Tithing- The New Testament Instruction on Giving?-Part 1


Let’s take a journey together. We will look at the concept of giving from the Old and New Testament. My intention is to make this article complete, but also simple to understand. This is the method the Holy Spirit uses with me, and hopefully with His help we will try to accomplish this. The purpose of this writing is to not only see what the Lord instructs us on giving, but also see what the Word teaches about who we are in Christ and how richly we are blessed ‘In Him’.

Note: This article will take some work to finish, but please read to the end. These scriptures will not only explain the blessings when giving, but also show the serious dangers when we use the ‘law’ to seek favor from the Lord.

To understand New Testament giving we have to review Old Testament forms of giving and see if anything has been ‘adjusted’ because of Christ’s coming and fulfilling many Old Testament scriptures.  In fact, in every major teaching in the Bible, the New Testament gives an account to verify whether we need to  follow the same methods as prescribed by the law of the Old Testament-or ‘update’ our teachings because Jesus has ‘fulfilled’ the scriptures.

Matt. 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Here are some examples.

1) Love the Lord with All Our Heart, Mind, Soul

Old Testament  Deut. 6:5   And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

New Testament  Matt. 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Conclusion-Loving the Lord will all thy heart, soul and mind has not changed

2) Who are Gods people to promote His truth

Old Testament  The Jews  Deut. 7:6   For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

New Testament  Both Jew and Gentile-all who have faith in Christ. Romans 10:12   For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Conclusion All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21), thus all truly ‘born again Christians are ambassadors for Christ.

3) What kind of sacrifice do we offer to the Lord

Old Testament Numerous animal sacrifices

Lev. 1:3  If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.

New Testament  Jesus, He is the one time perfect sacrifice

Heb. 7:27  Unlike the other high priests, he (Jesus) does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered himself.

Conclusion-We do not need to offer up animal sacrifices for our sins, Christ is our eternal and complete sacrifice (Also Heb. 10:1-18)

Other instructions made from the Old Testament were also reviewed in the New Testament so we could clearly understand how we should maintain our obedience to the Lord.

4) Marriage

Old Testament –Polygamy  was allowed (2 Sam. 12:8, Gen. 16:1-3, 1 Sam. 25:43),

New Testament –One husband and wife is the family model (Matt 19:1-10, 1 Tim. 3:2 & 12)

5) Holy Spirit

Old Testament  Generally the Holy Spirit was only poured out on the prophets (1 Sam. 19:24, 1 Sam. 16:13, 1 Kings 17:1, 2 Kings 4:34),

New Testament  Given to the church, all who are in Christ (John 7:37-39, Acts 2:1-4,John 14:26)

6) Sabbath, or Day of Worship.

Old Testament  On Saturday (Ex. 20: 8-10)

New Testament  Usually on first day of week, but can be changed according to how you view your Sabbath day (Acts 20:7, Col. 2:16-17, Romans 14:1-12)

7) Food Requirements

Old Testament  Types of food were regulated (Deut. 14)

New Testament  All types of food were made acceptable (Acts 10:10-15, 1 Tim. 4:2-4) (Most likely to help evangelize in different cultures).

We can see a New Testament instruction is given for every major teaching in the Old Testament.   The Lord knew we would have questions with Christ fulfilling many Old Testament scriptures.  He became our sacrifice for our sins and allowed the church (Gentiles) to be part of His family in the kingdom of God. Thus, the Lord either confirmed to keep the Old Testament teachings or explained the adjustments in the New Testament. With Jesus coming as our Messiah, major changes needed to be addressed and that is exactly why the New Testament was given.

Concerning money, it is mentioned about 2000 times in the Bible. There is more teachings on money than heaven and hell combined. With the exception of teaching about the Lord and sin, it is second only to verses about the Kingdom of God. 

See Link

It would be irresponsible to think the Lord would be quiet or unclear about money in the New Testament. In the Old Testament the Lord laid down exact instructions for it’s use, the amount to be given and the correct attitude to give  (see below). If we understand what the Lord said about money in the Old Testament, it will give us a foundation to see how the Lord wants to use (and give) money in the New Testament. Before we start to review the Old Testament however, I hope we can agree on a few  things. The Lord would  be very clear and precise on New Testament giving.  It’s use and purpose would be easily understood like all other major teaching mentioned above.


Old Testament Use Of Money In Comparison To The New Testament


Old Testament

-Who has ownership in the Old Testament of the Jewish money, or for that matter, the worlds monetary system.  This one is plain and simple-The Lord owns everything.

Hag. 2:8  The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.

Psalms 50:10-11  For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.   I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

New Testament

Romans 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

1 Cor. 10:26  For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.

Rev. 21:1   And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

The Lord not only owns all the money in the world, He creates-and renews the world as He sees fit.

Conclusion-The Lord owns everything, no change between the Old and New Testament.

II. ATTITUDE  in which to give.

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 15:10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

1 Chronicles 29:9
Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

First and foremost, we give with a willing heart, this is essential to all giving.

New Testament

2 Cor. 9:7  Every man according as he purposed in his heart, so let him give ; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Again, the attitude in which we give is vital to the Lord

Conclusion- no change between the Old and New Testament.

III. BLESSING-Can Money be a form of blessing from the Lord

Old Testament

Genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundred fold, and the Lord blessed him.

Deuteronomy 8:18 Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.

The Lord did indeed blessed people financially in the Old Testament as one sign of blessing.

New Testament

Luke 6:38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Jesus Himself testifies that if we give we will be blessed.

Conclusion- no change between the Old and New Testament.

IV. SIN-Can improper use of money cause us to sin

Old Testament

Psalms 10:3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.

Prov. 21:6  A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.   See Prov. 15:27

Yes, the Old Testament teaches we can sin by using money the wrong way.

New Testament

1 Tim. 6: 9-11 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

The ‘love’  of money can definitely cause us to sin.

Conclusion- no change between the Old and New Testament.

 V. GIVING– Teaching in the Old Testament in comparison to the New Testament instructions (remember-all important teachings mentioned in the Word (see above) were clearly reviewed so we can accurately serve the Lord in the New Testament. Giving is included in this instruction.)

a) Alms or Offerings outside of Tithing

1. Giving out of desire to help those in need.

Old Testament

Proverbs 22:9 He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.
Proverbs 28:27
  He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

Simply, when the Old Testament saints gave to help those in need they were blessed.

New Testament

Note:  The Greek word alms (eleemosune) or offerings (prosphora) as used in the New Testament is simply the word used for giving money to others. There is not ‘percentage’ or ‘formula’ given-it is simply used to help others.

Matthew 6:3-4 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

2 Corinthians 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;

We are indeed blessed when we give to those in need.

Conclusion- no change between the Old and New Testament.

2.  Giving According to a ‘Portion’ of your income.

Old Testament

Deut. 16:17  Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

-The feast of tabernacles was a time of rejoicing and feasting unto the Lord. Here we see a verse is given for His people to give in ‘portion’ to what they have received in blessings from the Lord.  Notice the  exact amount is not given-it is between them and the Lord. This is called giving by the ‘portion’ of resources you have been blessed with. It is also not designated to a specific ‘group’ but to those with a need.

New Testament

I Cor. 16:2  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

The New Testament also teaches giving proportionally-to that which you can afford to give. Again, it is important to note that scripture does not give a percentage, that amount is between the believer and the Lord.

Notice: This ‘proportional’ giving mentioned above in I Cor. 16:2  it is not going to the home church (in Corinth) but to the mission church in Galatia-see vs. 1. The Lord in this verse is simply supporting fiscal planning and budgeting in order give in a disciplined manner.

Conclusion- no change between the Old and New Testament.

3.  Giving the ‘first fruits’ to the Lord. Give to Him from the first part of your blessings.

Old Testament

Prov. 3:9  Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase:

Ex. 34:26 The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.  (from the feast of unleavened bread)

The Old testament indeed teaches that when we give from the first fruits we are blessed.

New Testament

Mark 12:41-44 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

Matt. 5:7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

There seems to be no direct reference to first fruits as far as money.  In the New Testament  Christ (with the church) are considered first fruits  I Cor. 15:20.  These two verses, however, more than qualifies the teaching, that if we give to the Lord in faith, He will bless us.

Conclusion- no change between the Old and New Testament.

These are the major areas of giving in the Old and New Testaments ‘outside’ of tithing.

To summarize the above types of giving, we can simply say when we give (seed) with the correct attitude-the Lord is pleased and promises blessings.

His instructions are really not that confusing when they are presented by themselves ‘without our bias’. Let’s keep in mind, the Lord is not the Author of confusion, that is the work of Satan (1 Cor. 14:33, John. 8:44). The Lord desires we know His truth and in most instances when something is too complicated to understand, it is not the Lords teaching but Satan trying to confuse the true meaning found in His Word.   (see Why We Disagree, The Simplicity of Divine Wisdom)


Giving a tenth of our income under the Law of Moses.

Old Testament

1) Who was the recipient of tithing. (Also explained is the purpose of the tithe).

Nehemiah 10:38  And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

When Israel divided the land  they seized west of Canaan, 11 of the 12 tribes received a portion of the land, but the Levites inherited a temporary priesthood and became servants of the Most High God. They did the work in the sanctuary and performed priestly duties. They did not receive a ‘earthly inheritance’, thus were given a ‘tithe’ to support them.

See Link

We can see from the scriptures given thus far, this is the first time a ‘certain amount’ was given to ‘a certain people’. This makes this type of giving different from all the other types of giving mentioned above. Tithing had a purpose, it was clearly to support the Levite priest in the Old Testament.

There was another order of priesthood that also received a tithe. This priest was called Melchizedek and according to scripture-was greater than the priesthood of the Levites.   Explained below-

Gen. 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.

And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Abraham was a ‘predecessor’ of the Jewish Leviticus priesthood  and was blessed by the ‘greater’ Melchizedek-thus Abraham gave Melchizedek his tithes (Heb. 7).   This part is extremely important to remember when this is confirmed in the New Testament.

These easy to understand scriptures give us the recipients of the tithe and their purpose.  The tithes were to support the priesthood that did not have an earthly inheritance or income.

2) Was it a sin to withhold the tithe in the Old Testament.

Mal. 3:8-10  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse —the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.  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,

Withholding a tithe given to the priesthood of Levites was indeed a sin in the Old Testament.   The Priest in the Old Testament were holy unto the Lord (His servants) and it was a grave sin to violate  them.  It was also a blessing from the Lord in the Old Testament to be obedient to Him and pay the tithes to the Levites.

Conclusion of Old Testament Giving

The were generally two forms of giving that the Israelite’s participated in. One was giving out of a desire to help and the other was to support the work of the Priesthood. The priests that received tithes were from the Levites and Melchizedek order.

New Testament

New Testament Explanation of Priesthood and giving.

Melchizedek the Priest

Heb. 7:1-12 and 8:1  This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him,  and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever….

(5)  Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people …  And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater….

Melchizedek a ‘type’ of the coming Jesus

(11)  If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come —one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? [12]  For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.   Remember vs. 12

[8:1]  Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (Jesus Heb 7: 25-28)

If we summarize the verses in Hebrews, the Lord is saying the Levites were the temporary priest (with imperfections vs 11) and Christ became our perfect priest  and sits at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens 8:1.  Melchizedek was used in scripture to be a ‘type’ or example of Jesus coming in the future.   There was to come a  greater ‘perfect’ priest (Heb 7:3) who was to become a sacrifice once and for all (John. 3:16).    The Levitical priesthood is now dissolved and we do not offer temporary sacrifices to  God, because Jesus became the one time eternal sacrifice for us (Heb 7:25-8:1).

This is important.   Verse 12 (above)states that their was a change of the priesthood (from the Levites to Jesus) and thus a change of the law.  In other words, we do not carry out the Law in order to fulfill our commitment to God.  We fulfill our commitment to God by faith in the Son of God and not by works of the law.

Gal. 2:16  know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

Through faith in Christ, Jesus becomes the perfect priest and has  passed this incredible blessing on to us. We become sons of God and a royal priesthood. The church, both Jew and Gentile now become priest under the throne of Jesus. Praise God!

-Gal. 3:26-28   You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, … There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

-1 Pet. 2:5  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (Rev. 1:6. Rev. 5:10)

These verses combined above, ‘close the book’ on using the Levitical priesthood as our method to gain favor with God. Jesus Christ has become our one time perfect sacrifice and High Priest.

Please continue to read  Tithing part 2


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