ch27 Tithe Is it biblical to tithe?

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Is it Biblical to Tithe?

Tithe: Is Giving a tithe a NT Obligation?
By David Cox
[ch27] v1 ©2008 www www.coxtracts.com
This tract can be reproduced for non-profit purposes




There are people who attack the work of God from without, and there are those who attack the work of God from within. The two most critical points of God’s work which have been seriously attacked from within is the role of pastor in taking care of the church, and the economic sustaining of the church. If convince the ministers to work a secular job to support themselves (see 1Cor 9:14; Mat 10:10; Gal 6:5; 1Tim 5:17) then you will cause an economic poverty within the work of God, basically making it impossible for ministers to accomplish anything more than just keeping their doors open.

There are groups who wish to “free” or unlink the tithe from being a NT Christian’s obligation. If we accept their arguments for a moment, then this means that God doesn’t want his children to support the work of God? What is the biblical alternative? This makes no sense that good Christians don’t want to support the work of God. The rejection of the tithe for the NT Christian has to be a teaching of the devil.




The Principle of Giving to God

Gen 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, 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.

Jacob is our model here, because the concept of the tithe is very focused in his words. The tithe is a commitment between the believer and his Creator. In other words, what Jacob shows here is that as a child of God he offered his offerings and tithes (a proposed 10% of his economic income) in exchange for God’s hand of protection and care in his life. Who would not want that?

Pro 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

God has instituted the principal that we should honor God with firstfruits (a portion of our income before spending the rest). This is, simply put, of our goods. The tithe is not something God charges us, but even if it were such, it would be just on God’s part.

1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Deu 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.

All that we have in this life, even our body and life, we have received from the hand of God. But the tithe is an expression of our faith (that we believe that God will take care of us even if we lose 10%). It is where a person returns 10% of his income to God.




What is the Tithe?

Being a pastor, I have heard all kinds of nonsense that I would like to clarify; beginning with what is a tithe. First a tithe is 10%. Of $100 dollars, a tithe is $10 dollars, and of $1000 dollars, a tithe is $100 dollars. It is not 15% nor is it 5%, nor any other figure that you want to make it. It is 10%. We mention alternatives at the end of this tract. It is just for all, rich and poor. The actual amount is not in focus as much as the percentage. If you earn 1 million dollars, the tithe is $100,000, and giving a very generous $10,000 is not a tithe on a million. Also the tithe is comes from a person’s income. There were other kinds of tithes, but the tithe we speak of is a tithe on your income. An offering is some amount you give God but is not related to your income (not a percentage). Call it what it is. It not necessary to tithe on money that goes between husband and wife, when they live together, and the tithe has already been given on the income when it first entered the home. But there shouldn’t be an additional tithe when a man gives his wife money for groceries, food, school for the kids, etc. Many parents give their children an allowance and want their children to learn to tithe on that income. This is a personal thing between the parents and their children. The tithe is not on the expenses of the family, only on the income. I heard of a situation where a brother was buying a new car, and asked his pastor advice about it. The pastor didn’t like the high cost of the car, and asked him if he had paid his tithe on that new car. This is just greed. The tithe is on money that enters the home, not when it goes out. The tithe is on the firstfruits, or when income first comes into the home (Exo 22:29). God does not want left-overs, the pieces that were not used. We have liberty in how we spend our money, but we should always first take out what is due to God. 1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him… Even in the NT, the principle centers on returning to God a percentage of our income when it first enters our hands.




Why do we tithe?

God instituted the system of tithing in order to economically sustain His work, in order to pay the salaries of his ministers (Mat 10:10; 1Cor 9:4), and this system is through the tithes and offerings of God’s people. This purpose or need has not changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament in any manner. This reason is as valid today as it was in Moses’ day.

Another reason is so that we show our relationship with God through sacrificial tithes and offerings. In the Old Testament, people gave because of their problems and sins, or just because of the joy in their heart towards their Redeemer, or because of some joyful thought towards God. In Acts 11:29 we see that the brethren of their own free will determined to send economic help to some needy brethren. There was no obligation on them, but they wanted to do it out of joy.

There is a constant spiritual war (Mat 16.26) IN EVERY BELIEVER between the economic and their relationship with God. Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. It is carnal when a person highly esteems and prizes what he has accumulated in life. Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. God wants every Christian to examine his life and remove idols that there may be within it. One constant idol is greed. We have to evaluate the importance of economic things in this life against the eternal values of spiritual things. Whoever values the material more than the eternal has an idol, and salvation is impossible for that person.

Giving is the spiritual remedy for greed. In Mat. 19:16-25 Jesus gave the homework of giving everything he owned to the rich young ruler. This youth was greedy, and could not do it. We do not see God giving this commandment to others in the Bible, but this is how God fixes the covetous and greedy heart, by commanding the person to give sacrificially. Mat 19:23 “a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” At the bottom of many arguments against the tithe being for today is simply greed reigning over that person so bad that he refuses to admit any economic obligation on the believer’s part towards God. Paul spoke of this in 1Tim 6:6-11, when he explained that the desire to be rich is the cause of the coveting problem and many other sins.

Eph 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

The Christian is obligated by God to work in order to support himself. But God also gives the reason as being so that they can help others who have needs. This obligation is first and foremost towards your Christian brethren in the church where you congregate.

Act 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The point is very important here that people who are stingy (only through great difficulty will they let something leave their hands) have a spiritual problem, and the blessing and remedy is in learning how to give generously to God and to the brethren. Also the giving to the work of God is in order to heap up spiritual riches in heaven. In the parable in Luke 12:16-21 we see the normal thinking of every man, that of gathering up economic goods for his life and gathering possessions and riches for the now, and forgetting completely about what will happen after death. The reality is that all that we have in this life is temporal, and we will lose it all at death. We will carry nothing with us where we go after death. So it is a faulty understanding of reality to concentrate so much on the material things of this life, and not on eternal things. Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.




Is Tithing for the NT?

There are many who want to block tithing from the New Testament, and this is always in order to make them free to give only crumbs and left overs (what they want to give without a biblical reason). If they give 10% or more, they see no problem with tithing. If they give less then the ugly head of covetousness raises up, and we see a clear heart motive of covetousness and greed.

Carefully study the passage of 2Cor 8-9. Paul recommended the churches in Macedonia because they gave from their poverty because they loved the Lord so much.

2Co 9:6-7 He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

In 2Co 8:12, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” Paul proposed the principle that the gift is worthless without a proper heart attitude (the disposition of the heart).

1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him…

The practice of giving according to income continued in the N.T. Jesus rebuked (Mat 23:23) the Pharisees for their extreme practices, and especially in tithing of their spice gardens. He said that they should have sought justice, faith, etc “these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other (tithing) undone”. If the standard was 10% under the law, and God demands more under grace than under law, shouldn’t we be giving more than 10% today? 15%, or 20%?




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19 Responses to “ch27 Tithe Is it biblical to tithe?”

  1. Tony Isaac

    We are obviously getting nowhere with this discussion as you seem to give your own meaning to scripture. I said earlier that the only monies associated with tithes were tithes converted into their monetary value for those who lived far away from the venue of the tithing banquet. And the money spent on wine, strong drink or on anything the giver’s soul lusteth after. You went ballistic! As if I had plucked that portion of scripture out of thin air!

    You maintain that the bible set a precedent for giving in the Old Testament at 10%; that I cannot find in the bible! For one, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, nowhere in the bible do we find the tithes defined as 10%, it was always called A TENTH! I will differentiate between the two with this illustration. If I had 10 apples, the TENTH apple was my tithe but if I had only nine I could not tithe because there was no tenth. And two, just as bro Gary pointed out the use of the tithe never extended to the maintenance of the temple. It was always food used to feed the Levites, the poor, the orphans, the widows and even the tithers themselves. You cannot tithe money! So your assertion that 10% is a God given guide is practically non-existent.

    In the New Testament nothing is Obligatory, we are free to make choices and enjoy or suffer the consequences of the choices we make. No one is obligated to give to ministries but it is the right thing to do. It is good to have a standard to attain to but becomes morally wrong when you impose your standards on everybody else. You believe you should not give below 10% that is a good thing and your personal standard but not a God given one. Instead of resurrecting the law or aspects of it, God has given us the Holy Spirit as our guide instead! He is to guide us to all truth and being led by Him and not a man-made 10% law shows we are children of God! That is the New Testament.

    I will say no more and leave you be. God bless.

    • PastorCox

      Hi Tony, I totally disagree with you. The word “tithe” is the very same hebrew word for “tenth”. Strong’s dictionary has the hebrew word as
      H4643 מַעֲשֵׂר מַעֲשַׂר מַעַשׂרָה ma`aser (mah-as-ayr’) (or maasar {mah-as-ar’} and (in plural) feminine maasrah {mah-as-raw’};) n-m.
      1. a tenth
      2. especially a tithe

      This is the noun form, aser (H6237) plus a מַ (maim is a hebrew letter making an adjective into a noun) in front of it.
      ——————-
      H6237 עָשַׂר `asar (aw-sar’) v.
      1. to tithe, i.e. to take or give a tenth
      [a primitive root (ident. With H6238), to accumulate; but used only as denominative from H6235]
      ——————-
      H6224 עֲשִׂירִי `asiyriy (as-ee-ree’) adj.
      1. tenth
      2. by abbreviation, tenth month or (feminine) part
      This is the same Hebrew root, it is just the adjectival form.

      How can you confuse such a simple thing? The hebrew word definition has both “tenth” and “tithe”. Compare with Gen 28.22 Jacob “I will give a tenth”; Num 18:21; Eze 45:11, etc. THEY ARE THE SAME WORDS, only the forms change if it is a verb, noun, adjective, etc. You are making an assertion completely contrary to HEBREW GRAMMAR!

      I will repeat what I said to Gary below… a tenth is a tenth part of any thing. Go to any elementary school teacher, and ask them what is a tenth of 9 apples? They teach this stuff to 3-4th graders all the time! You cut 1 apple into 10 pieces, and 9 of those pieces would be a tenth of 9 apples (1 tenth part of each of 9 apples). You still have a tenth no matter how small or large the sample population is. Come on guys, this is the best argument out there against tithing! I waste a bunch of time reading, analyzing, and answering your comments, and they appear to be things not even somewhat thought out.

      Likewise your take on “nothing is obligatory in the NT.” Where do you get that? Was anything obligatory in the OT to you? God’s will is obligatory. Whether God states His will in precise terms or He sets it in general principles or He speaks directly to your heart through your conscious and the Holy Spirit, nothing God tells you to do is voluntary. We have to do it. If we don’t we enter into God’s displeasure. Period.

      I don’t agree on your setting aside of the OT law either. The OT law is composed of general principles applied to their specific culture, which is different from the NT culture and different from our culture. The general principles are everlasting and never change in any period of time. The specific applications are bound up in culture and the understanding of the people in question. God made specific applications in the OT, and in the NT He left most of these specific applications for each to apply in their culture. God’s people were to be of many different cultures, countries, and races, and the applications do change from setting to setting. In the OT pork was prohibited because of the health aspect of it apparently. An unclean animal caused sickness when eaten. In the NT, the culture changed, and this prohibition was lifted. This is not because the law and all the general principles of God was thrown out the door. but because the culture and what a child of God does in that culture was different. The principle was that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, so we do not (knowingly) damage it. Spurgeon smoked cigars. 100 years ago people drank Coca-Cola with Cocaine in it. When the knowledge of health changed the rules for what a child of God does changed. We don’t smoke today. We don’t take cocaine today. It is because of the physical-health damage those things cause our temple of the Holy Ghost. The everlasting principle has never changed, but the specific applications (because of our knowledge of things) does change. Perhaps in 25 more years we will no longer drink any type of cola product because they find it causes cancer. Those things change and God’s requirements for us is according to the knowledge He has given us of these things. I don’t fault Spurgeon for smoking and drinking his hot todies (whiskey before bed), but I don’t do those things either. His knowledge isn’t mine. By my understanding of things, I cannot in good conscience do them.

      So the idea of liberty to do anything you want under the NT is wrong. The only difference between Israel and us today is that God did the hard part of thinking and applying for the Israelites, and we have to do it for ourselves. We are not under “their laws”. All children of God from Adam through the believer alive are under all the general principles of God always. Some of those things have very specific commands that never vary in any culture. It is never right to lie, murder, fornicate, etc. These are specific applications make into laws (like the 10 commandments) that are pure moral principles of God. Their is little application involved, the general principle is almost the same as the moral command. Prayer is obligatory, but the general principle is to fellowship always with God, and praying is how we do it. Praising and thanksgiving also are included as specific applications, but these things are everlasting principles, which never change in any culture.

      This is the difference between the OT law that isn’t applied today, and that which is still binding. Or do you want to argue that it is okay for us to covet, lie, steal, fornicate, adulterate, etc? I don’t think so. You don’t have a good grasp on the transition between the OT to the NT, and it shows by your misunderstanding on tithing (in my humble opinion). Sorry for being the one to tell you that.

      • Tony Isaac

        Oh dear! Here you go again. Did I say the tithe was not the tenth? Sigh!

        • PastorCox

          Hi Tony, I think there is a communication problem here…
          You said….
          nowhere in the bible do we find the tithes defined as 10%, it was always called A TENTH! I will differentiate between the two with this illustration. If I had 10 apples, the TENTH apple was my tithe but if I had only nine I could not tithe because there was no tenth. And two, just as bro Gary pointed out the use of the tithe never extended to the maintenance of the temple. It was always food used to feed the Levites, the poor, the orphans, the widows and even the tithers themselves. You cannot tithe money! So your assertion that 10% is a God given guide is practically non-existent.
          Your explanation of “tithe as the tenth sample of any thing” is simply illogical, wrong, and a twisted idea. Go to an elementary school teacher, and ask her if a “tenth” means “the tenth one, and nothing if there are not at least 10”. She will tell you a tenth of any amount is that amount times .10 or 10%. A tenth of 89 is 8.9, and a tenth of 8.9 is .89. You cannot say there is no tenth if your sample is 8.9. That is faulty logic. You apparently don’t have a good grasp on basic fractions nor on the English language.
          Needless to say your understanding of Hebrew is off also. A tenth or tithe in Hebrew comes from the same concept for both words. If you take the sample in question, divide it into 10 parts, one of those parts is a tenth or a tithe. Both concepts are inherent in the word. The verb, “to tithe” is based on calculating that .10 or 10%. Why do you throw out obvious sensible logic to defend a twisted idea you wish to push on Scripture? The word is there, the word is a concept used by the OT Jewish temple system. It was used at least twice (Abraham with Melchizedek and Jacob) before that system was started or even previewed to be coming. How can you say it is not obviously “IN THE OLD TESTAMENT”?
          Your conclusion from your twisted understanding of a tenth (which in the real world “doesn’t shake”) is that I am wrong in my “assertion that 10% is a God given guide”. My argument is necessary because it is biblical, and your argument has no foundation in Scripture nor logic.
          Although I would not take all this to ridiculous extremes, the principle is as obvious as the nose on your face. To even enter into discussion (worse object) that it exists in the OT, and that it is a norm for the OT Jew is ludicrious. Apparently Hebrew lexicons don’t carry any authority with you, so I really don’t know what would. You reject Scripture, logic, and valuable, conservative, widely recognized Bible authorities in the original languages, and you propose that your opinion without any kind of support is higher and better than these? You present no logical, reasoned, Scripture based arguments. I JUST DON’T AGREE WITH YOU!

          • Tony Isaac

            How can a tenth mean the same thing as 10%? One of you the Hebrew definitions you graciously provided gives an example of the tenth

            H6224 עֲשִׂירִי `asiyriy (as-ee-ree’) adj.
            1. tenth
            2. by abbreviation, tenth month or (feminine) part
            This is the same Hebrew root, it is just the adjectival form.

            So are you indeed saying that the tenth month of the year is the same thing as 10% of the year?

            The tithe is the same thing as the tenth but not the same thing as 10%. If 10 people are standing and there are nine males and the tenth person is a female, will it be right to say that 10% of those people is female? The tenth person is female and 10% of the group is female, does that mean the same thing? Also does this verse of scripture refer to 10%?

            32 Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. 33 You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.” 34 These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites. Lev 27

            If the farmer had only 9 animals, how will he be able to determine the 10% of nine sheep?

            Also, if we had the results of 32 children who sat an exam and the one with the highest score is first, the one with the next highest score second and so one. Can we then say that the child who was tenth is also 10% of the class? Will the child be correct in saying he came 10% when asked his position?

            The
            Truth about the tithe is right in front of you but you refuse to acknowledge it because of your own preconceived ideas. The bible defines the tithe as the tenth part of agricultural produce and livestock alone. Nowhere in the bible do we find the command to tithe money and nowhere in scripture do we find the tithe defined as 10% of anything.

            God bless.

          • PastorCox

            Excuse me but you are just argumentative. If you don’t want to give a tenth of your income to God, fine. Don’t do it. May God see your heart and have mercy on your stingy soul. But if that is where you are, that is fine. My position is biblical and well supported by Scripture. I would say that the majority of good Christian men of God out there would support the position of us tithing. The issue is 99.99% in your head, and you are stumbling over it, and you will not accept that a tenth = 10%. If you have 10 people, and you send one of those ten to the store, what percentage of them is at the store? 0% 50% 100% what? 10%. 1 person of every 10 is 10%. There is no difference in modern English language nor Greek nor Hebrew in switch back and forth between a tenth or 10%. From the word tenth, because of influences of the germanic languages on English, “tenth” has been changed to “tithe”.

            From Wikipedia.org
            Hebrew is a Semitic language, related to Akkadian, the lingua franca of that time. An Akkadian noun that Abraham was most likely familiar with given his Babylonian background was esretu, meaning “one-tenth“. By the time of Abraham, this phrase was used to refer to the “one-tenth tax,” or “tithe“. Listed below are some specific instances of the Mesopotamian tithe, taken from The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Vol. 4 “E”:

            I see your position as very much “out in left field.” I think your discussion and argumentative nature are distracting to the real issue, that we should be giving regularly to the Lord. This obligation or spiritual duty can be fully defended from the N.T. So forget about the tithe. Just give. How much should you give? While the rest of Christianity can clearly see that there were repeated precedents set in the O.T., two very strong ones in Abraham and Jacob before there were any levitical laws or even Aaron, but you set what you give at 9% or 15%, or 2%. Where you get the amount you should give is totally unbiblical and without ANY BIBLCIAL PRECEDENT! A precedent is something that is important and affects as a divine example subsequent events. The Levitical law was affected by Abraham’s and Jacob’s example, not the other way around. The Levitical law codified much of the Jewish practice on giving. No we are not under the law. No we are to give the first and second tithe.

            What we are under is the NT dispensation of Grace, where we should live striving to do more and better than what God required formally in the OT. So let’s stop discussing this and all give 20%, double what they gave in the OT. Would that make you happy? I don’t think so. What you argue for is that there is no obligation in the NT to give at all. This is really where you are taking this.

            1Cor 16:2 Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

            There is a NT obligation to give, and to give EVERY SUNDAY, and to give a percentage of your income. Forget for a minute that OT exists. This verse sits solidly in the body of literature that we as NT Christians have to take special heed to. Are you going to argue that this, “let every one of you lay by him…. as God hath prospered him”, does not refer to financial income over the week? You would be crazy to deny this. This is what is says. It is hard to believe that anybody can twist or turn this to mean something else. Show me 4-5 commentaries that say this does not mean giving a percentage of your income. I would like to see you produce that. Because mainline commentaries that are acceptable to most of Christianity would not take this position.

            So you cannot turn this so to teach that we (1) are not to give weekly, (2) that we are not to give a percentage of our income.

            Now that we have established that every NT Christian is to give a percentage of their weekly income, what is that percentage to be?
            (1) something not a 10%. Fine, establish that with verses of Scripture somehow. Establish the amount and importance of 5% or 20% or something. You cannot do it. Try. No other percentage shows up, and any other percentage that is mentioned is not mentioned more than 10%.
            (2) Although the NT does not explicitly say to give 10%, it does not exempt the NT Christians from giving that 10% either. In other words, if 10% was the O.T. norm (a tenth, a tithe, and 10% all being the same amount despite your fanciful confusion on that matter), where was that norm done away with? We are not under the law, but we are under some aspects of the OT law (10 commandments would seem to be still in force for us, I would suppose, right?). But again, let’s forget about the law and leave it aside for a minute. What was the O.T. precedent in giving that Abraham and Jacob show us? 10% a tithe. If a tithe isn’t 10%, what percentage is it? I won’t let you twist the truth of simple language. You cannot redefine words and terms as you feel fit to do. The dictionaries clarify and define, and your theology doesn’t check with linguists, nor hebrew scholars who wrote these reference books like lexicons. The O.T. norm or precedent was 10% set before Aaron was even born. I don’t see other percentages involved in people giving to God, maybe there is, but I don’t see anything taking the place of 10%.

            Refuse in rebellion to acknowledge this, and that is between you and God, but don’t go around spreading your weird ideas. They are unbiblical and wrong.

            In summary, the NT doesn’t specifically command us to tithe (give 10% of our income), but it does command us to give regularly (weekly) a percentage of our increase or income. This percentage is not stated, but it is very strongly infuenced by the OT precedent, Abraham, Jacob, and the Levitical law, that MOST PROBABLY it is 10%. You cannot say the NT commands tithing, you can say “tithing is a good biblical practice for NT believers.” To say more or argue in circles as fools is not good either.

            Your position has been set forth, and I do not feel that it is profit to keep discussing this in circles. Anybody who wishes to believe position, let them do so. I have set forth my position in this tract, and I fully believe that it is the biblical position. More discussion on this issue from you I believe would be imprudent. Please write me directly at [email protected] if you wish to further discuss this between us.

          • Tony Isaac

            I was left a bit puzzled after reading your last comment and wondered why you have to resort to name calling. My stingy soul! Sigh!

            You are just making stuff up and twisting and distorting scriptures to suit your stance. Even if as you have said that the tenth and 10% are the same thing, this still does not change the fact that a tithe of money is completely absent in the bible. As obvious as this is, you vehemently try to refute it. Show me a single verse of scripture that commands money to be tithed?

            The bible is clear as to what the tithe is: A tenth of grains form the field, fruit from the trees and every tenth animal from the flock and the herd.

            30 “One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. 31 If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. 32 Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. 33 You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.” 34 These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites. Lev 27

            For someone who is claiming to know so much about the tithe, how come you never knew that God commanded the children of Israel to convert one of their tithes into money and spend every single cent on ANYTHING THEIR SOUL LUSTETH AFTER? So if you can tithe money, what sense would it make converting money into money?

            Paul did not stipulate any amount to be kept aside on the first day of the week and you conveniently left the conclusion of that version …”so that there will be no collections when I come”. This so called 10% guide is a figment of your imagination and exists only in your mind and not in the bible. 2 Cor 9 was another opportunity for Paul to remind the brethren to give at least 10% but his words were “anything you give is acceptable as long as it is given willingly and cheerfully.” If 10% was the absolute minimum, why did he not simply say so?

            As I said before, this life is not for everybody and you are not forced to do it. So quit whinging about people not giving you money and get on with it!

          • PastorCox

            Let’s get something straight. Farmers rarely were paid a salary. This just didn’t happen in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob. The children of Israel were a farming nation, and again, they were not normally paid a salary. Yes there was an element of workers for others, but again, they were paid in kind, with produce from the fields they harvested. Most were part of the family, ranch, farm, etc., and their income was to partake of the fruit of the field or the animals raised. So when God’s instructions for giving 10% of their increase, this means of their increase of the crops or animals. This is very obvious to anybody without a drum to beat.

            Secondly, I didn’t make up the word nor the concept of “tithe”, “tithing” or giving a tenth of your income. God did. You are twisting God’s words, and this is what is wrong with all of your reasoning. Did God command Israel to tithe or not? YES HE DID!

            Thirdly, you trip over your own arguments. The conversion of the tithe of produce (called “redeeming”) into money was for a very specific reason. This was ONLY IN THE CASE OF NOT BEING ABLE TO GET THE PRODUCE/ANIMALS TO THE TEMPLE TO OFFER IT. The rules were complex, but if you read the entire Lev 27 that you are quoting, Moses speaks of a regular giving, and special “devoted to the Lord” (the first born) which was not to be redeemed in any way. This was not a unilateral, always done thing, but rather the norm was to give the actual produce. But the point here is that produce is equal to money, and money is equal to produce. There was a penalty for converting it (your 20% added it), because in the conversion, it was all too easy for the person to play with the conversion to his advantage. This shows an obligation of giving, and of giving at least 10%, and if you want to redeem your produce, you should be giving more than the bare 10%.

            Fourthly, you make a great argument and importance on the phrase “whatever your soul lusteth after”. Your presentation or view is that the OT Jew was to take his tithe money and was to spend it on a feast in which he bought whatever feast food he wanted including alcoholic beverages, and it sounds as though you want to advocate “getting drunk”. I hope that is not your intent, but it sure does sound that way. If you read Deu 12, tithes were but one type of offering among 7 things listed that the Jew was to give. You twist this greatly. Let’s exposit the passage then…

            Deut 12:1 These[are] the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land…

            The instructions in this chapter are not specifically about tithing, but about occupying the land (which they hadn’t possessed the land yet).

            Deut 12:5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there,[even] unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

            Deut 12:7 And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.

            The emphasis is a fellowship (eating a meal) in the presence of the Lord. In verse 11 these 7 types of giving are repeated, and this time it is in the land of promise. In mentioning these different types of “giving”,
            Deut 12:11 “…thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:” “tithes” is a category of giving among various. So what is a tithe? A sacrifce speaks of an offering for sin, when a person sins, and wishes to seek reconciliation with God. So a tithe would be a special type of offering bound to some concept. What is that concept? Increase, or the fruit of one’s labor.

            Verse 15 speaks of eating “whatsoever thy soul lusteth after” but this is a burnt offering, not a tithe. Verse 18 and 19 specifically command that they were to eat them in the temple, with the priest, and the note “not to forget the Levite” indicates that part or most of these offerings were to go to them for their economic support. The New King James makes this verse more understandable.

            Deut 12:21 “If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the LORD has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires. NKJV

            So it is not that you are to purchase anything you want with your tithe and consume it in your house as you want, rather they were to take their gifts to the place of God (temple/tabernacle) and they were to offer it and share it with the levites. While in the present of the Levites, in their offering, it was a common meal (man with God signifying restored fellowship), and in this fellowship meal with the Levite representing God, the offerer and his family and servants COULD EAT AS MUCH AS THEY DESIRED TO EAT. This is a very different conclusion than what you are putting on things.

            Fifthly, the redemption was allowable in some cases, but in general, this redemption into money which was given instead of the actual produce was basically allowed because of a distance problem, not for other reasons.
            Deut 14:24 “But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry [the tithe, or] if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you,
            Deut 14:25 “then you shall exchange [it] for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.

            Actually, even the redemption had to be surveyed by the priest, and the “tenth” of each animal was holy unto the Lord, and could not be redeemed at will.

            You said…
            “2 Cor 9 was another opportunity for Paul to remind the brethren to give at least 10% but his words were “anything you give is acceptable as long as it is given willingly and cheerfully.” If 10% was the absolute minimum, why did he not simply say so?”

            God did not plainly state that we are to give 10% in the NT. If you read my tract, I admit that. God demands more under grace than under the law, and the whole object of releasing us from the law to live under Grace is to see how we will follow the example of Christ to do even more than what the law demanded. To return to the law would miss the purpose of Christian liberty. This is not a freedom to give as you want, but to give as God wants us to give. 10% is just a starting place in the NT. It is not sufficient, because under law, God demanded 10%, and under grace, it should naturally follow that you give more, not because God orders it, but simply because you love Christ. If you are stingy, there is no love of Christ in your heart, and most probably you are not even saved at all. So don’t worry about giving a tithe, worry about even getting to heaven at all. God isn’t pleased with unsaved, hypocritical, fake Christians giving a tithe, nor more nor less. He first wants a person to be saved, and anybody that esteems his own financial welfare about his Lord simply isn’t saved. Sorry to be the one to tell you the blunt truth, but that is it in a nutshell.

            Your foolish talk of “converting money into money” shows you are just arguing with no appeal to reason. I do not think I will take the time to read or respond to further foolish from you, Tony. These are not arguments but foolishness. They make no sense at all. Nor do you admit when you are wrong.

            “So quit whinging about people not giving you money and get on with it!” I am not whining. I am teaching what I understand God has given us to preach and teach. I take time to study the Word of God, and I may be wrong on may issues, but on this issue, you have not convinced me at all in any point in the discussion. Nothing you have said makes sense, nothing is supported by correct interpretation of Scripture, and nothing “fits” or harmonizes with the over analogy of faith. It is all your opinion, which doesn’t have historical precedent. Tithing for the NT believer has a whole lot of past Christians who believed and taught that.

            I don’t hold that the NT believer is bound to tithe (so why you got a bee in your crawl, I don’t know). I hold that the NT believer is bound to give to God as God has increased him. This speaks of a percentage. I think more than 10% is more correct for the NT age of grace. We give more than a tithe. Even in the OT they gave tithes AND OFFERINGS. I think most Christian scholars and theologians of any worth or seriousness would hold to something very similar.

            I am sorry Tony, but you are just wasting my time, and I don’t have any interest in answering your senseless arguments. I will not answer any more of them, nor waste other people’s time on my site with your writings. Goodbye.

  2. Tony Isaac

    You do seem to make your own conclusions on anything you read. I never said John Macarthur never gets paid a salary. Where on earth did you get that? I said I know a lot of preachers who do not collect tithes from their congregation and are still able to do well. John Macarthur is one of such preachers and he leads a mega church. How does that translate to he does not collect a salary?

    The Levites were permitted to do other work? Can tending a small garden be called work? And how can my saying that the Levites collected the tithes be the opposite of my current position? Unless you think that the New Testament preacher is today’s equivalent of the Old Testament Levite. That would be grossly unscriptural as every single believer in the New Testament is a priest.

    I still do not know where you get the idea that I am against people supporting their ‘ministers’. It is your assertion that this has to be done via tithing that I am against. That has no single New Testament basis. The bible simply encourages the New Testament believer to give AS HE IS ABLE and does not stipulate a minimum to be given. And your assumption that the Old Testament standard of giving was 10% is not accurate. As the tithe was never 10% of anything but THE TENTH PART of agricultural produce alone. And this was given multiple times. And it was compulsory because it was their system of taxation which is quite akin to the taxes we pay to our respective governments today. And this is completely contrary to your assertion that tithing was A FREEWILL offering.

    I hear what you are saying as you are trying to build a case for ministerial support but scripture never says this has to be done through tithing but through the voluntary donations of believers with no minimum or maximum stipulated.

    Bro Gary quoted the scriptural reference that showed tithe money could be spent on wine, strong drink or on anything the giver’s soul lusteth after so it definitely was not my creation.

    God bless

    • PastorCox

      I think it is splitting hairs when you say that MacArthur doesn’t receive tithe money, and yet he receives money none-the-less. The money is given by his people because they feel obligated before the Lord to give to support the Lord’s work, which is MacArthur is the head minister there. I don’t think most people who “give tithes” are trying to comply with the O.T. law. They are looking for forms and guidance in the Scripture to order their life after God’s Word.

      My position is that although the NT does not specifically state that the NT believer is to tithe, it is a very clear understanding that the work of God is done by the donations of God’s people. This is not optional, it is ABSOLUTELY OBLIGATORY! There is no conscientious NT believer understanding this obligation that will not immediately ask “How much is what I should give?” The precedent of 10% has been set in the O.T. and there has to be a reasoned, biblical explanation as to why God would set a precedent in the O.T. and then deliberately remove and not use that precedent, to establish something else, which is not clearly stated.

      If you will notice, my position is that a NT believer should give “tithes AND OFFERINGS”. I believe that as a base, we should at least give what the OT precedent was, and that beyond that, we should give more. I think we should be giving because of our heart attitude, and I would challenge you to find where the OT tithe was specifically independent of their heart attitude. I think from that OT precedent, ALL GIVING was because of the individual’s relationship and love for God. Having an idea of how much a person should be setting aside is not unbiblical. Amounts were mentioned, and they were mentioned for our instruction. Even a once in a lifetime amount of 10% still carries an idea of what God thinks is a just and fair amount for a person to “give up” because he loves God. The percentage is mentioned way too much to ignore it.

      My understanding of your position is that you unilaterally refuse to accept any OT precedent of 10%. The reason for this is because it was given to the Levites, then obviously this is not our situation today. To split hairs as to the differences between OT life and NT life for believers doesn’t defend the “no tithing” position nor does it overturn it. It doesn’t help us set standards in our life and practice. How much do you give to the Lord? How to you base or justify that? What Scripture do you use to do so? My question to you is why would God set a precedent, and then leave it without any guidance at all? There is an answer here. 10% was under the law, and under grace, we should be giving more (not less).

      Personally I don’t tithe. I stopped “tithing” back when I first got on the field as a missionary. The only thing I do is make sure what I give never falls below a tithe. I think it would be lowering my personal standards to give so little. In our church, I have paid the rent for the church building myself for years at a time, and that came out of my living expenses. It was necessary, and I did it because there wasn’t others to do it (no people, or no resources for them to use). Many a time I have directed our financial people to turn my salary or donations to me into a need the church has at the moment. Often I return what the church gives in the next service as an offering. I don’t think a legalistic “tithing” is any more an answer than no tithing. The more a person’s heart is seeking to please God, the more they sacrifice for God and God’s work.

      Tithing is a precedent which God set in the OT, and it was a minimum even back then. A thinking Christian in the NT would not give so little in my opinion. But it is a place to start for a new believer, or a Christian overcoming a covetous lifestyle. You have to start somewhere, and it is better to start with some scriptural precedents if you cannot use direct commands.

      I don’t mean to be contentious here, but a good many people of your position (no tithing in the NT) use this argument to not give at all. This is covetousness, it is not being “more biblical or holding a more scriptural position.” The widow gave all her substance, and she received praise from Jesus for giving her all. I cannot see where you can twist this principle into some other teaching. It is not there. What is the core teaching is clear. Sacrifice pleases God, and the more the presonal sacrifice, the more God is pleased. Period.

      In Christ,
      Pastor David Cox

      • Gary Arnold

        Jesus said that tithing was a PAYMENT in Matthew 23:23. It was an obligation. You incorrectly state that giving began at 10% in the Old Testament when it did not.

        The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.

        You said, “I don’t mean to be contentious here, but a good many people of your position (no tithing in the NT) use this argument to not give at all.”

        Not my experience. But let’s look at the reverse. A good man people of your position tithe and feel they have done their part when in fact maybe God wanted them to give 30% or more. After giving a tenth, many feel they have done their part.

        Here are some similarities between a tax and the tithe:

        Tithe – paid by those who inherited the promised land.
        Inheritance or Estate tax – paid from the estate or inheritance.

        Tithe – ONLY on property owners.
        Property tax – ONLY on property owners.

        Tithe – used to run the theocracy.
        Income tax – used to run the government.

        Tithe – doesn’t apply to the poor.
        Luxury tax – doesn’t apply to the poor.

        Tithing can also be compared to sharecropping.

        Tithing was always taxation so that the programs of the government could run: the priestly program, the national religious program, and the welfare program.
        Taken from God’s Plan for Giving, John MacArthur, Moody Press, 1985, page 76.

        God placed all of these verses in our Bibles to remind us that Levites were public officials of the state and tithes were included as state-taxation to support them.
        Taken from Should the Church Teach Tithing, Russell E. Kelly, Ph.D., page 70.

        Even the Jewish Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Judaica, agrees that tithes were political taxes.
        Taken from Should the Church Teach Tithing, Russell E. Kelly, Ph.D., page 71.

        See also William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Thessalonians, the Pastorals, and Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 187, for support of the relationship between taxes and tithing.

        Voluntary giving of tithes means voluntarily giving a tenth of whatever you want to wherever you want. If you start defining a voluntary tithe as a tenth of income, then YOU are setting the rules, not God. Tithing was NEVER on anyone’s income in the Old Testament.

        THE FIRST TITHE
        Leviticus 27:30-33 defines this tithe as a tenth of crops and animals in herds and flocks.
        Numbers 18 gives the ordinances, or instructions, for this tithe, and commands this tithe be taken to the Levites.
        Purpose of this tithe: to support the Levitical Priesthood.

        SECOND TITHE
        Deuteronomy 14:22-27: aka The Festival Tithe – a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.
        Purpose of this tithe: “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always”

        THIRD TITHE
        Deuteronomy 14:28-29: aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe – a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
        Purpose of this tithe: to feed the poor.

        Since there are no Levites to give to today, that eliminates the first tithe.

        The second tithe WAS EATEN BY THE TITHER and his family, friends, and the Levites. It was NOT left at the Temple.

        The third tithe was given to the poor.

        What you are doing is taking the first tithe and changing the definition from crops and animals to income, and changing it’s use from supporting the Levites to bring it to the church.

        Tithing is not a principle of giving.

        • PastorCox

          Okay can we backtrack on this thing. I am missing your explanations on a bunch of points. (Or we can just stop completely if you cannot rationally discuss this).

          1. You said, “The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. ”

          Could you substantiate that presumption with some verses that clearly state that? Frankly of all my years of sitting in churches hearing sermons, of going through 7 years of Bible school and seminary, and all my years of reading commentaries for sermons, you are the first to come up with that. Payment for being there instead of an inheritance from God, i.e. freely given to them from God without their having to “PAY FOR IT” through their tithes. It seems to me that your position makes the Israelites sharecroppers, not sons, inheriting without paying for it. I have simply never heard it before. I would like to see a clear statement that Israel was paying the tithe for the land they purchased (sorry, inherited), and this tithe is a tax because of their obligation to have to pay God for rent or mortgague for their free lands. My understanding is that they inherited it from Abraham, and they did not “pay anything for it” not even to God. They did have an obligation to clear it of the former inhabitants, but even that, really God won the battles for them, they did not do it without God’s miraculous power on the battle field.

          Gen 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, 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.

          My understanding of Jacob’s swearing to tithe to God after God’s protection of his life is another reinforcement of Abraham’s concept, that a tithe (10% of your income) is a way of showing your appreciation for God’s protective relationship over you, and blessing you. In Gen 28:20-22, there is no reference to the promised land in this example of tithing. There is no Jewish government nor priesthood to support at this point. They are all in Jacob’s loins still. So there is absolutely no reason to understand the first mentions of tithing in that frame of mind when they are speaking of honoring God, and not supporting God’s ministers. True, God later on (under the Jewish nation system) established that the tithes of a nation was to go to God’s ministers. But that is not a tax. Under Israel’s kings, there was a civil taxation program paralleling the tithe. They were separate systems, and the tithe was dedicated to the Lord’s ministers, the work of God, and the temple maintainence, and nowhere (to my knowledge) is a tithe levied to pay for civil government matters. The systems were independent, and the tithe-temple system was to sustain the work of the Lord, which continues after the Jewish nation has fallen from God’s spiritual use to further His Kingdom.

          You define what you want tithing to be leaving out explanations of the rest of the passages. I suppose you will tell me that “the tenth” here is not tithing, and try to redefine the word. The Hebrew word is the same, tenth, or tithe. Tony’s hokey explanation that there is no “tenth” if you only have nine apples is ridiculous. You cut eat apple into ten pieces, and take one piece of each one. That is the tenth of 9 apples. Your arguments are getting more ridiculous as we go along here. And don’t try to brow beat me by saying I am twisting Scripture or I am extreme, etc. I am presenting arguments of my understanding of Scripture, and if you cannot address the logic/illogic or the biblical support or lack of it in my arguments, then don’t answer any more. Stick to the facts and explain the Bible as you understand it. Degenerating to insults and stuck like that don’t cover up your lack of answering my points.

          Heb 7 uses tithing as a teaching that the lesser tithes to the greater as a show of honor and respect, and does not speak of tithing as a payment for having received something such as land. Tithing is a spiritual activity bearing on having received salvation, protection, and provision from God, and tithing is a spiritual worship of the Protector-Provider-Saviour. I think that is where we really part company.
          Prov 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
          Again, giving is based on income, and it is given to the Lord, not spent on one’s pleasures.
          The tithe comes after the blessing as a way of saying “thank you Lord.” This principle is done away with in the NT? Really? Thanksgiving has no sacrifices nor offering associated with it in the NT. Is that your position?

          P.S. Was the levitical system established during Jacob’s time?
          2. “some similarities between a tax and the tithe”
          Tithing was always taxation so that the programs of the government could run: the priestly program, the national religious program, and the welfare program. Taken from God’s Plan for Giving, John MacArthur, Moody Press, 1985, page 76.
          What does all that have to do with anything. If God wanted to tax Israel, the term and concept is very clearly in Hebrew and Greek, and He chose a different word. A tithe IS NOT A TAX. It is a tithe. Luxury tax? Where I live, everybody pays a VAT, and that is just as equally on the poor and those without possessions (land, house, car) as the rich. What is your point? I totally missed it. If you think the tithe was a tax only on Israel, right? Why did Abraham pay tithes to Melchizedek (NOT THE LEVITES) before there even was a government in Israel, and before he had inherited the land? Abraham was paying a tax to a foreign unknown priest because of something he had received?

          WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
          I see you conveniently skipped the first mention of tithing which was Abraham to Melchizedek. Abraham didn’t keep any of that. He segured it from those who had secuestered Lot and the rest, and returned their possessions to them, and Abraham paid Melchizedek tithes. The point of Abraham’s actions was not a tax of any kind, but rather a way of honoring God who gave him the victory and the spoils, even if those spoils were people and other’s possessions. Gen 14:20, first mention of tithing.

          “Voluntary giving of tithes means voluntarily giving a tenth of whatever you want to wherever you want. If you start defining a voluntary tithe as a tenth of income, then YOU are setting the rules, not God. Tithing was NEVER on anyone’s income in the Old Testament.”

          Well, excuse me, but I don’t think the US department of IRS sees eye to eye with you on this one. For them, there is no option for the individual under that government, so if the tithe is a flat tax, then it was never voluntary. It was voluntary only in the sense of you give it or you will suffer if you refuse.

          2. Tithe is or is not on income
          You said “What you are doing is taking the first tithe and changing the definition from crops and animals to income, and changing it’s use from supporting the Levites to bring it to the church.” “What you are doing is taking the first tithe and changing the definition from crops and animals to income, and changing it’s use from supporting the Levites to bring it to the church.”

          How was the tithe figured?
          Deut 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
          Sounds like one tenth of what was the crop of that year, what was gained. Every year after the crop was taken in, one tenth of what that income was, was designated as “tithe” as unto the Lord.

          Num 18:30 it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress
          Num 18:31 for it [is] your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.

          As I read this, this speaks directly of an “increase” or gain or income from their source of living (the field). This “tithe” tenth, is given to the priests as a “reward” for their service in the tabernacle.
          “increase” H8393 תְּבוּאָה tbuw’ah (teb-oo-aw’) n-f.
          income, i.e. produce (literally or figuratively)
          [from H935]
          “reward”
          H7939 שָׂכָר sakar (saw-kawr’) n-m.
          1. payment of contract
          2. (concretely) salary, fare, maintenance
          3. (by implication) compensation, benefit
          You will say I am twisting the meaning of Scripture, but these are Strong’s Dictionary meanings for the hebrew words in view. Again, I don’t see your position at all.

          I compare this OT tithing passage with the NT.
          Mat 10:10 for the workman is worthy of his meat
          Luke10:7 for the laborer is worthy of his hire.
          1Cor 9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
          Paul draws the direct parallel between the OT priest and his position that he, as a minister of the NT gospel, is just like that, and the logic he uses is that as the OT priest lived from the donations of God’s people giving to the work of God for the support of the ministers of the gospel (an obligation to give under the OT law, no voluntary about it, or God would remove his hand of provision and protect from them), just in the like manner, the NT believer has an obligation to support the work of God, i.e. specifically give a just salary to the minister of the NT.
          1Tim 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.1Tim 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer [is] worthy of his reward.

          You cannot get away from the parallelism between the supporting Scripture used. There is an obligation in the NT for believers to support their personal individual church’s ministers. This is drawn from the OT where tithes were THE PRINCIPLE vehicle of supporting the OT priests. No, there are no NT priests/priesthood like in the OT.

          3. You said, “Tithing is not a principle of giving.”
          Then what is it? Does one thing change from my hand to somebody else’s hand? Yes. This is giving. In the end, there was no police to throw you in jail or penalize you in some way if you didn’t give under the OT scheme of things. We NEVER SEE ENFORCED PUNISHMENTS for people not giving their tithes/taxes as you want to make it. What we do see is that God is who is judging and punishing, just the same as the NT.

          There was a yearly communal feast with the Israelites providing the meal. This was to be done in the presence of three groups, the individual, the priest, and God. This is similar though not identical with the Lord’s Supper. The feast was to remember the relationship and fellowship that one has with God. Undoubtedly most of the Israelites who had fields of any size could not eat the entire amount of this tithe. Specifically instructions were given after the meal (eating part of the tithe), that the rest belonged to the priest, for his economic support.

          3. Jesus didn’t tithe.
          You said “No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.”
          Matt 23:23 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.

          First of all, what were they tithing? They were tithing of the crops from their spice garden. This they took to an extreme apparently, because they were to tithe of their crops, and this was the main income for farmers. If we study this passage, Jesus accused them of being excessively trival on not so important matters (spice gardens instead of major crops), and of totally ignoring the most important things (law, judgment, mercy, faith, etc). The last phrase there is interesting. Jesus tells the excessively nasty legalists that over focused on the trival, TO NOT LEAVE IT (TITHING) UNDONE.

          The key words here is G2548 κἀκεῖνος kakeinos (‘kak-ei`-nos) p/d.
          1. likewise that (or those)
          [from G2532 and G1565]
          G863 ἀφίημι aphiemi (af-ee’-ay-mee) v.
          1. to send forth
          {in various applications (as follow)}
          [from G575 and hiemi “to send” (an intensive form of eimi “to go”)]
          KJV: cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up
          “and ye ought to have likewise done (the weightier matters), not leave off (tithing)”

          Sounds like you guys just clarified these issues for me so I will need to write another tract making these points even clearer! Thanks!

          OT tithing does parallels exactly 1Cor 9, where Paul understood that the minister of God has a right to be sustained by those that receive the benefit of his spiritual labors. No not everything is exactly the same as in the OT. But the principles are clearly there.

  3. Gary Arnold

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (KJV)
    22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
    23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
    24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
    25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
    26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

    Read verse 26 above.

    If you left the word tithe out of your teaching, and ignored the tenth as any kind of “standard,” you might be okay.

    The Levitical tithe went to the Levites. They were the servants to the priests. They were the ushers, singers, musicians, janitors, etc. – the workers. Then Levites then gave a tenth of the tithe to the priests. To follow this “principle,” the pastor should be asking for 1% not 10%.

    Since the tithe was only imposed on those who inherited the promised land, and since it was a payment, it had nothing to do with giving.

    The Biblical tithe was never commanded on income or money. It had nothing to do with man’s income. It is nothing but manipulating scripture to associate the Biblical tithe today with giving today.

    • PastorCox

      Reply to Deu 14:22-27
      Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (KJV)
      22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
      23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
      24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
      25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
      26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

      I don’t follow your line of argument. The situation was a believer who had the obligation to give 10%. If you want to excessively press this situation to our day, you as a baker have to tithe bread. A butcher meat, etc. If you live too far FROM THE TEMPLE in Jerusalem (in the OT the only acceptable place for making the sacrifice), then God made provision for your tithe to be converted into cash, and you still had to go to Jerusalem, and you reconvert the cash back into products, which was what the Jews were to give.

      When the person bought corn, wine, etc., it was not for his own personal consumption, but for his offering to be left in the temple. There was a common meal between the priest and the believer, but that was a sin offering, and both ate of the common meal (his sacrifice) to show that God had restored fellowship.

      Your understanding of this verse is that you can convert your tithes (if you lived in the OT) into a new car and drive it away? How do you get the idea that the person themself has control over their gift after it was given? Very specifically, the concept of anathema was the retaking of control over something given or dedicated to God. This was NEVER THE SITUATION as far as what God approved and ordered.

      Please explain your comments. I am clueless as to how this justifies you doing what you want with your gifts to God.

      In Christ,
      Pastor David Cox

  4. Tony Isaac

    Am sorry to be so blunt but I do find your exegesis of scripture quite worrying. I never said ministers should not be paid however these payments should be made through the FREEWILL DONATIONS of members. The bible never commanded that this be done through tithing.

    Your explanation of the widow’s mite is wrong on every count. What she gave was not the tithe as there is no single verse of scripture that commands tithes to be given in this fashion. Jesus used the plight of this widow to buttress His point on the false teachings of the scribes. He showed to His disciples that she was a victim of the wrong teachings of the scribes since no verse of scripture ever commands widows to pay temple dues (temple dues where the only monetary payments received in the temple and they were only to be by males over the age of 20 as a ransom for their lives). Even if she had converted her tithes into money, no portion of scripture ever commands that the money be donated to the temple treasury instead that money was to be spent on “wine or strong drink or on anything the giver’s soul lusteth after”

    You are definitely twisting scriptures to support your views. There was a reason the Levites were allowed to receive tithes in the Old Testament; they were not permitted to do any secular work as the remaining 11 tribes were not allowed to minster in the temple. The tithe of agricultural produce was given to them however in the New Testament, every single believer is a priest and is allowed to come unto the holy of holies. And this totally eliminates the need for tithing.

    Preachers that have to hold down a secular job are definitely not the first. Paul himself did say he had to do the job of tent making to meet his needs so as not to be a burden to anyone. And when he said that those who preach the gospel should make a living from the Gospel, he never mentioned that this has to be through the tithing of the congregation. Instead he encouraged everybody to give as they are able.

    Truth be told, this life is not for everybody as even the apostles had it very rough as Paul himself testified; he learnt how to abound as well as abase. And I really do not see that changing because of you. I guess it is the prerogative of people to with their money whatsoever they wish and if that includes not giving to a clergy, so be it. But if you believe God has called you to do His work, it only stands to reason that He will make provision for you as no one goes to war at his own expense.

    I may sound like an agent of the devil to you and may even discourage you even further but that is in no way my intention. I know a lot of preachers who do not collect tithes from their congregation and are still able to do well. John Macarthur is one of such preachers and he leads a mega church. Here is a link to one of his teachings on tithing http://www.gty.org.uk/resources/Questions/QA144_Does-God-require-me-to-give-a-tithe-of-all-I-earn#.TksSnmPPOys

    God bless.

    • PastorCox

      As I reread your post, I am also sorry, I just don’t understand your position nor your heart. It does not look clear to me. You stated “Even if she had converted her tithes into money, no portion of scripture ever commands that the money be donated to the temple treasury instead that money was to be spent on “wine or strong drink or on anything the giver’s soul lusteth after”.” What does that last part mean? She would use her money that she was giving to God on getting drunk, or on a “lust”? This is ridiculous. Since when does God accept the misappropriation of gifts to Him to be used on the “lusts” of one’s own soul? This is a total twisting of what Scripture teaches about what is given to God.

      I agree that the Widow’s mite was not a tithe, it was a gift. In the end analysis, you split hairs between a specific kind of gift (tithe) from a general gift (offering) and deny one because of the other exists. The point of both tithes and offerings is that BOTH ARE FREEWILL OFFERINGS FROM THE SOUL. I don’t really know how tithes could be construed as anything else than a freewill offering. It is a guide for the stingy who would give nothing or next to nothing.

      You say that the point of the Christ’s teaching about the Widow’s mite is to attack the scribes false teaching about tithing. Where did Jesus mention tithing in His teaching? He didn’t. The entire point of the story for anyone who is not looking for a bat to hit tithing at every corner is that Jesus taught that this widow “gave more” than all the others, and he applauded her before the apostles. Why? Because of her sacrifice in giving. You may want to make it illegal for her to give, or unnecessary for her to give (it wasn’t an obligation, and it wasn’t). But the point is not that she gave through compulsion, but that she gave all she had because her heart was right with God. Forget tithing for a minute. Does your explanation of the passage grasp and promote highly sacrificial giving like the widow? No. You are looking to unjustly justify the stinginess of not giving, giving an absolute minimum, or not giving anything because your perception of the leaders in the church is that they are unjust and wicked. If they are, you should find another church, and then give like the widow. Nothing justifies overturning Christ’s teaching and applauding and elevating as pleasing in God’s sight the great sacrifice of the widow. Nothing else is really given in the story except that, so that has to be the central theme or teaching.

      You misstate the levites situation also. They were permitted to do other work, and they like all in that day built their own houses, and tended a small garden. What made their situation different from the rest is that they could not “own an inheritance of land.” In other words, they could not cultivate large fields for selling the produce. The Levites apparently had small personal gardens, and that was it. They were not involved in farming as a profession. But they did build their own houses. It is ridicously to think that they paid other people to do this for them. With what money would they do that? Here you cannot say from temple “tithes” because that would imply they were taking in a good bit of money which is the opposite of your position.

      Paul ON OCCASION did the secular vocation he had before. This is not in dispute. That he lived regularly and completely from that is. 1Cor 9 definitely says the opposite. Paul whole argument, despite whatever his situation was at that particular moment, is that he as a minister of the Gospel is biblically supposed to live of the Gospel. Maybe the stingy Corinthians wouldn’t give him anything, and he had to work to make ends meet. I am a missionary, and I live of my ministry, and I have had to work a secular job on occasion also. That does not reflect on what is the biblical principle here, nor does it reveal where his monthly financial income came from on a regular basis. Phil 4 make it clear that he regularly received financial donations from that church since the very beginning of his ministry. If you view (that he always worked and never received donations except very rarely) is true, then Paul would have told them not to give monthly or regularly to him.

      You said “he never mentioned that this has to be through the tithing of the congregation. Instead he encouraged everybody to give as they are able.” My position is that tithing is not explicitly commanded in the NT, but a percentage giving “as God has prospered you” is. The point has to be taken exactly as God presents it in Scripture. Tithing is simply the OT precedent, which in itself is very important, and without something overruling it, would be assumed. The NT commands us to regular giving, based on our income. The more we take in, the more we should give to the Lord. If the OT precedent is 10%, then somewhere around that should be normal. It is inconceivable that it would be less than what the OT saints did.

      You want to destroy the entire tithing of the OT also then. Fine. But in the end, there was a tithe in the OT. When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they were ridiculous in their teachings on tithing (even from their spice gardens, which is excessive and petty), Jesus had the perfect opportunity to overthrow the misconcepts about tithing, that it was not obligatory on any OT saint. He didn’t do so. He put it into perspective against the more important things a believer should be doing. But he didn’t overthrow tithing of income as a principle (“not leave the other undone”). Your perspective doesn’t fit with the teachings of Jesus.

      If we conclude that 1) we NT saints have a definite obligation to give weekly to God’s work (not to the lusts of our soul), 2) that giving should be a percentage of our income (“as God has given the increase”), and 3) the OT sets the definite precedent of 10%, then I think we are pretty close. I have seen some personal information of some of God’s dear saints (my father after he died for example) and he regularly gave 25% of his income. Nobody ever knew that while he lived. I think it is exactly a reflection of your heart condition when giving almost anything is a great labor and burden which you fight tooth and nail to shove off from you. You defend the fact that John MacArthur doesn’t get paid a salary. I doubt that. He may have some other arrangement to get money from his people, but I have a hard time thinking he is independently wealthy, or that he sells newspapers in the street Monday through Saturday to support himself economically.

      This all boils down to one thing. The people in a church MUST BE TAUGHT TO GIVE THE WORK OF THE LORD, SPECIFICALLY TO PAY A JUST WAGE TO GOD’S MINISTERS, and SUPPORT THE MINISTRY. I make the point that the NT doesn’t specifically restate the tithe as an obligation. But I teach my people their responsibility to support the ministers of our church (a wage) and the work itself. I do not think people sitting under your teaching would support their local church. People listening to my teaching obviously do. They are supporting me at least parcially.

      Free wil, voluntary giving to God’s ministry and God’s ministers is a definite obligation of every believer.
      1Tim 5:17-18 definitely teach that the teaching minister should partake of the income of the church.
      Paul uses the same principle Deu 25:4 in 1Cor 9:9-14
      Gal 6.6-9 also speak clearly of economically participating with those that teach the Word.
      James 5:4 speaks of receiving the benefit of laborers and not paying them, which is a grave sin in God’s eyes.Mal 3.5
      See my tract — Ch23 Paying the Pastor

      Your expressed views simply destroy and overturn this clearly biblical principle of the minister is supposed to economically live of his Gospel ministry. If you teach people to conclude that they should not give to their ministers, and that the ministers are wrong for thinking, wanting, or actually living from their ministry, then you are teaching unbiblical doctrine. Forget the tithing issue. The issue is giving. You don’t want to. God commands it. You teach no Christian has to. You teach false doctrine. I cannot see it any other way. Please explain if I am wrong, but first explain to me where these NT verses are unbiblical, no long apply to us, or are being misinterpreted by me. These are CLEAR STATEMENTS. Paul’s working is not a clear statement. It is a comment of incidence. It was something that “befell” him in his life and ministry. It is not possible to ignore clear statements of doctrine, dumping them as wrong and not applicable, and then take an offhand comment by Paul as the establishing of this doctrine. It doesn’t work that way. Sorry. When somebody shows me otherwise, I will delete this tract, but until then, this is what I believe, and it is my understanding of Scripture.

  5. Tony Isaac

    Your piece is heavily laced with personal opinion and misinterpretation of scriptures. How could tithing be relevant in today’s church?

    Where have we been told to follow Jacob’s example and tithe? Is Jacob supposed to be the example for the New Testament or Christ? And have you ever seen the command to tithe money in the bible? The bible defines the tithe as the tenth part of agricultural produce alone and not even 10% of anything let alone money.

    It seems like you are trying to build a case for the support of the clergy which is not bad in itself but distorting scriptures to prove your point is most definitely not on. How can God’s work be hampered because people refuse to give or because the clergy man holds down a full job? Sigh!

    The New Testament encourages us to give generously but without imposing a so-called 10% minimum. Those who attack the church from within are those who assay to mix law and grace and am sorry that is what you are trying to do.

    God bless.

    • PastorCox

      I have lived since 1983 full time from the ministry. My reply to you is how can you imagine a God so cheap and without resources that He has to make his ministers work a secular job instead of devoting their entire life, time, and energy to the God of Heaven? I have met and have many friends which are full time pastors that receive little or nothing from the church by way of salary, and they hold down a full time job. If you haven’t done that yourself (which I did for several years before 1983) then don’t talk about it. You just don’t know! These men end up working all week, and sermon preparation is shoveled off to Saturday afternoon or Saturday night. They have their own families also, and most are extremely pressed for time to tend to their own families and their church. I have seen men which almost lost their jobs because anchor person in their church died, and they had to get off work to preach the funeral, almost losing their job. I have seen pastors who are extremely naive because they don’t have time to study God’s word and the cults, the false doctrines, etc. that beseige their churches and their people. This only benefits Satan’s purposes.

      In the OT, did God have a class of paid ministers that were only working in the ministry? Yes. So where do you get the precedent for saying that God doesn’t work this way? Just because Paul worked on occasion is not to say he didn’t receive financial support from God’s people and churches (see post below).

      How can you make Jesus against Jacob? The fact that Jacob gave of his increase (which is obviously income) is exactly the heart and spirit of Jesus. There is no chosing of one against the other. What are you doing by even saying that? Where do you want to go with it?

      A tithe was not always “agricultural produce”. In Jesus’ time most or a lot of the gifts were coins. Obviously the widow’s mite was coins. What did she do for a living, own a mint? Come on. She did whatever, and she gave the money, not the actual agricultural produce. I mean you are missing the obvious, and trying to divert the discussion to crazy positions.

      I believe that Paul spoke of “the ministry” in a way that was definite. You may use the term clergy, I don’t call myself clergy. I am a brother who is totally devoted to the ministry. I live of the ministry. I invest my life wholly in the ministry, and I see nothing unbiblical nor wrong with that. Yes I am building a case for the just salary of those who are dedicating themselves to the ministry but this case, I am just revealing from Scriptures. It is biblical. You cannot dismiss the Scriptures that teach clearly that those who work in the gospel should live of the gospel.

      1Co 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

      If you ordain that they which preach the gospel SHOULD NOT LIVE OF THE GOSPEL, who are you to countermand our Lord’s orders? If this verse is “misinterpreted” by me (which I just quote it, and let it stand. It speaks the truth without need for interpretation), then you explain how it doesn’t apply. Paul argues a very clear principle of the Word of God, and apparently he faced unbiblical opinions of men like I am facing you. His arguments are inspired, and I just point you to 1Corinthians 9. Explain it to me in a modern application to church work, where the ministers of the Gospel DON’T LIVE OF THE GOSPEL. How does that work? Nobody seems to pay any attention to this argument of Paul, but this is the problem with people who object to tithing, THEY DON’T EVER WANT TO PAY! Sorry, but that is the way I see things. Nobody has convinced me otherwise after many long years of arguing.

  6. Gary Arnold

    First, the Biblical tithe was NEVER on income. It was ALWAYS on ASSETS that came from God’s miraculous increase, not man’s income.

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman. Therefore you are in error when you make the assumption that giving began at 10% under the law. It did NOT for wage earners.

    Proverbs 3:9 (KJV) “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”

    The verse reads HONOUR the Lord with thy substance (wealth), not give to the Lord your wealth. The verse does not say honour the Lord with a tenth of your wealth, or give to the Lord a tenth of your wealth.

    How does one honor the Lord with their wealth? I believe the best way I can honor the Lord with my wealth is to be a good steward of that wealth and use it to glorify the Lord the best I can.

    The verse reads AND with the firstfruits of all thine increase. In other words, HONOUR the Lord with the firstfruits of all your produce, or crops (Hebrew word definition). Doesn’t say give to the Lord the firstfruits of your produce, or crops. That comes later in the Word.

    For those who say that all thine increase can also mean all your income, read the next verse:

    Proverbs 3:10 (KJV) “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

    Verse 10 makes it clear that increase in verse 9 is referring to the crops and not income.

    Leviticus 23:10 (KJV) “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:”

    The above verse tells us that the Children of Israel were commanded to take the firstfruits of their harvest to the priests.

    Numbers 18:21 (KJV) “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

    The above verse tells us that the Children of Israel were commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

    Nehemiah 10:37 (KJV) “And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.”

    Nehemiah 10:37 confirms that the firstfruits were taken to the Temple for the priests, and the tithe was taken to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities.

    There is no way to justify making some “principle” out of the Biblical tithe and then apply it to Christians today. It is just flat out wrong and makes no sense at all.