The Truth About Tithing

Tithing Truths: Preamble

Tithing is giving a tithe. And a tithe is one-tenth of the yearly increase. The different versions of the Bible (the Bible) teaches specifics about tithing, but folks listen to wealthy TV evangelists who misquote those Bible verses to fund extravagant lifestyles. They do not teach tithing as reeorded in context in these Bibles. They run Ponzi Schemes which guilt folks with distorted Bible verses. Their prey give more because they tell them to believe for what they want and they will get it.

Giving in the Bible shows up in two eras. The first starts with Israel drifting in the desert. It ends with Jesus' death. And the second begins with Jesus' resurrection and continues today. The sacrificial system God set up in phase one needed Israel to present agricultural crops and livestock, not money, as tithes. 

Why Tithing Introduced to Israel

Let’s examine phase one, the period before Jesus' death and resurrection. Through Moses, God set up tithing in Torah, among other reasons, to support Levites whom He did not give an allotment in the Promised land. He chose the Levites to minister to Israel. From the Levites, He chose Aaron's sons as priests in the Tent of Meeting. To provide for the Levites, the poor, widows, orphans, and to teach Israel to celebrate, commune with and revere Him, God introduced three tithes: Levitical, Poor, and Festive tithes.

  1. The Levitical tithe recorded in the Book of Numbers 18:21-32 required tribes except Levi to give one-tenth of the increase in their agricultural crops and livestock to Levites. In return, Levites worked in the Tent of Meeting. Levites tithed from their tenth. In Numbers 18:20-22 (Complete Jewish Bible), ADONAI said to Aharon, "You are not to have any inheritance or portion in their land; I am your portion and inheritance among the people of Isra'el. To the descendants of Levi I have given the entire tenth of the produce collected in Isra'el. It is their inheritance in payment for the service they render in the tent of meeting. From now on the people of Isra'el are not to approach the tent of meeting. ..."
  2. Donors consumed in God’s presence the Festive tithe of agricultural crops and livestock (Deuteronomy 14:23-27). Its purpose was to teach Israel to worship God, to learn to fear or revere Him, and to celebrate with Him and the people.
  3. The Poor tithe, in Deuteronomy 14:28-29, agricultural crops only, once every three years (equal to 3.3% each year), fed Levites, foreigners, widows, and orphans.

Isreal’s three tithes totaled 23.3%. From the the Bible it is obvious only farmers in Israel offered tithes, which were an historic religious and social arrangement that excluded money.

Besides, we see in these Bibles, God assigned towns and pasturelands from other Tribes’ allotments (Numbers 35:2-3) to Levites. In these assigned towns, Levites lived, farmed, and helped other tribes worship God (Numbers 35). Levites received tithes in these towns, where they stored them. The Tabernacle’s storehouse kept a small part. Not only did Levites work in the Tabernacle and on the land, but they ran the government (Deuteronomy 17:8-9, 21:5; 2 Chronicles 34:12-13).

By His Death & Resurrection Jesus Replaced Aaronic Priesthood

What happened in phase two? It is clear from the different Bible versions Jesus gave himself as a sacrificial Lamb for sins, nullifying the need for intermediaries to sacrifice animals to remove sins. Thus ending the Aaronic priesthood, and Yeshua (Jesus) became the perfect Passover Lamb to offer the paths to remit sin and to God. Yes, Israel practiced tithing while Jesus was alive. While denouncing the Pharisees, Jesus referred to tithing in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42.

The New Covenant Book of Hebrews 7 and 8 noted Jesus replaced the temporary Aaronic office of High Priest with a permanent priesthood (Hebrews 7:24). And Hebrews 5:4-6 says Jesus is the High Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek. Further, the New Testament Book 1 Peter 2:5-9 states that after Yeshua's death and resurrection, each Jesus' follower is a priest. So, after reflecting on the above and mulling over the words in Hebrews 7:23-28, ask yourself why a significant majority of preachers guilt you to give 10% of your funds; even when you have nothing, some of these preachers want you to put amounts on your credit card? How does that show love, care, compassion, and values these preachers tell you Yeshua practiced?

Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he 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. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

It is obvious from reading Bible verses in context that today, we need neither intermediaries between us and Yeshua nor animals to sacrifice. Nor do we need to give a mandated 10% of our income to the church.

Giving in the Early Church

The Bible shows in the early church in Acts 2:41-47, Acts 4:35 to Acts 5:24, and 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 that giving to God was a personal decision flowing from each person’s belief and relationship with Messiah. It records the giving style after Pentecost when the church was new and unorganized. These early Jesus' followers lived as one group and as needs arose, shared belongings with one another (Acts 2:44-45). They did not tithe, but cared for one another unlike preaching of wealthy televangelists who rip off the poor by guilting them.

Pay Pastors Fair Wages

Since tithing does not apply today, how should we pay our pastors? Understand pastors are not business executives, but they should get fair wages in context of the church's situation. They should not apply crafty manipulation to guilt congregations. Mull over this Mother Teresa’s quote:

As Missionaries of Charity, we are here to help the poorest of the poor in whatever form that takes, which is always Christ in His distressing disguise. We don’t accept even one rupee for the work we do, as we do our work for Jesus. He looks after us. If He wants something done, He gives us the means. If He doesn’t provide us with the means, then He doesn’t want that work done. (Mother Teresa, A Simple Path, (New York: Random House, 1995) pp. 64-65

Beware! Don’t give to a group when it tells you to give it funds so it can do something for you. Another growing practice Christian charities use is to ask you to give on credit cards. Don't do this; in the many different Bible versions you will not see Messiah guilting his followers to give him or his disciples anything.

Why Tithing Practiced Today

So, why do folks practice tithing today when the Bible shows it does not apply? Maybe it fits North American me-centered Christianity. TV Evangelists see tithing as a good fundraising base; it's a great Ponzi Scheme. They present it as a seed for God to return a blessing. And it works! Yes, ignorance, greed, seductive marketing by flashy TV charlatans.

Prosperity gospel proponents use Bible verses as bait. They catch poor, uneducated, greedy, and ignorant folks. They misquote Malachi 3:10 as they fish and reap big gains:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

These charlatans ignored the context. Malachi 3:10 refers to priests mentioned in Malachi 1:6-8, who were presenting defiled animals to the Lord—Israel’s tithes to Levites were unfit. Priests got blemished and defective animals as tithes and gave God. They knew the law; that was wrong! In Malachi 1:12-15, God cursed the priests for this. Then, in Malachi 3:10, God tells priests that if Israel tithed as the law requires, and priests presented proper tithes to God, He will bless Israel as promised in Deuteronomy 11:26.

Malachi 3:10 does not mean people today should send 10% of their income to churches, and to health-wealth-prosperity gospel preachers so God may bless givers. No, it does not. Here, Malachi refers to God’s promises of blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 11. But, seductive prosperity messages, and wealthy TV preachers’ manipulation appeal to the greed and ignorance of their flocks. So, the faithful continue to give even what they don’t have to gain a bonanza. An untrustworthy practice.

Then again, like me, many folks grew up hearing tithing and have not studied it. Besides, God fearing, sincere pastors have not studied the matter. Still, a few preach this truth. A pastor might think it risky to preach the correct message fearing that funds from the congregation might reduce. Imagine a pastor who tells his congregation: “The 'tithing law’ doesn’t apply today and you do not have to give. It is up to you to decide if, when, and how much to give." Indeed, I heard this message once!

When Tithing Re-introduced

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "… The earliest positive legislation on the subject is in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the canons of the Council of Macon in 585. ..."  The church reintroduced it to support its expenses.


What's the truth about giving to God? Today, average giving in Canada and the USA is around 2.2% despite coercion to give 10%. I want to stress: I am not saying tithing is the start of giving, a minimum, a "training wheel." That's rubbish! It's not.

The Bible is clear. Tithing does not apply today. God is not a celestial slot machine... give him $10, get three apples in a row and win a jackpot! After Jesus’ resurrection, you won’t find one instance in the New Testament of the Bible where the early church taught or practiced tithing. Then again, nowhere in any version of the Bible will you see denominations; individuals developed to apply specific riles to people. Folks who study the tithing topic in context will know the truth about tithing. People who write, e-mail, and talk to me, testify to the removal of guilt to give when they listen to preachers pounding them for money.

If after reading this page you want to continue tithing, answer these questions:

  1. What’s the basis for your decision?
  2. Are you tithing 23.3%?
  3. Which of the three tithes aren’t you practicing?
  4. To whom do you tithe, and why?
  5. Do you tithe money, or stuff?