10″Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be 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 a blessing until it overflows. (Malachi 3:10 NASB)

We’re going to examine tithing. In this post, I’m going to tackle the “How Much?” questions. This is where I take my inner accountant out for display. Don’t worry! This is not technical stuff. On the contrary, it’s brainlessly simple.

tithing If you Google about tithing, you’ll quickly see that it’s quite controversial. You may see very passionate debates about it. This is ironic. While there are some Bible topics that are difficult to understand, tithing is NOT one of them.

What is a Tithe?

The word “tithe” itself means a tenth. Quite simply the tithe consisted of 10% of one’s income specifically designated for the support of the priest and temple/tabernacle/synagogue.

This is an area where many people take something simple and make it needlessly complicated. Giving less than 10% of your income is NOT a tithe. Giving that is not directed to the local church is NOT a tithe.

The Specified Purpose of the Tithe

Ok, so the tithe is 10% but how do you get the support for the local church purpose? Can’t I just take 10% of my income, throw it up into the air and whatever does not come done is God’s?

Nice try. However the word “storehouse” in the context of Malachi 3:10 (see above) relates to the temple treasury. Additionally, the verse states “that there may be food in my house.” Clearly, the tithe is used to meet the physical needs of the place of worship and the priests.

Gross or Net?

This is one of the most frequent questions regarding tithing. Ok, tithing is 10% but is that gross or net?

Let me make this real simple: the tithe is 10% of your GROSS earnings. Whatever your income is, just move the decimal point 1 position to the left and that is your tithe amount.

Let’s go back to the very first tithe mentioned in scripture. Abram (Abraham) just came back from a spectacular victory brought about from his personal army against five kings. Abram openly acknowledged God’s hand in the victory to Melchizidek, king of Salem and Priest.

20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”

And he gave him a tithe of all. (Gen 14:20, NKJ, emphasis mine)

Abram did not quibble over expenses. He took the tithe out of everything. (You can read the whole story here.)

Who Do You Respect More: God or the IRS?

Before we leave the gross vs. net discussion, I think it’s helpful to recall the words of Jesus when the Pharisees and Herodians tried to trick him by asking if they should pay taxes to Caesar (government). Jesus’ answer was simple and to the point: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:17; Read the whole account here.)

We may not like it but generally we don’t challenge the IRS’s authority to take out taxes from our paychecks before we even get paid. Shouldn’t we treat God’s money with the same respect?

10% Off the Top! Yikes!!

Do you mean to tell me that God requires 10% before I get anything? Isn’t that a bit steep?

No. First of all, it ALL belongs to God anyway. If anything, he is being ostentatiously generous by requiring only 10%.

1THE EARTH is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it. (Psalm 24:1, AMP)

Yep, the whole planet belongs to God. Not only that but the fruit of the planet (i.e. “fullness”).  Not only does that field of crops belong to the Lord but the harvest does as well.  God owns the gross and the net.  It’s all His.

10%: What A Deal!!

We would be out of balance, however, if we focused exclusively how much is due to the Lord while ignoring what He is promising in return.  Let’s take another look at that verse:

10″Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be 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 a blessing until it overflows. (Malachi 3:10 NASB)

The Lord is essentially saying “I double-dare you” to test me in this.  Take care of My house (local fellowship and priests) and I will take care of you even beyond your needs.  The King James Version describes the extent of this Blessing as “there shall not be room enough to receive it.”  The Lord in His giving isn’t quibbling about gross or net.  He’s not holding back!  He is opening the windows of Heaven and letting it flow to excess.  There’s more than enough to meet your needs, your desires, and have plenty enough to spread around to those around you.

All this for the 10%.  That’s pretty cheap!

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4 Responses to “How Much is The Tithe?”

  1. May I respond to your worldwide Internet post requesting comments.

    Gentiles were never under Hebrew worship laws (Ex 19:5-6). The only way for Hebrews to be blessed by tithing was by observing all 600+ commands of the OT law which is impossible. See Deu5 28 and 29; Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4.

    Also, nothing Abraham did in Genesis 14 is an example of faith for the Church. (1) only pagan spoils of war, (2) not his own property, (3) he gave it all away and (4) he gave the 90% to the king of Sodom.

    Malachi 3:10 has been replaced by Galatians 3:10; 1:8-9; 3:1-2 and 2 Cor 3:10.

    Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

    According to Deuteronomy 28 and 29, the entire law was a TEST. Obey and be blessed; disobey and be cursed.

    Although money was common in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money is never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of tithes.

    Tithes were not firstfruits either. Firstfruits were extremely small token offerings. Compare Deut 26:1-10; Neh 10:35-39; 12:44 and 2 Chron 31:5.

    Jesus only discussed tithing as “matters of the law” in Mt 23:23. Tithing is never commanded o the Church in terms of grace after Calvary. Period. NT giving is primarily sacrificial with no set limit up or down. 2 Cor 8:10-15.

    Also, those who received OT Levitical-tithes were not allowed to own or inherit property. Do you follow that rule when you teach tithing? NT giving is: freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment or percentage and motivated by love for God and lost souls.

    www.tithing-russkelly.com

  2. Mr. Kelly:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response to my post. I especially appreciate that you have given scriptural references to support your points. I knew that this post/topic would generate opposing comments and I especially appreciate your deliberate and respectful comment. We may disagree but we will not be disagreeable.

    This is intended to be the first of several posts regarding the subject of tithing. You have presented several topics that I would like to respond to in like manner.

    However, I would like to respond to the issues in your final paragraph. As far as “following the rule” of non-ownership of property which, I believe, was real estate. No, I don’t “follow” the rule because I do not consider myself a Levite and I do not accept tithes. Furthermore, my emphasis has been on the giver rather than the receiver of the tithes.

    While I agree with you wholeheartedly on your last sentence describing NT giving, I do not consider that statement at odd with tithing. I believe tithing is just a part of the subject of NT giving.

    Thank you so much for your comment. I hope to hear from you again.

    CoolHappyGuy

  3. From my online 19 point essay:

    POINT #2: DEFINING “TITHE”: In God’s Word the Tithe was Always Only Food!

    The false teaching is that biblical tithes include ALL sources of income.

    Use God’s Word to define “tithe” and not a secular dictionary! Using a complete Bible concordance you will discover that the definition used by tithe-advocates is wrong. In God’s Word “tithe” does not stand alone. Although money existed before tithing, the source of God’s “tithe” over 1500 years was never money. It was the “tithe of food.” True biblical tithes were always only food from the farms and herds of only Israelites who only lived inside God’s Holy Land, the national boundary of Israel. No tithes were accepted from defiled pagan lands. The “increase” was gathered from what God miraculously produced and not from man’s craft or ability.

    There are 16 verses from 11 chapters and 8 books from Leviticus 27 to Luke 11 which describe the contents of the tithe. And the contents never (again), never included money, silver, gold or anything other than food from inside Israel! Yet the incorrect definition of “tithe” is the greatest error being preached about tithing today! (See Lev. 27:30, 32; Num. 18:27-28; Deut. 12:17; 14:22-23; 26:12; 2 Chron. 31:5-6; Neh. 10:37; 13:5; Mal. 3:10-11; Matt. 23:23; Luke 11: 42).

    POINT #3: MONEY: Money Was an Essential but Non-Tithed Item

    The false assumption is that food barter usually replaced money.

    One argument to support non-food tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food was used for most transactions. This argument is neither biblical nor historical. Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. The word shekel also appears often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

    Many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); land (Gen 23:9+); freedom (Ex 23:11); court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all); sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+); vows (Lev 27:3-7); poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29).

    According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was used for barter only after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in Leviticus even before tithing. Therefore the argument that money was not prevalent enough for everyday use is false. Yet the tithe contents from Leviticus to Matthew never include money from non-food products and trades.

  4. Great post. I know only God can see into a person’s heart, but I’m still curious how many people that dispute the need to tithe actually give 10% percent away each year. Many Christians (probably) struggle with the validity of the tithe at times, but if they were to set the selfishness aside and decide to give at that level regardless o I bet the desire to dispute the tithe would disappear.

    -Todd.

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