Tithe is the English word used to translate the original Hebrew word of the Old Testament, pronounced mah-as-ayr, and the original Greek word of the New Testament, pronounced dek-at-oo. All mean a tenth. Tithing is a God-commanded 10% "flat tax" which is used to support those in His service.
- The payment of the tenth to God was practiced early in Bible History, well before the law was given to Moses. The Scriptures record that Abraham paid a tithe to Melchizedek, who was the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and "priest of God Most High" (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 7:4-6). Jacob, the father of The Tribes Of Israel, paid the tithe to God (Genesis 28:22).
- Tithing was formalized in the Law:
"A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to The Lord; it is holy to The Lord." (Leviticus 27:30)
"The Lord [see The Logos and Rock Of Ages] said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting [see The Tabernacle In The Wilderness]." (Numbers 18:20-21)
"The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Levites and say to them: 'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as The Lord's offering. Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. In this way you also will present an offering to The Lord from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give The Lord's portion to Aaron the priest. You must present as The Lord's portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.'" (Numbers 18:25-29)
- If someone lived too far to bring his tithe of produce, he could sell it and use the money to purchase produce when he arrived (Deuteronomy 14:24-27).
- Those who neglected the command to tithe were considered to be robbing God and cursing themselves in the process:
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, 'How do we rob You?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the whole nation of you - because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this," says The Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says The Lord Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says The Lord Almighty." (Malachi 3:8-12)
- Jesus Christ paid both the tithe and civil taxes to the Roman government (Matthew 17:24-27). He also commanded it by saying, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Luke 20:25)
- Tithing continued into the Christian era:
"Don't you know that those who work in the Temple get their food from the Temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, The Lord has commanded that those who preach The Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel." (1 Corinthians 9:13-14)
"Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
- Despite their legal entitlement to receive tithe payments, for their hard work and to pay for their operating expenses that made their ministries physically possible, some chose to not always claim that right so that their motives would never be in doubt (i.e. "not in it for the money"), or so that they could speak and write the truth boldly and freely without being influenced by any concern for losing income. Paul did this for a time (e.g. 1 Corinthians 9:15-22, 2 Corinthians 2:17). Everything on this Daily Bible Study web site is completely free for the taking, while to make it all possible, donations are gratefully accepted.
Fact Finder: Which of the Miracles Of Jesus Christ involved His payment of taxes?