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Money, Tithe, Offerings, and Giving: A Brief Theological Perspective

The real cure for the love of money, the root of all evil, is to give it away for the purpose of the kingdom. Tithing is an ancient institution widely practiced in religions and cultures other than those of Israel and the Semitic people. A gradual development of the understanding of tithing evolved in Old Testament times. The first record is on a war booty by Abraham to Melchizedek Genesis On another occasion, Jacob pledged to give tithes to God Genesis As the material needs of Levites increased, tithes were reserved only for them: "God has given to the sons of Levi every tithe in Israel for an inheritance.

Israel relapsed on several occasions in their tithing habits. They had to leave the sanctuary for the fields to support themselves. The sanctuary fell into disrepair. The priests and Levites could once again go back to their work in the sanctuary Hawthorne, p. The Greek word Dekate from which we have our word "tithe" simply means a "tenth. Paul admonishes giving, yet not once did he unequivocally urge tithing 1 Corinthians ; 2 Corinthians 8 and 9; Ephesians Tithing does not appear in early Christian literature either.

Does this mean that Christ abolished tithing along with those ancient practices which were an integral part of Old Testament life and worship? More than likely not. To construct a whole theology for the abolition of tithing in the New Testament, simply on the argument of silence, is problematic.

Tithing Money or Food?

Tithing may have been taken for granted and not spoken against, not even once. On the other hand, Jesus clearly endorsed tithing Matthew ; Luke The early church community did not need an oral or written reminder of something which they apparently practiced on a regular and systematic basis.

The Jews had become rather legalistic in their tithing habits, whilst neglecting justice and mercy. The New Testament does in no way negate the validity of tithing. Likewise, Origen promoted tithing in the third century, according to his 11 th homily on Numbers 18 Powell, p. Not all Christians believe in or practice tithing. Tithing is one of the most controversial issues in the Christian church and within denominations:. On the one hand, there are those who uphold tithing as an integral part of the life, believing it is required of everything. At the other extreme, there are those who reject tithing as a practice along with circumcision, foot washing and the observance of the dietary laws.

Tithing is not to be relegated to the legalistic past of a Semitic nation. Biblical tithing is Theocentric. The underlying principle cuts across cultural and denominational barriers. Tithing informs us of several aspects of God's attributes, of which we will mention four. The Old Testament opens up with God's assurance that He will provide for the needs of the tither and closes on a note of God's promised generosity:.

The tribe of Levi had no land in Israel. They served full-time in the temple. Hence God made provision for all their needs. The texts used are the same Numbers , 24; Deuteronomy ; ; Deuteronomy The book of Tobit indicates a particular tithing custom in the second century BCE. As a youth, Tobit would bring first fruits to Jerusalem:. He also gave three tithes: he presented the first tithe to the Levites, as required by Numbers 18, offered the second tithe in Jerusalem, as required by Deuteronomy 14, and gave the third tithe to the needy as specified in Deuteronomy 14 as well.

Scripture emphasizes God's holiness and Sovereignty through the tithe and for the Sabbath.


The tithe belongs to a Holy God who declares it holy. People, priests, or churches have no claim on tithes, they simply act as God's agents or stewards. When a church organization receives tithes, it is under divine obligation to disburse it in accordance with God's plan. What the "first" is and does has implication for all and the whole.

Perspectives: On Tithing (4 Views)

The totality is invariably affected by the first thing. Hence Paul would say "over the part of the dough offered all first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy Romans ; Galatians ; 1 Corinthians The firstborn animals were to be used for God's glory and the firstborn male was to serve the Lord Genesis 22; Exodus ; Numbers ; Leviticus The first fruits from farm produce belonged to God Exodus ; ; Numbers ; Deuteronomy ; Tithing, as a first fruit, not as a leftover, symbolizes the dedication of everything that we have, and we are, to the Lord.

Offering comes from the Latin word offere to offer or present and contains the meaning of a sacred action. A faithful Jew who practiced all of those offerings would have probably given about one third of his total income to God Vincent, p. The golden link between money, tithes, and offerings points and binds us to our Holy and Sovereign God who cares so extravagantly in His Provision of our daily needs, those of His church, and above all, our eternal salvation.

An integral part of Christian living is Christian giving, which is a partial and tangible evidence of a Spirit-filled life, saved by Grace. A life that truly appreciates the ultimate, sacrificial Offering of the Son of God. The apostle Paul is perhaps the most quoted New Testament writer when it comes to offerings and giving. Addressing the Corinthian church, he admonished:.

About the collection for God's people, you must follow the same instructions as I gave to the congregations in Galatia. On the first day of the week, each of you must personally lay aside and save up some in proportion to his earnings. And then, when I come, you will not have to start organizing collections.

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When I arrive I will give letters of introduction to those whom you approve for the task and I will send them to Jerusalem to be the bearers of your gift. Paul established a number of principles back then.

Giving needed to be systematic, regular, and proportionate. Money is to be kept and stored, until approved collectors would take it to Jerusalem. He turned into a champion fundraiser for the benefit of the poor in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the focus of redemptive acts of the Prince of the poor: Jesus Christ.

The passion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus took place in Jerusalem, as did the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jerusalem occupied a position of spiritual leadership and the gentile Christians had benefited from it. In return, they were encouraged to share some of their material blessings Romans ff.

A Perspective on Tithing

To the Corinthians, Paul affirms, that giving is one of the charismata born of the Agape that cements Koinonia between Jewish and Gentile Christians. It is a good practice for Christians to pool and share their material resources rather than keep it to themselves. Hawthorne, G. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 3. Tithing in Old Testament: Answers — Download pdf.

Tithing in New Testament — Click to download pdf. Tithing in New Testament Handout — Click to download pdf. Tithing in New Testament: Handout answers — Click to download pdf. New Testament Giving — Click to download pdf. David Croteau interviewed by Janet Mefferd. Janet Mefford Interviews Dr. David Croteau — Download MP3. Please visit Dr.

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He did Ph. Dissertation on tithing — Dr. Croteau Thank you for your expose on Tithing. As you may know Rick Warren requires it for membership at his Saddleback Church. The Temple had no storage facilities for the tithe of the whole nation; it only had one room. The first whole tithe went to the Levites where they lived Neh b. I address this and 9 other purpose-driven principalities in my attached investigation and report on Rick Warren. Because it is an attachment, I can send it to you as soon as you reply by email. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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