Tithing in the New Testament & Old

What does the Bible say about Tithing

What does the Bible say about TithingTithing has been a topic of debate and discussion among Christians for centuries. The question of whether or not tithing is required in the New Testament continues to be a source of confusion and differing opinions. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what tithing is, what the Bible says about tithing, the various types of tithing, and the significance of tithing in the New Testament church. We will also address common questions and misconceptions surrounding tithing, such as whether tithing is a means of salvation and whether Christians can be cursed for not tithing. So, let’s dive into the world of tithing and discover its relevance for Christians today.

What is Tithing?

Tithing, derived from the Old English word “teogoða,” meaning “tenth,” refers to the practice of setting aside a portion of one’s income or possessions for religious or charitable purposes. While the traditional understanding of tithing is giving ten percent of one’s income, the concept of tithing extends beyond the specific percentage. Tithing is a voluntary act of worship, an expression of gratitude and obedience to God.


What the Bible says about tithing

The Bible mentions tithing in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, tithing was a requirement under the Mosaic Law, where the Israelites were commanded to give a tenth of their income and produce to support the Levites, priests, and the maintenance of the temple. The first mention of tithing in the Bible is found in Genesis 14:18-20, where Abraham gives a tenth of everything to Melchizedek, who was a priest of God.

In the New Testament, while the word “tithe” is not explicitly used, Jesus and the apostles affirmed the principle of giving generously and sacrificially. Jesus criticized the religious leaders for focusing on external acts of tithing while neglecting justice, mercy, and faithfulness. He emphasized the importance of having a heart of worship and giving from a place of love and genuine devotion. The apostle Paul encouraged the early Christians to give generously, consistently, and joyfully, without prescribing a specific percentage.

Types of Tithing

In the Old Testament, there were three main types of tithing: the first tithe, the festival tithe, and the poor tithe. The first tithe was a tenth of one’s income given to support the Levites, who were responsible for the religious duties and did not have a land inheritance like the other tribes. The festival tithe was another tenth of one’s income given to support the religious festivals and celebrations. The poor tithe was a tithe given every third year to support the poor and needy among the Israelites.

Is tithing a means of salvation?

It is crucial to understand that tithing is not a means of salvation. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not based on our works or acts of giving. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that salvation is a result of God’s unmerited favor, not our own efforts. Tithing should flow from a heart that has been transformed by God’s love and grace, not as a means to earn salvation or God’s favor.

History of tithing in the New Testament church

In the early Christian church, the practice of tithing evolved, and the emphasis shifted from a specific percentage to a spirit of generosity and sacrificial giving. The apostle Paul encouraged the believers to give willingly, according to their means, and out of a heart of love for God and others. The New Testament church recognized the importance of supporting the work of the ministry and meeting the needs of the community.

What Did Jesus Say About Tithing?

While Jesus did not specifically command tithing in the New Testament, he affirmed the principle of giving generously and sacrificially. In Luke 11:42, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for meticulously tithing their spices while neglecting justice, mercy, and love for God. Jesus emphasized the weightier matters of the law while not neglecting the practice of tithing. His teachings focused on the heart behind giving, highlighting the importance of justice, mercy, and love for God and others.

Tithing BEFORE the Old Covenant

The concept of tithing predates the Mosaic Law. In Genesis 14:20, we see Abram voluntarily giving a tenth of everything to Melchizedek, recognizing him as a priest of God. This act of tithing by Abram was not mandated by any law but was a voluntary act of gratitude and honor to God for His provision and victory. This example demonstrates that tithing existed before the establishment of the Old Covenant and was an expression of worship and thanksgiving.

Is tithing required for Christians today?

Under the New Covenant, Christians are not bound by the specific laws and regulations of the Old Testament, including mandatory tithing. However, this does not diminish the value and importance of giving. The New Testament encourages believers to give generously, willingly, and cheerfully, recognizing that everything we have ultimately belongs to God. While tithing is not a requirement for salvation, it is still a valuable practice that can bring blessings and enable believers to participate in God’s work.

Are you cursed for NOT tithing?

Some misinterpretations of the Old Testament passage in Malachi 3:8-9 have led to the belief that failing to tithe will result in a curse from God. However, it is essential to understand the context of this passage. Malachi was addressing the Israelites who were withholding their tithes and offerings, not the New Testament believers. The curse mentioned here was specific to the disobedience of the Israelites under the Mosaic Law. Under the New Covenant, believers are called to give willingly and cheerfully, not out of fear of curses but out of love and gratitude.

Can You Be Blessed Without Tithing?

The New Testament affirms that God loves a cheerful giver and promises blessings to those who give generously and sacrificially. However, it is essential to recognize that blessings are not necessarily material or financial in nature. God’s blessings can manifest in various ways, including spiritual growth, joy, peace, and a deepened relationship with Him. The focus should not be on receiving blessings but on cultivating a heart of generosity and obedience to God’s leading.

God Loves A Cheerful Giver

In 2 Corinthians 9:7, the apostle Paul reminds us that God loves a cheerful giver. Our giving should not be driven by compulsion or obligation but by a joyful and willing heart. Giving generously and sacrificially reflects the character of God, who gave His Son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation. When we give with a cheerful heart, we align ourselves with God’s heart and participate in His work of blessing others.

Tithing the first fruits

Throughout the Bible, we see the principle of offering the first fruits to God. This practice involves giving the best and the first portion of our income or possessions as an act of worship and gratitude. By giving the first fruits, we acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God. This act of obedience and dependence on God’s provision opens the door for His blessings and demonstrates our trust in His faithfulness.

Tithing is a heart test

Ultimately, tithing is not about the specific percentage or amount given, but about the condition of our hearts. Tithing is a heart test that reveals our priorities, trust in God, and willingness to participate in His work. It is an opportunity to express our love for God and our commitment to His kingdom. As we develop a generous and sacrificial spirit in our giving, we grow in our relationship with God and experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from aligning our lives with His purposes.

In conclusion, the concept of tithing is deeply rooted in the Bible, with examples and teachings found in both the Old and New Testaments. While the specific requirements and practices may vary, the underlying principles of generosity, sacrificial giving, and a heart of worship remain constant. Tithing is not a means of salvation or a legalistic obligation but a voluntary act of love and gratitude towards God. As Christians, we are called to give generously, consistently, and joyfully, recognizing that everything we have belongs to God. May we embrace the spirit of tithing and experience the blessings that come from a life of generosity and obedience.

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