The title and offerings

There has been a lot controversy over the years concerning; to tithe or not to tithe, that is the question? Most preachers say yes! Most churchgoers say no! This tug-o-war can only be solved by the Bible. The only trouble is, everyone interprets scripture to his or her own prejudice.

After I preached about this subject in a small church, one of the members wrote me a letter confused by the tug-o-war. The preacher and the assistant both told this lady that the tithe was for this day and age. My message was on Old Testament tithing verses New Testament giving.

In the Old Testament the tithe is first mentioned in Genesis 14:20 when Abram gave Melchizedek tithes of the spoil on the return from the victory against the four kings. This was a one-time thing, but a lot of preachers use this scripture to promote the tithe on a weekly basis or yearly like happened later, under the law for the maintenance of the tribe of Levi. The Levites, mentioned in Hebrews is not reiterating the tithe as a tithe, so-as-to continue that practice in the New Testament age, but to show the importance of the person receiving the tithe. Melchizedek existed before the law was given and the tribe of Levi (serving God) was after the law. The tribe of Levi was to even tithe their tithe.

The scripture in 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 that preachers use to promote the tithe was for a collection needed by the church that was in Jerusalem. Nowhere is a tenth mentioned. It is an example of New Testament giving. Verse 7 is really the key. Different projects will cause some people to give more than the others and visa versa. Why limit it to ten percent?

We probably shouldn’t have jumped ahead of 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 which was the commission to collect the relief for the church in Jerusalem. Preachers use these scriptures as the commission to slap a perpetual “gathering” each week – even past the time when Paul came to take it to Jerusalem. I am convinced that if people are being blessed, they will give freely to that which is blessing them.