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!
- 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. [↩]