Folks, many pro-tithers take pride in saying, the New Testament does not command anyone to not tithe. In fact, many times Mathew 23:23 is used as proof text to prove you must tithing money to the church. However if anyone has an ounce of biblical sense, they would know that Jesus’ instruction based on the context of the verse is not about tithing money. When he said “not left the other undone” many pro-tithers think the endorsement of tithing in Mathew references your weekly paycheck. Tithing in the Bible was never based on a weekly or biweekly paycheck process. Tithing in the Bible was based on the sabbatical cycle not a paycheck cycle. The tithe was land based not income based. Many who argue that the New Testament does not say not to tithe, think they have you over a barrel, when they use this verse out of context. But what tithers fail to understand is that New Testament wouldn’t have to say not to tithe because the words “not left the other undone” that Jesus spoke referred to agricultural and livestock tithing. Jesus was not endorsing a monetary tithe. He simply told the hypocritical Pharisees that crops and cattle should be tithed and not left undone. There is no monetary tithe context in Mathew 23:23. The reason why the New Testament does not command believers not to tithe is because the first century audience already knew the the tithe was edible items which was a tenth part of the crops and every tenth animal from the land of Israel. Trying to play a scriptural shell game with the scriptures will not work if someone knows the land, language and literature of the God’s people.
There are some days when I think that standing up for biblical truth on tithing is all a waste of time, then when I see articles in the news where a Church in North Carolina asks members to commit unemployment fraud to keep the tithe money coming in is worth all the effort in trying to say people’s financial future.
It is hard to convince people that the Bible does not endorse monetary tithing, and even in the face of overwhelming scriptural evidence to support that a tenth of their income is not required of God, it amazes me that people choose ignorance over truth. But maybe if someone else provided proof, maybe that would help. So below I posted a Facebook friend’s answer to the argument that says, the New Testament does not say not to tithe. Or the question goes, show me where the Bible commands us not to tithe. The following is a post by Anthony Todd on Facebook:
I humbly and with all due respect request someone to tell me of one verse in the New Testament that tells us not to tithe. Please don’t twist or change a verse to suit your opinion or inclination. This group has been characterized by name calling, insults and the sort, I wish you avoid that in your responses. Talk the truth not your opinion.
Kimathi Remmy RE: “Thanks for all those responses people. Now in reference to the teachings of the Bible (Which is our guiding book) How did Jesus (Who is God) disqualify tithing? Mention the word for me to understand this. Thank you.”
>>> Why would God have to “disqualify” tithing to people God never “qualified” it to in the first place? And…
1. Where did God instruct Christians to pay/surrender tithes? NOWHERE.
2. Where did God ever tell us that a church or a pastor has a right to takes tithes? NOWHERE.
3. Where did God transfer the ownership of the tithe from the tribe of Levits to to any Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelists, church, ministry, organization, or anyone? NOWHERE….
“Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.” – Numbers 18:26
4. Where did God instruct Christians to “continue tithing?” NOWHERE.
5. Where did God establish the paying of money as “tithing?” NOWHERE.
6. Where did God instruct Gentiles to tithe in the Old or New Testament? NOWHERE.
7. Why didn’t the first church council when the Apostle James (speaking for the Apostle Peter), include in his instructions to the Gentile Believers to “make sure you tithe”?….
“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” – Acts 15:28-29
Not one word from the Apostles Peter or James to tithe. If tithing was so important and an instruction from to tithe; why did the Apostle Peter leave it out of his instructions?
> Also, left out of this verse…
“Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law [i.e., tithe: Jesus said tithing was a matter of the law – Matt. 23:23]: to whom we gave no such commandment:” – Acts 15:24.
If tithing was required and taught in the New Testament for Christians, it would have to be clearly detailed and outlined in the terms and conditions of the New Testament like all promises and commands of the New Testament are.
Tithing instructions would be clearly included in the New Testament. No such terms, conditions or details are outlined anywhere in the New Testament. Tithing was never, is not now, and will never be part of the New Testament.
No Apostle ever taught tithing, asked for a tithe, rebuked any person or church for not tithing, or received a tithe. Not one of them. The early church (i.e. Book of Acts) NEVER tithed. We have NO record of them doing so.
>>> AND ONE LAST QUESTION…
An inconvenient question; one that tithing teachers and tithers avoid and prefer not to discuss or answer…
If we are supposed to be tithing money, or at all for that matter, as tithing teachers claim; why are we not supposed to be doing what God says with the tithe money? Like this…
1. Do not pay the tithe in the form of money. Keep the money in your hand (bind it to your hand) until you…
2. Buy wine with it.
3. Buy strong drink (harder liqueur) with it.
4. Buy livestock and other food.
5. Buy whatever you desire, whatever you lust after.
6. Share what you buy with a Levite and family.
7. Only convert your tithe money back to fruits, vegetables and clean live stock, etc., at the location you will share it with a Levite if it is too far to transport it in the form God says it is to paid in.
8. Eat your tithe with the Levite.
9. Learn to fear and respect the Lord by doing one through eight above.
>> Why don’t tithing teachers tell their faithful tithers this?…
> Deuteronomy 14;
22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.
24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:
25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose:
26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
>>> CONCLUSION; as you can see, these five unscriptural attempts to pressure Christians into tithing do not hold water and are not validated when scripture is closely scrutinized and studied. If proper biblical interpretation and using the Bible to interpret the Bible is employed, each false argument falls like a house of cards. We are called by God to be free will cheerful generous givers, not tithers.
The Facebook post above shuts down the felonious argument that the New Testament does not say stop tithing. I used felonious on purpose because it related to a crime, and it is a crime to force people to pay a tithe from their paycheck, which amounts to robbery. In chapter 12 of my book, The Gospel Syndrome I address the the issue Matthew 23:23 and point out that the New Covenant has not been established so the Old Testament Laws of paying the herd and crop tithe was well in effect. Here’s an excerpt from Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?
“Jesus did not ask for an income based tithe because money is capaciously absent from Matthew 23. An established monetary system did exist in Jesus’ time, and the Scriptures confirm this by informing us of an incident where He turned over the moneychanger’s tables in the temple.
Remember, the events in the Matthew’s Gospel and the other gospels took place simultaneously when the temple stood and the Old Covenant was still in effect with the Levites performing temple duties and collecting tithes. None of this had any connection to the New Covenant because the Old Covenant still operated and had not been superseded by the New Covenant. Matthew 23:23, does not apply to the Ekklesia (today’s congregation of believers). Many people assume that Matthew 23:23 was transferred to the New Testament Ekklesia as a requirement. This is not the case because the tithe laws applied only to the Hebrew people as a part of God’s Covenant with the Levites for their service in the temple. The disciples were not Levites and did not work in the temple and the physical rituals associated with the Old Covenant temple services in Jerusalem do not govern today’s New Testament Christian congregation. “That’s why tithe teachers cannot prove Christ paid or collected tithes. During His ministry from age 30 to 33, Jesus never used tithe money to support His ministry or pay ministry expenses. Moreover, the Bible proves this in Luke 8:3, which details how Christ obtained support: “Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means” (NIV). Christ and the disciples were supported by private funds and freewill offerings from many followers who believed and not by tithes.
In Matthew, the eatable tithe of mint, dill and cumin the Pharisees and scribes offered is worthless because it was without a commitment to judgment, mercy and faith. When tithing is taught as a requirement to receive a blessing, it is an error. The context of Matthew 23:23 refers to tithing under to the law and this is what the Pharisees followed. So the next time you hear tithing was before the law, you know the preacher or teacher is contradicting Jesus by trying to disconnect tithing from the law. Here’s the problem with preachers who use Matthew to prove God wants Christians to tithe 10 percent of their income.” Excerpt From: Frank Chase Jr. “Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? iBooks.
Since the church has a inordinate fascination with money, lets look at some verse from the Bible where money is mentioned so that we can see if money was ever tithed in the scriptures. Now I can tell your that a huge section of my book covers money in the Bible and I know for certain that money wherever is it mentioned, there is not one instance where God said pay a tithe with money.
The everlasting argument Bible theologians, scholars, pastors, Christians and those who investigate Bible history and archeology is whether we can say with certainty that biblical peoples tithed money or crops or both. What was the money used for in the Bible? Was there ever an instance where money was paid as a tithe? Or did Yahweh ever commute the agricultural, herd and flock tithe to money? In the OT the both the words money and tithe are mentioned. But are these items the same? A quick search finds that there are 140 scripture references to money. So let’s look at some verse to see it God wanted money as a tithe.
Money is mentioned is Gen 17: 12-13, 23, “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.”
- The Hebrew word money is Strong’s 3701 (Keseph/kesep). This type of money was a type of metal, silver with a pale color (TWOT 1015a). It was not coins or paper money, it was pieces of silver for use in buying and trading.
- The above verses context deals strictly with the circumcision covenant between God and Abraham.
- The only command God gives Abraham is that when he buys a slave or one that is born in his house with money to circumcise them.
- God issues no command in this context to tithe the money.
- One must find somewhere from Genesis 1 to the end where God issued a command to tithe money.
- In reference to money, you must examine how Abraham got all his money. You can trace Abrahams money trail from his time in Ur of Chaldess in Gen. 11:31 – Gen. 13: 2-3.
- None of Abraham’s wealth came through tithing, but through a promise
- The context of these verses is circumcising people born in his house and circumcising purchased slaves bought from a foreigner
God mentions money to Israel during Exodus 30:16, which deals with paying redemption money (gold or silver) to the temple during the census, “And thou shalt take the ATONEMENT MONEY of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.”
- The context here is for temple/sanctuary dues not tithes and certainly not a tenth of money. Wow!
- The payment was required for every Israelite twenty year old up during the census.
- The atonement money was used for Temple upkeep, not Tithes. The atonement money was not a tithe, a tenth or ten percent.
- There was no special treatment given to the rich or poor. Everyone needs redemption and payment was the same for all, a half-shekel.
- Each man had to pay when he became a certain age.
- Notice women and children did not pay.
- The amount of the half-shekel cannot be figured out exactly but in Today’s values as best we can tell was anywhere from 5 to 8 dollars. Back in Moses time it could have been anywhere from 25 Cents to 50 Cents. All of this was determined by the values of the specific times.
- Every male in Israel paid this money yearly to the tent of meeting.
9. The Bible clearly shows the tent of meeting (OT Sanctuary) was supported by ransom/atonement money and not by a tithe in Exodus in in the pre-law society of Israel.
Conclusion of Exodus: What does Exodus tell us about money? Every reference to money in Exodus says nothing about paying money as a tithe to the Tent of Meeting. But it is explicit as to what money was used for. Here are the facts of scripture with no conjecture or private interpretation.
- Money was used to buy servant/slaves
- Money was used to purchase women in reference to marriage and if a woman was refused in marriage the man was required to fulfill her rights.
- The abuse of a slave was forbidden because the slave represented money.
- Money was paid when a owners bull kills another Israelite.
- Money was paid when by a owner who dug a pit and didn’t cover it up and another person’s animal fell in and died.
- Money was paid if a person thief if he was caught for stealing someone stuff left in the care of another one home.
- Money was paid by a man who had sex with an un-betrothed virgin if the father refused to give her in marriage.
- When money was loaned to a fellow Israelite, no interest is to be charged.
- Money was paid as a ransom/redemption during census. It was given to the tent of meeting as a payment to God for protection.
Genesis and Exodus, no tithing was mentioned. But in Leviticus chapter 27:30-33, God finally mentions the tithe and describes it in detail and breaks down the contents of the tithe and never mentions tithing as money. If God required money as a tithe, the verses would have had to indicate the Hebrew word for money, which is Kesafim and the list would cite silver, gold, or shekels but the verse does not.
“30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD. the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD. 31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. 33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”
- The tithe is seed of the land
- The tithe is fruit of the tree
- The tithe is herds (cattle and oxen), flocks (sheep and goats)
- The tithe is every tenth animal that passes under the Shepard’s rod
- The tithe is not money. The Hebrew word for money is Kesafim and is not shown in the list of requirements
- The agricultural tithe could be bought back with an additional fee attached and the farmer could keep the tithe but paid an additional fee on top of the cost of the tithe. The money the Israelite paid to keep his tithe was not a tithe, it was given in lieu is the tithe.
- The Hebrew word for tithe is Ma’aser. It is Strong’s 1711h. The word means tenth part, not ten percent, as it is understood in cash. They tithed a tenth part of the crops (seeds of the land and fruit of the Trees) and every tenth animal from the increase only.
- The tithe was from grain, fruit, nuts, grapes, herds and flocks.
The first place money is referenced in Numbers is on Num. 3:48-51: 48 And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons. 49 And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites: 50 Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: 51 And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.
- The money in the verse is the same Hebrew word Keseph, which is silver.
- The Levites were not originally supposed to serve in the Tent of Meeting, it was the first born males of all the tribes. See Numbers 3:45
- God changed his mind after the Golden calf incident, see Exodus 32:26.
- God wanted all the firstborn of Israel but choose the Levites and their animals.
- There were 22, 000 Levites and 22, 273 first born Israelites.
- Those that were over the count were 273 Israelites and they had to pay redemption money of five shekels per head.
- The money was not tithe money but redemption money. As you can see, Moses had to give the money to Aaron and his sons as support.
- The 273 first born paid 1,364 shekels to Moses.
- So far a lot of money was paid as redemption money but not one red cent was paid as tithe money before or during the law in the Old Testament.
If money is a tithe, then John 2:14-16 would be a perfect place to see if monetary tithing took place during one of the Jewish Feasts at the Temple in Jerusalem. Jews came from around the territory and from afar to offer sacrifice. In John 2:14-16 “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”
- During this time when it was time to celebrate one of the three feasts, Israelites had to bring their animal and crop tithe to the temple. This stuff came from the tithe and freewill offerings.
- As discovered, those Israelites that lived to far away from the Temple, had the option to covert their tithe to money and journey to the Temple with the money and repurchase their tithe at the temple. Deut. 14 explains this clearly, “22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of they flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD they GOD Always. 24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, 27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.”
- The above scripture give some context to Jn 2:14-16. The Temple was a busy place during the Passover, the feasts of weeks and the feast of tabernacles (booths).
- The people who came to the temple with money are those most likely who converted their tithe to money. According to Duet they had to rebuy their tithe.
- Here come the money changes who set up shop in the temple to convert Roman money to acceptable temple money which was most likely Jewish shekel
- If Jews brought Roman money to the Temple it had to be converted to Jewish money by the moneychangers who are banker types.
- The money changes made a handsome profit on the exchange and even cheating by charging above the rate.
- Roman money could not be accepted because of the image of a pagan Emperor God and was not fit for Jewish worship and was considered an offence . 5-8 from the Zondervan pictorial Dict. Page 555.
- Once a year at the temple every Jewish male over 19 years old was to pay a temple tax as stipulated by Lev 1:3 and Deut 17:1 and Duet 16:1-17 explains the three feasts at the temple.
10. According to the Note in Archaeological NIV Study Bible on page 1707, it states that “The temple area (the outer court of the Gentiles was the place where various items necessary for sacrifices were sold: animal, wine, oil, salt and doves. In addition, money was changed form Roman currency to the required Tyrian shekels in accordance with the Law (Ex 30: 11-14). The practice becomes permanent once a year.”
11. The money changer in Greek is “Kollubistes”, he was a coin dealer, a banker
- Based on their cheating in exchanges rate, Unger’s Bible Dictionary on page says, they could have made up to 40-45 thousand dollars. They were the ultimate hucksters.
- This cheating force Jesus to over turn the Tables and expose the cheating of the Temple. Would Jesus go into churches today and overturn the money tithe system and accuse dogmatic tithe teachers as turning the church into a den of thieves or God people objects of merchandise?
14. The priests allowed these shenanigans to go on and most likely benefited from financial kickbacks from the practice, and perhaps go taken to the cleaners by the moneychangers also.
The Final Analysis
- Money was not tithed in all 140 instances referenced on the Bible.
- Money was used for almost everything else except a tithe.
- Tithes were turned into money and spent by the tither for food, drink and sharing.
- Money was used for taxes, bribes, land purchase, dowries, selling yourself into servitude, .ect, but never as a tithe.
- Money Tithe (maser kesafim) is not commanded on the pages of the Bible.
- Israel had an ancient money banking system.
- Israel was not a 100 percent agricultural society.
- Arguing Money Tithing from unsubstantiated scriptures is an argument from silence in scripture.
- Tithing of money (Maaser Kesafim) according to some Jewish authorities, it is believed to be an oral command or a rabbinic injunction that is required but not according to the TORAH.
- Tithing of money (Maaser Kesafim) according to some Jewish authorities say that it is neither required by the scriptures or by Rabbinic authority.
- The only tithe the Bible commands is Maaser (A tenth part of that which grows from the ground that is eatable).
- Tithing of money according to Jewish authorities is that the practice is a custom, a tradition that can be practiced but no scripture requires it.
- Tithing of money according to Jewish authorities says if it is practiced, the tithe can only be given to the poor and nowhere else.
- The tithe of money was a recent invention to support massive church building programs by early leaders of the Catholic Church around the forth century by commuting the tithe to money as a law both civic and religious.
- The New Testament church of the book of Acts did not tithe but shared and took care of each other.
- Because the Temple still stood in the Book of Acts, the official tithe (Maaser) would have still been going to the Jewish Temple and the Levites, not to the leaders of the people of the way.
- Because Paul and the Apostles were not Levites and that Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin he and the others could not accept or ask for a tithe because it would have been considered that he was stealing the inheritance of the Levites which God said belonged to them only.
- Paul Jewish background forbids him to profit from the TORAH but he had to work throughout his ministry and he accepted support from caring believers not tithes.This blog’s purpose is to spur believers to study how to give. The truth about money, tithing and everything else in the Bible is only hidden from those who don’t hunger or thirst for truth. So study to show yourself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Money will always be a point of contention in the church and shall always be unless the truth comes out.Give According To Paul’s Instructions: As a man purposeth [deciding in your own mind] in his heart give cheerfully not grudgingly, not of necessity according to what one has, not according to what one does not have ( II Cor. 8:12 and 9:7).
There are many other instances of money references in the Bible, but none of them say money is required as a tithe.
In my book, Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? you will find hundreds of reasons why you should stop tithing and embrace New Covenant Grace Giving that Paul taught in the letters written the assemblies in the New Testament. If you would like to read more about tithing, click on the links below to read book bubbles from Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?
- Is the Church the Storehouse for Tithing?
- Did Jesus Collect Tithes?
- Will a Man Rob God?
- Eating Tithes vs. Paying Tithes
- What are First Fruits in the Bible?
- Official Orthodox Biblical Tithing Has Passed Away
- Jesus and his Ministry Never Received Tithes
- Paul Never Taught Believers to Tithe Money
- The Church and Its Money Grab Tactics
- Monetary Tithing is not a Foregone Conclusion
- Money Tithing or Eatible tithing, Which One?
- Arguments Against Tithing Has a Long History
- What Does True Giving Look Like?
- Tithing on Increase
- The Law Does Not Teach Monetary Tithing
- Research Brings Truth
- Understanding Tithing Starts With a Definition
- The Fight Continues
- Did Paul Convert the Tithe to Money?
- How Did God’s Tithe Become Money?