Malachi 3:8-10 (Misinterpreted Scriptures)

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Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Misinterpretation: This passage is often used by many different Christians to prove the importance of tithing.

Facts: Tithing is one of the most misunderstood subjects in Christianity today, and space does not permit a full discussion of the topic. Suffice it to say that tithing is part of the Mosaic Law, it is not part of the New Testament model of giving. The New Testament model of giving is that every person gives to others as they are able (cf. Heb. 13:16; Luke 6:38; 2 Cor. 9:6-8), and that they give to the one who teaches the Word (Gal. 6:6). It is safe to say that the New Testament model is that we give willingly, to those who have need, out of all of our excess, not just 10%!

One of the problems with giving today is that many Christians give 10% out of fear that they will be cursed by God if they do not give 10%; then they do not give any more than 10%, even if they have an abundance and a brother or sister is in need! This is the antithesis of New Testament giving. We should pray and ask how much God wants us to give directly to our local church, and then we should give out of our excess to brothers, sisters, widows, orphans, and whoever else we can. Also, we should give cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7), not out of fear of being cursed.

I find it horrible that when a brother or sister is in financial need all that many pastors will do is ask them if they are paying their tithes, and then, if the person is not paying their tithes, tell them that they are under a curse from God! This type of teaching is a travesty– it is a stain on Christianity. When a brother or sister is in need then the local church should be the first to step in and help them. Of course, wisdom and discretion are necessary, since we need to be sure that we are giving to a legitimate need, and that the money will not be misused. However, we should definitely give!

If you would like more information on this topic then I recommend reading this paper: “Embezzlement: The Corporate Sin of Contemporary Christianity?” You may also want to check out www.relationaltithe.com (the site that hosts the Embezzlement paper). I also strongly recommend reading the Bible study titled “So What’s the Deal On First Fruits?“, written by Bro. Buddy of Christian Challenge.

Finally, you may find it interesting that the Israelites in the Old Testament did not tithe 10%, they tithed 20-30%, depending on which historian you listen to1. I mention this because many times preachers teach that tithing is not found in the New Testament, but it is a Biblical concept found in the Mosaic Law. If that’s the case, then we should tithe 20-30%, just like the Israelites did!

References:

  1. Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. (1995). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Rev. ed. of: Nelson’s illustrated Bible dictionary.; Includes index (“Tithing”). Nashville: T. Nelson. []

77 thoughts on “Malachi 3:8-10 (Misinterpreted Scriptures)

  1. David

    What does Galatians say about being cursed for practicing the law.. You may as well do all the law.. If you practice the law Christ is a non effect of your life. He also told the Pharisees that they acted as if the tithe was a weighter matter than Grace and Mercy …. New covenant with Christ. .. stop with religion and get with relationship. .. Christ shall direct your path

  2. Bryon

    First off, I just found your site and think it is great. I have seen many “former UPC” sites and too many of them are written by people who totally gave up and ridicule Christianity in general.
    I have never been UPC (we are loosely affiliated w/PC of G) but know many who are or have been, and some of our choir, for years attended the Music conference at JCM.
    I did, however, notice a couple of minor errors in this article on tithing:
    Tithing actually started before the Mosaic law. Abraham paid tithes (Gen. 14).
    Tithing is reaffirmed in the New Testament (Heb. 7:8)
    While there may have been more than one “tithe” required under the law, tithe actually means tenth. So there may have been another tithe, but no single tithe could actually be more than 10%.
    Anyway, good article and I’m looking forward to reading more on your site!

    1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

      Hey Bryon, thanks for the kind feedback. I just want to briefly say that Hebrews 7:8 isn’t reaffirming tithing for the New Testament era. It’s talking about historical tithing. That’s a common way of misinterpreting Scripture–taking a Scripture that is talking ABOUT something and twisting it into SUPPORT of something. Hebrews 7:8 is talking about pre-law tithing; it is not instructing believers in the New Testament to tithe.

      In Christ,
      Josh

  3. Philip Smith

    I have written a book which contains the tithing issue. I am amazed that pastors do not seem to notice Malachi 3:7 ! Just before the strong statement of ‘robbing God’, it says “return to my ordinances”. Obviously, tithing was within the ordinances!!! Yet many NT passages negate all the ordinances because of the blood of Jesus. Then a new way of giving was shown—generosity!!!
    So since the ‘atonement of Jesus’ took away our sins AND the ordinances, why do pastors continue to hammer it on their congregations?? It must be an easier way to raise money for the Church than to “trust in the Lord” for finances.
    Also Galatians 2 and 3 indicate if we obey any of the ordinances—-plus put faith in Jesus, we are acting hypocritically and snubbing God’s grace—and in fact are accusing Jesus of doing wrong! (Galatians 2:16-19)

    1. Albert

      These are all things my wife and I are seeing to be true as well as the fact that debt for God’s glory is being used to spend billions of $$ for buildings and up keep to show off and draw people in to our quote place of worship/House of God well people are in great need all around us. How God’s heart is breaking with such nonsense that we call Christianity.

  4. Lois

    Galatians 4:4 KJV

    But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
    Jesus had to speak on tithes because he was still under the law. Tithes in the old Testament were for the Levites as they did not receive an inheritance. In Malachi chapter 3
    Tithes were meat, food not money.

    1. Nosa Oyemade

      Your comment re tithing is that of the blind, leading the blind. Read luke6:19 what Christ said about the blind leading the blind. Jesus Christ came to fulfil the law and not abolish it. The Scripture cannot be broken. Matthew 23:23 clearly states that you should pay your tithe and also be merciful, just and have faith. It is better not to post comments than to post misleading comments. Your references to Hebrew 13:16, Luke 6:38, 2Cor 9:6-8 have to do with offering & not tithing. If you are a true Christian, born again Christian, then you will ask the Holy Spirit when you’re in doubt and he will lead you to ALL truths-see John 14:15-17. Stay blessed and may the Lord Jesus Christ enlighten you.

      1. keith

        I think you miss the key phrase of Matthew 23:23 “weightier matters of the law.” Making tithing and it’s curse part of the lighter part of the law which means it is included not seperated. So if we believe that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law and the statements of the Apostle Paul that we are no longer under the law (mosaic) why are we still infatuated with the fear of not tithing? Abram paid tithe without pressure, command or curse….he also did not tithe of his substance but of the spoils of war (extra) Hebrews 7 (I believe)…in other words his tenth was voluntary .

      2. Bruce

        We are redeemed from the curse of the law, how can we be cursed for not giving ten present when God says we are redeemed from the curse, the New Testament says we are bought with a price we are not our own, all we have belongs to God not just 10% we are Gods stewards of everything we have

      3. sam

        I will simply quote Romans 10-4 for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for all those who believe. so if you keep trying to force an old mosaic law on Christa ins you are denying that Jesus ever came

      1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

        Shiru, I’d love to see some pictures of your clothing. If we are still required to follow the Mosaic Law then I’m sure that you follow these rules as well:

        11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.
        12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.

        The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Dt 22:11–12). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

        God does not change, but the Old Testament Law was fulfilled by Christ.

        1. Anthony Rodriguez

          I agree on this subject. I wonder most pastors do not use Jacobs tithe as an example to us modern Christians? Shall we ask God for a blessing before we think about giving a tenth?

          Gen. 28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace–then shall the LORD be my God,
          22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you shall give me, I will surely give the tenth to you.

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