Updated: Mar 25, 2020
They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. 1 Timothy 1:7
Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. Matthew 22:29
Many believers are living in weakness and error because of their ignorance of the Word of God.
Many, misunderstanding God’s purpose for instituting tithing and other types of giving, have ended up in confusion. Though the purpose of tithing is to open up believers to God’s blessing as we appreciate Him as our Source, the practice has suffered abuse and misuse like in all cases where purpose of a thing is not known.
This Question & Answer section examines scripturally God’s purpose for instituting tithing.
May you know the truth and may that truth set you free to enjoy great abundance that is ever available in the Lord.
Facts versus False arguments about Tithes
Tithes refer to a tenth part of a person’s earning, income or gift voluntarily paid as a contribution for the support of a local church. The first practice of “tithing “was recorded in the Holy Bible over four thousand years ago before the advent of the Old and New Testaments.
The Bible shows tithe as God’s idea for supernaturally blessing human.
I will now examine 12 major arguments often raised against the practice of tithe today and offer Bible solutions and explanations for the continuation of the practice..
1) TITHE IS AN OLD TESTAMENT LAW
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:18-20 NIV
The practice of “Tithing”, like Holy Communion, actually began before the law so it has nothing to do with the Dispensation of Law. Abram tithed to Melchizedek 500 years before Moses, the giver of the law was born. Jacob paid tithes 250 years before the law was given to Moses.
Melchizedek shared Holy Communion with Abram after he gave him the tithe to signify the eternal importance of Jesus Christ in securing God's blessing over our lives.
The same way we take Holy Communion do we still tithe to Jesus Christ, in His office as Melchizedek even till today (Hebrews 7:8).
(1) Tithing practice preceded Moses Long time before Moses was born, tithing was practised by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Isaac tithed (Gen 26:12); Jacob tithed (Gen.28:22); and Levi tithed (Heb.7:9).
(2) God’s law are eternally purposeful. They are created to fulfil a purpose in people’s lives.
The ceremonial laws are temporary guide to the coming of Jesus Christ
We need to understand the laws of God and fulfil them in the Spirit of love to enjoy their provisions.
Under the Law, we are taught the minimum standard of relating to God. Under the dispensation of grace , Jesus as an expression of God's limitless love to mankind came to release us to express our maximum appreciation to the Lord beyond the limited standard of the Law. Law teaches the sinful man the right thing to do till the spirit of love takes over man in the Dispensation of Grace. The Law has come to guide us to the fullness of life available in Christ so we can live a life justified by faith (Galatians 3:15-25).
(3) Specific laws of God become obsolete only after they have fulfilled their intended purpose.
However, most of the Laws have come to teach man how to relate with God in this "Dispensation of Grace" and are still valid. Contrary to opinion of many ignorant people, Jesus Christ did not come to stop or destroy the Laws but to fulfil and make them perfect (Matt.5:17-20). In fact Laws are meant to teach us till faith takes over (Galatians 3:24-26). Laws did to people living under sin, what Holy Spirit does to people living in the spirit under grace. Once a person has learned to have faith, there is no more need to have the Law as a teacher. No more reason to live a legalistic life of a slave as one begins to live a life of a son of God made available in Christ (Gal.3:25-29).
Conclusion: Tithe is misunderstood by many ignorant believers because they mistook it to be part of the laws of Moses. Tithe actually predated Moses. It actually was in existence before Moses was ever born. The Bible says, “One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor." Heb. 7:9
2) JESUS CAME TO CANCEL THE LAWS
"You are no longer under law but under grace." Romans 6:14
"Do we then overthrow the law by faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law." Romans 3:31
It is not true that Jesus Christ came to cancel the laws. Some people erroneously think that Jesus’ intention was to contrast His own teaching with that of Moses and thereby declare Himself as the true authority. Rather, Jesus came to correct wrong translation of the Law by the Pharisees and make the Law perfect and complete.
“The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law, and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches [a]others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever [b]keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19.
Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecy concerning Him about “exalting” and “magnifying” the laws of God. “The Law” referred to the first five books of the Bible, the books of Moses in which God’s laws were written down. “The Prophets” referred not only to the writings of the biblical prophets, but also to the historical books of what came to be known as the Old Testament.
Jesus said He has come to fulfil them. The Greek word pleroo, translated “fulfill” in Matthew 5:17, means “to make full, to fill, to fill up or “to render full, i.e. to complete” & make perfect (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2002, Strong’s number 4137). In other words, Jesus said He came to complete the law and make it perfect. How? By showing the spiritual intent and application of God’s law.
God's Law has always remained the same but only Jesus could express it perfectly.
Jesus fulfilling the Law of God does not mean we no longer need to keep it.
Neither does it mean that the law has no further obligation on His followers?
The Law came to guide us to Grace. The Law guided the sinful man till Jesus Christ came in the Dispensation of Grace to connect us to the fullness of God's promises (Gal. 3:19-25).
Conclusion: Jesus Christ has come to fulfil the law. The same God is the Author of Old and New Covenant alike; there can be no vital conflict between them. Rather the fundamental laws of morality underlying both are in full accord. God tells us in Malachi 3:6, “I am the LORD, I do not change.”
3) JESUS CHRIST HAS CANCELLED TITHES
“"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23
There is no place it is written in the Bible that Jesus Christ had cancelled tithing!
(1) Jesus did not cancel tithe. He in fact endorsed it. In Matthew 23:23 when He said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former.”
(2) There is no place it is written in the Bible that Jesus Christ did not tithe or asked people not to tithe! He once paid the “temple tax” for himself and His disciple (Matthew17:24-27.) The fact that Jesus Christ, was permitted to enter Jewish temples and partake in their traditions is a pointer to His acceptance as a correct practising Jew otherwise, the Pharisees and Sadducees would have rejected him from attending Jewish temples or reading the Word of God.
(3) Unless it is at least a tenth of your income, it is not tithes. So many unscriptural teachers exist today confusing (scriptures on) tithes and offering together. God has not changed neither had his instructions (2 Peter 1:21). If it is not tenth of your income , it is never a tithe. Offering is whatever you give after tithes. While tithes is decided by God, offering is free-will and self-determined. Under the Law, God gave the minimum standard of a tithe, under Grace, there is no more limit. Giving in love rather than as a legalistic obligation should not necessarily be less than God's standard during Law or we will simply be calling God unjust and unfair. To whom much is given, much (not less) is expected. Jesus Christ, as a matter of fact, demands more from New Testament stewards (Luke 12:33-48).
Conclusion: Jesus' life demonstrated strict obedience to Jewish rules. He clearly stated, " Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19 (ESV)
4) CAN I USE MY TITHE TO TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY OR THE POOR?
Jesus said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's. Matthew 22:21