The Reason Christians Ought to Tithe.

Should believers in the Lord Jesus Christ practice the principle of Tithing?  That’s a good question that many new believers have asked, as well as in recent days many long time Christians.  I want to answer that question as best I can from the scriptures and show you how believers ought to behave when it comes to the issue of giving. 

1.) Our Firm Foundation – In order to understand why Christians ought to practice the principle of tithing there are some basic facts that function as the foundation of this Bible doctrine.

      a.) Christians are not Under the Law  They are Free – Sometimes when preachers and teachers present this truth they don’t do a very good job of explaining what that means.  It means that believers do not have to observe the rituals, succeed in getting every minute command right, or suffer the consequences of failing the Old Testament Covenant.  It is not that the law expired, but that rather it was fulfilled.  It finished.  It taught us the holiness and righteous standard of God, and brought us to the realization that we could not keep it, but Jesus did, and so we will stand in Him by faith, and have His righteousness and obedience imputed to us.  He represented us as human beings to God, and God in turn bestows “fulfilling redeeming righteousness” on those that genuinely come to Christ.

      b.) Christians are to Learn the Principles of the Old Testament –  The issue or the question of the tithe is not a “law” issue, but rather an Old Testament issue.  There are many people today who do not believe that Christians ought to tithe, because Christians are “free from the law.”  While they are absolutely correct about being free from the law, the tithe is not an issue confined or limited to the law. It has been rightly pointed out that it existed before, during, and after the law.  It existed after the law in the sense of the oft quoted Matthew 23:23 in which Jesus said instructed the Pharisees to “not leave the (tithe) undone.”  Many point to that verse to support tithing, and many point to that verse to oppose the tithe.  We will do neither here except to say, that “the law and the prophets were until John, and since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached.”  A case can be made that the law was not fulfilled until the veil of the temple was rent at Calvary, and a case can be made that the law was until John.  Either way we want to look at our relationship to the Old Testament.  Hebrews 7 is also a NT passage that deals with the issue.  We’ll pick it up in a few minutes.

Much of the Old Testament today is still stunningly current with our times.  The prohecies of Daniel, and Zechariah, and Ezekiel, concerning the millennial reign, and the tribulation, have yet to come to pass, and so we still vigorously study them.  I say that to say this, no Christian ought to get the idea that the Old Testament has nothing to do with us anymore. While we are not under the law, there is much more than law in the Old Testament.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”  Old Testament scriptures are still scriptures intended to be for our learning.

   c.) The New Testament has no Command to Tithe – It is true that there is not a specific command in the New Testament for believers to give a tenth of their income to the church.  You can read it for yourself, and it’s not there.  Without going into right now, we will in a minute, the fact is that even though there is not a specific command about tithing, there is much more.   There are other commands given, that in order to be obedient to them, then my heart will want to practice the principle of the tithe.

2.) Our Stable Structure – Where then does this compulsion to tithe come from for the New Testament Christian?  It first comes with having a New Testament understanding of the Old Testament Law.  What does it mean for us? 

    a.) It (The Law) is a Picture of the Heart of God – There are several statements that the Apostle Paul makes concerning the nature of the law, and how New Covenant people are to view it.  Romans 7:12 – “Wherefore the law is holy, and just, and good.”  A few verses before that, he said in verse 7 of that chapter, “What shall we say then? is the law sin God forbid.”  Over in Galatians 3:19-25 the Apostle really explains that the fundamental purpose of the law was to be our “school teacher” to teach us to come to Christ.  Well if you’re saved, you’ve graduated.

I graduated high school in 199o.  Since then I have not had to follow one rule or one teacher of Mountain View High School.  I have not had to answer to the principle, nor have I had to pass any tests, make any grades, or labor over any of their papers.  I am free.  I have moved on.  I am no longer under my school master.

But  . . . the things I learned are still with me.  I still know how to read.  I’m free not to, but I do.  I can generally still add and subtract and work the occasional algebra problem.  I have a basic understanding of the princples of correct  grammar that even though I don’t have to follow them in order to not sound like a moron I do.

Now that being said what did the law, or the school master do?   To quote the King James Study Bible, “The law is an expression of God’s righteousness and is intrinsically good.”  It demonstrated for us God’s righteous character and plan.  Why are we not to steal? – Because God does not want us to.  Why are we not to kill? Because God does not want us to.  Those commands reveal to us the desires of God’s heart.  He desires for us not to be murderers and thieves.    The fact is that in principle, God’s demands are portraits of God’s desires.  He only demanded what He desired.  He only commanded what He cared for.

Now that being said, Paul instructed us in Romans 12:2 to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Not to murder is an issue of the “Will” of God.  Loving one another is an issue of the “Will” of God.  Preaching the gospel is an issue of the “Will” of God.  Praying is an issue of the “Will” of God.  Within the New Covenant we are told that “all scripture is given  . . . for . . . instruction in righteousness.” – Not merely “new covenant scripture,” but all of it rightly divided and rightly understood.  This is why Paul could say in Romans 7:22 – “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Paul was saying that “my desire” is to do what “God desired.”  That being said, understand this; God does not desire more sacrifices.  The book of Hebrews straightens that out for us, Jesus is it once and for all.

   b.) It is to be the Principle Precept of our Desires – We are to want to do what God wants us to do.  Do you realize that every command God ever gave was not a command to do something, but to want to do something.  When God instructed Jeremiah to “go down to the potter’s house” in essence that was a command for Jeremiah to “want” to go down to the potter’s house.  To obey without wanting to, is not obedience.  When God instruct us to do something He is instructing us to want to do something, because He is telling us to get our will’s in line with His.  His aims are squarely at our “wanters”.  Now that being said, whether we are talking about praying, we ought to want to be praying.  Whether we are talking about witnessing we ought to want to be witnessing, whether we are talking about giving, we ought to want to be giving.  So whatever it is that we are “obeying” if we are not “wanting to” then regardless of how to the T it is, it is still not obedience.  See Colossians 3:23, 1st Peter 1:22, and Ephesians 6:7. 

Now all of that has been said to say this.  When I want to give, I want to give to the pleasing of my Father.  I want to do what He desires.  Where do I start, and what do I find?  I start with the scriptures, and I find where He has taught us the tithe.  With all the Old Testament written for our learning, what do we learn?

   We learn according to Hebrews 7:4-5 to learn of Abraham who gave a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek.

   We learn in Leviticus that when it came to giving, or furnishing the necessary supplies of the Levites, and the Old Testament ministry that a “tenth” was the place that God began.  Most of the OT tithes dealt in food and seed, and animals which were means of support for the OT ministry.

   We also learn according to Hebrews 7:8 that at the time of the writing of that book the practice of tithing existed.  “And here men that die receive tithes . . .” which language scholars, (of which I am not) tell us that this is a “present active indicative,” indicating a current and repeated practice at the time of writing.

Now we no longer give in food, seed, or animals for the support of the ministry, or generally anything else for that matter, except for money.  Now we can see a principle in the command to give the seed in Leviticus 27:30 and 32 that “a tenth is holy unto the Lord.” – Holiness doesn’t change.  Holiness is.  Whatever I am doing for the Lord I am to “be holy, for He which has called me is holy.” Whether I am called on to give seed, food, oxen, chickens, eggs, or hot dogs, I know that 10% of whatever I have to give is the number of holiness unto God.  That is what He has said to man when man was in school.

3.) Our Personal Option. – Man is no longer in school.  I am free to give as I please.  The question is what pleases us?  If I am pleased with something that God is not pleased with then I am pleased with the wrong thing.  “To know to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  I have complete freedom, but there is only one right thing I can do with it, and that is to give it back.  The law is an expression of the righteous heart of God.  For me to be taught what is in God’s heart and not want to do what is in God’s heart is a sin.  To repeat Paul, “I delight in t he law of God after the inward man.”  I believe this principle is also taught in Romans 8:3-4 – “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  Not that we fulfill the law, but that it’s righteousness might come out in our lives.

What’s the bottom line here.  God has shown us what He wants, and has set us free to do as we please.  What will we do with our freedom?  Tithing is not a matter of obeying rules, it is a matter of CORRECTLY using our freedom to willfully do what we know God did.  Because it is “Freedom” does not mean that there is not a Right way and a Wrong way to use it.  There is only one right way to use our freedom and that is the way the the Lord has taught us. Any time we do not desire what God desires we are missing the mark. Freedom is never intended to let our wills run wild.  Freedom is intended for us to want to be in complete submission to the Word of God, the Will of God, and the Spirit of God.

I encourage you to want to practice the princple of tithing.  I believe that it is wrong for a Christian to not want to.  When you change your will to run along side God’s will in any thing and everything you have found a change worth making.  In fact that is really the only change in life worth making.   That’s not all, but that will do for now.

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26 comments on “The Reason Christians Ought to Tithe.

  1. Gary Arnold says:

    You state, “It (The Law) is a Picture of the Heart of God…”

    The Levites inherited God’s tithe INSTEAD OF inheriting any of the promised land. The Levites who inherited the tithe were the porters, musicians, singers, etc., and they gave a tenth of the tithe to the priests.

    If you want to take the principle of God’s tithe and apply it today, I guess the ushers, musicians, singers, etc. should be collecting the tithe, and they could then give a tenth to the pastor.

    Church leaders today ignore God’s own definition of His tithe which came from His miraculous increase (not income from man), and also ignore God’s own ordinances in Numbers 18.

    No matter how hard you try, you can’t change God’s Words. I’ll stick with the Word AS IT IS WRITTEN, while you continue pushing your man-made theories.

  2. Bro. Arnold,

    Thank you for your comments, but I think you are missing my entire point altogether.

    When I as a Christian want to know “how much should I give” as the basis and starting point of giving, I am going to turn to the scriptures for an amount to cheerfully, and willfully give.

    I am not under any pretence pretending that the OT context and my context are parallel, or one and the same. Yet in my context of freedom, I look for what God’s prescription was in whatever context He was doing the prescribing. Though I am completely removed from that scenario, I can see that within that scenario that was His chosen amount.

    Because I am free, that does not mean that I am free to live according to my pleasure. I am not under God’s law, but I am still under God’s Will. There is a right and wrong way to use personal Christian liberty, and the wrong way is to use it however I see fit. The right way is to live under my understanding of what the scriptures present as a whole.

    That being said, yes, the righteousness within the law is a picture of the heart and desires of God, and I am wrong for not wanting to do as I know and see what is in my Father’s heart.

  3. Gary Arnold says:

    I believe using any percent as a starting point is in contrast to using The Spirit for guidance. I can’t believe The Spirit needs any guidance or starting point to work with. In my case, if I were to use ten percent as a starting point, I might feel comfortable giving ten percent, or ten percent plus a little more. Praying and using The Spirit, I find myself giving FAR IN EXCESS of ten percent. But I have friends that could no way give ten percent and still feed their children.

    Using a guideline when we have The Spirit just doesn’t make sense to me.

    My point was God’s ten percent tithe had nothing to do with anyone’s heart. It was a calculated amount God came up with to support the Levitical priesthood – to support the Levites and the priests. Now we are the priests.

    I have absolutely no problem with someone who wants to give ten percent (or more, or less) to their church or to the poor, etc. I DO have a problem calling it a tithe since that implies it is The Lord’s tithe which it is NOT. No one has a right to change God’s definition of His tithe. If it doesn’t meet God’s definition, then it isn’t God’s tithe.

    • I believe using any percent as a starting point is in contrast to using The Spirit for guidance. I can’t believe The Spirit needs any guidance or starting point to work with.

      I believe using any percent as a starting point is in harmony with using what the Spirit already wrote when He wrote the scriptures.

      Brother I think the problem here is your understanding of how the Spirit and the Scriptures work together. The Spirit of God uses Word of God to reveal the Will of God. The Scriptures are the voice of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind of the believer. The Holy Spirit does not speak “with crystal clear clarity” apart, or separate from the scriptures.

      That is not to say that the Spirit doesn’t prod, or move, or give unction, but it does not give revelation apart from using the scriptures.

      I think our differences are greater than the issue of tithing.

      I do appreciate your comments, and participation. I have no doubt that you strive to be correct in your relationship with the Lord, and I am thankful for that.

  4. Change Worth Making Blog: 1-14-2010

    CWM: Should believers in the Lord Jesus Christ practice the principle of Tithing?

    Kelly: Your so-called “principle of tithing” has not been correctly defined. In my opinion, nothing, absolutely nothing about Old Covenant tithing is followed by the Church today. See Numbers 18.

    CWM: Christians are not Under the Law. … It means that believers do not have to observe the rituals, succeed in getting every minute command right, or suffer the consequences of failing the Old Testament Covenant.

    Kelly: The Old Covenant was only given to national Israel. In other words, Christians never were under that law as their covenant.

    CWM: It is not that the law expired, but that rather it was fulfilled. It finished.

    Kelly: If you define “law” to mean “commandments, statutes and judgments”, then it did expire as a covenant when Jesus died and the veil in the Temple split, It ended for Hebrews because it was “until Christ” (Gal 3:19) and was “disannuled” (Heb 7:18).

    CWM: It taught “us” the holiness and righteous standard of God, and brought us to the realization that we could not keep it, but Jesus did, and so we will stand in Him by faith, and have His righteousness and obedience imputed to us.

    Kelly: The Law “taught” Israel (not us) and separated Israel from the other nations of the world. It was unique to Israel. Is that correct or not? See Exodus 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Mal 4:4.

    CWM: Christians are to Learn the Principles of the Old Testament – The issue or the question of the tithe is not a “law” issue, but rather an Old Testament issue.

    Kelly: Yes, but why? As examples of where others failed (1 Cor 10:11-12). Tithing is an Old Covenant issue which is inegrally connected to tithing. Num 18.

    CWM: There are many people today who do not believe that Christians ought to tithe …

    Kelly: There is no text demonstrating that Jesus, Peter or Paul tithed or qualified as tithe-payers because of the biblical definition and use of the word “tithe.”

    CWM: It has been rightly pointed out that it existed before, during, and after the law.

    Kelly: What is your principle? Does the fact that something existed prior to th law automatically make it an eternal moral principle? If that is true, then you must include idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution.

    CWM: It existed after the law in the sense of the oft quoted Matthew 23:23.

    Kelly: Matthew 23:23 is NOT “after the law.” It is before Calvary and is a discussin of “matters of the law.” Jesus could not and did not command his Jewish disciples to tithe to hm. And Jesus could not and did not command his Gentile disciples to tithe at all.

    CWM: “the law and the prophets were until John, and since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached.”

    Kelly: The law ended when Jesus said “It is finished” and died. The era from John to Calvary was a transformational era.

    CWM: Much of the Old Testament today is still stunningly current with our times.

    Kelly: How much of English Law applied to the colonies after they signed the Declaration of Indepence? None. Not even the good parts of that Law applied. However, the US Constitution took that which was good from English law and included it in US LaW UNDER THE NEW BASIS. Similarly, the “Thou shalt nots” of Hebrew law are now “we will” obey as born-again Christians with new natures indwelt by the Holy Spiirit.

    CWM: The prohecies of Daniel, and Zechariah, and Ezekiel, concerning the millennial reign, and the tribulation, have yet to come to pass, and so we still vigorously study them.

    Kelly: I am also dispensational and think that you have forgotten the dispensational principles of Larkin, Chafer, Under, Elwell, Ryrie and Scofield. They all reject tithing because it was never commanded to the Church.

    CWM: No Christian ought to get the idea that the Old Testament has nothing to do with us anymore.

    Kelly: You need to define the diffeence between the Old and New Covenant. I am not under English or Hebrew law as a covenant –and never have been.

    CWM: While we are not under the law, there is much more than law in the Old Testament. … Old Testament scriptures are still scriptures intended to be for our learning.

    Kelly: There is a great difference between “for our learning” and “for our copying.” That is why we study history.

    CWM: even though there is not a specific command about tithing, there is much more.

    Kelly: The coclusions reached in both Acts 15 and 21 were that the Gentiles would not be placed under any of the law. Acts 2:46 and 21:20-21 strongly suggests that the Jewish Christians in Judea were still paying tithes to the Temple system over 30 years after Calvary.

    CWM: “The law is an expression of God’s righteousness and is intrinsically good.”

    Kelly: Everything the law says about the character of God, the Gospel says about Jesus Christ. God now judges sin according to Jesus per John 16:8-9.

    CWM: Why are we not to steal? – Because God does not want us to. Why are we not to kill? Because God does not want us to.

    Kelly: You do not explain Scripture like a dispensationalist. According to Romans 8:2 “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” It is not correct to say that we do not kill or steal “because God does not want us to.” Rather we do not kill or steal because we are new creations in Christ, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and have new desires. God does not tell us “do not kill.” He says “by beholding him we become changed” per 2 Cor 3:18.

    CWM: Romans 7:22 – “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Paul was saying that “my desire” is to do what “God desired.”

    Kelly: Here the “law of God” is not the “commandments, statutes and judgements.” It is the “principle” of what God has revealied of Himself in and through Jesus Christ. See Romans 7:24-25. The answer was the WHO of Jeus.

    CWM: We learn according to Hebrews 7:4-5 to learn of Abraham who gave a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek.

    Kelly: That only authorizes tithes from pagan spoils of war which were not holy. Hebrews 7:5 and 18 make it clear that the “necessary change of the law” was its “annulment” –not the transfer of tithes to Gospel workers.

    CWM: We learn in Leviticus … that a “tenth” was the place that God began.

    Kelly: The tenth could only come from food from inside His holy land of Israel which He had miraculously increased. It could not come from man’s ability or from outside of Israel.

    CWM: Most of the OT tithes dealt in food and seed, and animals which were means of support for the OT ministry.

    Kelly: ALL of the OT tithes came from food from inside Israel. Although money is common and mentioned 44 times before tithing, and although money was essential for sanctaury support, money is never a titheable item. Why?

    CWM: We also learn according to Hebrews 7:8 that at the time of the writing of that book the practice of tithing existed … indicating a current and repeated practice at the time of writing.

    Kelly: Of course. It was written before AD70 when the temple was destroyed.

    CWM: Now we no longer give in food, seed, or animals for the support of the ministry, or generally anything else for that matter, except for money.

    Kelly: How do you explain that tithes could only come from inside Israel because that was God’s holy land?

    CWM: Now we can see a principle in the command to give the seed in Leviticus 27:30 and 32 that “a tenth is holy unto the Lord.” – Holiness doesn’t change.

    Kelly: And God never changed His definition of tithes as ONLY holy food from inside His holy land of Israel. The defintion has been changed by man.

    CWM: The law is an expression of the righteous heart of God.

    Kelly: The whole indivisible law of commandments, statutes and judgments –47 texts.

    CWM: “I delight in t he law of God after the inward man.”

    Kelly: Surely you do not interpret “law” to mean the Old Covenant commandments, statutes and judgments. That law commanded killing disobedient childen in Exodus 21:15, 17. If you mean “God’s revelatiion of His character,” then we must look at what was commanded to the Church after Calvary.

    CWM: Romans 8:3-4

    Kelly: Why skip 8:2?

    CWM: Tithing is not a matter of obeying rules, it is a matter of CORRECTLY using our freedom to willfully do what we know God did.

    Kelly: Says who? Does declaring it so make it so? How do you explain the 11 texts which forbid tithe-recipients from owning and inheriting property? Why is that part of the tithing statute ignored? That same statute also commands ministers to KILL anybody who dares to enter the sanctuary and worship God direcly in Numbers 18.

    CWM: There is only one right way to use our freedom and that is the way the the Lord has taught us.

    Kelly: Did not the same Lord teach the Hebrews to kill disobedient children and Sabbath breakers? Again, what is your hermeneutic to decide what to bring from the OT into the NT? The common dispensational hermeneutic is this: That which applies to the Church has been repeated to the Church after Calvary in terms of grace and faith. And tithing was replaced by freewill, generous sacrificial giving motivated by love which is better than tithing.

    CWM: I encourage you to want to practice the princple of tithing.

    Kelly: It was only a principle for food producers who lived inside Israel. It never did apply to craftsmen and trademen inside Israel or anything outside of Israel.
    2 Cor 8:12-15
    12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
    13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
    14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
    15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

    • Dr. Kelley,

      Thank you again for your comments.

      You said, CWM: Why are we not to steal? – Because God does not want us to. Why are we not to kill? Because God does not want us to.

      Kelly: You do not explain Scripture like a dispensationalist. According to Romans 8:2 “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” It is not correct to say that we do not kill or steal “because God does not want us to.” Rather we do not kill or steal because we are new creations in Christ, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and have new desires. God does not tell us “do not kill.” He says “by beholding him we become changed” per 2 Cor 3:18.

      My point is this. Why is killing and stealing wrong in the first place? Who constructed that moral? God did. All “right” and all “wrong” come from the heart and nature of God. He “invented” morality itself, and that invention is a creation of His mind, heart, nature, and desires.

      I understand what you are saying about being New Creatures in Christ, and I fully agree. The point that I am making is that the reason for the existence of morality and righteousnes of not killing, and not stealing comes from the “Wanter” of God.

      You said, “It is not correct to say that we do not kill or steal “because God does not want us to.” Ultimately when it is all traced back to origins that morality IS because Go does not want us to.” (My ALL CAPS is not ‘yelling’ it is merely an emphasis.)
      Maybe that’s a little clearer, I hope.

  5. Tim G says:

    Gary,
    Would you share for us what you believe about how a person is forgiven/rescued from their sin?

    • Gary Arnold says:

      1 – Jesus Christ died for sins once for all. (1 Peter 3:18)
      2 – We must forgive others if we expect God to forgive us. (Matthew 6:14,15)
      3 – We must confess our sins. (1 John 1:9)
      4 – We must repent (change from our sinful ways). (Jeremiah 15:19)

  6. Tim G says:

    Gary,
    Are you still apart of the Universal Life Church? Is this where your ordination is from?

  7. Tim G says:

    Gary,
    Do you hold to need of accepting Christ as Lord to be in a relationship with Him? How would you describe this (the plan of salvation)?

    Just trying to get to know you and where you are coming from.

  8. Tim G says:

    Gary,
    Your answers to the above will indeed apply much to the post.

  9. The following is point one of my essay. Why, o why, o why isn’t this enough to motivate anybody to give according to the New Covenant? I just don’t understand any need to teach law-tithing.

    Christians are commanded to give freely, sacrificially, generously, regularly, joyfully and with the motivation of love for God and man. The following New Covenant free-will principles are found in Second Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9: (1) Giving is a “grace.” These chapters use the Greek word for “grace” eight times in reference to helping poor saints. (2) Give yourself to God first (8:5). (3) Give yourself to knowing God’s will (8:5). (4) Give in response to Christ’s gift (8:9; 9:15). (5) Give out of a sincere desire (8:8, 10, 12; 9:7). (6) Do not give because of any commandment (8:8, 10; 9:7). (7) Give beyond your ability (8:3, 11-12). (8) Give to produce equality. This means that those who have more should give more in order to make up for the inability of those who cannot afford to give as much (8:12-14). (9) Give joyfully (8:2). (10) Give because you are growing spiritually (8:3-4, 7). (11) Give because you want to continue growing spiritually (9:8, 10-11). (12) Give because you are hearing the gospel preached (9:13).

    • Dr. Kelly,

      Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen. I concur 100% with point one of your essay.

      I have never said that our giving is by demand, but by free will, joyfully, sincerely, not because we are commanded to, but willfully, gracefully and liberally. We are in 100% agreement.

      As I have said before, if ANY obedience doesn’t meet that same criteria, it is still disobedience.

      If I don’t “love my neighbor” with all of those wonderful adjectives coming from my heart, then I am in disobedience.

      If I will not “submit to the command to be baptized” with all of those wonderful adjectives coming from my heart, then my obedience is not pure and right obedience.

      EVERY Command that we are to obey, is to be motivated wholly and completely the way that you describe the attitude of giving. All of God’s commands, are in essence commands to “joyfully, willfully, gracefully, and liberally obey” from a heart that is eager to yield to and follow the instructions of God.

      That however has nothing to do with the principle of a “tenth” being holy unto the Lord.

      If I give 10% because I have to, I’m blatantly still wrong, and giving under the law. When I give 10% because I want to, I have begun giving under grace. The difference between “law giving” and “grace giving” is an issue of the attitude of our heart.

      When under Grace, I want to give what God wants given, and I look to the scriptures to find that out. When He did require giving, in whatever context you want to put it in, and with what ever people you want to assign it to, and by whatever medium you want to tie to it, when God required it, He required 10%.

      That being said, I know by looking at that, that is the amount He wants me to begin with.

      Thank you again for your posts, and thoughts. I am very glad that we have strong agreement on what the attitude of our hearts is to be.

  10. Change Worth Making

    CWM: When I give 10% because I want to, I have begun giving under grace.

    Kelly: Isn’t that also true of those who sacrificially give 5% or 40% to the best of their ability after first providing for medicine, food and essential shelter? There is nothing mystical about 10% except in Babylonian religion.

    The 10% “minimum” was NOT a standard minimum for anybody except those who lived inside Israel. Nobody working trades or crafts inside the cities of Israel could tithe, and that includes carpenters and tentmakers.

    Have you ever read First Chronicles 23 to 26? Solomon counted 38,000 Levites and put them to work as both temple AND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. They were his rulers, judges and treasurers in all Israel. Why, why, why does this part of tithing get no discussion in churches today?

    1 Chron 26:30 And of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, men of valour, a thousand and seven hundred, were officers among them of Israel on this side Jordan westward in all the business of the LORD, and in the service of the king.
    32 And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.

  11. Dr. Kelly,

    Thank you again for your discussion, and insights.

    You stated, “The 10% “minimum” was NOT a standard minimum for anybody except those who lived inside Israel. Nobody working trades or crafts inside the cities of Israel could tithe, and that includes carpenters and tentmakers.”

    As I said, “frame the 10% requirement” however you want to frame it. My point has nothing to do with the “who’s” and the “when’s”, and the “what for’s.” My point has to do solely with the fact that the only framework that we see God REQUIRING, we see HIS number, not ours, of 10%.

    Now that being said, I am to want to give GOD’s number, not my own. Whenever He required, and wherever He required, that was His chosen amount. Regardless of the people, regardless of the framework, within the time and conditions of His requiring, He chose 10% as being “holy unto Him.” – When I want to give, I want the Lord to show me how much, and I begin by looking at what He wanted, when He was “requiring, in whatever framework it was that He was doing the requiring in.” Now to not want to do at least what He required His people, (Israel) to do, in my understanding of the scripture is a sin.

    You also spoke of people giving “to the best of their ability after first providing for medicine, food and essential shelter?”

    In my understanding of Biblical stewardship I give the Lord the best, and then I live within the rest. My understanding is that the “first” goes to God, and the rest will be enough to provide my needs. The financial framework of my life is to live within the limits of what is leftover after my tithes and offerings.

    Obviously you may have some disagreement there, but that goes to our different understandings of Biblical Stewardship.

    We may never agree on this issue, but we do not have to. I am confident that you love the Lord enough to have a giving heart, and your conviction is not ruse to use as an excuse to keep from giving.

    Isn’t it wonderful that we may enjoy being brothers in Christ, by faith alone, through grace alone. God bless.

    • Gary Arnold says:

      First, God neither required the first or the best 10%.

      Leviticus 27:30 – And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.

      Notice God neither required the first or the best of the crops.

      Leviticus 27:32 – And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

      Notice God required the TENTH animal, not the first.

      Leviticus 27:33 – He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.

      Notice God required it be the tenth animal whether it be good or bad.

      Next, Nehemiah 10:37-38 tells us that the firstfruits were taken to the priests at The Temple while the tithe was taken to the Levites to go into their cities. Therefore, it is plain to see that firstfruits have nothing to do with the tithe.

      Firstfruits in the Old Testament have to do with crops, only, and does not apply to the first of anything else.

      God is very specific in His Word. You can’t apply concepts out of context and be correct. While God would specify the first-born male, that did NOT apply to the first-born female.

      And what about 1 Timothy 5:8? Here we learn that we must provide for the needs of our family first.

      Once you take a concept from God out of context, it is no longer God’s Word.

      • changeworthmaking says:

        Bro. Arnold,

        First of all, I appreciate your detailed mind. It certainly bodes well for someone who studies the Word.

        Second of all, Obviously I do believe that there are “concepts” within specific scenarios of scripture that apply in other scenarios.

        At the very same time, I am an expositional preacher, and fully agree that when it comes to the explaining of a text it must be done, totally and completely within the context. A Text without a Context, is no real text at all. That being said, within explanations of the scriptures there are also “applications” of the scriptures that fit different contexts than the exact scenario mentioned. “By faith Abraham offered up Isaac.” – I don’t have to “offer up my son, whose name is Isaac” in order to practice the same kind of faith that Abraham had.

        Forgiveness is a “concept” that transcends many scenarios. Without knowing it, or intending to, while you want me to believe you are preaching and teaching giving under Grace, you are being very “legalistic” about it. Brother there are “Principles, and Concepts, and Precepts” within the specified contexts of scripture. I believe in preaching the Bible AS IT IS WRITTEN, and I also believe in APPLYING THE BIBLE to the scenarios of life. I will never have the same context as Moses, yet I learn how to apply the truths of the Bible from Moses’ life.

        “Forgiveness” would be an example. We see it in different contexts. “Mercy” transcends it’s contexts. And so does “giving.”

        I have never said, or intended to say that 10% is it! No more. What I have said, is that 10% is reflective of the Will of God WITHIN THE CONTEXTS OF HIS REQUIREMENTS. We are not in the context of His requirements, we are Free. But we are to use our Freedom, to do what He would want, IF He were Requiring things of us.

        If I overstated my case, about “contexts” I certainly apologize to you, because I firmly believe context sets the principle, and the lesson to learn.

        Now that being said, I have read 1 Timothy 5:8, It states, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” – That says nothing about “first.” That does not contradict giving God first place in my finances.

        I completely agree that I am to provide for my family. Giving is not placed at odds with that command, and teaching the principle of the tithe isn’t either.

        I am glad that you know Jesus as your Savior. I am convinced that you love the Word of God, and we need more men who do. While we will not see this issue of stewardship the same way, I trust that you are a giver from the heart, and am truly thankful for that. I pray God’s richest blessings on you, and thank you for your visit.

  12. Change Worth Making, 1-17-2010b

    CWM: Regardless of the people, regardless of the framework, within the time and conditions of His requiring, He chose 10% as being “holy unto Him.” – When I want to give, I want the Lord to show me how much, and I begin by looking at what He wanted, when He was “requiring, in whatever framework it was that He was doing the requiring in.” Now to not want to do at least what He required His people, (Israel) to do, in my understanding of the scripture is a sin.

    Kelly: You have thrown out the context of the (1) people, (2) time, (3) conditions and (4) whatever else you need to throw out and CONCLUDE that failure to give ten per cent of WHATEVER you re-define tithes as SIN.

    It does not seem to matter that our Lord Himself, as a carpenter, did not even qualify as a tithe-payer in his own framework time and covenant!

    This is really a remarkable conclusion you have reached but you have to live with it. Who needs the Bible? All we really need is HUMANISM –MAN is the measure of all things.

    CWM: You also spoke of people giving “to the best of their ability after first providing for medicine, food and essential shelter?”
    In my understanding of Biblical stewardship I give the Lord the best, and then I live within the rest.

    Kelly: I hope and pray that you never find yourself having to decide whether to spend your last dollar on pain-killers for your child or give it to the church. This is exactly the mind-set that Paul was referring to in First Timothy 5:8 when he said such attitude is “worst than an infidel.”

    CWM: My understanding is that the “first” goes to God, and the rest will be enough to provide my needs.

    Kelly: I think that your understanding is terribly wrong. The Levites were commanded in Numbers 18:29 to give the “best” “tenth of the tithe” (one per cent) to the priests who then offered their best to God as a freewill vow offering (Mal 1:6-14). That’s right –tithe-receiving priests were not required to tithe.

    According to Leviticus the tithe was not even the “best” –it was the tenth Lev 27:30-34).

    I think that it is wrong to define tithes as “firstfruits.” Get your Strong’s Concordance and look up “firstfruits.” They are only very small token offerings (Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-38).

    CWM: The financial framework of my life is to live within the limits of what is leftover after my tithes and offerings.

    Kelly: Fine if that works for you. But do not impose your value system on the poor sick widow in your church who cannot even afford to buy medicine and food.

    CWM: We may never agree on this issue, but we do not have to. I am confident that you love the Lord enough to have a giving heart, and your conviction is not ruse to use as an excuse to keep from giving.
    Isn’t it wonderful that we may enjoy being brothers in Christ, by faith alone, through grace alone. God bless.

    Kelly: Yes, and amen. We have gone about as far as we can with this topic without losing our cool. I appreciate your brotherly attitude and God bless you also.

    • changeworthmaking says:

      Dr. Kelly,

      It has never been my intention to “overstate” my case, and so I want to clear the air.

      I do not believe in “throwing out the context”. I preach expositionally almost exclusively.

      Obviously I do believe that there “principles, and precepts, and concepts” within certain specific scenarios that apply in other scenarios. Forgiveness, Mercy, etc. These are pictured for us within different scenarios and contexts.

      As I said, I do not live within the context of the Old Testament, yet I still learn from it.

      To paste what I wrote to Bro. Arnold, “I have never said, or intended to say that 10% is it! No more. What I have said, is that 10% is reflective of the Will of God WITHIN THE CONTEXTS OF HIS REQUIREMENTS. We are not in the context of His requirements, we are Free. But we are to use our Freedom, to do what He would want, IF He were Requiring things of us.

      We will never be in those Old Testament scenarios. Yet the principles within those Old Testament scenarios, were written for our learning.

      I am having a difficult time understanding why I cannot communicate my point in such a way that it can’t be clearly seen. Because I am not under the Old Testament Context, nor in the Old Testament Context, nor will ever be in the Old Testament context, does not mean that the principles within it are not to be learned and practiced. There is a principle behind every law. There is a purpose behind every rule. There is a desire behind every demand, if I may speak metaphorically. I am no longer under the rules, laws, or demands, but I still learn those principles that existed within those specific contexts.

      When I preach the tithe, I do explain the exact context. I also explain what the principles in that exact context mean in the New Testament age context. I do apologize for overstating my case.

      Now that being said, I have four children. I have had to make difficult financial choices, just like every parent. But I fully believe what the Bible says. Proverbs 3:9-10 – “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” The Hebrew word for “firstfruit” is the Hebrew word, (ray-sheeth) and it means first in order, rank, class, or time, it also means “the chiefest.”

      1 Timothy 5:8 – Does not contradict that. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Both scriptures are to be obeyed. They are not at odds one with another. A man is to give God first, chief, and best,of all his increase, AND provide for the needs of his house. God does not put the two at odds, He commanded both. 1 Timothy does not declare that the house provisions are to come first. Tithing aside, I am surprised that you do not believe that God is to have first place in your finances, and life is to take second. That sounds very humanistic to me, and it doesn’t sound like you at all.

      There is so much more about the tithe, but I dare not stir up more controversy. I have enjoyed having my iron sharpened, and will gladly say that my iron needed it. I am glad that there are men who have a deep passion for getting it right when it comes to presenting God’s Word. Thank you for your visits, and don’t be a stranger.

      • Gary Arnold says:

        changeworthmaking said, Proverbs 3:9-10 – “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” The Hebrew word for “firstfruit” is the Hebrew word, (ray-sheeth) and it means first in order, rank, class, or time, it also means “the chiefest.”

        You are correct. In verse 9 the Hebrew word for firstfruits means first in order. But now lets look at the word “increase.” The Hebrew for “increase” can mean fruit, grain, or revenue. Continuing to verse 10, it refers to “barns,” “presses,” and new “wine.” Look at the Hebrew for those three words. The meaning for each word has to fit the entire context being spoken of. Therefore, in order to be consistent, “increase” must mean fruit or grain from crops, barns means barns or storehouse, presses means wine vat, and wine means wine. Therefore, Proverbs 3:9-10 is clearly speaking of firstfruits as in crops and has nothing to do with any other type of product or income.

        In EVERY instance I find firstfruits in the Old Testament, I find the term is referring to food (fruit, grain, crops) without exception. If I am wrong, please show me the scripture(s) where firstfruits is referring to something other than food (IN the OLD Testament).

        You also state, “There is a principle behind every law.”

        I do NOT find the principle of The Lord’s Tithe to be we give God 10% of anything we make or earn. The Lord’s Tithe is defined in Leviticus 27:30-33 and the ordinances are in Numbers 18. The principle I see is God keeping for Himself, a tenth of crops and animals raised in The Holy Land, and He designated where the Israelite were to take that tenth. At no time did God command anyone to give back to Him a tenth of what man made or earned. God’s tithe was a payment, not a gift, so I see no principle of giving at all.

        There is absolutely nothing in God’s Word to indicate that God wanted those not under the law to start their giving at 10%.

        You state, “1 Timothy 5:8 – Does not contradict that. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Both scriptures are to be obeyed. They are not at odds one with another.”

        I purposely have chosen what I consider to be “poor” churches to attend. Many are dressed in rags. Men wear suits held together with safety pins. Some even have to ask for help to pay their utility bill. IF these poor Christians give 10% of their income to the church, they wouldn’t have enough left to survive on. Is is right for the poor to give 10% to the church and then have to ask family and/or friends for financial help to make it through the month?

        Example: One of my godsons and his wife have one child, both work (one full time and the other part time), and they were giving to the church each week. But every month I was asked for money because there wasn’t enough left to pay the rent. I pointed out 1 Timothy 5:8 and told them if they don’t have enough money to live on but still are giving the church money, something is wrong. If they are giving $50 to the church each month but need $75 from me to just make ends meet, the fact is I am paying that $50 to the church against my will. They would only need $25 from me if they weren’t giving to the church.

        So I have proven by actual example that giving to the church first can result in disobedience to 1 Timothy 5:8.

  13. Tim G says:

    CWM,
    You are spot on. I am having a difficult time with those who chose to know our position without reading what is being written. But, as I have learned, that goes with the nature of the agenda that a few have.

    Thank you for your work here. It is great. I am about to jump into a huge area that I am sure will be debated intensly! Makes life fun!

  14. Tim G.

    Thanks for the support and encouragement on this issue. I appreciate your stand, and witness to seeing the same things that not just I see, but the real heavyweights of the Anointed Expository Preachers of the past and present have seen. There are many spirit filled, Bible preaching men, who have seen these wonderful truths of our Lord.

    I’ll pray for your work, and look forward to the posts on your blog.

    God Bless.

  15. Bro. Arnold,

    Without going into a greater discussion, I would have to say that Brother, you haven’t proved anything.

    I understand such a difficult circumstance, in that I have seen and been part of many similar cases. I am sorry but your example does not prove that giving to the church can be a disobedience of 1 Timothy 5. All you’ve proven is that the church is the first thing on your list of “cuts” when it comes to time to priorititize.

    Brother, the fact is that on this issue, you are simply incorrect in your thought processes.

    May God Bless and guide you in your striving to please Him.

    • Gary Arnold says:

      changeworthmaking said, “All you’ve proven is that the church is the first thing on your list of “cuts” when it comes to time to priorititize.”

      Actually, my priority list goes like this:
      1 – Take care of self and family with needs
      2 – Pay on debts (I, personally, have no financial debt)
      3 – Give generously to those in need (including the Church) (For me, giving usually means at least 25% of my income)
      4 – If anything is left, put some away for future needs, and then use the remaining, if any, for my wants (or to save for my wants).

      I actually live BELOW my means so that I will have more to give to those in need. I get more satisfaction out of helping others than I do buying something for myself.

  16. […] Today A Highly Polarised Debate – Where Do1The Reason Christians Ought to Tithe. « Change Worth Making […]

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