Is Tithing For Today?

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Many Christians wonder if tithing is for today. In many churches, tithing is taught as a required thing if (A.) you can afford it and (B.) you want biblical blessings from God. This allows the opportunity to look down upon those unable or unwilling to tithe. For one, this is an anti-Christ attitude. We must guard ourselves from looking at quantity over quality.

Quality Over Quantity

Often the verse Malachi 3:10 is brought up explaining why one should tithe.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try 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 such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. - Malachi 3:10 NKJV

It sounds good, right? Bring tithes to God and He will pour out blessings. Yet, this comes with a warning. Backing up a verse, Malachi 3:9:

You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. - Malachi 3:9 NKJV

Here, God is saying, “Don’t tithe and I’ll curse you, tithe and I’ll bless you.” However, since most Christians teach that God is love and doesn’t curse people for not tithing, then does He still bless them too? Point is, we are in the age of grace. We are not bound by the same blessings and curses under the law.

Going further, 26 biblical scholars from Dallas Theological Seminary affirm:

One must be careful in applying these promises to believers today. The Mosaic Covenant, with its promises of material blessings to Israel for her obedience, is no longer in force (Eph. 2:14-15; Rom. 10:4; Heb. 8:13).

The Bible Knowledge Commentary, pg. 223

However, to refute that, some people bring up Melchizedek and Abraham. While it is true that Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, the terms here are different than Malachi 3:9-10.

First, some commentaries say that perhaps Abraham did not tithe 10% of all his war bounty, but 10% of his best quality bounty. This is what we refer to as quality over quantity.

This 10-percent offering was purely voluntary, and may only have been a tenth of the best, not a tenth of the total (see note on Heb. 7:4). This tenth is not like the required tenths given to Israel in the Mosaic law (see notes on Num. 18:21–24; Deut. 14:22; 26:12).

NKJV MacArthur Study Bible
May the Most High God, who gave you victory over your enemies, be praised!” And Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the loot he had recovered. [21] The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Keep the loot, but give me back all my people.” [22] Abram answered, “I solemnly swear before the LORD, the Most High God, Maker of heaven and earth, [23] that I will not keep anything of yours, not even a thread or a sandal strap. Then you can never say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ [24] I will take nothing for myself. I will accept only what my men have used. But let my allies, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, take their share.” - Genesis 14:20-24 GNT

We read that not only did Abraham tithe, he ended up giving all of the bounty up. He gave up all. Point is, this interaction shouldn’t be used to justify tithing. Abraham technically gave more than a tithe and, in fact, did it voluntary. Neither was it an recurring event.

So Should We Tithe In The New Testament?

The early church actually covered this during the first and second century. Polycarp and Ignatius (first century) never referred to tithing directly outside of the Old Testament use and as Irenaeus (second century) mentioned, was abrogated by Jesus in the New Testament.

Not only that, but the mention of tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament when it comes to believers, especially Gentile believers. For instance:

Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, [20] but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. 
- Acts 15:19-20 NKJV

As we see, Gentile Christians were never told to follow after the Law. Instead, they were told to abstain from other things. Later, Paul writes that all Christians should be cheerful givers, not giving out of peer pressure, or compulsion, or regretting having given (2 Cor. 9:7). The early Christians were apparently so giving, they sold their belongings and laid the payment at the apostles feet to be distributed among the church.

Also, Paul states that those who work in ministry should get paid (even if not much), though he did not take an income from them.

We believe the OT tithing system is broken in the NT. For one, the levitical priesthood is done away with (abrogated). In place is a new priesthood with an eternally established High Priest (Jesus Christ). Believers are all a part of that priesthood (1 Peter 2:5-10). These facts make up our greatest rebuttal on tithing. If believers today are part of the priesthood, then where do tithes go? Jesus Christ is our High Priest! In this aspect, since Abraham tithed and then gave all back to the king of Salem (Melchizedek), then surely we, as part of the priesthood, should give all we have to Christ. We do this by letting God lead us in our daily walk with Him.

So, back to the main question. Should we tithe? No, we aren’t bound by the Old Testament laws, neither is tithing in most churches the way Abraham tithed. This leads us back to watching as churches today mix the Law with grace. What we can conclude, however, is that if you are a believer, you should be willing help your church and others. In fact, at least in America, churches are considered non-profits. Imagine if a church was teaching (or indoctrinating) members that in order to be blessed or be members of the church, that they would have to tithe. This creates a subscription for a membership or blessing. The reality is, this turns a church away from being about donations (voluntary offerings or recurring donations) and into a for-profit. It creates a church focused on who makes the money and how much money they can give to the church. This is the wrong attitude.

It is definitely okay to give donations in the form of offerings or recurring offerings. You can give 5% or 20%, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving 10% (tithe). However, we believe that God will bless those who give, no matter the amount. We also believe that God will bless those who can’t give in monetary ways. As Christians, we are to be good stewards and help those in need.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. - James 1:27 KJV