A common misconception in the church today is that tithing is binding on Christians yet in the New Testament we see nothing on tithing; in fact, we see the contrary – the exact opposite. In the Old Covenant it was to be 10% yet in the New Testament it’s to be in proportion to how much God has prospered us and what we purpose in our own hearts as opposed to a strict legalistic 10%:
1- In proportion to how much God has prospered us: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” (1 Corinthians 16:2)
2- Not 10% but rather what we purpose in our hearts: “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Our church certainly gives .. but we aren’t “under pressure” (as the passage above states). To be under pressure to give 10% is in direct contradiction to what Paul the Apostle taught above.
While we teach that we are no longer under the Law, many in the church hold to tithing … as law. They say we’re “under grace” but then demand 10% when the New Testament (as demonstrated above) shows that tithing is absolutely not binding on New Covenant Christians.
Take a look at this (click here for full article), written by Brother Jimmy Humphrey; it’s gonna bless your socks off!:
1. NOWHERE in the New Testament is tithing a practice that is taught as being an obligatory practice: Look hard and long all you want, but Jesus and the apostles did not teach the early church to tithe. The only teaching Jesus made in reference to tithing, such in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42, was in reference to the Old Testament practice of tithing. The Pharisees were very exacting in their tithing practices. So much so that they tithed 10 percent of the smallest seeds that grew in their own gardens (think pollen). Jesus simply told them they should do such, while making sure they obey all the matters of the Law of Moses, without neglecting the most important commandments that centered around justice and faithfulness. Many appeal to this verse to support tithing as a practice for today, but do so by totally ignoring what the verse actually says and in the context of which Jesus said it. Jesus encouraged the observation of tithing, but He was also encouraging people to practice the entire Law of Moses as was prescribed, which would have been inclusive of the entire sacrificial, civic, and dietary restrictions under that Law. The Law of Moses was still in effect at this time, as the New Covenant was not inaugurated until Christ shed His blood on the cross. After the cross, we see many references to money. However, the church only engaged in spontaneous charitable giving and took up random offerings for missions and the poor. Nowhere is it taught that anybody was tithing, expected to tithe, or in anyway encouraged to tithe. The practice of tithing was strictly an Old Testament phenomenon.
2. Tithing under the Law of Moses consisted of multiple “tithes” (plural): Even if by the most twisted interpretation of Scripture you manage to conclude that Jesus was teaching that Christians should tithe, then you must do so according to the Law of Moses. Contrary to probably every sermon you’ve ever heard on tithing in your entire life, under the Law of Moses, there were several tithes, which makes for giving much more than 10 percent of your income! There was the annual tithe that was supposed to be given to the tribe of Levi at the various cities they lived in, for compensation for their priestly duties in the temple and the fact that they were given no tribal land. There was also the annual tithe that was part of the festivities in Jerusalem. There was also the tithe that you gave every three years, that was dedicated to the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the Gentile strangers who sojourned in the land (please see Numbers 18:20-21, Deuteronomy 12:1-19, Deuteronomy 14:22-26, and Deuteronomy 26:12-13). Do the math yourself. This amounts to giving much more than 10 percent. And historically, we know from Josephus, the Talmud, and other historical documents, that the Jews gave 3 tithes in practice during the days of Jesus. So when Jesus encouraged the Jews of His day to tithe, that would’ve been inclusive of all 3 tithes.
3. There is nothing in the New Testament that equates your local church and your local pastors as the “storehouse” into which you are to bring your tithes: Even if one still wanted to insist that we are supposed to tithe today, there is nothing whatsoever in the pages of the New Testament that equates the local church as the storehouse to which you are to bring your tithes, and there is nothing whatsoever that says that pastors can receive tithes for God, nor is there anything that says we are to give pastors our tithes. So, even if you wanted to avoid being cursed by God, you couldn’t, because there are no storehouses or temple to which we can bring our tithes. Your pastor is no more obligated or designated to receive your tithe than your Sunday school teacher or some other random person sitting next to you in the pew. It is obvious, however, why pastors have put themselves in the place to be the official recipients of the tithe, although, they are entirely without Biblical justification to do so.
4. Nobody ever eats the tithe anymore: If you look up the previous Biblical references to tithing I mentioned in point 2, you will notice that the Scriptures call for you, the priests, and the poor to “eat” the tithe. That’s because tithing was always with food. You never tithed one red cent under the Law of Moses. All money you had that was used in tithing was to be converted to something somebody could eat. And then when you brought your tithes to the designated locations, you were to sit down and enjoy a greater communal meal. The tithe existed to literally feed people. It did not exist to provide anybody income, transportation, or a roof over their head. It was literally for food. So, if you are going to tithe today, then you should bring a shopping cart full of groceries to church next time, and your local church needs to be refitted with giant pantries, fridges, meat lockers, stoves, and ovens. Your church shouldn’t have a single tithe envelope. It should contain giant rooms for food storage, preparation, and eating.
5. But tithing was before the Law, as Abraham tithed so should we… right?: Some pastors will acknowledge that tithing under the Old Testament Law of Moses is no longer obligatory for Christians. They will say yes, the Law was indeed fulfilled by Christ, and has been replaced by the New Covenant. Such will free you from having multiple tithes. But they will still point out the story referenced to in Hebrews 7 and in Genesis 14, about Abraham tithing to the priest, Melchizedek (who serves as a type of Christ). So there you have it… tithing pre-dates the Law of Moses, therefore we should tithe even as Abraham tithed to the one who foreshadowed Jesus Christ! Of course, such ignores the fact that circumcision was a practice that originated with Abraham, and pre-dated the Law of Moses too. But we know Christians are no longer obligated to circumcise their male child on the 8th day anymore. In fact, if one wishes to appeal to Abraham’s tithing practice to make tithing obligatory for today, then one must also acknowledge that Abraham and many of the patriarchs offered up numerous types of other sacrifices, which all pre-dated the Law of Moses too. Yet I never see pastors being that theologically consistant, and also circumcising their male child on the 8th day, and offering burnt offerings on top of altars. Indeed, being that tithing was a type of ritual and part of the sacrificial system, to say somehow that this practice was the only one that Christ did not take the place of from the Old Testament simply because Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, and that this serves somehow as a pattern for us, is some seriously twisted theology. It shows a lack of critical thinking on the part of many ministers, and blatantly ignores the significance of what Christ did on the cross in reference to the entire sacrificial system, whether it was before or after Moses. And again, even if this one-time practice of Abraham somehow obligated us to tithe today, see point 3 above, and how the New Testament never tells us who we are supposed to tithe to. So if we are supposed to tithe to Jesus today, the New Testament never makes it clear how we are supposed to do so. And for good reason, because Jesus and the apostles never taught the church to tithe.