One of the most contentious, if not THE most contentious, issues in the Bible is money. I have heard and read numerous times that money is mentioned more times in the Bible than heaven, hell and love combined. I have seen sites that tout money is mentioned more than 2,000 times, Others tout 800. Yet others claim 125 in the King James Version. In any case there is no set number. But money and relying upon God for it are very important issues for Christians.
So what is a tithe? Is it relevant to today? Was it for the Israelites only? Do Christians need to pay it?
Tithe is defined as a one-tenth contribution. Therefore to truly tithe, one must be giving up 10% of his income. Any amount above 10% is called an offering in biblical terms. Anything below 10% is not a tithe. It may be a donation but it is definitely not a tithe!
God promised blessings for those who tithed AND curses for those who robbed Him of the tithes and offerings that were due Him. Deuteronomy, 2 Kings and Malachi are great books in the Bible to see the blessings and cursings that occurred for the Israelite people.
An argument I hear against tithing is that it was part of the Law. It was an old covenant direction that was wiped away under the new covenant. But if you want to be nit picky about this, the concept of the tithe predates the Law. In Genesis, Abraham (still called Abram at the time) offered the high priest Melchizedek 10% of the spoils of war which Abraham had just won. Both Abraham and Melchizedek were acknowledging that God had blessed Abraham with victory and the spoils. Thus tithing was around hundreds of years before the Law was established.
Do Christians need to tithe? No. It is not a condition of making heaven. No one can buy his way into heaven. There is no legal requirement to tithe.
Should Christians tithe? Absolutely! This is how Christians demonstrate their trust that God will take care of them. Let us assume that money is a very important issue to God (based upon the number of times it is mentioned throughout the Bible). Obviously money is an important issue to every human being. So who do we as Christians acknowledge as the source of our money and overall welfare? When we choose to put a few dollars in the offering plate when it comes by during church service, we are demonstrating that WE are the source. We earned that income and we are going to hold onto it.
But when we truly tithe, we are acknowledging that God is our ultimate source. After all ten percent is a hefty portion of our income to let go of. But when we place that trust in God, He blesses us through unexpected income AND lessening of expenses. He did not stop blessing people when the new covenant was established. God’s math is infinitely superior to our math!