This study shows how we are no longer subject to the laws of tithing and reveals that cheerful giving is the new way of the New Covenant.
This is Part 1 of the study about Tithing
by Mitch Kuhn
See a list of all studies in this series
Audio Player:Play Tithing Part 1 Bible Study
Many Churches and Pastors today teach people that they must give 10% of their income or MORE to the Church they attend. Some focus on the monetary and physical blessing you will receive for tithing, while others focus on the curses that will come upon you for not tithing. Regardless of what you have been taught about tithing, it is almost always based on the Old Covenant. God has made two very different covenants with his people. The first was established through Moses and contained a great number of commands and very specific instructions to follow regarding nearly every aspect of life. There were commands about sacrifices, offerings, feast days, holy days, and yes, tithing. Here are two passages that describe the tithe.
Lev 27:32 NKJV And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.
Deu 14:27 NKJV You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.
Deu 14:28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.
Deu 14:29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
There are certainly commands to tithe in the Old Covenant, but are we still under the Old Covenant? If we are, then we must keep the WHOLE LAW.
Jas 2:10 NKJV For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Old Covenant to keep and which to ignore. Paul makes that very clear in Galatians 5 when discussing circumcision.
Gal 5:1 NKJV Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has Made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Gal 5:2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
Gal 5:3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
So if you are going to try and keep the Law of Moses and live under the Old Covenant, then you need to follow these commands as well.
1. If a man sleeps with a virgin who is engaged to be married, then they are both to be stoned to death.
Deu 22:23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
Deu 22:24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
2. Stubborn and rebellious children who will not obey their parents are to be taken to the elders of the city who will stone them to death.
Deu 21:18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them,
Deu 21:19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.
Deu 21:20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
Deu 21:21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death With stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
3. All of the required animal sacrifices must be kept. Here is one example:
Lev 1:1 NKJV Now the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying,
Lev 1:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock.
Lev 1:3 ‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD.
Lev 1:4 Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
Lev 1:5 He shall kill the bull before the LORD; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
Lev 1:6 And he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces.
Lev 1:7 The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire.
Lev 1:8 Then the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar;
Lev 1:9 but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.
It’s quite popular to quote Old Testament verses about tithing and then tell people to keep these commands to receive blessings. The other Old Covenant commands are conveniently ignored.
Mal 3:10 NKJV 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.
Keep in mind that if you want to keep the laws of tithing, then you need to stone adulterers, rebellious children, and do animal sacrifices, otherwise you are breaking the very Old Covenant that you are trying to keep. Now I want to show you from the scriptures that God has established a New Covenant and has disannulled the Old. Heb 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
The Old Covenant was never intended to bring anyone to perfection; rather it was intended to reveal our sin. Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 7:12 NKJV Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Rom 7:13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.
Much of the book of Hebrews is about the change from the Old to the New Covenant.
Heb 7:11 NKJV Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
The Old Covenant does serve a very important purpose in preparing the way for the New Covenant, and is a shadow of the good things to come.
Heb 10:1 NKJV For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
Christ explains in Matthew 5 some of changes from the Old to the New Covenant.
Mat 5:38 NKJV “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
Mat 5:39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Mat 5:40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
Mat 5:41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
Mat 5:42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Mat 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’
Mat 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
There are tremendous differences between the Old Covenant (Law of Moses) and the New Covenant (Law of the Spirit).
For more on this subject please see the study below.
Now, let’s focus on the new commands regarding tithing in the New Testament. Tithing was essentially mandated giving of a portion of your possessions under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant does command us to be generous, and to care for others with our physical resources, however there is a major difference from the Old way.
2Co 9:7 NKJV So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
The New Covenant is not just a new set of rules, it is a promise from God to give us his Spirit so that we desire to obey his commands AND are given the power to do so.
Eze 36:25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Eze 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I Will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Israel was a rebellious and stiff-necked people, because God had given them hard hearts, and withheld his spirit. Since Israel was full of lawless and insubordinate people, God gave them the Law of Moses.
1Ti 1:9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
Tithing was commanded, because no one of their own accord would take care of the Levites who served in the temple, nor the fatherless, the widow, and the poor, let along sacrifice to God. Rebellious people who have hard unconverted hearts must be ruled like animals, they only obey when fenced in by the law and punished with a rod of iron. None of this changes their nature, but it does produce an outward form of obedience as long as the law and discipline are in place.
Things are very different when the New Covenant promises are fulfilled.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Jer 31:33)
Once we have the mind of Christ and Spirit of God within us, we no longer need the detailed and strict laws regarding tithing from the Old Covenant. Now the commands are much more general, and the Spirit of God within us is used to cause us to desire to give when the time is right.
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Here is an example of how Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul told the Corinthians to set aside from what the Lord had provided them, a gift to send to Jerusalem. Apparently those in Jerusalem had fallen upon hard times and needed assistance.
1Co 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given Order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him In store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
1Co 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
Notice that Paul did not say how much to give. He simply said “storing up as God hath prospered him”.
In his second letter he encouraged them to complete the giving that they had desired to do so a year ago.
2Co 8:10 NKJV And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
2Co 8:11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
Notice here how Paul mentions the Corinthians own “desire” and “readiness to desire” giving.
2Co 8:12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
2Co 8:13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;
2Co 8:14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.
2Co 8:15 As it is written, “HE WHO GATHERED MUCH HAD NOTHING LEFT OVER, AND HE WHO GATHERED LITTLE HAD NO LACK
This passage is so important because it explains that giving to others is not intended to be a burden. God has given some in the body abundance that they may supply the lack he has given to others. Paul then reminds the Corinthians of the blessing of giving.
2Co 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
He makes a similar point in Acts 20.
Act 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.