Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Does Scripture EVER Command to Give LESS Than 10%?

I believe that the key to understanding how virtually impossible it is to apply tithing from the Old Testament to the New Testament believer is by correctly defining the tithe in the Old Testament Law. Once the passages are read and understood properly, the complexity, the specifics, and the (actual) amount given makes the problem utterly clear.

However, when I give the definition of the tithe in the Old Testament Law and explain it, I lose people … I see their eyes start to slowly shut. I might keep their attention when I talk about the Levitical Tithe, but once I hit the Festival Tithe they start shutting down.

So, I want to try a different approach. Those who advocate tithing today are basically saying that Christians must give at least 10% of their income to God (usually, to their local church). When the issue of the Old Testament Law comes up, they usually either assume that the Israelites gave 10% of their income or they recognize that it was closer to 20% or 23 1/3%. If the latter, they say that we should be at least giving 10% under grace if they gave at least 20% under the Mosaic Law.

I have a question: what if the Mosaic Law commanded giving less that 10% of income? What if there was a verse in the Mosaic Law that explicitly stated that they were to give but the percentage was LESS than 10%? Would that have any impact on the idea of a mandated 10%? Maybe not, but there isn’t one verse … there are TWO (that I’ve found at least).

We will discuss them over the next couple of days.


jared said...

I recently posted an article about the same exact question.

To be honest, this response can get somewhat technical. First, you have Abraham - Did he only give from the spoils of war and not a tenth from his own wealth?.

Then you have Israel - They were only required to offer 1/500 of the spoils of war.

Third, you have the poor, they received but never gave from their gifts.

Fourth, Occupational income not including farming and herding - They didn't tithe from their increase.

Fifth, The first fruit offering - this included a small portion of first of the crop. this was the first offering of the crops as well as the best and was less than a tithe.

Sixth, The Levites tithed to the house of Aaron, but what did the house of Aaron give from the tithe they received? As far as i know, it wasn't a tithe.

Anyway, that's my input.

- jared

jared said...

Forgot to mention the half-shekel temple tax in Exodus 30:11-16

teresa bowen said...
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Foz Tacticus said...

Before the kings, as in the time if the judges, it was less than 10% - it was every tenth item.

By doing this, if you were poor (for instance you only had 9 sheep) you didn't have to give anything. Only the tenth sheep would be counted.

Leviticus 27:32
And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman's staff, shall be holy to the Lord.

When the kings came, taxes went through the roof, as God warned them, and eventually caused the kingdom to split.

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