As we all know tithing is biblical and in this sermon I am going to help you learn a lot about Biblical tithing, both in the Old and New Testament.
There are lots of bible verses that talk about tithes or tithing, and to understand what the bible says about tithes, we need to conduct thorough research and studies on those bible verses.
After helping you to know the definition of tithing, I will also aim to touch on other sub-topics that relate to tithing in the Bible.
And without further ado, let’s move straight into our seeing the results of our research and studies.
What is Biblical tithing?
Biblical tithing is the means of setting aside every ten percent of your earnings or income to God. It is an age-long Jewish tradition that began with Abram and was afterward adopted by modern Christians who continue to pay their tithes to their charismatic leaders.
To understand a lot about Biblical tithing, we are going to touch on the following sub-topics;
- Tithing in the Old Testament.
- Tithing in the New Testament.
- The first man to pay tithe in the bible.
- Was tithing a part of the Mosaic Law?
- Who does the tithe belong to?
- The purpose of tithes
- How to tithe properly.
Tithing in the Old Testament
Tithing in the Old Testament begins in Genesis 14:17-20 where Abram paid tithe to Melchizedek who was the King of Salem and a priest of the Most High God.
Other footnotes about tithing in the Old Testament are stated below:
- In Genesis 28:22, Jacob, who was a grandson of Abram the first man to tithe in the bible promised to be paying his tithes.
- Numbers 18:26 reveals that the Levites were to pay tithe from the tithes they received from the Israelites to the priest.
- During the return from exile, the tithe was among the laws that Ezra and Nehemiah re-enacted. (Nehemiah 10:37-38, 12:44, 13:2 & 5, 13;10-12.
- Amos 4:4 confirms that tithes are to be paid after three years.
- During Hezkiah’s reform, the payment of tithe was among the laws he placed a lot of emphasis on. (2 Chronicles 31:5-12)
Tithing in the New Testament.
Tithing in the New Testament places more focus on what Jesus has to say about the paying of tithes.
And from our research and studies, we discover that it was on two occasions that the issue of tithe was brought forth around Jesus.
The first occasion is in Luke 11:42 where Jesus commented on the Scribes and Pharisees obeying the law of tithes but neglecting the weightier matters of the law which are justice, mercy, and love.
And on the second occasion as recorded in Luke 18:12, a rich young man told Jesus that he regularly paid them. In response, Jesus ignored the issue of tithe but rather told him to go and sell his belongings and give to the poor; and afterward follow Him.
From Jesus reactions to the issue of tithe on these two occasions, we can discover that paying tithe is still relevant in Christendom even though a lot of denominations are doing it the wrong way.
Another person people would hope to comment on the issue of tithe is St. Paul.
But the results of our research and studies from Hebrews 7 show that Paul was all along overviewing tithing as was done in Judaism.
And he did not mention what Christians must do to wi
The first man to pay tithe in the bible.
According to Genesis 14:17-20, Abram was the first man to pay tithe in the bible. He paid his tithe to Melchizedek who was a King of Salem and priest of the Most High God.
The story actually begins in chapter one of Genesis 14, where the four kings: Amraphel of Babylonia, Arioch of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer of Elam, and Tidal of Goiim went to war against five other kings.
The five kings were; Berah of Sodom, Birsha of Gomorrah, Shinab of Admah, Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (or Zoar).
Now since Abram’s Nephew, Lot was living in Sodoma at the time, he became a victim of the captivity that arose from this war.
So when someone escaped to inform Abram about what happened to his Nephew, he gathered all the fighting men in his camp and pursued the four kings on their way to Dan.
Luckily for Abram, he rescued Lot and also discovered all the loot that was taken by the four kings including the women and other prisoners.
And when he returned, he was met by Melchizedek, a priest of the Most High God, who gave him bread and wine and blessed him.
Immediately after blessing Abram, Abram offered Melchizedek a tenth of all the loot he recovered, which we now refer to as tithe.
When we look at Abram paying tithe to Melchizedek from a spiritual perspective, we will realize that Abram gave the tithe to Melchizedek in appreciation of the bread, wine, and blessings he gave to him.
Let us not forget in a hurry that the Israelites were the descendants of Abraham who was the first person to tithe in the bible.
So it was therefore necessary for the descendants of Abram to follow in their footsteps.
Was tithing a part of the Mosaic Law?
Tithing was a part of the Mosaic law as we can see in Leviticus 27:30-32. In that bible verse, Moses commands the children of Israel to set aside ten percent of all the produce they got from their lands, as well as their livestock as their tithe to God.
Since the paying of tithe is not among the 10 commandments written on the tablet by God to Moses, we can’t really say if this was an instruction from the Lord Himself.
But as we will see from subsequent research, the paying of tithe really had a root in the Mosaic law.
Who does the tithe belong to?
Originally, tithe belongs to God as we can see in Leviticus 27: 30-32. But later on in Numbers 18:21-24, God handed over the tithe to the Levites in repayment for the services they were offering in His temple.
However, in Deuteronomy 12:17-19, we discover that the Israelites were commanded to eat the tithe with their family in the first year
And on the third year as recorded in Deuteronomy 26:12-15, they were to pay the tithe to the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows.
So with this knowledge, we can conclude on this sub-topic that the tithe belongs to the owner, to the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows.
The purpose of tithes.
The purpose of tithes was to provide food and meat to the Jewish worshipper and their families, and also to the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows who lived among them.
Every bible verse about tithe points to food and meat. Moses states categorically in Leviticus 27:30-32 that the children of Israel should gather ten percent of their farm products and animals.
Malachi 3:6-10 makes this point clearer when it says that the Israelites should bring their tithe to the house of God so there could be enough food.
Its however worth mentioning that the occupation of the modern world transcends just farming and the raring of animals, as it was back in the early days. And because of this, money has been substituted for food and animals.
In fact, people feel safe taking out ten percent of their earnings, whether from salaries or business transactions, and paying as tithes.
On the other end, the preachers or general overseers of the Christian denominations, especially in Africa, are using tithes to build mansions and schools, buy private jets as well as afford a luxurious lifestyle.
But studying Deuteronomy 14:29, we discover that the Levites who received tithes were not supposed to use it to get inheritance, that is buy lands and houses.
And this latter knowledge confirms the fact that the purpose of tithes was to provide food and meat for the Levites, strangers, widows, and orphans who had no inheritance among the Israelites.
How to tithe properly.
To tithe properly, we must stick to the principles of tithes as seen in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and Deuteronomy 12:17-19 which commands that every year you should eat your tithe with your family in the presence of God, and after every three years, you must pay your tithe to the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows.
The two bible portions above show us the following:
- Deuteronomy 14:22-29 shows us that in the first year, the worshipper must take his tithe alongside his family and eat it all in the temple. It even commands them to sell them off in the case where their house is far away from the temple. But when they get to the temple they are commanded to use the money to buy the tithe and eat it right there.
- And in Deuteronomy 12:17-19, we discover that the next tithe should be paid after three years to the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows.
But many Christians dismiss this means of tithing on the grounds that it always took the Israelites a year to harvest their farm produce, that was why they were required to pay their tithe every year.
While in its modern era, so many people are making money on a daily basis, some monthly, etc. And because of that tithes should be a sort of pay-as-you-go issue.
But I always love to maintain my stand on heeding the biblical method of tithing because farming and raring of animals was not the only occupation when the Israelites were tithing.
In fact, in Genesis 47:24-26 Joseph instituted tithing in Egypt during the time of famine. And remember this was foreign, and as the bible says those people are still tithing to date.
Finally, from the results of our research and studies above we can firmly understand that what the bible says about tithes is safe in the fact that we should eat our tithes every first year. And in the third year, we should pay our tithes to our church leaders, strangers, widows, and orphans.