Thursday, August 02, 2007


Should Christians tithe? Some would say that we have no need to tithe, because we're not under law, we're under grace. When living in the freedom of Christ, then we have no need to live subject to any laws. Plus, don't tithes sound somewhat archaic. For our Presbyterian brothers and sisters it might also bring back cultural memories of the Penal Laws and the dreaded tithes paid to the Church of Ireland. Is it not just a way of boosting the offering on the collection plate on a Sunday?

Fair enough - in Christ, we are under grace. But imagine my surprise when I encountered Deuteronomy 14, with the section on the tithes:

You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire. - oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. (Deuteronomy 14:22-27)

The tithe - the tenth of the income wasn't to be given to the temple or the church. Rather, the tithe was to be used for a big party - a huge slap-up feast. Can you imagine that? It's like taking a month and a bit's salary and using it for one dinner? On the UK average earning, it would be spending £2324 for dinner. That would be a quare size of a steak!

Did you notice that the reason for the tasty tithing treat? 'That you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.' (Deaut 14:23) How does a time of feasting remind people to fear God?

Well, you might remember that Moses is speaking to the children of Israel on the edge of the Promised Land. For forty years they have been wandering in the wilderness, dilly-dallying in the desert, and all they have eaten is manna and quail. Manna was, I'm sure, tasty enough. But imagine eating the same food for forty years. "What's for breakfast, darling?" "Manna, honey." "What are we having for lunch?" "Manna." "What are we having for dinner?" "Manna."

The land of Israel was the place of blessing, as we see from the whole book of Deuteronomy. And part of that blessing would be the fact that they had food and grain and wine. Recalling where they had come from would remind them of the fear of the LORD God who had brought them into the land of milk and honey.

So even though it seems that the tithes here were a law, they also flowed from the grace-filled and saved heart.

Now, would you like to tithe?


  1. You are only looking at a very small part of tithing. Tithing was in indivisible part of the Mosaic Law. See Galatians 3:10. In order to receive the blessigs of tithing you must keep every part of that law. Otherwise you are placing yourself under a curse. See my free book and essay at

  2. Russkellphd is correct.

    None of the 'tithing' that occurs now has any connection to the definition of tithing contained in the Bible. (other than to mention 10%)

In a nutshell, the were four tithes. 1)The Levitical tithe required those who raised crops (not everyone and not all professions - just those who raised crops) to give 10% of that to the Levites. This tithe only occurred 6 years out of the 7 year cycle. It also required those that raised 10 or more animals to give each tenth animal that passed under the rod to the Levites. If a person raised less than 10 animals, they were NOT required to tithe.
    2) From what was given to them, the Levites in turn had to give the very best to the priests.
    3) The festival tithe required that those who raised crops or animals to set aside 10% for the annual festivals. It was for the people to have a party and consume the food joyfully and alcoholic beverages (strong drink) if they wanted.
    4) The Poor tithe occurred only in the 3rd and 6th years of the seven year cycle. This was set aside for the poor. 

All tithes were always food and NEVER money.

    On the LINKS page of you will find lists of 24 books and 36 other websites that all teach that Christians are not required to tithe.

I go into more detail on my website, where, if you have a high speed internet connection, you can view or download my FREE series of 10 - 30 minute lessons titled "The Truth About Tithing".

I take two of the lessons to explain the 'Truth About Abrams Tithe'. It clearly is NOT the precedent setting example that we have been told. For starters, Abram did not give his own money.

We should be generous but the poor widow is NOT our example. She was being plundered by church leaders. 
There is no single formula for Christians to be able to judge for themselves whether they are generous or not. Each person needs to hear from God for themselves.

    George Greene

  3. I agree with Gary. Tithing is a command. 10% was a commanded minium so in reality we should be giving more! Especially as we experience the even greater benefits of living this side of Calvary.