Tithing is a common practice among most believers in God and is mentioned throughout the Bible. But what is tithing, exactly? And why is it important? This blog post will explore these questions and more, giving you a full understanding of the New Testament and tithing.
By the end of this post, you’ll know everything you need to know about tithing in the New Testament church.
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
Now, go ahead and dive in!
New Testament and Tithing
Tithing is a common practice in many religions and is often called giving back to God. The New Testament is full of references to tithe, and it has important implications for our faith. For example, when we tithe, it helps us live generously and generously help others. Christians are called to gather together as one community and give back to God according to His word.
What is Tithing
A tithe is a percentage (10%) of your income that you contribute to your local church as an offering. (Fun fact: The Hebrew term for tithe literally translates to tenth.) Many Christians and Jews observe the act of tithing because it is a scriptural ritual.
“A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, is the Lord’s, and is holy.” Leviticus 27:30 (TLB) states. According to Proverbs 3:9 (NIV), “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.”
You might have been confused by the gardening analogies, but the underlying message of these texts is to give back to God a portion of your earnings—more specifically, a tenth. Additionally, the biblical concept of firstfruits simply means that you should give before you do anything else with your money.
According to the Bible, tithing is a crucial component of faith for people who follow God, and your tithe ought to be money you set aside first. Because you make donating a priority rather than an afterthought when you tithe before developing a plan with the rest of your money, it is the first category you’ll notice when you open your EveryDollar budget. Instead of donating your leftovers, you are giving your firstfruits.
What Exactly Was the Point of Tithing
Because God used the system to support the tribe of Levi, the law of tithing was in many respects a type of “income tax” for the Jewish people (who were in charge of spiritual affairs and Temple services).
As the only tribe of Israel not permitted to possess (or cultivate) land or engage in business/trade, this was essential for their survival.
As a result, God mandated tithing as a means of providing for the Levite tribe, who served the Lord as servants full-time. Regular tithe payments were necessary (each year).
People pay taxes to support the President, police, government employees, and other workers while they carry out their official tasks in the office, and modern countries follow a similar philosophy. Without a safety net, these institutions would vanish in an instant.
How do we know that tithes were paid only to the Levites? Hebrews 7:5 gives us our answer: “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.”
This text makes it quite apparent that only Levitical priests ever had the right to collect tithes from the people (not modern-day churches as espoused by many preachers today).
What the Bible Says about Tithing
Does the Bible actually recommend giving 10%?
There are roughly 14 passages in the Bible that mention the word tithing (and tithe) (depending on which version you are using).
Here are some of the most well-known Bible scriptures about tithing, however we won’t include them all for the sake of time.
The Bible’s first mention of tithing
This is our first illustration of where the concept of tithing originated:
“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 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 favorite tithing scripture
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” MALACHI 3:10 NASB
New Testament and Tithing
What does the New Testament have to say about tithing, then? Not much, but in Luke, Jesus said this.
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” LUKE 11:42 NASB
It is quite obvious that tithing is a Biblical concept from all the Bible texts on money and tithe (leave alone the three above). We shall discuss the contentious subject of what it means for us now in a moment.
Tithing Isn’t A Means Of Salvation
Tithing is not a way to be saved
It is crucial that you comprehend this. Jesus’ completed work on the cross, not our good deeds, is the foundation of our salvation.
Giving won’t get you into Heaven, and skipping a tithe won’t get you kicked out either.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” EPHESIANS 2:8-9 NIV
Our positive deeds come about as a result of our faith. I believe that if someone sincerely appreciates the amazing gift they have been given, they will put a lot of effort into repaying it.
New Testament Tithing Verses
The Old Testament contains many verses about tithing, whereas the New Testament contains far fewer. So it is true that the New Testament does not mention tithes nearly as extensively as the Old Testament does.
Does the fact that the 10 Commandments aren’t a requirement for salvation under the New Covenant mean that we shouldn’t still uphold them? Do they suddenly have no worth? I believe the same is true of tithing.
While the issue of whether it applies to New Testament believers can be hotly contested, I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t still bring about a blessing, just as it did under the Old Covenant.
Read more about tithing in the new testament in our article here: Tithing in the New Testament – Why is it Important?
Tithing in the New Testament Church: A History
Do the tithing scriptures of the New Testament require it?
Is tithing a principle of the New Testament? You may read what Jesus has to say about tithing in the part after this one, and it is quite apparent that He does not forbid it. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt it in any way!
According to Rev. Bill Miller’s Biblical Financial Newsletter:
“Many believers who don’t want to tithe say that there are no scriptures in the New Testament that tell us we (must) tithe. And I say there weren’t any scriptures for Abram and Jacob either. Why would there be scriptures to repeat for us to do something that God has ALREADY said can be done of one’s FREE WILL in exchange for a blessing?
For those who don’t tithe, what are you doing that is scripturally superior to honor God sufficiently enough to warrant His favor and blessing in return?”
Where did Jesus come down on tithing?
New Testament tithing is important, as raised by blogger FMF (Jesus himself).
Jesus approved of the tithe
Jesus mentioned tithing as something that should not be disregarded in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. 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.”
Therefore, Luke 11:42 provides the answer to the question of what Jesus stated regarding tithing and whether the word “tithe” appears in the New Testament.
Tithing Before the Old Covenant
Tithing in front of the old convention
Before the creation of the old covenant, the idea of tithing existed.
“The first person to make a TITHE, which means a tenth (ten percent) of one’s INCREASE, was Abram (Genesis 14:20) … Notice please: Abram’s TITHE was not under the LAW which came more than six hundred years later. It wasn’t requested by anybody. It wasn’t suggested by anybody. It wasn’t coerced by anybody. It was purely a VOLUNTARY act of gratitude to HONOR “the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth.” Abram simply appreciated God’s FAVOR and gave up something of value in order to HONOR the One who had helped him get the victory.”– Rev. Bill Miller
Who Was Given the Law of Tithing
Now that we have a fundamental understanding of how people are divided, we can talk about how the Old Testament introduced the concept of tithing.
As we examine Scripture, we see that the Lord Himself only gave the Jews (and not Christians) the tithe law as an ordinance (Halff, 2). Numbers 18:21–24 and Hebrews 7:5 specify to whom the tithe was paid, while Leviticus 27:30–32 specifies what the tithe was made up of:
- Leviticus 27:30, 32: “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree…the tithe of the herd or the flock…the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord.”
- Numbers 18:21-24: “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform., the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’”
- Hebrews 7:5: “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.”
These three verses of Scripture make it quite obvious that tithing was an obligation given only to Jews in order to support the Levitical Tribe.
The Jewish people were required by law to tithe a tenth of their crops, including their corn, barley, oil, wine, livestock, and flocks. Then, these things (as well as the livestock) were taken into the storehouse, which was attached to the Temple.
Tithing is an important topic that is often debated in churches and homes. In this blog, we have summarized the different perspectives on tithing and what the Bible has to say about it.
We hope that by reading through this blog you will have a better understanding of this important topic and what is best for your faith. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and we’ll get back to you.
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