When the question is asked, What is the Tithe, most people simply say ten percent of a person’s income. Without question, this is perhaps the most frequent answer. Although I tithe for more than 30 years, I never stopped asking that question. It was not until 2010 that I got serious about looking into all the hoopla about the ten percent doctrine that puzzled me for years. I think the key to understanding tithing is to consider find out its original meaning as it was practiced thousands of years ago. What learned is that tithing has an orthodox meaning and a revised meaning based on cultural and economic influences. When I began to research tithing, I looked for basic dictionary definitions and discovered that dictionaries were not thorough enough in pinning down the original meaning of the tithe. It did not take long to find out that tithing had different meanings among Christians and Jews. Christians view tithing as money and Jews see tithing as crops and livestock. This caused me some confusion because I had no idea that a tithe could be food. In an effort to figure out what the disconnect was between Hebrew orthodoxy and Christian dogma, I sought some clarification from the original Hebrew language. When I looked up all the biblical references to tithe, tithing or tenth, not one time does the Bible describe either word as money but food. If read each verse in the Bible that contains tithe, you will not find money. The Bible tell us in 1 Thes. 5:21 to prove all things. So I went on a studying journey to prove whether tithing was food or money. And here is a video that explains the tithe definition. In my power point slides, I compiled some basic definitions which you can see below.
Tithing is so effective because it involves money. And the Bible says, A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things (Ecc. 10:19). The idea that money is the key that answers every financial problem a church has is real easy to believe because tithing money is just the right thing to do. And if you’re one who receives the cash flow, believing a tithe is anything else but money is just financial suicide to a church or a pastor that benefits from the tithe. For those who are conditioned to pay money as a tithe do so because they think it is what should be done to help pay their own way and to keep the church doors open. Free-will giving has always been and shall forever be the method God prescribed for his people in the New Testament. So before you pay a tithe, it would be in your best interest to first make sure you understand what tithing is and its contents.
One of the first books I read on my journey to understand tithing is called “Tithing Nailed to the Cross.” One point this book makes is that preachers must defend tithing by compelling force and at the same time separate it from the law. If they knew or understood that tithing is law, and some do, they would have no choice to but dismiss the tithing doctrine based on the writings of Paul. But because they think congregants might not support the Church, in comes the beginning of the tithe deception as the look to people as their source for every need. As a result, many things can go wrong and does go wrong in the church when money is defined as a tithe that must be paid.