The Truth About Tithing

Do you need to give 10% of your income to the church? Will God really bless you financially if you tithe? Tithing is not something that Jesus taught - and there is a good reason why He didn't.

Tithing is an Old Testament practice that was not taught by Jesus

The only place in the Bible where Jesus did instruct someone to tithe is the following verse:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. - Matthew 23:23
However, if we look closely at the verse as well as the following verses, we will see that He was addressing the 'teachers of the law' and the Pharisees. Those that depended on the law for their salvation. He was saying that you can't just tithe and believe that you are now righteous. If you wanted to depend on the law, then you have to follow every letter of the law.

He said they were hypocrites and pretenders because they were depending on the law. Jesus was making a point. He did not explain to His followers the importance of tithing or keeping the law.

Tithing (giving a tenth of your income) is only taught in the Old Testament. Tithing is part of the Old Testament law and Jesus purchased our freedom from the law.
Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation]  - Galatians 3:13 (AMP)
If you believe that Jesus told us that He did not come to do away with the law - you are right - He came to expire the Old Testament laws - read Jesus and the Law

In the Gospel of Thomas, same as in Matthew 23, Jesus said that we should be true to who we are. We should not follow a couple of rules and then pretend to be holy (to ourselves and to others).
His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?"
Jesus said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed." - Gospel of Thomas, saying 6.
Jesus even goes further and say that we harm our spirit if we follow religious rules.
Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits. - Gospel of Thomas, saying 14.
Jesus is not saying we should not pray or we should not give to charity - but if it is done as religious practices it is harmful to your spirit. We should help others as clearly taught by Jesus.

Will God bless you when you tithe?

You have heard the teachings. Give 10% of your income, even if you can't afford it, and God will bless you financially. You must have heard others testify how they were blessed after tithing.

Tithing does work - some of the time - even a broken clock is right twice a day. 

If you give 10% of your income and believe that God will bless you - then you will experience financial blessings. Not because God is now satisfied with you keeping the Old Testament law, but because you believed you will be blessed.

If you believe something will work for you - it usually will. It is like a patient taking a placebo and getting better because they believe the medicine is working. This is a principle that is being taught by motivational speakers or success coaches around the world.

It is nothing else than a type of faith. It is something that is taught by Jesus:
I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received them, and they will be given to you. - Mark 11:23-24
So, tithing really does work - some of the time  and for some - if you can afford to give 10% of your income. For one person giving 10% means cutting back on luxury - going on a local holiday instead of an overseas holiday. For others, it means cutting out necessities like food, medical aid, etc.

There are however a much bigger problem with tithing that will affect even those who can afford to give a tenth of their income ...

You are under a curse if you believe in tithing

If you depend on a law you are cursed.
For all who depend on the Law [seeking justification and salvation by obedience to the Law and the observance of rituals] are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed (condemned to destruction) is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, so as to practice them. - Galatians 3:10 (AMP)
Every month you give 10% of your income and you are blessed - because you believe God will bless you. Then something happens that puts you under severe financial pressure that month. That month you can't afford to give 10% and maybe you only give 5%. Not only are you already under pressure, but now you believe God will not help you because according to the rule of tithing, you are robbing God.
You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the [a]storehouse, so that there may be [b]food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it - Malachi 3:9-10 (AMP)
Not only are you having a bad month but it is about to get worse - much worse. You are already struggling financially but now you also believe God will not bless you. Even worse, you believe God thinks you are robbing Him. 

The one time you needed your faith to come through for you - it is stabbing you in the back. The one time you needed your Father to be there for you - you think He is now thinking you are stealing from Him.

Tithing is broken. Like so many other Old Testament laws. If the Old Testament laws were correct - Jesus wouldn't have come with a radically new teaching. A teaching that was so different and so radical that most Jews could not accept it.

Giving financially in the New Testament was never a rule or a fixed amount

In a lot of churches you have to pay to go to church. They will deny it and tell you that you are under no obligation to give 10% of your income, but once you are in the church the pressure will start to tithe. They will tell you how you are stealing from God if you don't pay. How you are less of a Christian if you don't pay. 

Jesus made it clear - we receive the Good News, forgiveness, healing ... everything free. We are not allowed to charge for spreading His message or doing His work.
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. - Matthew 10:7-8 (AMP)
That does not mean we should not support those who decide to spread the message of Jesus full time.
... for the worker deserves his support. - Matthew 10:10
There is however a difference between supporting someone that is doing God's work as you feel God is leading you and needing to pay a monthly fee.

Giving financially in the New Testament was always a personal choice and not a rule with a determined amount.
 "I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do a year ago, for you were not only the first to propose this idea, but the first to begin doing something about it. Having started the ball rolling so enthusiastically, you should carry this project through to completion just as gladly, GIVING WHATEVER YOU CAN OUT OF WHATEVER YOU HAVE. Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equaled by your realistic action now.  If you are really EAGER TO GIVE, then it isn't important HOW MUCH YOU HAVE TO GIVE. God wants you to give WHAT YOU HAVE, NOT WHAT YOU HAVEN'T" (2 Cor. 8:10-12, The Living Bible) 
The more you give, the more you will be blessed. It is however not a rule. If you skip a month or you give less than 10% - you will still be blessed.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. - 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV)
God will bless you abundantly - but read that verse again - the 'cheerful giver that does not give under compulsion'.  If there is a rule that says you must give 10% every month - then it is under compulsion.

Even if you give a very small amount, but you give with joy - believing that God will bless you - then He will - because you believe it!

We should help others

Not only can tithing be bad for you - you might not be following the teachings of Jesus and helping those in need. You are giving money for an organization and hoping they help those in need. But how much of that money is really being used to help those in need?

Some churches today are operated like a business. It is all about building up the business and they fail to help even those that are part of their own congregation that need help.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.  And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers. - Mark 11:15-18
The money from tithing in the Old Testament was used for the temple. In the New Testament WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD  (II Cor. 6:16, I Cor. 3:15 and I Cor. 1:19). Money in the New Testament were divided between those who needed help. It was never used to build a big fancy church building and pay for the pastors overseas holiday and luxury car.

That does not mean you should not give money to your local church. People need a place to come together and that costs money (building, electricity, pastor salary, etc).

It is however up to you to make sure that the money you give is well spent and also used to help those in need. If your church does not disclose what they do with the money, you could give a part of the money you want to give to God to the church and a part you can give directly to those in need (what I do).

At the end of the day, you must feel good when you do give money - for God loves a cheerful giver.


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  1. Without getting into a debate on other topics which you mentioned , I have some questions concerning your last paragraph; which usually summarizes the person's point of writing the article.
    I suspect you have had (a) bad experience(s) with different churches concerning your money (which is God's because He has given you everything and has made you a steward) Is this true? No need to answer me, ask yourself. Let's start at the beginning.

    Although it is not directly commanded or spelled out - Abel's offering pleased the Lord - Cain's did not. Cain believed his offering should have been accepted but it was contrary to the pattern God must have set for offerings. God set a pattern (before Moses' law) of tithing; remember Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek , not a tithe , mind you but tithes of all the goods brought back by Abraham. I wonder who taught him to do that. True, tithes were used to support the worship center where the people gathered. I don't know where you went or are going to church; but in the churches I have been in, most of the pastors have to work and the money brought in is used to pay the bills and a small salary to the pastor. I know of some churches who use the money to support missionaries rather than taking offerings. True, we are the temple of God because the Creator of all things chooses to dwell within us. (unfortunately, most Christians keep Him locked up as a prisoner rather than allowing Him to live through us and us through Him) BTW, the body of Christ is not every Born Again Christian somehow lumped together - that is the family of God. There is no way every single one of us in the world can meet together in one place - but people locally can - that's why every reference to the Church is local. The bottom line is God made us stewards of the things He has given to us (which includes what we do with the Gospel, our money, our talents, our time, etc) Everything we do is by the motivations of the heart. As stewards, we can bury our talent or invest it wisely for our Master. We usually take up an offering to send Pastor and his family on a vacation - never take it out of the Churches resources.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Sorry for only replying now, I somehow missed your comment.

      Yes, everything I am belongs to God - not just my money.

      You are right - I had a bad experience with a local church concerning money and their failure to help those in need. I was wrong to say 'churches today'. I updated to article to say 'some churches' and added a paragraph to explain that what I meant is that it is up to you to make sure that the money you give is used for the work of God and to help those in need.

      For the rest, I agree with everying you said. My point is you should give not because of a rule (the amount and frequency) but because you love God. I want to give more than 10%, but the month(s) that I can only affrod to give less, I don't feel judged, I don't think I am stealing from God and He hates me. During those periods (when I even need Him even more - He is there for me).

      B.t.w. - I would apreciate it if you comment on the rest of my articles you have a problem with . Having a debate is a good thing, we can learn from each other.


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