Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Opus 2012-91, Is Tithing Required?

As a follower of Jesus, is tithing required?  The short answer is, “No.”    The long answer is that if you have to ask the question you have other issues to deal with.  Those issues might be more important.  The issue of the tithe is a matter of an obedient and trusting spirit, not a matter of paying your dues for membership. 

Asking, “Do I have to tithe” is like asking “Do I have to change the oil on my car” or “Do I have to take a bath?”  etc.  Some things you can avoid temporarily but the long term consequences will eventually catch up with you.  You will have a breakdown, not because of a one time decision but because of a pattern of refusal.

The tithe was a part of the Old Testament culture.  It was not an offering.  It was not charity.  It was a gift that was to be brought into the temple even when the temple was corrupt.  The simplest and most familiar verse is this,
((Malachi 3:10 KJV)  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
The tithe was the beginning point of giving.  Understand that the word “tithe” means ten percent.  You cannot tithe five percent.  You either follow the directions or you don’t.

If you don’t tithe will you go to Hell?  Not because of that.  Will there be people in Hell who tithed.  Yes, but not because of that. 

Some people will say that the New Testament does not teach tithing.  That is a half truth.  Look at these words of Jesus:
(Luke 11:42 KJV)  But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
The subject is tithing on even the small things.  The problem is that they were substituting tithing for other acts of obedience.  Notice the words of Jesus:  “these ought ye to have done.”  Please don’t tell me that Jesus did not believe in the tithe.  He approved but is trying to keep it in context and not let it be a substitute for deeper obedience.

Should you be concerned about this issue?  I know of some people who give away more than ten percent to people in need.  I can accept that they are giving out of obedience to God.  They are not the ones God is cocking His eyebrows at.  I believe that most people who reject the tithe do so because they don’t want to let go of the money, not because the principle is flawed.  They try to hide behind “we are not under law, we are under grace” when the real issue is selfishness and obedience.

God doesn’t want you to give out of guilt or fear.  What He wants is a heart so full of praise and a mind so aware of blessings that the tithe becomes the beginning point of response, not a goal you hope you never must reach.

homo unius libri


  1. I don't currently tithe, for reasons that I won't go into again, but I think you stated it pretty well.

    1. I must also confess that although we are giving more than 10% I don't consider it a tithe because it is going to a "worthy cause" instead of the church which I consider the storehouse. This is an ongoing battle in my house. Currently I am on the losing end but the battle is not over.

      I am concerned that the blessing promised may not be as strong although I am not worried about burning in the lake of fire over this.

      Grace and peace.

  2. In Luke 11:42 (Matthew 23:23) Jesus was speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees who were still under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant didn't begin until after Jesus died on the cross.

    Notice also that Jesus did NOT say they ought to tithe on their income from their professions as teachers and lawyers.

    The tithe was not 10 percent, but rather "a tenth." See Leviticus 27:32 - every TENTH animal. If there were only 9 animals, no tithe.

    Giving did not start at 10% for the Israelites. ONLY those who inherited the promised land with everything on it were commanded to tithe. In other words, God GAVE to them their land and all buildings already on that land, including houses, barns, etc. No mortgage payment. No rent payment. Free and clear. Then God said He reserved a tenth of the crops and animals that HE would increase. He gave them the land and buildings, and then the crops and animals, but reserved, for Himself, a tenth of the crops and animals. He gave them their home and their job! He never asked them to pay Him a tenth of any money they earned; i.e. from selling the food from the crops and animals, or from bartering the crops and animals, or from any other income or earnings. Jesus did not tithe from His income as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe from his income as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe from his income as a fisherman.

    God then gave His tenth to the Levites as their inheritance, instead of land ownership, and the Levites were to work at the Temple. They actually worked at the Temple about two weeks per year on a rotational basis.

    Now, wouldn't it be nice if today God gave each of us a piece of land with a house on it, free and clear, and only required us to pay Him a tenth of what we earn? That would be a great deal for most of us.

    NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

    Leviticus 27:30-33 defines this tithe as a tenth of crops and animals in herds and flocks.
    Numbers 18 gives the ordinances, or instructions, for this tithe, and commands this tithe be taken to the Levites.
    Purpose of this tithe: to support the Levitical Priesthood.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: aka The Festival Tithe - a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.
    Purpose of this tithe: “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always”

    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe - a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
    Purpose of this tithe: to feed the poor.

    Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

    You can't change God's definition of His tithe to money from one's income, and change God's ordinances in Numbers 18 to take the tithe to the Levites, and then call it being obedient to anything other than the pastor who has taken God's Word and changed it to fit his agenda.

    1. Gary,

      I an in the process of reading your comments. I linked to your blog which seems to have most of the points, if not simply the boilerplate for what you gave me. I will try to read and respond, possibly in another post and link people to your site on Tithing.

      Thanks for the input.

      Grace and peace.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.