To Tithe or Not to Tithe: That is the Question
The subject of tithing is highly controversial and can raise stormy passions. I spent some months researching this topic for my book Giving Generously. Sometimes, in reading some authors you think you may be sent to outer darkness if you come down on what they considered to be the wrong side of the discussion. To further misquote Shakespeare, you could have to bear the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism! The following verses can be used as a framework for a bible study on this debated topic.
- Tithing predates the law.
“Then Abram gave him, Melchizedek, a tenth of everything.” Genesis 14: 20 b.
- Tithing was taught under the law.
“A tithe of everything from the land, whether again from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” Leviticus 27: 30.
- Failure to tithe described as robbing God.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask ‘how do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.” Malachi 3: 8.
- Bring the tithe into the “storehouse”
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this.” Malachi 3: 10 a.
- Jesus endorsed the tithe and lifts the standard.
“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 former without neglecting the latter.” Matthew 23:23.
- Hebrews uses the tithes as illustration not command.
“One might say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham.” Hebrews 7: 3.
This of course is just a starter, and I encourage you to read my book, especially Chapter 6, for further discussion and further reading. So what about the question to tithe or not to tithe? The answer I came to was that tithing is the right practice for Christ’s followers, not as a slavish obedience to a legal code, but as the first step to a joyful expression of generosity.
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