A lot of Christians believe that Jesus taught tithing. So, what is the evidence for this? This blog post will try to answer this question by first giving an overview of the biblical tithe and then discussing the tithe in relation to Jesus.
Before we continue deeper, you can check out our article about tithing on our blog. Maybe you will find the answer to your question about it. Go to: Tithes New Testament – A Guide
Jesus tithing: Did Jesus Teach Tithing
There is an ongoing debate among Christians as to whether or not Jesus actually taught tithing. The argument is based on the absence of any references to tithing in the New Testament or any early Christian writings.
Matthew 23:23 (NIV): 23 “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 practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.“
Many people undoubtedly think that this resolves the tithe issue for them because these words came from Jesus’ mouth. However, this presumption is unfounded, and the conclusion does not fit the context of the Bible.
We can show that the tithing debate is not resolved by Jesus’ comments if you read the entirety of Matthew 23 and look up the other Old Testament laws that He taught.
Matthew 23:23 requires us to start at the beginning of the paragraph and comprehend its context if we are to understand what Jesus was talking about, to whom he was speaking, and in what context.
Since the Bible mentions Jesus keeping the Passover in Matthew 26:17, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he continued to teach about certain components of the Law.
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.“
Jesus states that the Pharisees occupy Moses’ seat at the beginning of Matthew 23 before directing the disciples to follow the Pharisees (which is surprising). According to the introduction in Matthew 23, Jesus upheld and continued to command the Mosaic law.
One of the most important things to take away from this passage is that while we can benefit from Jesus’ teachings, his address to the disciples and the Israelites was not intended as a personal appeal on behalf of the New Testament Church.
We can understand why you think that what Jesus commanded then should be commanded now if you believe that church leaders sit in Moses’ seat and that we are to follow the Mosaic laws.
Before you continue, you may also like this article: Tithing in the New Testament – Why is it Important?
The example of Jesus teaching the law
It says in Matthew 5:23–24, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.“
You would be surprised that Jesus is still instructing the Israelites on how to worship on an altar considering that this was close to the conclusion of Jesus’ earthly life and slightly before the founding of the Church.
Jesus again upholds the law in Luke 5:14 when he orders a healed man to present himself to the priest. More scripture will reveal that Jesus celebrated the feasts and kept the Passover as required by the Mosaic law.
Jesus certainly followed the law, put it into effect, and taught it. Who then is to say that Jesus was giving the New Testament Church in order to tithe?
New Testament Church
Reread Matthew 23:23 where Jesus praises the Pharisees for their precise attention to detail in tithing the tiniest herbs in their harvests and then reproaches them for neglecting justice, mercy, and faith.
If you are familiar with how tithing was carried out under the Mosaic law, you are aware that only crops and animals were eligible for tithing.
This indicates that the tithe was not paid in products or money. It’s crucial to keep in mind that Jesus did not mock them for adhering to the details of the Mosaic law; rather, he commended their observance of the Law.
Therefore, if you think Jesus’ advice to tithe applies to us, you must also think that only tithing from crops or animals is appropriate.
You could probably use the behavior of the Pharisees as your litmus test to decide which laws from the old testament are still required today and which ones are not. We are aware that while the Pharisees were excellent at upholding the Mosaic law, they were less adept at upholding universal values like justice, kindness, and faith.
As a result, you might observe any of the regulations that the Pharisees were religious about without being concerned that you are acting improperly. Please note that the Pharisees were quite successful in the issue of tithing.
Last but not least, if Jesus’ statements supported tithing for us, it follows that all the conditions and stringent guidelines that accompanied tithing should also be upheld. We can’t just pick and choose which of Jesus’ teachings on tithing we choose to follow.
For instance, the Jews were limited to giving from their livestock or crops. Although it was against the law to offer money as a tithe, all churches are fine with it now.
Read more about tithing in the new testament in our article here: What is Tithing in New Testament?
Two Ideas Regarding Jesus and the Law
In Matthew 5:17–18, Jesus makes a comment regarding the Law. He said as follows:
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. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
There are two things we can take away from these verses before we can respond to the topic of tithing.
Jesus Did Not Come to Remove the Law from the Earth
We are aware that the Law frequently gets a poor rap, but the Law is truly beneficial. Continue reading before you assume we are going to advise you to start sacrificing animals once more.
The Law and the first five books of the Bible have never been a problem. The issue was that males could not uphold the demands of the Law. We want you to internalize this. Good laws exist.
However, it is bad to try to obtain justification or salvation by upholding the Law’s demands. You will utterly fail if you try to accomplish that. This is what Paul informs us in Romans 3:20:
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
The Law reveals to us our sinful state because it is good, pure, and holy. The Law’s norms will therefore always be in effect. The Law will constantly be in force until Jesus comes again, reminding us of our sins.
Jesus Completed the Law
It is problematic to know that the Law’s requirements are still in effect and always will be. We’re not up to the task. The good news is that since Jesus already paid for you, we don’t have to. Instead of attempting to satisfy the requirements of the Law, you are now justified through your faith in Jesus.
Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11
The Relationship to Giving
Let’s use these guidelines to guide our charitable donations. Take the verses we cited before into consideration. First Malachi 3:10:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
The Old Testament taught that the first 10% of your income should be given to God as a tithe. There is nothing wrong with paying a tithe because Jesus did not come to abolish the Law. It is still a terrific method to recognize that all you have originates from God and is a great rule to live by. That does not fully address the query.
You need to think about why you’re contributing. The Law does not reveal your heart’s attitudes or situations, though. The Pharisees faced this issue. They were aware of the Law and occasionally even followed it, but they were unaware of the attitudes that were in their hearts.
Giving is the same way. It’s not only about what you offer; it’s also important to give with the right mindset. The New Testament contains Paul’s response to this.
The Other Verse to Think About Regarding Giving
Keep in mind:
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Paul puts a hitch in this calculation since he cares more about your attitude toward giving than your financial contribution. But what he actually does is connect your sowing (giving) and your reaping.
You will receive more if you offer more. Little is given, and little is reaped. This saying comes from the Old Testament.
The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].– Proverbs 11:25 (AMP)
Giving and Receiving
The act of giving and receiving are related. You will receive back exactly what you put out. Paul does, however, add something here that is noteworthy. And ultimately, whether or not your tithing is biblical will depend on this. Please answer these three questions based on 2 Corinthians 9:7.
- Have you made the decision to go it alone?
- Are you being coerced into surrendering something?
- Do you go about it with joy or reluctance?
What’d you think? This is assessed by disclosure rather than pass/fail. What did your responses say about your charitable giving?
Your giving must originate from a willing and joyful heart in order to be biblical and pleasing to God. God does not bless giving with an attitude that is resentful, unwilling, hesitant, or lacking in purpose.
If such is the intention behind your donation, it would be wiser to keep your money instead of giving it. You’ve lost out on the benefits of donating. Knowing that God is your source and that you are cheerfully choosing to honor him with your giving should be the source of your generosity. The sowing and reaping blessing occurs when you have that mentality.
Giving is an act of mercy, generosity, and love. Tithing is giving back a tenth (or 1/10th) of what you earn. This verse from 2 Corinthians 9:7 states that tithing will result in reaping the benefits of your generosity. The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].
Based on these scriptures, it is clear that tithing is very important to God. However, it does not mean giving everything you make away. You should tithe based on what you earn, and then use the extra money to help others. tithing is not about giving away everything you have, but rather giving back a tenth of your income. This will allow you to reap the benefits of your generosity and continue giving back.
There is no clear evidence that Jesus actually taught tithing. In fact, the gospels make no mention of tithing at all. Some Christian apologists have tried to argue that the tithe is a concept that was developed later on in the bible, but this argument is flawed.
There are references to tithing in the bible, but these references do not support the idea that tithing was a regular practice of Jesus’ disciples. So, unless you have solid evidence to back up your claim, it is best to refrain from teaching tithing to your congregation.