The word “tithe” means “a tenth part.” In the Old Testament God commanded His earthly people to give 10% of their crops or livestock to the Lord. Leviticus 27:30 & 32 says, “Thus all the TITHE of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD…and for every TENTH PART of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the TENTH ONE shall be holy to the LORD” (NASB). These “tithes” were used to support the Levites who ministered in God’s temple. We read of this in Numbers 18:26, “Moreover, you shall speak to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the sons of Israel THE TITHE WHICH I HAVE GIVEN YOU from them for your inheritance, then you shall present an offering from it to the LORD, a TITHE OF THE TITHE.” The Levites was priests who had forfeited their inheritance to serve in the Temple and yet they too had to “give a tithe” of the tithes they received.

Tithing was strictly an Old Testament command to those who were “under the Law of Moses.” When Jesus Christ came, the practice of “giving to the Lord” (so His servants could be supported and the poor would have their needs met) changed dramatically. We read in John 1:17, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (NKJV). Believers today are “under grace” and this means that God is NOT commanding us to give 10% of our income to Him. This does NOT mean we shouldn’t give; it means we are to give BECAUSE WE WANT TO, and not BECAUSE WE HAVE TO. Let’s look at some principles in the New Testament that teach us how God wants us to give

In 2nd Corinthians 8:12-14 we read: “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.” For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but BY AN EQUALITY.” Paul gave the saints at Corinth (and us!) three principles for giving in these verses:

  1. We should give with a WILLING MIND. This simple means, as stated above, that we give BECAUSE WE WANT TO. Paul put it this way in 2nd Corinthians 9:7, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” The heart and mind was be filled with joy as we reach into our pocket books to give.
  2. We give ACCORDING TO WHAT ONE HAS. Paul had already spoken about this in his first epistle to the Corinthians, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, AS GOD HAS PROSPERED HIM” (16:2, KJV). We are to give to the Lord “as the Lord has given unto us!” Has the Lord given you a LARGE INCOME in the job He provided for you? Then you will give accordingly. Under the Law people were limited to 10%. Under grace one may be giving 30%, or perhaps 50%, for it should be “as God has prospered Him.” On the other hand, one may have a SMALL INCOME, and after paying bills he may be giving only 5% or even less, but here to he will be giving “as God has prospered him.’
  3. We give BY AN EQUALITY. Paul explained what that means in verse 13, “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened.” He doesn’t want us to BECOME POOR while making OTHERS RICH. You may recall that shortly after the church was born many believers sold their possessions to give to poor and the result was, “For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or house would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.” The “equality” that we see in this passage is “there was not a needy person among them.” All needs were met for everyone! (267.3) (DO)