Tithing has been found as a key principle in history

Tithing is first mentioned in Genesis 14:20, but it is not unique to the Old Testament or Mosaic Law. Tithing has been found as a key principle in the history of the Arabians, Carthaginians, Lydians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Mohammedans. This tithe was a one-tenth portion of income or resources.

In the Old Testament there were three kinds of tithes.

  • In Leviticus 27:30-32, a tithe was given annually for the support of the local priesthood. This is similar today to our church budget.
  • The second kind of tithe is found in Deuteronomy 12:5-19 and 14:22-27. This tithe underwrote the expenses of the three major Jewish Festivals of Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, and Feast of Weeks. Today, we seldom spend funds for any kind of religious celebration except infrequent banquets and fellowships.
  • The third tithe is identified in Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12-15. This tithe was taken every third year for local communities to help the needy. Today this need is addressed by government programs, public charities like United Way, and benevolent and mission giving. So each year the prescribed tithe amounted to 23 1/3% income before any buildings or special offerings.

In the New Testament, tithing is specifically mentioned four times.

The passages in Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:12, and Hebrews 7:4-9 do not constitute a major teaching. As a matter of fact, Jesus does not teach about tithing; but He does not repeal the tithing either. He affirms its importance to discipleship and faithfulness to God. Paul and John also do not provide specific teaching about the tithe, but they do address the issues of attitude and motives for giving. The major teaching about giving in the New Testament has to do with the support of the Christian saints in Jerusalem through a special over-and-above kind of gift.

Giving above the Tithe

In a Capital Stewardship Program there are at least two foundational passages that give guidelines for over-and-above giving. The first is 1 Chronicles 29:1-9 where David raises the resources necessary to build the temple. The second is 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 where Paul challenges the church leaders in Corinth about an over-and-above commitment for a specific need. He also identifies the profound spiritual motivation for this kind of giving.

Ten Biblical and Practical Reasons to Encourage People to Give 10 Percent or More to the Lord’s Work

by Brian Kluth of Kingdom Seekers

    1. It is a tried and proven pattern of giving done by godly people throughout the ages (regardless of cultures and income levels). Genesis 14:17-20, 28:16-22; Leviticus 27:30; Proverbs 3:9-10, Malachi 3:7-15; Matthew 23:23
    2. It will help them reverence God more in their lives. Deuteronomy 14:23
    3. It will bring God’s wisdom and order to their finances and will help harness the dragon of materialism in their lives. Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34; Luke 12:16-21; 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19; Ecclesiastes 5:10
    4. It will serve as a practical reminder that God is the owner of everything. 1 Chronicles 29:11-18; Psalm 24:1-2; Psalm 50:10-12; Haggai 2:8
    5. It will allow them to experience God’s creative care and provision in ways they would not otherwise experience. 1 Kings 17; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:7-15; Haggai 1:4-11, 2:15-19; Luke 6:38; Deuteronomy 28; Philippians 4:15-19; Mark 12:41-44
    6. It will encourage spiritual growth and trust in God. Deuteronomy 14:23; Proverbs 3:5-6; Malachi 3:8-10; Haggai 1:4-11, 2:15-19; 2 Corinthians 8:5
    7. It will ensure them treasure in heaven. 1 Timothy 6:18-19; Matthew 6:19-21; Hebrews 6:10
    8. It will strengthen the ministry, outreach, and stability of their local churches. Acts 2:42-47, 4:32; 2 Corinthians 9:12-13
    9. It will help provide the means to keep their pastors and missionaries in full-time Christian service. 1 Corinthians 9:9-11,14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 3 John 5-8; Philippians 4:15-19; Galatians 6:6; Luke 8:3; 2 Kings 4:8-10
    10. It will help to accomplish needed building projects and renovations. 2 Chronicles 24:4-14; Exodus 35, 36; 2 Kings 12:2-16; 1 Chronicles 29:2-19; Ezekiel 1:4-6