In my upcoming book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God? I spent a lot of time talking about Paul’s position on giving. I also put together some power point slides on New Testament giving. In the process of writing the slides, I kept debating whether to write a book on tithing and went back and forth and debated wit myself. My first intention was to compile the slides and move on with the rest of my life. Somehow that did not happen and the issue of writing a book kept coming up in my thoughts. I really could not run away from the idea even though I tried. So when I to put pen to paper, it took me a year and a half to finish the book. Even after I compiled a lot of research for my power point tithing and giving study, I still had to do more research for my book. The Old Testament study was 117 pages, and the New Testament power point study was 48 pages. Today, I’m sharing some slides to help you on your journey. One reason I posted these slides is to give readers information to help them know that my studies did not just cover the Old Testament but the New Testament as well. So today I did a video about whether Paul assumed tithing from silence in the Scripture.
Check out the tithing slides and the information in them to gain an understanding about what Paul says about giving. Research everything I say and add to what I have learned by posting your research to my blog.
To give you a clue about Paul’s instructions on giving, here an excerpt from my book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God? that will clue you in on Paul’s instructions on giving and why he never mentioned tithing to any of the congregations he preached. In Chapter 12, Did Paul Convert the Tithe to Money, I write:
When you break down the text of 1 Corinthians 16:1, what is Paul really dealing with in Corinth? Let’s look at the verse. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to churches of Galatia you must do also. On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper that there be no collections when I come” (NKJV). Let’s add some context to the back-story. The Corinthians who wanted Paul to address some issues asked him a series of six questions. Paul uses the phrase “now concerning” in three places to give answers to their questions in 1 Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 7:1, asks about marriage; 1 Corinthians 8:1, asks about personal liberty and about food offered to idols; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 ask about conduct among the congregations; 1 Corinthians 12:1 asks questions about spiritual gifts in the congregation; 1 Corinthians 15 asks about the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 16:1 Paul uses “now concerning” to address not only the previous questions the Corinthians asked, but also questions about the collection. The purpose of the language, now concerning, is that Paul changed his thought pattern to address the collection question after he dealt with all the previous questions. When Paul says, “now concerning,” he is addressing questions that the Corinthians had previously asked him. In Bible study, it is always important to place historical and cultural context, exegesis, and proper hermeneutics above opinion and personal theology before accepting any teaching as the gospel truth. Because context is important, I would like to list some contextual points of reference about 1 Corinthians 16:1-3. As you read the Scriptures pertaining to this giving effort, ask yourself if it is possible to assume tithing is the context. I assure you the answer will be no. Here’s why. Of all the questions the Corinthians asked Paul in the epistle, they never uttered a single question about tithes. Paul never said, “now concerning tithes.”
There were many books that helped me understand giving and tithing. One of them is called, You Mean I Don’t Have to Tithe? is a well researched theological studies book that analyzes Old and New Testament giving and tithing. Author, David Croteau writes about 1 Cor. 16:1-3 and says on page 246 that:
Giving should be proportionate, in keeping with a household income. It should not be a fixed proportion, but a proportion in keeping with income. In Paul’s terms, the amount to be set aside depends on the degree to which the giver has been prospered. No specific percentage is designated. This context [1 Cor. 16:1-3] would have been an ideal place for tithing to enter into the discussion. Yet tithing is not mentioned. According to Paul, if anyone has been prospered greatly, he should give a large amount. If one has been prospered only little, a smaller gift is completely acceptable.
When Pual wrote 1 Cor. 16:1-3 to the Corinthians about saving up until he got there, perhaps, he had Deuteronomy 16:1-17 in mind. Perhaps he took an Old Testament verse to create a concept to help them out. The verse reads, “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.” When you look at the parallels between Duet. and 2 Cor. 16, here is how it breaks down. When they gave in Israel during the festivals, it was three time a year. In 1 Cor. 16, it was the first day of the week. The persons who gave in the Old Testament was every man, and in 1 Cor. 16, it was let each of you. The amount given in the Old Testament during the festivals, God said as he is able according to the blessing, and in 1 Cor. 16. Paul said as he may prosper. The source of what was given during the three festivals in the Old Testament was of the LORD their GOD, and in Paul’s letter, we give knowing that God prospers us. There is no way tithing can be assumed from 1 Cor. Chapter 16. So let me say this while I’m thinking about it, don’t be fooled by any teaching the says Paul is teaching grace tithing because he is not. All New Testament giving is grace giving.
In the video below, I talk about Cornelius, a gentile man who gave to the poor and how God responded to his generosity to those less fortunate.
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