I don’t tithe. I grew up in church. I was very active in my youth group. I attended a private Christian college, where I studied religion. Why am I writing this article? Because, in all of those years, I’ve never heard any preacher or teacher explain the Biblical basis for tithing…and I think it’s time someone addressed the issue. As theorized
by the majority of Christian churches by around 42% of Christian churches, tithing is the practice of giving 10% of your income to your local church. I say “theorized” because churches that actually receive 10% are incredibly rare.
Based on what I’ve learned during my study over the years, I’ve decided not to tithe. Yes, I know. Many of you are thinking “this guy’s going straight to hell”. Bear with me for a moment, and you might end up agreeing with me. I’m not going to discuss church traditions or personal opinions here…I’m only going to talk about what the Bible says. You remember the Bible, don’t you?
There are three types of tithes mentioned in the Bible: The Mosaic tithe, Abraham’s (Abram’s) tithe, and Jacob’s tithe. Let’s look at them one at a time:
- Abraham’s (Abram’s) Tithe
- Genesis 14 tells of Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek. Note the following:
- It was voluntary.
- It was a one-time event.
- Abraham didn’t give 10% of his possessions, he gave 10% of the spoils of war.
- Jacob’s Tithe
- Genesis 28 tells of Jacob’s tithe to God. Note the following:
- It was voluntary.
- It was conditional. Jacob would tithe if God kept His promises.
- The Mosaic Tithe
- There are many Bible verses that deal with the Mosaic tithe, and I won’t list all of them here.
- I’ll keep this short by saying that the tithe was required by Mosaic Law, included livestock and crops, was compensation to the Levites, and was given as well to those with no inheritance in the promised land. This included priests, widows, orphans, and foreign converts to Judaism.
- All of that is really beside the point, anyway: the Mosaic Law, based on God’s covenant with Abraham and his physical descendants, never applied to Christians.
- In case that’s not clear enough, let’s read some of what Paul has to say about Christians and ‘the Law’:
- The ‘Righteousness of God’ is now manifested apart from it. (Romans 3:21)
- It brings about wrath. (Romans 4:15)
- We are not under it. (Romans 6:14)
- We have been released from it. (Romans 7:6)
- It is a law of sin and death…not of life. (Romans 8:2)
- It is weak. (Romans 8:3)
- It is in contrast to grace. (Galatians 2:21)
- It is not of faith. (Galatians 3:12)
- It is a curse. (Galatians 3:13)
- Christ redeemed us from it. (Galatians 3:13)
- It was temporary, until the Messiah came. (Galatians 3:19)
- It kept us in custody until a later faith was revealed. (Galatians 3:23)
- It was a tutor to lead us to Christ. (Galatians 3:24)
- Seeking to be justified by it severs us from Christ. (Galatians 5:4)
Need more? Well, let’s read Hebrews 8, especially verse 13:
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.Hebrews 8:13
This passage clearly indicates that God’s covenant with the Jews has been replaced by a newer, and better, covenant.
What can we conclude from all this? Are we to tithe, or not to tithe? Simple: the Bible never commands Christians to tithe. If you want to give 10% of your money to a local church, that’s between you and God. However: those who preach or teach that the Bible commands Christians to tithe are simply wrong. They’re either ignorant about what the Bible does say, or they’re afraid to actually tell the truth.
Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not at all suggesting that Christians are free to not give. If someone wants to give any amount of money to their local church, they should feel free to do so. The Bible is undeniably clear that Christians should generously give to those in need…but it does not say that God commands us to give 10% of our money to our local church. This article isn’t about giving, it’s about the proper handling of Scripture. Preachers and teachers should teach the Word of God, no matter what their denomination’s traditions might be.
I’m open to correction on this issue. If anyone can find actual real Bible verses that contradict what I’ve written, I’d love to see them.