Biblical Tithe - An Introduction

A good friend and I got talking last night about some of the teachings of Christianity that we thought were wrong. We ended up talking about the ways that (we feel) many churches teach on the subject of tithing incorrectly. It was a good and healthy discussion that lead to a lot of thinking and a bit of digging into the Holy Text (in both present translations and ancient), a bit of digging within a number of exo-biblical references, and even looking at some self-proclaimed-authoritative-websites that we found.

As you may, or may not be aware of, I try to release two or three research papers every year based on issues I feel the Lord directing me to learn more about and share with others. My previous research was on John the Baptist, which lead me into perhaps the deepest research I've ever encountered - as well as one of the deepest self-appraisals I've done in the last five years. Shortly after I completed the research and documentation on John the Baptist I felt the Holy Spirit revealing to me to research what the proper way(s) to honor the Lord with tithes are.

Having studied the Old Testament laws concerning the Tabernacle in great detail seven years ago, I felt this would be an interesting extension of a previous study. It has turned out, however, to be a much bigger issue than I had ever expected. There are, of course, many great and famous references to tithing that we are all made aware of by the teachings of the Church. What I did not expect was the revelation of dozens and dozens of stories throughout scripture that have a clear presentation of honoring the Lord with the offering of tithe.

Two of the issues I brought up during the discussion with my good friend was how I was finding in Holy Text a number of mentions that our tithe of honor was not based upon a giving of weekly or monthly offerings, and secondly that our tithe of honor was not based upon what we "financially made" for any given duration, but rather based upon our "total assets".

These two issues, I am sure, are not what you're normal House of Worship are going to be teaching, for an extensive amount of reasons - issues that I will leave for documentation within my final release of this study.

My good friend sent me an email earlier today within which he had the following information to share with me:

"On the matter of the tithe of "the whole value of one's possessions" as I believe you phrased it, the tithe would be either 10% of the value, one time, to completely discharge that debt, or 19% of the earnings on those possessions.

Why 19% and not 10%? It's actually obvious if you think about it for a minute. 10% of the value of your possessions belongs to the Lord, so all of the earnings on those 10% also belong entirely to the Lord.
Plus, of the remaining 90% of your possession, you pay 10% of the earnings on those. Thus,

You pay 100% of the earnings on 10% of the value of your possessions, and
You pay 10% of the earnings on the remaining 90% of the value of your possessions

100% of 10% of the earnings is 10% of the earnings
10% of 90% of the earnings is 9% of the earnings

10% + 9% = 19% of the earnings.

To illustrate: Suppose you were just starting out on tithing, and you had $100,000 in the bank. In addition to any first fruits tithes, and regular 10% tithes on earnings you get during the remainder of your life, you also owe a one time 10% tithe on the $100,000. But, let's suppose that instead of paying off that 10% right away, you decide to pay tithes on the earnings of that $100,000.

For simplicity of calculation, let's assume that you're earning 1% interest on that money. So, at the end of 1 year you get 1% interest on $100,000, which leaves you $1,000 in earnings. Since 10% of that $100,000 belongs to the Lord, you owe all of the interest on that 10%.
10% of $100,000 is $10,000, and 1% interest on $10,000 is $100, so you owe $100 on the Lord's portion.

The remaining 90% of $100,000 belongs to you, but you still owe 10% on the earnings of that portion. 90% of $100,000 is $90,000, and 1% interest on $90,000 is $900. You owe 10% on those $900 earnings, which amounts to $90.

Summing those values, you owe $100 + $90, for a total of $190, which is a 19% tithe on the total earnings.

To contrast, if you had already paid the "whole value tithe" previously, and had $100,000 in the bank earning 1% interest, your earnings would be 1% x $100,000 or $1,000. Your tithe would be 10% of that, or $100."

I found this very interested because in one part of my study, and within the conversation I had with him, I had mentioned that I was studying trying to find out this information. I had thought it would be between 18% and 22%, but as my math is weak, I was never able to nail down the exact percentage.

Thankfully, I have good friends who happen to be strong where I am weak!

So, why I do bother mentioning all of this within my blog? Well, because I am hoping that some of you out there who visit my Blog will share with me your thoughts and own insight on the honoring of the Lord with one's tithe.
Why do I feel that this "19% of ones possessions" is important and perhaps a more accurate way to honor the Lord with one's tithe?

To fully understand this you will have to do some research of your own, or wait until I release my full paper on the matter. For now I will say that in the numerous places I see great men of God honoring their Creator, they are not giving whatever they made (be it from selling cattle, sheep, slaves, cabbage, or such), but rather they appear to be giving of "the entire possessions".

Until I can fully come to a solid conclusion of this matter based upon the Holy Text, I would not ask – nor hope - you would question your own method of how you tithe or understand the issue of Biblical tithing. As the Holy Text says, study to show yourself approved unto both God and man.

Rob Henson @greybear ·

Wow... It just goes to show you that when you think you have a concept down, how your eyes can be reopened. My wife and I have always upheld the 10% and the Lord has blessed us financially for it. We have also incorperated some mission giving into that and added some additional we consider "giving" not tithe. I allways felt comfortable in this area and as if this was "taken care of", but in the light of new thoughts I am curious to see what my wife thinks. Most important I think that whatever the gift it is to be given with a joyful heart not as a weekly bill that "just must be paid". Thanks for the eye opening view!

How much are we giving of our time and talents?

In Christ,

John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hey guys, please note that I do not necessary think that the above is 100% Biblical, nor should be followed, nor is it the practices I follow myself.

It was posted in the spirit of brain-stimuli only.

John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

[quote=savedforservice] My goodness, what a controversial topic.[/quote]

Yeah, and the really funny part... this blog was posted with the pure purpose to make people go "Huh??!!" I mean, who in the heck actually sits down and starts going through the Holy Text trying to figure out the [i]exact percentages[/i]... this 'study' my friend and I did was more out of humor and to have something to talk about, then it was theology.

Yet, here we are... all these people who just have to get on the band-wagon about tithe and (for the most part) their pure and utter hatred of the very mention of the word within the walls of a church.

I'm pretty sure if Christ can give of His humanly divine flesh for the sake of all those complainers, what the heck does it really matter if a person gives 5%, 10%, 16%, 50%, or even nothing at all, of their income... people just do not get the reality of Kingdom Wisdom.


Yokhannan K @yokhannan ·

Hello Mr. Abela.

I was recently reading through this blog and your [blog=abelajohnb/kingdom-finances-the-tithe]other one[/blog] about tithe.

I had a question about something you seemed to indicate, which was that you feel the tithe should go only to a local church [i](actually I think you used the term 'house of worship', which I am going to presume you mean a church)[/i].

I also have read a bit about your take on the "churchless faithful" and am wondering how you tie these two issues together.

That being: if we as believers are to tithe to a local church, yet a believer is not going to church -- to be feed, which is what you indicated is the basis for knowing where to tithe too -- then to what, where, or whom is this person suppose to tithe, or are they thus free'd from having to tithe?

Or, what about the situations where you have a "shut-in" who never leaves the house, yet receives their weekly dose of church from someone on tv -- does this situation justify that the shut-in not tithe to a local church, but rather to whomever they watch on tv, and thus fulfills their spiritual needs.

Please note I am not challenging you on any of this. Read through my blogs here and you will know I am not that type. Rather, I am just seeking answers to these type of questions about tithe. These two or three situations have always made me go "hmmm" about the whole issue.

Thank you for taking the time to write this, the boldness to post about this topic [i](which many find a forbidden topic)[/i] and for any responses you might provide.

Joe Volpe @joe4jesus ·

Hello everyone, in my experience and study of this topic its been my firm belief that one way or the other everyone ends up paying tithe. It's our choice to do so as instructed to, with a joyful heart to be obedient and faithful to the Lord, or not to tithe on our own and the Lord will get what's His in some way or the other. Be it poor health, a hole in our pockets, or any other means He chooses to. As far as the percentage, I am not aware of the New Testament stating 10 percent. I feel we should want to tithe as a means to support those that are feeding us spiritually and serving the kingdom. That could be a weekly Bible study or a church in which your being fed spiritually. I feel the Lord will place on our hearts what amount and not just financially but physically. We have 24 hours in a day, the Lord might call us to devote "x" amount of time to this or that physical service. Possibly spending a part of our day, week or month doing this or that, in service to His Kingdom. I don't think it's all monetary, we have so much to be thankful for aside from our financial provision. Our health, our salvation, our spiritual growth. The list could go on and on.

When it comes to tithe, I think it's absolutely vital to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His guidance in our giving to the Lord, financial or otherwise. We have already been blessed, we're saved when we could be lost. We have a Bible and the freedom of religion. We have the ability to profess our faith without being thrown in jail or shot, unlike some places in the world. We have the Holy Spirit residing inside us. We have shoes on our feet, a job, a car, a house etc etc. No matter what, if we're saved and know the Lord... ...We're blessed. It should be nothing but joy to give back to the Lord in every way possible. One person might be called to give 90% of their income and 2% of their time due to a physical handicap. Another person might be called to give 2% of their income and 50% of their time. Its all situational. All that matters is being sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirits' guidance. We should absolutely give to those who our feeding us spiritually and it MUST come from a joyful heart. We should joyfully desire to support those who are seeking to save the lost and feeding those that are already saved.

Remember if we fall under law, we fall out of Grace. We have the unparralled power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must always remain sensitive to Him. As well, we must always remain teachable and seek our Fathers will to be done. The Lord DOESN'T NEED any of us, it's our privilege to serve Him as He sees fit.

I pray these words will encourage all of you and will help shed some light on what may be unclear. Blessings to all.

In Christ


K Reynolds @kreynolds ·

I know that some people consider the giving of time a portion of their "tithe" but I find no evidence of that in the Bible. I believe that is more of a gift or an offering to God. There is a difference. The practice of tithing which does mean tenth, predates the Law. Why do we think that because we are under grace, tithing is negated? That makes no sense to me.

There are those who believe in tithing their gross and those who tithe their net because they argue that they don't actually receive any of that money unless they get a tax refund or eventually collect social security. To complicate matters even more, money gets withdrawn for health savings accounts and you can't withdraw the funds from those except for medical/dental expenses, union dues, retirement, etc. We tithe our net paychecks but also pay tithes on any tax refunds, on my disability checks, etc. When/if we get retirement someday, we will pay our tithes on that.

I had a little interesting incident happen this past year however. When we looked at our overall giving to our church and other Christian organizations, it came out to 10% of our gross income. Interesting, isn't it.

I think a question we should ask ourselves is why are we reluctant to give less than 10%.


K :princess: