This article is certainly not very short, but it still doesn’t cover everything about tithing. It is not meant to be all-inclusive. But I’m sure that there is enough information given to give a good understanding of the tithe and whether or not we are to do it. There will be some repetition as you go along. This piece is made up from more than three sources, so there’s overlap. After a couple straight articles, and a list of references I’ve complied, there is a section that contains some email dialogue. This may be the most interesting part of this piece. It’s the part that contains questions that most of us have had about tithing. Put all in one place, like this, it becomes clear that most of the arguments against tithing are really rooted in fear and denial. I mean, who wants to give away their “hard earned money?”
Let me add that Biblical giving isn’t the kind of giving you’ll see on religious TV. It’s not even what most Christians are taught. This information will tamper with your traditions. Be prepared to put your Arguer in the back seat ‘till you finish reading.
God doesn’t give us many clear ways to faithe, act in trust of something He’s said. Prayer, fasting and Communion are pretty clear. The fourth one I know is giving. In fact, God put that first on the Matthew 6 list of our Righteous acts. Any act that brings Righteousness must be a faith act. That Righteousness is the implant of God’s Spirit. If anyone wants confirmation for giving, they need to go to Paul’s letters. Virtually all his letters include giving. And that to the teacher of God’s word, just as the Levites and Priests taught God’s word and received the tithes.
Most of what I’ve been taught about giving has come from the teachings of Dr. Gene Scott. I’ve been with Doc for a third of my life. And I’m an old guy.
One of the lost teachings of the church, like the Lost Tribes, is giving. Pastors are so afraid, (a seemingly impossible attitude for a true domata) that they hardly ever teach on it. Even Paul fell on this point , but only with the Corinthians. The most I've ever heard is the thing about "hilarious" givers at offering time. Well let me tell you that THE subject that occupies God is giving. Take a quick skim through the Word and start tallying the times and ways that God directs giving and you'll be amazed. That includes the New Testament. The point is that if Christians were properly taught, and put that teaching in practice, churches would NEVER have to raise money for valid projects like a new building. When you count up the three tithes and the few mandated offerings, you will wind up with some 25% going back to God. Now, how many folks do you know that give back 25% of their money? Or time, for that matter? But when the pastor does his job of "perfecting” (completing) the saints [Eph 4], he'll have instilled in the congregation the sure knowledge that God uses that principle to help us Faithe.
Faithing is very hard to think up on your own, so God has given us some very clear things we can do. Matt 6 tells us of three kinds of "alms". Strong's is wrong on the word in verse 1. The Greek word used is dikaiosunen. The dika is the root for righteousness. My KJV margin notes this. So it must read, "when you do your righteousnesses, don't do them to be seen of men." The word alms in the 2nd verse is the one in Strong's that translates from the root for money; elemosunen. So Matthew says that giving money (to the Right place, for the Right reason) is a form of Righteousness; it's faithing. God has always made it possible for His people to act in faith. Of course, giving is almost the hardest thing there is for us to do. But do you see that if a congregation were to all follow God's giving plan that there would be NO need to ask for special project money.
Now the trick is to find out the Proper way and place to give. Here again, pastors haven't taken the time necessary to form solid opinions on the subject. God knows the evidence is there. I found out about it.
I've said before, find an area of controversy in the Church and you can be sure there is a Truth of God hidden under a pile of the Devil's diversion. God is a Giver, He gave His Son. Jesus is a Giver, he gave his life. Giving back to God is the main way we learn dependence on Him. He planned it that way. How much do you think a "perfect" lamb or sheep would be worth to its owner? God said, "Take your VERY best and "waste" it. That means give it with NO strings attached. I can't use my tithe in expectation of getting anything back.
Talk about controversy, how about the way some of these nuts on Christian TV try to get your bucks? Love gift?????????? That's just a VERY OBVIOUS tax dodge. Taking your tithe off your taxes, is NOT giving to God. The Devil has been hard at work on Giving these many millennia.
And those folks who want to NOT give will immediately say two things: "the tithe is Old Testament", and "Paul said the Corinthians didn't HAVE to give." Both of those statements are out of context. First of all, Jesus told the Pharisees that they were right to tithe, "This ye ought to have done," and secondly, Paul first tells the Corinthians all about how they SHOULD be giving, and what REAL giving looks like in the Philippian church(Macedonians, who happen to be "make-don-ians" of the tribe of Dan! ! ), then tells them that he WON'T make them give so no one can say he charged for his pastoring. He fell down, plain and simple. Go to EVERY other one of his letters and you'll find somewhere that he tells the people that they should give to the teacher of the word. Galatians 6:6 is best.
There can be little doubt that we are supposed to tithe and give firstfruits, just as starters. Now the only loophole that God leaves us is in the second tithe where He allows us to use that to go to our "Jerusalem" three times a year to celebrate Him. He says we can even buy "strong drink" for the party. I'm reminded of my Baptist mother who told me that the wine in the Bible was non-alcoholic: that's what legalism comes to.
Breaking It Down
I think before addressing what I call denial points, I'll just lay out my understanding of the tithes. But before I do that I must acknowledge hearing Dr. Scott teach that one could start by giving 10% of everything one had, thereby fulfilling the first tithe, and having then to deal only with the second and third tithe. I, frankly, can't reconcile this 1-time first tithe concept.
While this may be correct, we who cannot afford to make that initial contribution must go with the common formula of 10% of the gross being the first tithe, 10% of what's left being the second tithe, with the third tithe coming out of the second every third year.
While we're on anomalies, I've also noticed that recently Doc has talked about the tithe in terms of only 10%.
I haven't studied this material for some time now, but did check out everything I could at the time. I have a very good little book by PW Thompson titled, " All the Tithes ". This is a digest of two of his other works, The Whole Tithe and All Thine Increase. He has also written on British-Israel. I remember liking the book a lot. And except for this 1-time first tithe being absent, the rest of the material lines up with what Dr. Scott teaches.
So, without going back and looking up all that material again, here's my understanding of what's to be done with the tithes. At least this is how I've been doing it for many years now.
1.The first tithe is deposited with the spiritual teacher. No strings.
2. The second tithe is used primarily to finance the three journeys to " God's Place". And following Doc's example and permission I have also used the second tithe for a satellite dish and to finance various God-related activities; such as underwriting my radio show, and some Homepage costs.
3. I must admit to still feeling a bit vague about the third tithe, and feel constrained by the logistics of that which I do understand. I've tried to imagine how to feed the stranger/Levite, etc, but always get bogged down. So I leave that part to God.
I also include the Firstfruits in my totals. Here's the way I figure the math.
The way I initially figured the total was this:
So 17%(plus a little bit) goes to Doc and 8% allows me three trips to
the Cathedral plus a little help with God projects.It all made very good sense
to me when I was first putting it together. It may not be perfect, but it feels
The most important thing in our lives is "our" money. The first tithe is the 10% of the “increase”. The second tithe is 10% of what’s left from the first. It’s the one that finances our three yearly trips to have the party for/with God (the 3 feasts at Jerusalem), Deut 12:6; 12:17-18. I know it doesn't say "second", but it's confirmed many places as the 2nd, and logically, it has to be different than the first. One book I have says that the split was 5/6ths for the party and 1/6 to the Levites. The third tithe is Deut 14:28-29. It's instructions, AGAIN, are different, and therefore it's not to be confused with the first or second tithes. These multiple tithes explain why the plural is used so many times, as in Mal 3:10 "all the tithes". When you add firstfruits and corners (the gleaning of the corners of your field by the have-nots), you're getting up toward 25%. And Dr. Scott has pointed out that we should be thinking about tithing our time as well. I agree.
First tithe-Lev 27:30, I Cor 9:13.
Second tithe-Deut 26:;12, Jubilees 32:1-14
Third tithe-Deut 14:21-29
First Fruits-Ex 23:20, Prov 3:9, Neh 10:35
Lev 27:30- The tithe is the Lord’s.
Num 18:24- tithes go to the preachers (God’s priests, Levites)
Lev 27-valuing offerings, male and female.
Deut 14- 2nd tithe.
Num 28- law of offerings.
Gal 6:6-give to the teacher.
Haggai 1:9- bags with holes, blowing on little.
I Cor 9:13- pay the teacher.
Matt 23:23, Luke 11:42-=Jesus says you ought to tithe.
Heb 13:7, 16-pay the teacher.
Rom 15:27- pay the teacher.
Alabaster box-Matt 26:7,13; Mark, 14:3,9: Luke 7:36-38; John ll:2
I Tim 5:17-18- Reward the teacher; cf I Thes 5:12
II Cor 8-whole chapter; vs 7-9 Prove your agape by how you give. Ch 9, elaboration.
Phil 4:10-20 (17-19) How God views giving to the teacher
Heb 10:34 ”…spoiling your goods...(toward a)…heavenly substance…”
Heb 7:5- Levites commanded to take tithes.
I Cor 16:1- Paul orders (Corinth) Galatians to pay the preachers.
Philemon 19-Philemon owes Paul for the Gospel.
Luke 21:1-4- Widow gives ALL.
Ex 36:56- Israelites commanded to STOP giving.
Acts 4:32-37-disciples give ALL; Ananias/Sapphira lie.
Tobit 1:7- three tithes.
Josephus IV:8:22- three tithes.
Stewardship parables outnumber ALL Jesus’ teaching. “He taught more about money than heaven,” said Dr. Scott.
1st=10% of gross=90% left.
2nd=10% of 90% above.
3rd=3.33% of gross (10% every third year)
Firstfruits=2%=1/52 of Gross=1.92%
F. Interesting where Jesus says to send his money, to the poor. This brings me to tithing. I cant find any relevance to this for living anywhere, and man, I'm putting aside all of the 'I don’t really want to' stuff, I really am.
J. First off, one is never "free" of tithing. that first 10% always is in force to be given back to God. that means that, even if your source is not teaching you it's still appropriate to send it your tithe. Actually, your Christian walk will be a never-ending learning process, so you will always have a teacher. but to understand why we continue to tithe to someone, or the last teacher, we have to remember what the goal of the tithe is. the tithe is meant to make it easier for the teacher to get the teaching out to whomever God is leading, to make the same help you received available to others. The ongoing expenses of making the teaching available have to be met. My main source of teaching has been Dr. Gene Scott. He gets my tithe every week regardless of my receiving teaching that week.
I have also given occasional tithe money to living authors of books that opened up God to me. Bonnie Gaunt's work has been illuminating, as well as Chuck Missler and E. Raymond Capt. I only wish CS Lewis was still alive.
As far as the second tithe goes, that can go a couple places. The bible says it can be used for the three yearly trips to Jerusalem for the Feast Days. It is also earmarked every third year for helping our community. I have a radio show and a web site to maintain, and part of my second tithe goes there.
Your own comments show that you are still fearful about tithing. You haven't seen enough evidence yet. Probably a little of both, God's reality, and the sure evidence that we are to tithe and how, etc.
If you were solid on both those subjects, you'd already be tithing.
F. "Give in secret.” Do you think that extends to the receiver not knowing where it came from? Cash over long distances might not be a great idea.
J. I don't think it extends to the receiver. Given that the "receiver" is knowledgeable about the tithe, it's not reward canceling to include your name. I don't see how one could knowingly tithe to the wrong person. If one understands the tithe, it will automatically go to the right person. The Priests knew very well who gave the lamb or barley, etc.
There Is a Dividing Line At Jesus’ Death
J. Jesus clearly told the Pharisee that he should be tithing. Sometime you're going to have to give that statement its full weight. Jesus said to tithe.
F. He did. That’s true. But this was before he died on the cross for us.
J. His death is irrelevant to tithing. I could take that statement and make tithing a sin. Now that Jesus is dead we are free from that "sin." See what I mean?
F. Romans 7:4 > The law no longer holds you in its power
J. You're beating around the same old bush. Tithing was established 400 years before the Law. True it's included in the Law. That inclusion helps us with the details and was God's way of filling out the Tithe principle. It also helps us put a ceiling on our giving. But to say that tithing went down the tube with the Law is erroneous.
F. Romans 7:6 > But now we have been released from the law,
J. Same drill here.
F. it is the law that showed me my sin.
J. This is the key. The Law came to show us we were sinners, not to save us.
In addition, when Jesus "abolished" the law, he abolished more than the Law of Moses. It has to do with his saying that his yoke was easy and his burden light. Most Christians don't understand that one because they see how hard the Christian walk is.
Jesus abolished ALL works done to gain salvation. He took away the necessity of keeping the Law perfectly, and any other "work" that we might want to use to claim salvation. Jesus abolished ALL religion. Religion is the HARD yoke and burden that keeps men in bondage with it's rules. Jesus wasn't the founder of a new religion. He was the establisher of faithing as a way to God. The Law Jesus dealt with was much larger in scope than the Law of Moses.
F. Romans 4:13 > It is clear, then, that Gods promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was not based on obedience to Gods law,
J. Abraham didn't even have the Law yet, but he tithed. Same for Jacob. Here's something to think about. When the value of knowing God and being called really sinks in, one realizes that tithing isn't even earnest money. How can a monetary value be put on God's call? Especially to me? What am I anyway? Isn't one moment with God worth more than my whole life? I could never come up with a figure that would be a fair price to put on just the Lost Tribes teaching.
F. I would ask what is money anyway? I agree the value of knowing God is priceless. Life is priceless only to those who believe, the price paid by those who don’t believe is death. It seems to me that Salvation is priceless for us, it wasn’t priceless to God. He paid the price for our sins (and hence our salvation).
J. You missed the point here. The money in giving is to advance the dissemination of God's word. Our main job is to get the word of the Kingdom out to people. Most Christians help this plan by funding someone who is already on point. That's as it should be. To give us some guidelines for giving and to put that ceiling on our response, God gave us the tithe. You might remember that even in spite of Jesus' death, the New Testament Christians gave 100% to the Apostles. Neither they nor the Apostles seemed to think that giving was taken out of the way by Jesus’ death.
Christianity is about surrender. God says that
obedience is better than sacrifice.
You spell obedience s-u-r-r-e-n-d-e-r. Surrender may even be harder than faithing.
F. I agree with you. But surrender to God through Jesus, not through the law.
J. Ho hum. Tithing is not the Law.
F. You taught me the meaning of faith is faithe. And that’s what he wants, its said over and over. I would be looking to faithe on things that didn’t involve the law that God gave to Abraham or Moses.
J. God never gave Abraham any Law. But Abraham tithed. I've said before, Abraham didn't just wake up one morning and invent tithing. It was one way that he faithed. Leaving Ur was another.
I've tried to be gentle with my replies, but that doesn't seem to be able to break through your defenses. I'm sorry to have to say some hard-to-hear things.
You have my giving notes and said that you went though them carefully. I'm sure then, that you know that Paul taught about giving in every letter. He always puts in something about supporting the teacher. Add to that Jesus' words on giving and you can't deny that giving is to be up near the top of the list of Christian actions. (God even gave us an UNCONDITIONAL promise concerning tithing. He even lets us test Him on it. I don't remember another place where God lets humans test Him.) Paul even says that you can tell the indwelling of “agape” (the Spirit) by the way a person gives. That's in 2Cor 8:7-9.
We don't have ANY options with giving, Friend. We MUST give. [It's the fastest way for us to learn faithing].
The only thing we have to find out is how much and where. None of this is our choice. I won't review these two things. You already know them.
Many folks act like the "rich young ruler." He couldn't let go and trust God (Jesus) with "his" money, either. Jesus wasn't trying to get some bread for the poor. He was trying to help the young man faithe, trust God that he'd be OK if he gave away all his riches.
These arguments will only keep a person stuck in giving nothing. God sees that. He sees when you're too fearful to let go of your money and trust that He'll make up for what you see as a loss.
You say that I taught you faithing. That means that I was God's vehicle for you to find out about faithing. Faithing will save your life. In effect, without trying to boast, I saved your life. What happens when another person needs to hear about God, something I can really help them understand, but I can't support my efforts? I have to shut down my web site.
What's your life worth? A "Thank you?" Some lip service?
You've fed well at my table. You have my book, but you haven't valued it enough to even help pay the printing cost, as yet. It was mainly thru Fifty Pieces that you learned what biblical faith really is and how you can act in a way that God has promised to be there for you.
You need to ask yourself who's responsible for the Fear that keeps "your" money in your pocket. It ain't God.
I'm pretty much finished arguing about tithing, Friend. I've addressed your points more than twice. It's up to you now. You either start giving or not.
I shouldn't have to say this, but all this discussion was never meant to line my pockets. It was meant to give you the Truth about giving.
Strong’s Typo Detailed
This person gave me three strikes and called me "Out!"
F. Just above, on page 4, your words say "Jesus tithed, and said we should, too." Well, Jack, I think that you are in error. If you hold (as I do) that the Church was INITIATED a few weeks after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, then in that one occasion and place where he mentioned "tithe" (Matthew 23:23; also Luke 11:42 // Strong's #586) he was NOT instructing the Church; certainly not directly. [strike one]
J. He was not instructing ANYONE. He was affirming the practice of tithing. "This you ought to have done."
F. The Apostle Paul, who claimed most forcefully to be Christ's chosen and anointed apostle (spokesperson) to the Church, never mentioned tithing as "binding" on Christians. Paul emphasized "cheerful" giving, leaving amounts/percentages to the conscience of the giver. [this was strike two]
J. I can't remember Paul even using the word tithe, let alone that it was binding. And I disagree that he left the amounts to the givers. Tithing was the giving principle of God-believers, regardless of the age. I know tithing to go back to at least 1950 BC. That's near the time Abraham tithed to Shem (Melchizedek).
The tithe isn't connected to Jesus. Before or after his death, the tithe remained the same.
Besides Jesus' tithe remark, the only place I remember being able to know how much to give is the description of the giving that took place in Jerusalem. Those believers gave everything they had, not just the tithe. Couple that with Paul's telling us in every letter that we are to support our teachers, and with his admonition to the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit is evidenced by how one gives, and Jesus' telling the rich young ruler to give away all his riches, I could come up with most any figure I wanted. 50% wouldn't be too much.
F. I am still saying "Amen" to the SPIRIT of much of your words, Jack, but I am choking and feeling slightly ill at some of the DETAILS (where, it is said, the Devil dwells).
At the top of my page 5 is printed your example concerning someone with annual salary of $17,000 and you mention "that full $1700" which is, obviously, a tithe. Just over halfway down this page you mention Matthew 6:3-4. In that place, Jesus mentions the manner of giving "alms" (mercy, pity ELEEMOSUNE -- Strong's #1654). [in the margin of my printout, I wrote the words "strike three. Y'er out!"]
J. This is true, but the word "gifts" must be included, as it is in the Greek. It's a compound word which contains both ideas. The idea of money can't be excluded.
Unfortunately Strong's is only a human production and therefore contains errors. The word "Alms" in verse 1 is NOT eleemosune, but dika-iosunen, which is properly translated "righteous-nesses." That 1654 in Strong’s is a typo.
F. The "secrecy" that Jesus counseled was to those persons (past or present; Jew or Gentile or Christian) who are "generous" ONLY or even MAINLY to win the respect or admiration or praise of their neighbors.
J. That's true. The repeated message of the chapter is don't show off your "Godliness." But stronger still is the message of secrecy. It isn't just "don't show off," it's don't let anyone KNOW what you're doing. Verse 3 is a specific instruction that applies to all the situations. Telling the IRS is not maintaining any kind of secrecy. It's not keeping from your left hand what your right hand is doing. It's exactly the same as telling your friend that you gave your teacher $500.
Selling Stuff – What Is Income?
F. What if I sell my car? Do I tithe on the sale? Is that really “income?”
J. This tithing question is in a rather gray area.
In one sense, income is income. But I can see another way.
Maybe the money that was put out for the car originally was already left from tithing you did on the gross. If some of that money comes back, in the form of a sale, then it could be thought that this is not "increase", but substitution. You wouldn't have been tithing on the car itself while you owned it. The sale can be considered a simple trade of commodities. It can also be viewed by this example. What if the buyer had paid $10K and sold for 2K? What if, on another day, that buyer hit the dealership at the right time and got the car for $8K? Would he then conclude that the $2K he saved should be tithed on? Hardly.
I use this same logic concerning my book. The expenses for printing were paid out of my net after tithing. If anyone just meets the expense of the book, I don't tithe on that "income." Anything above the production cost, I treat as new income.
I haven't been taught this specifically by Dr. Scott or any of my other tithe-info sources, so don't use me as gospel or ask for some proof text. I feel OK about it. I hope God does, too.
But, a third scenario comes to mind.
What if the expense, whatever it was, was paid out of one's 2nd or 3rd tithe? The instances of this would be very restricted, and also not really backed by any specific Scripture that I know of.
But let's say that you paid out of the gross to publish a set of tracts to hand out. I say "you" because I would never do that myself. Anyway, if you then sold those tracts, they would fall into the new money category. The swap principle is still there, but the original money was "new" and needs to be balanced with "new" money. Any income on the tracts would be subject to the tithe.
F. I can’t find any relevant place to put the 2nd tithe outside of where its going now. So, if you have a better idea, feel free to tell me about it.
J. I have mentioned before what I use the second tithe for. First, I use it to go to church three times a year (if I can. the last two years I've only been twice), as is outlined in the Bible for the 3 "feasts". BTW, "feast" is more properly translated "set time." These are times set up by God for His people to congregate at Jerusalem. It says you can use the money for anything including "strong drink." I think it's a good setup. It helps give some structure by which we can keep current with Him.
So I use my 2nd that way. It's about $600 per trip, airfare, motel, car, meals, etc. Dr. Gene Scott, as you know, pastors my church. It's in Los Angeles. I also use my 2nd to finance my "outreach". The web site is about $150 a month and I incur a bit of expense for underwriting my radio show and materials.
I used to keep strict track of all my 2nd money, but when I started the archive I found that the trips to church and the web site alone were taking much more than the 2nd, so I quit keeping track.
Here's the formula I've always used. Of the 25%, my "teacher's" share is 17%. This goes to whomever I feel has taught me about God. As I've said, this can sometimes go to authors of books that I've read. I chose 17% rather than the first 10% so as to include any mandatory offerings, such as first fruits, and to honor the teaching even more. Then I consider that last 8% as the second tithe, 3rd tithe and "corners."
I just always try to take my Self out of all my God dealings (others too). I don't like to leave any loophole through which my fearful Self can wheedle a little slack.
God is in control. He didn’t give us any control of our giving. “Pick up your cross.” Ask a hundred Christians what Jesus meant by “cross,” and I’m sure you’ll get many answers. My guess is that ninety of those answers won’t have anything to do with putting down our egos. Our cross is our Self. Our constant focus and objective is (faithing our way to) the elimination of all Self. 100% surrender is another way we’ve heard that.
When all Self is put aside, one is left with the Bible as the most dependable source of information. Too bad. The Bible shows that our giving is to be up near 25% of our gross income.
Thanks for stopping by and reading this article. I hope it has been of value to you. If you need to discuss this further, drop me a line.