as the Feast of Tabernacles). The people were to bring it. Verse 18 specifically states that the Levite should also eat of the second tithe where the Lord chose to place His name (see Numbers 18:21-24).

In Deuteronomy 12:11, the plural usage shows that Moses distinctly refers to more than one tithe. Deuteronomy 14:23 uses "tithe" in the singular because the passage describes only the specific tithe that we are to consume where God places His name.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: Second Tithe


 

Deuteronomy 12:11-14

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 14:22-27

Instructions for the second tithe are found in this passage. Included here is the command to "truly [fully] tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year" (verse 22). This is the tithe we are to save for ourselves for use during God's Feasts throughout the year, not the same tithe that was given to the Levites.

Note here that a full tithe is to be set aside for this purpose only. Over the years some have invested their second tithe in projects that have failed; this is a wrong use of this money. It is not to be set aside as venture capital, but as money to be used to enjoy God's festivals.

Some have erroneously thought that if they saved just enough to attend the Feast, they were fulfilling God's requirement. Again, this is not correct, for God wants us to save a full tithe to "spend on whatever your heart desires . . . before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household" (verse 26).

Also, spending second tithe for any other purpose than for keeping the Feasts is wrong. It actually harms our relationship with our Creator. We destroy character through disobedience and fail to learn the important lessons contained in the saving and use of this second tithe.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing: God's Financial System


 

Deuteronomy 14:22-23

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 14:22-29

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 contains the tithing laws. We are to follow His tithing laws and keep His festivals for the same reason: because we are a special, holy people to Him personally. Faithfulness to Him and the covenant is primarily tied to our personal and intimate relationship with Him—and only secondarily to membership in the Israelite nation or the church of God. Trusting Him is the issue.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Priceless Gift


 

Deuteronomy 14:22-27

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 (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Deuteronomy 14:28-29

Directly following the instruction concerning second tithe is the command for third tithe. This tithe is also not given to the Levites to do the work, but stored "within your gates." Nor is it to be set aside yearly to keep the Feasts, for this tithe is set aside "every third year."

The purpose for this third tithe is found in verse 29: It is God's welfare plan for the fatherless, widows, unemployed and the truly needy. After faithfully completing our third tithe year, we are entitled to ask God for a blessing upon His people (Deuteronomy 26:12-15).

Third tithe is paid in the third and sixth years of a seven-year cycle. God gives us the seventh year as a year of release, or sabbatical, then we begin another seven-year cycle in the eighth year.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing: God's Financial System


 

Deuteronomy 14:28-29

God expects this tithe every third year, and He will bless us because we are obedient to Him. This tithe is not reserved for the ministry or for oneself but for the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow within our gates-'those who are needy.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Deuteronomy 15:19

We can see the human reasoning coming into play here: "I have a bullock that I am going to give to God, but he looks really great. Maybe I can use him for awhile before I give him," or, "God certainly would not want the wool, so I will shear that off!" This is just human nature in the raw at work. I could not help but smile at this because, over the years, I knew of people who had invested their tithe money with the hope of giving more to God. They invested in factory or farm equipment and then the bottom of the equipment market fell out. It just does not work that way! God tells us not to do anything else with what is due Him. He says, "It is Mine!"

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Job 41:11

Everything that exists belongs to God, He has the right to keep everything for Himself, but He chooses to share with human beings. He does not need to pay or repay anyone, or ask us for anything. Silver and gold are symbolic of everything of value.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 

Proverbs 3:9-10

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


 

Proverbs 3:9-10

By paying to God what we owe Him (that is, His tithes), He rewards us with blessings. Christians often find their third tithe years to be abundant with all types of blessings and invaluable lessons learned. These are not always material blessings, however. Storing up spiritual treasures in heaven is far more important than physical prosperity. God does not promise to make us wealthy but that our relationship with Him will prosper. Such eternal blessings are far greater than any temporary physical blessings we could receive.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: Third Tithe


 

Jeremiah 6:10-11

God indicts the entire nation for its covetousness. A major reason why coveting is so dangerous is shown by our credit system, which is based on the premise of possessing something before one is actually able to afford it.

In this profit-producing scheme, advertising is credit's companion. The marketer's purpose is to speed up the business, possession, and profit cycle. However, in reality over the long haul, credit actually slows things down and makes items more expensive because the credit must be paid for through interest in addition to the item's original price. It also creates greater debt, enslaving the debtor to the creditor. This same principle is at work in every other unlawful act of which coveting is a part.

Who will listen to this reality? Through America's almost insanely massive and ever-growing indebtedness, God is demonstrating that people simply will not heed either sound human or divine advice because their minds are driven by the desire to have whatever it is that they want right now. It has a grip on the heart so strong that nothing yet has been able to break it.

This tenacious hold is why tithing comes as such a shock when people learn that God requires it. Many are living way over their heads. When they learn of tithing, the penalty for their earlier stealing from God greatly influences current spending. They must then learn to pay in adversity, sacrificing as they go on in obedience.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment


 

Malachi 1:6

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 (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Malachi 1:7

They were treating the service of God with a ho-hum attitude, as if to say, "This is just a job. It is simply an offering that I have chosen to give. It means little."

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Malachi 1:8

"Offer this to your Persian governor," says God, "and see how he receives it." The appointees of the Persian government would not allow Israel to bend an inch. The tributes had to be perfect. God said, "Take your offering there, and see how it flies! See if he will be at all pleased or accept you!"

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Malachi 1:9

He says, "Go ahead—ask for protection. Ask for guidance. I will not give it to you. Your attitude is wrong! Your offering is wrong!"

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Malachi 3:8-10

The people of Malachi's day had let down; their attitude was ho-hum, and they did not realize it.

We belong to God, yet we can, and do, let Him down in many ways. The ministry, like the priesthood, can let down in doctrine and cause great shipwreck to the faith of God's people. We, too, can let down in our offerings: the offering of our lives. We can let down in our marriages by not loving our spouses, or we can let down in not correctly raising our children. God wants a pure heart within us, and He wants us to obey Him in every facet of our lives, not just in tithing. We can let down in study and prayer. We can let down in putting God first. This is short-changing God.

Consider what God did for us. He gave His Son, the finest offering that He could possibly give. Jesus Christ gave Himself - not under constraint, but willingly - for us and for everyone in this world! What should we be giving back? We should be doing our very best to overcome and thus not rob God in the giving of a complete and living sacrifice.

Because of the people letting down, God says, "You are cursed with a curse - even this whole nation!" The response might as well have been, "Well, times are tough!" God could just as easily query, "Well, why do you think times are tough?" He tells them, "It is because you have been cheating Me! Do you not understand that? You have been robbing Me! That is why times are tough! Do not shove Me out of your lives. You are letting down spiritually and physically. That is why you are having tough times. You are cursed with a curse for stealing - the whole nation - cursed!"

How do we turn this around?

Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)

Why does God want food in His house? We must go back to the purpose for tithing. What kind of food does He want? He wants spiritual food. He wants spiritual teaching. He wants right teaching in order to perfect the people of God. This is why He wants food in His house.

The operation of God's house must run as He intends to perfect the heart and to change the people. "Prove me, test me, try me," God says, "and I will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing. I will empty it upon you. I will open the sluices of heaven!" This is a figure of speech showing that a great supply of blessings will come.

God is saying, "Bring your tithes with a right heart and attitude and I will open the sluice, or the floodgates, of blessings and pour them out upon you until you cannot receive it all!" The conditions are a right heart and a right attitude. We do not know if these blessings will be spiritual or physical, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the blessings are going to be there!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Malachi 3:11-12

We may get our groceries in the store and not give much thought to these things. However, we can begin to see that at this time in the history of God's church, and at this time in prophecy, the great Adversary, Satan, is all set to devour whatever, whenever, and wherever he can! We need the blessings and protection of God more than ever!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Matthew 5:17-20

Jesus magnified God's law while on earth. In His Sermon on the Mount, He paraphrased six Old Testament laws or principles, giving their intended meanings. Tithing, however, was not generally questioned at the time; it was not a theological issue like circumcision and the eating of meats sacrificed in an idol's temple. The New Testament expounds Old Testament principles and laws, and Jesus specifically says He did not come to invalidate them. No New Testament passage rescinds the tithing law. Quite the opposite, Jesus upholds the principle in His denunciation of the self-righteous Pharisees in Matthew 23:23.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: First Tithe


 

Matthew 23:23

People are being taught today that tithing is "done away." Does God show anywhere in Scripture - beginning in Genesis - that He has used any other system than tithing to finance His Work? Jesus, the very Head of the church, had a golden opportunity to state emphatically that the tithing law had been changed, but He did no such thing. Instead, He said of carefully determining the amount of tithe, "This you ought not to have left undone."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is God a False Minister?


 

Matthew 23:23

In this denunciation of the Pharisees, Jesus does not condemn tithing - or even punctilious observance of it. Instead, He denounces their lack of justice, mercy, and faith! To the contrary, He supports tithing: "These you ought to have done [justice, mercy, and faith], without leaving the others [tithing] undone."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 

Matthew 23:23

What is Christ saying here? These people should have tithed; there was nothing wrong with that. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, concerning this verse, says, "Jesus does not condemn scrupulous observance in these things." Jesus instituted the tithing law and knew what it was intended to do for the ministry. He knew the purpose for it, even as we do now, but the Pharisees did not understand the spiritual intent. They knew to tithe, but did not understand the rest.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

1 Corinthians 9:8-14

The principle of supporting the ministers of God's Work is in force in the New Testament church. Paul refers to the Old Testament law as his authority for taking tithes to preach the gospel. This, combined with Jesus' comments, shows a clear, New Testament application of the tithing law.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing (1995)


 

1 Corinthians 9:10-12

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 (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

1 Corinthians 9:14

To paraphrase: "Even so, the Supreme Lord and Sovereign of the universe ordained, commanded, and arranged for the support of those who proclaim the gospel." If anyone wants to argue with Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:23), that is his prerogative! He is the One who established the tithing system.

Today's Dictionary of the Bible, page 624, states the following:

Every Jew was required by the Levitical law to pay three tithes of his property: 1. one tithe for the Levites; 2. one for the use of the temple and the great feasts; and 3. one for the poor of the land. It cannot be affirmed that the Old Testament law of tithes is binding on the Christian church. Nevertheless, the principle of this law remains, and is incorporated in the gospel (I Corinthians 9:13-14); and if, as is the case, the motive that ought to prompt to liberality in the cause of religion and of the service of God be greater now than in Old Testament times, then the Christian ought to go beyond the ancient Hebrew in consecrating both themselves and their substance to God.

The commentators recognize the tithing principle in the New Testament. They may not admit adherence to the law of tithing or that a Christian must live by this law today, but at least they recognize the requirement to care for exactly what God had established.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Galatians 6:6-10

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 (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Hebrews 7:1-17

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


 

Hebrews 7:4

Regarding the word spoils, the Expositor's Commentary says that it literally means "the top of the heap," and is used of the choicest spoils of war. From these spoils, then, Abraham gave one-tenth - the very best - to Melchizedek. It is impossible to know how the spoils were laid out. Were all of the linens stacked together and the jewels in one chest and the armaments in a heap? Whatever the case, Abraham knew that his victory came from God, so he gave to God the very best that he had, the choicest spoils of the battle.

We must see and understand this attitude in giving. Why is Abraham called the "father of the faithful"? David is called a "man after God's own heart." Abraham, too, was a man after God's heart, but he is better known as the father of the faithful.

As we study tithing, a requisite that must be examined is our attitude. How do we approach God as we pay Him what we owe? Our money never seems to stretch far enough in this day and age. The world markets everything toward our lusts, and we feel that we have to have everything. Tithing often interferes with our desires. We can come to believe that God is keeping us from having what we want. Some come into the church up to their ears in debt and discover that they now must tithe on their incomes! They may feel that it is unfair, that undue pressure is being placed on them.

The problem with this thinking is that we are viewing the paying of tithes from the wrong perspective. The attitude of Abraham is an example for us as we give to God. We should wholeheartedly imitate his faithfulness as we, too, pay our tithes and give our offerings. God wants us to give a perfect offering to Him. This is really important! It should not become something that we just do, as if it were merely another bill to be paid.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

Hebrews 7:5-12

Over 400 years before the Levitical priesthood was established, Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God. Paul shows that Abraham's descendents paid tithes through Abraham to Melchizedek. "Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak" (verse 9). But the Levitical priesthood passed away with the founding of God's church. Jesus Christ is now our High Priest, and because a change in the priesthood requires a change in the law (verse 12), we are to pay tithes to Him, as Abraham did when He appeared as Melchizedek.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing: God's Financial System


 

Hebrews 7:5

Levi is commanded to take a tithe according to the law!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 

 




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