[If ever this blog post catches your attention, please do take time to read carefully my presentations and arguments. This is a long post so please be patient. Do your own research, reread my explanations if you have too and reexamine them carefully to see for yourself. Read commentaries for the verses, look up the whole context, read viewpoints of pro tithers vs anti-tithers and weight their arguments in the light of God’s Word. After all the research, all the analysis and you find my arguments wrong – let me know through the comments section below (or you could wait for the Tithe Series to end) and I will find time to answer you in a sound respectful manner. If ever you will resort to insults, I have the right to respond, not to respond or delete your comment. I hope this blog is a jump start for well meaning discussions that will not turn into a heated debate. If there’s no resolution, then lets agree to disagree on the matter presented. I pray that we will have an open heart and mind. God bless and thank you]
This blog was suppose to be “The Introduction of Tithing in the Mosaic Law” but when I wrote a “short” testimony about my tithing suspicions, the short grew longer. I decided to change the title instead.
So before tackling the verses regarding the introduction of the instituted tithing, let me give you a
little throwback. How and why I began to question tithing. Yes, I was a tither and here’s my story:
I used to believe that tithing is a very important Christian aspect. It was a form of spiritual tax for the kingdom of God to feed the pastors not just food on the table but also to build churches and support other ministries. At least that’s what I know.
That’s how I was taught from the pulpit about tithing. I wondered how would churches fund themselves? Tithing seems a logical answer aside from donations. My knowledge about tithing is 90% on Malachi and 10% on Abraham.
Of course, I did my best to give 10% from my income but honestly I was struggling. It was more to do with my financial situation during that time than anything else. Simply because I was jobless.
There was a point in my life I only had an allowance of P400 or less than $10 per month. This was around 2005 and I was still in school. My allowance was just enough for my “jeepney” fare and cheap junk food for snacks. Sometimes, I just walk home from school.
Though I used to have a job (theatre musician) 2 years before but when I decided to get back to school, I only had my allowance from my parents. I was a new Christian too. I also devoured books by Kenneth Hagin and other World Faith Movement personalities.
I became a Christian way back 1999 but it was at the end of 2004 I decided to be serious. Early 2005 I became a part-time church worker. It was also the year I only had little money but I was never depressed about it.
I was content in what I have and I was thankful that I could eat 3x day. As long as I could eat and sleep well, I was good. I also had faith that God would bless me mightily and I learned it first from my fellow Christian friends.
Yes, I tithed but it was hard at times. I wasn’t earning and I felt guilty if I miss a tithe. Sometimes, I would give my tithe plus offering for a guest preacher. There were moments I’m only left with enough for jeepney fare going home from the church.
Along the years my allowance did increase a little bit. I also learned I had a small proceed from our small farm. I also began to teach guitar for extra income and the biggest I made that time (2010) from guitar lessons was around P3000+ (roughly $60+). Thank God!
Somehow, I started to feel uneasy about tithing, Prosperity Gospel and the World Faith Movement’s bizarre beliefs. I also noticed preachers like Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, John Hagee, Rod Parsley and the likes always seems to talk and ask for money.
What’s disturbing is that they would tell you that your good health and financial status depends on how much you tithe (and give your first fruits). They would say on T.V that God is telling them you need to sow your seeds (money) because it is the key to your miracle.
For a certain time I believed them. I even believed that being citizens of the kingdom of God, we should live like rich kings (just like king Solomon). However, the more I hear about their lavish lifestyle and controversial news about their wealth, I started to wonder.
Private jets, 10 million dollar mansions, expensive hotels while tithe givers remain marginally the same? To be honest, I’ve witness this firsthand too. Though not in a private jet level type of wealth but yes, I have witnessed it too.
I realised later on that it is easy for you to speak a testimony of how God has blessed you abundantly with riches, SUV’s and expensive jewellery because of tithing when you have the whole congregation give their money to you.
It did crossed my mind like “how about me, a church member and a tithe giver?” Will there be 1000 people giving tithes to me on a weekly basis? I’d be happy if there are 10 people who will give even just a measly offering per month.
Sometimes because of lack, you’d pray that someone will bless you with money but have you ever thought of 100 people giving you their tithes per week? That is enough for you to live comfortably. In fact, some of them give more than 10% on the basis of desperate expectation. Let me explain:
Most tithe givers are not exactly rich and that’s a fact (unless you live in a posh neighbourhood where the church is located). In my observation so far, the biggest tithe giver in terms of ratio (not quantity per se) are between those who are poor and the middle class.
For example: a middle aged church member receives a weekly wage of P500 ($10+) but because of Malachi 3:10 weaved with 2 Corinthians 9:6, he decides to give P200 ($4+). But this man is still stuck in a rut after 10 years. I know because I’ve known some poor tithers for 10 years and counting and so far, nothings changed for them.
Even if some miraculous breakthrough do happen like his daughter got to marry a rich foreigner 20 years later, that can only mean his financial miracle was 30 (10+20) years late despite him giving 40% (P200) “tithe.” 40% is technically not tithe (10% or tenth) in strict terms but who cares right?
According to prosperity gospel teachers, this man in waiting-for-his-miracle-for-30-years should be a multi-millionaire. But no he’s not, he just got his dilapidated house repaired by his son in law and this time, he’s the one asking for allowance from his daughter.
He’d be old by then and his younger pastor probably owns a private jet by that time too. This sort of “hypothetical daughter marries rich foreigner” scenario do happen but rarely and not to all churches. I know because it is closely based on true to life events.
Yes, I heard stories of some rich people that are giving their 90% “tithes.” If you earn 50 million pesos a month and would want to give your 45 million pesos to the church or other ministries, that is possible, but that doesn’t make it a tithe (10% or tenth part, land produce, in the land of Israel and not income money). That’s freewill giving and you’re just as generous as those Christians in Acts 4:32-35.
I even heard church members giving their (first time) whole wage because of first fruit sowing (check Deuteronomy 26 – I’ll talk about this more on another blog post) but they ended up obviously broke for that month. They are either forced to borrow money or ask a family member to “redeem” them.
I knew someone who was so strict with tithes and first fruit giving, yet this person so far was (and is) still making bad and wasted investments later on. This person despite being an adult, had to be helped out by the parents whenever there’s financial trouble.
This person needs to learn more about wise financial management than learning prosperity gospel tithing from pastors who don’t seem to care other than praying for your blessing; then flies off to a paradise resort and shopping spree with your hard earned money.
Do these pastors even care to ask their over zealous “tithers” if they’ll be eating fine for the rest of the month? Knowing that church members (even the poor members are being deceived) give their whole income as best first fruit offering and they get a prayer instead of bread? Yup! Just like Luke 20:45-21:4! The scribes of our times!
My uneasiness was the result of my actual observations and experiences that felt morally wrong (confirmed later on they were biblically wrong). To quench such nagging suspicions, I decided to look deeper into the scriptures and prayed earnestly.
Took me another 5 years to finally lift the veil from my eyes that modern day tithing (including first fruits and storehouse tithing) is wrong. Biblically speaking: Old Testament tithing in whatever form is not part of the New Covenant of Christ.
The Bible was also right about these dishonest tithe preachers and prosperity gospel teachers. I believe some of them were deceived just like me before but for those who insist with the error, this is what the bible says about them:
18 For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], 19 whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], andwhose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly andtemporal things. (Philippians 3:18-19 Amplified Bible)
3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine and teaching which is in agreement with godliness (personal integrity, upright behavior), 4 he is conceited and woefully ignorant [understanding nothing]. He has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, which produces envy, quarrels, verbal abuse, evil suspicions, 5 and perpetual friction between men who are corrupted in mind and deprived of the truth, who think that godliness is a source of profit [a lucrative, money-making business—withdraw from them]. 6 But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God]. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so [it is clear that] we cannot take anything out of it, either. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who [are not financially ethical and] crave to get rich [with a compulsive, greedy longing for wealth] fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction [leading to personal misery]. 10 For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:3-10 Amplified Bible)
Please don’t get me wrong, I believe in God’s prosperity and earthly blessings. I believe in having good health that is why we have to live a healthy lifestyle. How can we preach effectively if we’re not taking care of our body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit?
I believe if we work hard, smart and not through deception, the Lord will bless the works of our hands for His glory (Deuteronomy 2:7 <- the Lord blessed Israel who were under the law, how much more blessing for us under grace -> 2 Corinthians 9:8).
I also believe that we Christians should financially support our pastors, church leaders and the ministries through freewill giving. This freewill giving can go beyond 10% especially when we recognise the need (Acts 4:32-37 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
But bringing the gospel “around the world” should not be an excuse for us to “extort” in the guise of tithing, first fruits or seed money just to get a private jet. Seriously, taking a commercial plane is much cheaper than buying and maintaining a private jet.
Owning a private jet means buying jet fuel, hangar rentals (airport parking), plane technicians (repair and maintenance), plane parts (repairs), a pilot and crew wages. That is expensive and those who can afford such luxuries are usually business tycoons, oil magnate, billionaires and wait… pastors, preachers??
Sometimes, I can’t help but think these prosperity gospel teachers are like people in the network marketing business. Network marketing people would want to boast and flaunt their material wealth in social media to entice people to join their business model. They will present certain plan or strategy that promise faster gains. “You see my Audi? Ask me how!”
Prosperity gospel and tithe advocates would also love to flaunt their wealth to signify their brand of prosperity doctrine works. To show how God is blessing them with overflowing wealth in order to encourage or rather entice whole congregation to tithe and give at their bidding with ridiculous “prophetic” word of knowledge.
Here’s an example:
“There is someone right here now that you need to make a vow of $5000 to get your faith going… I see a lady,… I see a businessman… Father I ask you for that 1 person to make a vow of $10000… that your speaking to that one right now… pay it! Immediately!… and I told the Lord whoever that is I will give my favourite tie to whoever that is…”
Above quote is not made up. It was spoken by Robert Tilton on live TV. Here’s the clip and go to 3:33-4:15 for the above quote. If you have time, just watch the whole clip to see and hear for yourself what kind of ravenous wolves these prosperity gospel charlatans are (sorry for the strong words). A tie for 10k dollars?? Unfortunately, he’s just one example of many as you can see in that clip.
I just feel sad (and amazed by the blatant lie) because they deceived themselves and a multitude of other believers who are truly desperate for healing and recovery. These money vampires are playing other peoples hopes and expectations, for some it is a matter of life and death.
That is why other apologetic ministries are devoting their energy exposing these gospel scammers. I used to criticise these apologetic ministries for being “fault finders” and legalistic, but now I understand better (so sorry).
Pointing out errors is not legalistic. You know what’s legalistic? It is when you try to scare people of curses if they fail to obey to tithe and give. These whitewashed sepulchres should be identified according to their fruits: flagrant out-of-context money hoarding teachings, word of (made up) knowledge and lavish lifestyle.
If you think you’re blessed because of tithing, do you really have to scare yourself or others just to “motivate” tithing? Perhaps, God in His goodness and mercy is still blessing you not because of tithing, but because you simply give so you maybe a blessing to others. Others who also tithe yet are not born on a silver spoon and don’t have the talents, education and business capital from dear rich parents to go beyond blue collar wages.
A wealthy lifestyle that was gained not by honest labor but by enslaving people again to the law of works (works like tithing;check Paul’s epistle to the Galatians for those who wants to bind us to the law again), scaring them with a curse particularly with Malachi 3:9 (check this clip again around 3:22) and accusing those who fail to tithe as robbers.
I don’t know which is worse: the unfounded fantastic surefire promise of financial breakthrough if you tithe or the deadly scary curses and the strong accusation of robbing God if you fail to tithe? Some even claim to be grace preachers yet think that Old Testament tithing (and the curse that comes with it) is still at work. Like seriously?
If we want to follow the Old Testament tithing ordinances or the storehouse Malachi tithing (a staple for prosperity gospel teachers) then why not follow the whole Mosaic law? Didn’t the Bible say:
10 For all who depend on the Law [seeking justification and salvation by obedience to the Law and the observance of rituals] are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed (condemned to destruction) is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, so as to practice them.” (Galatians 3:10 Amplified Bible)
10 For whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of [breaking] all of it. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you murder, you have become [f]guilty of transgressing the [entire] Law. (James 2:10-11 Amplified Bible)
Let’s repeat the 2 Bible phrases above with added emphasis below:
10 For all who depend on the Law (which includes tithing instituted in Leviticus 27 and Numbers 18) [seeking justification and salvation (or blessing) by obedience (tithing) to the Law (includes tithing) and the observance of rituals (tithing observance)] are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed (condemned to destruction) is everyone who does not abide (failure to tithe; Malachi 3:9) by all things written in the book of the law (which includes tithe), so as to practice them.” (Galatians 3:10)
10 For whoever keeps the whole Law (includes tithing) but stumbles in one point (ex: sabbath breaking; just 1 sabbath mistake means death by stoning = Numbers 15:32-36; trimming your beards=Leviticus 19:27; eating fat=Leviticus 3:17; pooping inside the camp=Deuteronomy 23:10), he has become guilty of [breaking] all of it. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder. (or you should tithe)” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you murder (or fail to tithe), you have become [f]guilty of transgressing the [entire] Law. (James 2:10-11)
Anyhow, these are my few questions for modern day tithing through life experience.
- If tithing is a guaranteed formula for Christians to be blessed, why doesn’t it seem to work to all people who practice tithe?
- If tithing is a guaranteed formula for Christians to get an overflowing blessing, why is the blessing (when it does come) not consistent?
- Does tithing only works to Christians who can afford the conveniences of life?
- How about the poor in the church who tithe? Their blessings doesn’t seem to come fast enough. (In the Bible, they receive tithes, not give – more on this in another blog)
- If church goers are not really tithing faithfully, why are they not sick with a curse already and at the same time?
- If one tither only earns P500 a week, and he has a wife and 4 children to feed, do you really want him to tithe?
- If one tither is in debt and needs to borrow money, would you really want him to tithe and just believe for his miracle? Why not help him personally instead (after verifying he’s not scamming you)? Why not help the 10 or even a 100 honest people really in need of a financial startup if you can afford a private jet?
- Why is it that the only people who seems to testify always that tithe really works in their lives are those very few (perhaps less than 5% of the church members) who happens to be already financially secure (owns businesses), or has talents and skills (motivational speaker, marketing business partner, celebrity musician, famous worship leader)?
- How about those people who are old, who don’t have much skill except to laundry clothes?
- If were under grace, what does that make tithing and its corresponding curse?
Why modern tithing and its curse does not work? Because we as Christians (under the new covenant) are under grace (Romans 6:14). I could throw more verses (not just cherry pick) to prove to us that we are no longer under the law of Moses but I would like to reserve that for future blogs.
If we want to be faithful to the Mosaic law tithing and do how the Jews truly tithed in the Old Testament, don’t bother because:
- We’re not Jews by blood (Gentiles are not allowed to tithe – this alone is enough to stop us from tithing) Exodus 19:3-6 – God choose Israel for His covenant out of all the nations, Exodus 20:2 God gave the decalogue (10 Commandments) explicitly to the Israelites (2“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery…”).
- We’re not in Israel (only the produce from the promise land is tithable) – Leviticus 27:30-33 (more on this in my next blog)
- We’re not farmers or herdsmen (only farmers and herdsmen- were explicitly commanded to tithe their produce, shocking!) – Leviticus 27:30-33
- We don’t have Levites (Levites are the only ones who are lawfully allowed to collect tithes from Israel) – (Num.18:21)
- We don’t have 48 Levitical cities around here in the Philippines (designated places for Levites) – Numbers 35:1-813 cities were for the Aaronite priestly division.
13 cities were for the Gershonite division.
10 cities were for the Kohathite division.
12 cities were for the Merarite division.The six cities which were to be Cities of Refuge were Golan, Ramoth, and Bezer, on the east of the Jordan River, and Kedesh, Shechem, andHebron on the western side
- We don’t have the Tent of Meeting or Tabernacle (Israelites are the only ones allowed to build the tabernacle and Levites are the ones allowed to minister inside the tabernacle, not us gentiles) – Exodus 26, 29 and 31 = God giving instructions, 35 = Moses telling the Israelites for the Tabernacle construction and 36 to 39 = actual construction of the Tabernacle
- We don’t have the Jewish Temple. (the Tabernacle that houses the Ark of the Covenant was eventually changed to a Temple – built by King Solomon = 1King 5, though God never really liked the idea = 1 Chronicles 17:4-6 and currently the Jewish Temple is in ruins)
- Our pastors, church leaders are not Levites. (I don’t have to explain)
- Even if we have numbers (above) 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 all these will be counted nothing to us because of number 1 (including 9 because we’re not Jews by blood).
Remember what the Apostles and the assembly decided regarding on gentile Christians in the book of Acts 15? Lets start from verse 1 all the way to verse 29 to see the whole context. I will highlight the Judaizers (adhering to the Mosaic law – Sabbath, Tithing), the law of Moses, and by faith. Here it is:
The Council at Jerusalem
1Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
5Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
6The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14Simona has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16“ ‘After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’b —
19“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
30So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.31The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. d 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord. (Acts 15:1-35 NIV)
Again, please take note carefully of the highlights and underlined words or verses in Acts 15 (above). Now that you’ve seen the picture, lets now focus on these lines with some added emphasis (below):
9He did not discriminate between us and them (Jews – Old Covenant Chosen People and Gentiles – Not Part Of The Old Covenant), for he purified their hearts by faith (In Christ – Romans 3:22, Romans 4:22, Romans 5:1; Galatians 2:16 – justified by faith in Christ and not by the law). 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke (the Law of Moses [Sabbath Keeping, Tithing] Matthew 11:28-29 = the yoke of traditions and ordinances [Law] which the Pharisees and scribes [teachers of the law] had imposed on the consciences of men; Galatians 3:11 – law cannot make you righteous; the law cannot justify = Romans 3:20, Galatians 5:4) that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? (No One Is Righteous – 3:9-20; All sinned and fell short – 3:23) 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved (Romans 3:24), just as they are. (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11 = All Mankind)”
It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. – Where is tithes in these?
How about church fundings in the beginning of the book of Acts?
Sharing among Believers
32 Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, and not one [of them] claimed that anything belonging to him was [exclusively] his own, but everything was common property and for the use of all. 33 And with great ability and power the apostles were continuously testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace [God’s remarkable lovingkindness and favor and goodwill] rested richly upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them, and bringing the proceeds of the sales 35 and placing the money down at the apostles’ feet. Then it was distributed to each as anyone had need.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite and native of Cyprus, who was surnamed [g]Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field belonging to him and brought the money and set it at the apostles’ feet.
(Acts 4:32-37 Amplified Bible)
Again, no tithes. What they’re practising here is the principle of giving not tithing principles. But tithe advocates would love to pair these verses with the Malachi storehouse tithing without even realising the fundamental difference of principle and quantity in 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (NIV)
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”[a]
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed (not seed money, not tithes – but righteousness as mentioned before this verse [v8] and at the end of this verse) and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.11 You will be enriched in every way (I know and understand how we would love this to mean about our finances and I think its okay, but lets us remember the preceding chapter which shows their actual situation which is found in 2 Corinthians 8:2-5 = more on this in another blog post, stay tuned) so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Please take note again with these verses below:
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 New International Version:
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Somehow we have a habit of glossing over minor details but it is actually very significant if we take note of it and here’s an example at Verse 6 – I was so conditioned about the idea of sowing and reaping by tithe preachers that I seem to ignore the words sparingly and generously.
Sparingly: defined as something done in a frugal manner, or something done in a manner meant to conserve what is remaining. An example of sparingly is when you add only a tiny dash of salt because you are running out and you want to use as little as possible. Deficient or limited in quantity.
Generously: liberal, generous, bountiful, munificent mean giving or given freely and unstintingly. liberal suggests openhandedness in the giver and largeness in the thing or amount given
The sowing and reaping principle here simply means:
If you give little (small, 1 piece) – you reap little (small, 1 piece); If you give big (large, 5 pieces) – you reap big (large, 5 pieces)
In a very simple farming terms:
If you sow a handful of seeds, you will reap a handful of harvest; If you sow a truckload of seed, you will reap a truckload of harvest. You can’t sow a handful of seeds and expect a truckload of harvest.
Hence, when we say either sparingly or generously, it doesn’t have a fixed quantity, amount, measure or number.
Tithing = 10% (10% for seeds or fruits and the tenth animal for cattle or herd ex. 1 sheep of every 10 sheeps – Leviticus 27:30,32) is a fixed number, measure, quantity (percentage). You can’t say “I’ll tithe sparingly today from my P500 weekly income but next Sunday I’ll generously tithe my P500 weekly income.” Even if you’re income grows or shrinks, the corresponding proportional percentage of 10% will always remain fixed.
By the way, please take note: tithe has always been land produce whether seed, fruits or a herd (agricultural and I’ll explain more in another blog too). A tithe can actually be bought with money which is also found here in Leviticus 27:31 = And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. Redeem here means you buy it back but the added fifth means 20% penalty for redeeming your tithe.
Let’s get back to 2 Corinthians 9:7
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint.
“the payment was made under compulsion”
synonyms: obligation, constraint, coercion, duress, pressure, intimidation
“he is under no compulsion to go”
Tithing is an obligation, a commandment that you are compelled (the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something) to obey.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart – It says what YOU decide in YOUR heart. God is not deciding it for you.
Tithing is God deciding it for you. God is the one deciding that it should be a tenth (it has a fixed, standard quantity or measure) – Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 14:22
Let’s try the King James Version of 2 Corinthians 9:7
6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
the fact of being required or indispensable.
It says in the verse not grudgingly, or of necessity
Tithing is required.
6 Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows [b]generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap [c]generously [and be blessed]. 7 Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift]. 8 And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.
This time take note of this phrase: for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift]
a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.
Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation
Tithes are not gifts, they’re not given freely, bestowed voluntarily and willingly by the person. You give your tithes because it is commanded and required.
Cheerful Giver – Not Cheerful Tither
Now, to be honest with you, I find Paul to be a very systematic and direct kind of guy. Why would Paul cloud tithing in hints or indirect implications or some coded messages? Paul has always been direct and he would never shy from arguing his position (Check Acts 15:2, 19:8).
When he learned about the Judaizers in Galatia, he directly confronted their brand of doctrine (binding us to the law of Moses starting with circumcision = Galatians 3,10 and 5:2) and even used strong language (You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? = Galatians 3:1). When he noticed the charismatic chaos in Corinth and immorality, he addressed them head on.
If tithing is a requirement for the New Covenant Christians, he would have said it bluntly. If Paul wanted to drive the message that believers of Christ should tithe to support the churches, this would probably what he said in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (Prosperity Teachers and Judaizers Wish Version)
6 Remember this: Whoever tithes faithfully will also reap blessings, and whoever fail to tithe will also reap curses. 7 Each of you should tithe what has been required by the law of Moses, for God loves a cheerful tither.
Thank God, Paul knows we’re no longer under the law of Moses.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Hebrew 8:6-7, 13
6But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another…
13By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
I believe I have presented my case starting from my personal experience and observation up to biblical reexamination and realisation. This is by far the longest post I wrote on this series and I am not done yet.
I have so much more to write regarding tithes in Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 2nd Chronicles, Nehemiah, Amos, Malachi, Matthew, Luke, Hebrews which I will be posting in the future as part of my Behind the Curtain Tithe Series. My blog post for the book of Genesis is here (Abraham link) (Jacob link). The introduction for this series is here.
Yes, my conclusion is that Modern Day Tithing is faulty and just outright wrong. Old Testament Tithing (Abrahamic and Mosaic) is no longer part of the New Covenant under grace in Christ Jesus.
Why don’t you try asking your church or cell group leaders after reading all the verses about tithing in the Bible (or you could wait until I finish my Tithe series). There’s only 17 verses that mentions tithing (not that many really). Yes, this is why I questioned tithing and why you should too.
God bless and may you reflect all the verses (and explanations) I presented above with prayer, supplication, an open heart and mind.