Banking on God: The Tithe, Part 2


See Acts 4:34-35Today’s post is a tough word that may anger a few people. Asking people to give is always a tricky proposition. In the Church, it’s an even more sensitive issue because we have tied giving with our spirituality. Plenty of churches still exist where one’s piety is measured by how readily one ponies up the moolah.

And that brings us to the tithe.

My belief on giving money within the church is what I call “The Quick, Dead Priest” model. And nope, you won’t be hearing anyone else labeling what follows by that name. I believe, though, that this model best represents the true New Testament model of giving.

The first truth: Christians have been crucified with Christ and are now dead to the world.

The Bible is full of legal truths, the kind lawyers love. And one universal legal truth is that a dead man can’t own anything. Whatever once belonged to the deceased must be passed on to heirs. You can’t take it with you. End of story.

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
—Colossians 3:3

As Christians, we have been united to Christ in His death. The stamp of the death certificate on your life and mine is the cross. Being in Christ means being in no one or no thing else. You, therefore, are not your own. You have been bought with the price of Christ’s death.

Outcome? You own nothing, not even yourself.

Therefore, all this talk of “what is mine” is just that, talk. Christians have no legal precedent to claim they own anything. God may indeed bless you with property and possession, but under the legal system of the Kingdom of God, you are merely stewarding what belongs to someone else. And that someone is God.

The second truth: The death and resurrection of Jesus permanently ended the temple system instituted in the Old Covenant.

This understanding is critical. We no longer perform sacrifices because Christ, the perfect sacrifice, died, satisfying the demand of blood as a covering for sin. Because Christ satisfied all conditions of the Law in Himself, if we are in Him, then we no longer must strive to fulfill the Law. (Don’t believe me? Sit down and read the entire book of Galatians in one sitting. Then read it again for good measure! Follow that up with the entirety of Hebrews.)

One of the hallmarks of the old temple system was the Aaronic priesthood. The giving of tithes in the Old Testament went to support the work of the Aaronic priesthood. The temple economy, based on the tithe of one-tenth, existed to keep the temple system running, to care for the priests (who were allowed no other forms of income under the Law), and to ensure the purity of the people before God through the sacrifices.

But Christ eliminated the old temple system. The sacrifices are gone. The flawed Aaronic priesthood and all that pertained to it, including the mandatory one-tenth tithe used to support it, was put aside, surpassed by the perfect priesthood of Christ. To prove the case even more thoroughly, the Sovereign God oversaw the destruction of the temple itself in 70 AD.

The old has passed away. The new has come.

Under that new priesthood of Christ, you and I are the priests. For all you Protestants out there, the Reformation was built, in part, on the idea of the priesthood of all believers:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
—1 Peter 2:9

But our priesthood is radically different. It’s a priesthood of equals. It’s a priesthood of community. It’s a priesthood that has God living inside each priest, not in a temple built by human hands. And that truth radically transforms how we must view giving.

The third truth: Each priest in the Kingdom of God in Christ is quickened by the Holy Spirit and that quickening informs giving.

The priests of the Old Covenant did not have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, hence the need for a man-made temple. The priests of the New Covenant, however, do have God living inside them. We see how that plays out immediately after Pentecost:

And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
—Acts 2:44-45

That concept is expanded two chapters later:

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common…. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
—Acts 4:32, 34-35

Upon being filled with the promised Holy Spirit, the first thing the new priests of Christ did was to ensure that no one among them lacked for anything. They sold houses, properties, whatever, to ensure that the new priests were provided for. The difference in this priesthood, though, was that everyone was a priest, so all were entitled to the largess of the community, not just a certain tribe or class. All. And the payment? Everything, to the point that no one claimed personal entitlement.

Another truth emerges. The new priesthood did not build on the ashes of the old. It was and is a new thing that God has done. It relies not on Law, but on the indwelling Holy Spirit.

God created a new economy and with that economy comes a radically transformed idea of giving:

The one-tenth tithe has been abolished. Totally. It does not persist in any way in the new Kingdom economy.

As the Bible says:

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
—Hebrews 8:13

The new standard of giving has replaced the old. The old was for men and women who did not have God dwelling inside them. The old was for men and women who had not been crucified with Christ and therefore dead to the world. The new asks everything of us. It asks for our houses, our possessions, our jobs,our kids, our spouses…even our very lives. It’s all on the table and can be used for the purposes of the Lord any way He chooses, even if that means that we must be martyred so as to accomplish His goals for the Kingdom.

How will you know how much to bring and whether His call on you is to simply give $20 or go so far as to sacrifice your life?

The Bible tells us:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth….”
—John 16:13a


For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
—Romans 8:14

The mark of our acceptance into the new economy of God, into His new Kingdom, is that we are led by the Spirit of God. The truth revealed by the Spirit will show us exactly what we should be doing with the money He’s given us to steward.

So how is it that far too many of us cling to patterns of given obsoleted by God’s new economy? Why do so many continue to endorse a ten percent tithe?

Because it’s easy.

It’s easy because it requires so little of us.

It’s easy because it asks nothing of going before God to inquire of Him by the Spirit to know what we should be giving in any and all situations

It’s easy because it doesn’t require us to live by “Give us this day our daily bread.”

It’s easy because it doesn’t ask us to give until it hurts, to take up our cross daily and follow Christ.

And that’s the problem in a nutshell. The old economy asked very little. The new economy in which dead men and women made alive in Christ are priests in a new Kingdom…that economy looks messy, fuzzy, and difficult compared with the old economy. However, the new is one thing the old is not: perfect.

If we want to see the Church be what She is intended to be by Her Bridegroom, then we MUST start living under the new economy of His Kingdom. Not the old economy, but the new.

Now if only more of our churches in America understood this.


Banking On God: Series Compendium

60 thoughts on “Banking on God: The Tithe, Part 2

  1. Darrell Griffith

    Well articulated Dan –provoking and no doubt challenging for many to hear and grapple with (myself included some days).

    Your post is a good summation of some conclusions I’ve recently come to regarding this larger topic. That is there is no magic percentage to give (or, perhaps, not give?) as it’s all God’s under the new and better covenant. It may be very little in one season of life and virtually everything in another. We have to be attuned to where the Spirit is leading, perhaps seek wise council and surly re-learn what is truly important in this American life for those that desire to seek after Christ and his Kingdom.

    I know I’m blessed to have lived some of these principles via the local body God has placed us in. Years ago we underwent a pretty demanding financial trial and ultimately lost our home along with a significant amount of equity. On the heels of this we found some dear friends of ours renovating their basement for our occupancy. Their reasoning was simple: the home belongs to God and not them. It’s His to do with as He pleased and they felt strongly that for a period of time in life they were to restructure and open their basement (now, essentially, an apartment) to others until God made it clear otherwise. It required adjustment and a degree of sacrifice for everyone.

    On one level it was humbling and difficult to move a small family in to a basement apartment –one offered on nothing more then grace and love at that. But on another level it was a growing recognition that this was far more the model and spirit of what scripture was teaching then not. We hope one day to be able to reciprocate when and if God allows.

  2. Becca

    I have to agree with what you are pointing out here and feel challenged by it. I haven’t studied the subject like you have, but it seems fairly obvious that it is the way the NT teaches.

    A thought: Could it be the building of Christian cathedrals in Europe and Asia Minor during ancient days that re-established the 10% law from everyone to get the projects done? Could that be why it is a mindset we find hard to get past because it goes back so far in our teachings (I’m sure it is not as simple as one reason, but this could be a place to start looking.) I love to tour an old cathedral, but what have those really done to further the Kingdom? It seems Christianity spreads quickest where the tools to work with are simple. When buildings and programs get established in an area it seems -at least to me- that the numbers entering the Kingdom tend to slow down.

    How then do we change our thinking back to how the apostles were teaching and living? It’s a huge leap for most all of us in the western world.

    Ideally, Christians shouldn’t need to invest money in several insurance plans and retirement savings. (That is one area the Amish seem to get it right.) But frankly it scares me to give up my savings account and sell off things I have, but don’t need, that have monetary value. Who do I trust then to decide what a true need for that money is when the “church” has let me down over the years in waste of funds and such?

    These are tough questions. Thanks for raising them.

    • Becca,


      I think the big problem is that people want everything written down. Show a person a list and they’re happy. Tell them they will need to spend time with God to learn what He would have each of us do regarding our giving? Well, they’re not happy about that. That requires time. That’s “messy,” too.

      We either live by the Spirit or we don’t. In our society, living by the Spirit is almost unheard of. Everyone wants something written down. But it’s not all written down. Even the Bible, as rich as it is, does not contain every last shred of wisdom on every topic that’s ever existed. It can’t tell you much about calculus, for instance. It’s not going to tell which specific people in our churches have a certain gift. That’s the Spirit’s work.

      It’s the Spirit’s work on giving, too.

      I think that Christians should be wise with investing. Jesus used a positive example of giving in the parable of the talents. And before anyone says, “Well, that’s just a parable,” we should understand that Jesus doesn’t setup examples of which He would not approve. (In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus doesn’t make up the rich man’s torment, for instance. That torment is real.) The positive example of investing the money that has been given us pleases the Lord. So be smart in investing! But also be ready to surrender it all as the Spirit leads. Remember, in the parable of the talents that the owner of the money came back and demanded his payment back! The keepers of the funds were just that, stewards.

  3. Diane Roberts

    I have a question for the tithing followers that I never have heard discussed in any church in my 40 years of attending evangelical churches. Were poor widows and orphans required to tithe in the Old Testament? Is some old person who is self-supporting and has an income of a little less than $10,000 a year (yes those people do exist–I’m one of them) required to give 10%. Do we give off of the gross, or as some teach the net? (By the way, I believe that OT tithing required the gross BEFORE paying taxes to the king).

    And what about the other two tithes? OTHER TWO? Yes. There were actually THREE tithes in the OT. The other two are rarely, if ever, talked about in churches and never by the tithing teachers. Once in a while God would say that the tithe should be kept by each family and they were to have a party with it. And at other times God would say, after collecting the tithes, that they were not to be used for the temple or priests, but to given to the poor only.

    If we are going to drag tithing into the NT, then let’s do it accurately, OK?

    • When the dispute arose in the early Church about ministering to the widows (Acts 6:1-7 KJV), “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (v. 7) after the problem was resolved. This is because the priests took care of the widows. Why should they believe and join the Church if the Church could not get its Acts together about their widows?

    • Jon Smith

      Were poor widows and orphans required to tithe in the Old Testament? Is some old person who is self-supporting and has an income of a little less than $10,000 a year (yes those people do exist†“I’m one of them) required to give 10%. Do we give off of the gross, or as some teach the net? (By the way, I believe that OT tithing required the gross BEFORE paying taxes to the king).

      And the accuracy appears to be missing. Even young active priests were given a portion of the tithe. A lot of pastors hoard it for themselves. And I have asked that one a lot, what about the poor tithe? or the feast tithe including drinking stron drink! Praise God!

  4. Excellent post, well-articulated. I would be interested on your take as to why the Jerusalem model was not instituted anywhere else the church was planted nor utilized at later periods in Jerusalem itself. Also, how would you incorporate Peter’s rebuke of Ananias and Sapphira, where he did not seem to have a problem with personal property being kept within the purview of the owner?

    • slw,

      As I have noted in many other topics (like the dietary laws and such), what the apostles tell the gentiles to follow is instructive. They exclude nearly every aspect of traditional Jewish practice. And that’s for a very good reason!!! Christ fulfilled all those requirements in Himself. Christ came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. And that He did. It’s done. Once for all. The work is finished. Christ did it all so we don’t have to. Like I said, we should all read Galatians very closely and in one sitting. This comes out so clearly then.

      • Dan,
        I am sorry, I think my questions must have been poorly communicated. I am with you in regards to the interpretation of Galatians and its repercussions, what I wanted you to comment on was the “communistic” features of the Jerusalem Church’s approach to the common pot and personal property.

    • Ananias and Sapphira were killed for lying to the Holy Spirit, not for keeping their property. But the Bible is clear to “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20 KJV), and that “he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly” (2 Cor. 9:6 KJV). What if Ananias and Sapphira had not lied about what they did? Then they would have kept back treasures upon earth and reaped sparingly.

  5. Amen. I have come to the same conclusions from prayerful and careful examination of scripture. It seems to me (from observation) that regardless of the good intentions of many churches, much of the ‘tithe’ system is little more than social club dues.

    • Sarah,

      The tithing system in churches today gives power to some and those people use it as a cudgel, as a way to show who is holier than whom. That’s wrong, wrong, wrong. Yes, as you say, some are the exalted to be the club members, while some wind up little more than busboys in the club. The irony is that the busboys inherit the perfect Kingdom. The club members? Well, they have some ‘splaining to do!

  6. Good article and good discussion.

    The poor could not tithe unless they were landowners and herdsmen who were the only ones required to tithe that which God miraculously increased from His holy land of Israel. Tha means that Jesu (a carpenter), Peter (a fisherman) and Paul (a tentmaker) did not qualify as tithe-payers either because their products were self-increased and were not in Lev 27:30-34.

    Teh poor actually RECEIVED much of the econd festival tithe and all of the third third-year tithe. Teh true tithe was between 20-23%.

    NT giving is sacrificial, generous, cheerful and out of love. To many that is more than 10% but to the poor that may be sacrificial while only being 1%. There is no percentage.

    Russell Earl Kelly, author of Should the Church Teach Tithing?

  7. I already “tithe.” I pay Social Security tax, Medicare tax, federal and state income taxes, sales tax, car tax, gasoline tax, and other taxes. These pay for the elderly and ill, food stamps, education, police, parks, libraries, roads, and other things.

    Now consider Social Security and food stamps. When payment is issued, the recipient may spend it any way he or she likes. Social Security could be used for living expenses or for the slots at Vegas. Food stamps could pay for Ramen noodles as well as filet mignon. Unless a crime or outright fraud is committed, no matter how the money is spent, next month’s check will be in the mail.

    Now consider the typical church ministry. Aid is often contingent on the recipient’s “spiritual welfare.” Recipients must listen to sermons and get counseling. The amount of aid doled out often pales when compared to what the government might pay. Month-by-month aid is unheard of. At least I have never heard of a church organization that hands out monthly checks for living expenses, except to ministers and missionaries.

    Why would anyone want to deal with the Church when one could be paid by the government?

  8. There are lots of people that are out there refuting the tithe, and fail to mention what God has implemented for us in its place. I am glad to see that you’ve understood that Spirit-led giving is the key to New Testament fellowship and communion.

    Most people don’t understand. Yeah, its great and wonderful that they can prove tithing doesn’t belong in the church, but they’ve forgotten to point people to our new teacher- the Spirit. If we fail to encourage others to seek God’s Spirit, than all our anti-tithing rants will cause a pointless revolution, instead of a Godly reformation.

  9. Diane Roberts

    Wow! Great comments! Russell–why in the world aren’t all our churches teaching what you arote. It was great! And accurate.

    I do believe it’s almost a legalistic spirit taking hold of our churches today. We must follow the Holy Spirit’s leading on how much to give. II Cor. chapters 8 and 9 are our guide, NOT the OT tithing laws.

    (I think that is what Dan said in his post….:)

  10. Travis Seitler

    Well… you already know where I stand on the matter, Dan. 😉

    Thank you for your focus on how Spirit-led giving is about providing for each other’s needs, not (necessarily) paying a pastor’s salary and a meeting house’s mortgage.

  11. I have come to the same conclusion that the tithe is not for us today, although a figure of 10% may be a good starting point for some. It all belongs to God and how it is used is up to Him.

    Due to an inheritance, we have been able to get out of debt. We are taking the money we used to pay on a mortgage and credit card bills and dividing it into savings for future expenses, retirement, and savings to help those who have need. We are trying to live a lifestyle of generosity. Where that will lead, only God knows.

  12. mike

    great post – I heartily agree.

    I have heard strong arguments for tithing as pre-mosaic covenant because of Abraham’s offering to Melchisadech. Prior to the priesthood being established, prior to moral, civil, or judicial law, ol’ Abe gave 10% to a priest in honor of God. So the argument goes: If tithing was established outside the old covenant, then the passing (or fulfilling) of the old covenant does not affect tithing.


    • Mike,

      I would reference the pingback in the comments to Peter Smythe’s podcast. I commented on it in the comments. Peter dismantles the Abrahamic tithe and its connections to modern tithing quite thoroughly. Definitely made me think of the entire episode much differently than I had previously.

  13. I have tons of thoughts on Abraham. The following is a one paragraph summary in my essay. If that is not enough there is a 17 page chapter in my book at and even more from Hebrews 7 at May God bless you. I am interested in your comments.

    For the following reasons, Genesis 14:20 cannot be used as an example for Christians to tithe. (1) The Bible does not say that Abraham “freely” gave this tithe. (2) Abraham’s gift was NOT a holy tithe from God’s holy land gathered by God’s holy people under God’s holy Old Covenant. (3) Abraham’s tithe was only from pagan spoils of war and was required in many nations. (4) In Numbers 31, God only required 1% of spoils of war. (5) Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek was a one-time recorded event. (6) Abraham’s tithe was not from his own personal property. (7) Abraham kept nothing for himself; he gave everything back. (8) Abraham’s tithe is not quoted anywhere in the Bible to endorse tithing to Israel or to the church. (9) Genesis 14, verse 21, is the key text. Since most commentaries explain verse 21 as an example of pagan Arab tradition, it is contradictory to explain the 90% of verse 21 as pagan, while insisting that the 10% of verse 20 was God’s will. (10) If Abraham is an example for Christians to give 10% to God, then he should also be an example for Christians to give the other 90% to Satan, or to the king of Sodom! (11) As priests themselves, neither Abraham nor Jacob had a Levitical priesthood to support; they probably left food for the poor at their altars.

  14. Stephen Davis

    It looks like God has hard-wired the money of Deut. 14:25 to the parable of Jesus. Those who have exchanged the tithe for money and bound the money in their hand are the ones who are bound as tares and thrown into the fire. This would match the stubble of the proud (presumtuous) of Malachi 4 that are burned up. It does stand to reason that if the tithe can be exchanged for money then the tithe cannot be money. Many rely on God’s supposed ignorance of money when in this portion of scripture in Deuteronomy, He shows that He knows what money is. Those with the money are to purchase ‘strong drink’ (Deut. 14). Read Isaiah 5:22-24. You will find again the stubble (tares) are being burned up. They are intoxicated with this strong drink. The very first use of this Hebrew word for strong drink is in Deut 14.

    The two great mistakes that thologians make is to one: ignore this verse in Deut 14 putting tithe and money together in one verse. Second, they only relate New Testament verses with the word ‘tithe’ in it to the subject of tithing. Jesus speaks of barns. Are they storehouses? Is he speaking of the Old Testament storehouse? Beware the rich who build bigger storehouses.

  15. Good points Stephen. Two more points, the Corban teachig is repeated when tithes are incorrectly called firstfruits and takene away from tehneed in violation of 1st Timothy 5:8. Also we never read Mt 23:24. “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”

    In the whole scheme of things in the law tithing was considered to have the importance of a gnat. Wow! It certainly has more importance than that today in the church.

  16. Jon Smith

    Well, first of all, here is where many people are missing it concerning tithing. Number one. Stop reasoning it, the anointing teaches all things concerning the scriptures. I doubt you are a true blogger, if you are then allow this comment to be displayed and don’t feel inferior by it.

    In Corinthians it states that those who minsiter about the altart partake with the altar” then it says in context “Even so”…”Even so (in the same manner) those those who preach are to make a living off of the gospel”. In context, this means receiving tithes and offerings. Old testament practice under the Levitical Law, of giving the tithe and offering, becomes a type for the new testament believer to follow.

    The same kind of type/pattern we use with regards to cautiously entering into the Holy of Holies, in the sense that we use it, apply it to people who shouldn’t enter into a wrong 5-fold office through the flesh. Possibly like the way modern bloggers are entering into a teaching office to teach on tithing, even though they are not really called to that office, or they are entering into a correct office, but not correctly entering it.

    The types in the Old Testament may be applied, not in a legalistic way, but under grace. All scripture… is for instruction, correction..

    Those who don’t beleive in “tithing”, calling it a practice under the law, restricting it to the Levitical Law, are foolishly forgetting, it began with Abraham, then Jacob tithed, before the Law.

    Then the Clencher: Jesus in Heaven according to Hebrews receives (present tense, maybe present continuous) the “tithe”. It means one tenth.

    Laugh as you may, you probably don’t have the audacity to post this to your blog. A true blogger welcomes disagreement.

    So Abraham, Jacob, Men and Jesus (Hebrews 7), tithe in such a way that it is not necessarily an Old Covenant practice. Hebrews 7 shows it is practiced after the law. So does the Corinthians verse I quoted.

    To laugh at possible judgment and being cursed if one does not tithe, because we are not under the curse according to Galatians, shows that you do not treat holy matters as you should.

    In Corinthians, it states that christians received judgement from God, including death and sickness (curses). Why did they receive that if Christ had it at the cross? Unbelief as evidenced by faith (which works by love), that did not have love, they were just simply neglecting a few members in the Body, and not correctly discerning the Lord’s Body (some of the christians there).

    If judgement came to them, and curses from the Law, after the Law and under the New Testament, can a believer be cursed with a curse for not supporting his/her minsters in their local congregations? The answer is YES. Including prophets, apostles, and any age in an active true 5-fold minsitry. They deserve to receive a tithe. And Nehemiah shows that 5-fold minsiters are to tithe from their tithes received. “Tithe of the tithes”. In love willingly, not as a good work, but as the sum of the law, new testament law, which is to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

    Now you have an anointing from the Holy One, learn to be taught by it. I am positng this on the other blogs about tithing too.

  17. Jon Smith, this statement of yours “Now you have an anointing from the Holy One, learn to be taught by it” is arrogant amd makes you think you are either God or the Pope speaking as an authority which cannot be challenged. Well, we are not intimidated so easily.
    9:13 Do you not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? And they which wait at the alter are partakers with the alter?

    In order to understand God’s Word, most of us must first clear our heads of the assumption that all priests and all Levites were full-time ministers and full time servants for God. Actually, during most of the year over 95% of the priests and Levites (23 of 24 courses) were NOT in the Jerusalem Temple but were “in their fields with their wives, children, and servants (Num. 35:2; 2 Chron. 31:15-19; Neh. 10:37,38; 11:20; 12:44,47; 13:10). Except for the high priest, they did not permanently live in Jerusalem because it was NOT a Levitical city (Joshua 21) where the Law commanded them to live.

    According to Edersheim, priests received income from 24 sources and their tenth of the tithe was one of the least.[2] All of the firstfruits, firstborn, vow offerings, ­ animal skins, and portions of sacrifices ONLY went to those priests who were presently “grinding the grain—ministering at the Temple.

    Today, while many gospel workers desire to follow Paul’s examples in soul-winning, few want to follow his example in self-sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. Indebted to no man, and obligated to no man (except to preach the gospel), Paul had no intention of teaching tithing for himself or others! He simply did not see tithing as part of God’s New Covenant plan of freedom and liberty. Also, we must not forget that, at the time this letter was written, the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were still fanatically devoting themselves to the Mosaic Law and, therefore, were still tithing to the Temple per Acts 21:20.

    9:14 Even so (in the same manner)

    There are several major spokesmen for tithing who use 1st Corinthians 9:13, 14 as their strongest argument for Christian tithing. They ignore the connection between 9:7 through 9:14 and focus instead only on verses 13 and 14. The key word in their argument is the first Greek word in the verse which means “in the same manner.

    MAJORITY HERMENEUTIC: This first word in verse 14 refers back to all of verses 7 through 13. The principle, or hermeneutic, is “Each group (secular and sacred) has a †˜right’ to share from that activity in which it works. All six of the examples demonstrate that one is sustained by the principles of the activity in which he labors. “In the same manner gospel workers live by gospel principles from which they labor. Verse 14 is a final conclusion to all of verses 7-13 which change from secular to Law to gospel. In verse 15 “these rights (NIV) again refers to everything mentioned in verses 7-13 and not merely verse 13. All of the context of 9:7-13 is considered and almost all commentaries agree. Do the research.

    MINORITY HERMENEUTIC: Verse 14 is only a conclusion which closely connects verse 13 with it. Verse 13 clearly states that Temple workers were sustained by tithing. New Covenant gospel workers have replaced Old Covenant Temple workers. Therefore New Covenant gospel workers should be supported “in the same many or “using the same principles as Old Covenant workers.

    In September 2005 Allan Meyer introduced this logic by saying, “We are getting near the punch-line folks and concluded by saying “Deal with 1 Cor 9 honestly or get out of the kitchen. He summed up his hermeneutic in February 2006 saying, “By the same principle. That principle, that principle running right through the Old Testament, where God’s workforce were looked after by the tithe is to be applied in the New Testament context as the way in which God’s workers in the New Testament will be supplied.

    REBUTTAL: This argument is self-defeating because it proves too much! This is because Numbers 18 is not an exclusive reference to tithing, but includes ALL forms of Levitical support which tithe-teachers definitely do not want to allow! When they insist that gospel workers are to be paid “in the same way that Old Covenant priests were paid in Numbers 18, then they have recklessly opened the door wide to the real principles found in Numbers 18. In reality it is very good that they literally follow NONE of those OT principles! See my chapters on Numbers 18 and Principles for Tithe-Teaching Churches.

    It is more wrong than correct to say “It was the tithe that supported God’s servants in the Old Testament dispensation because the priests received most of their support from things other than the tithe †“things such as freewill offerings, vow offerings and sacrifices (Numbers 18:1-19). Priests only received one tenth of the whole Levitical tithe (Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:37-38). As previously pointed out, modern “Levite equivalents in Christian churches are not ministers and are often unpaid. It is also wrong to equate New Covenant preachers as the replacement for the Old Covenant priests.

    Adopting Old Testament giving principles “in the same manner would force the church to also copy every other Levitical and priestly support principle found in the Old Testament. This logic would forbid missionary support and would require churches to abolish the doctrine of the priesthood of believers and put to death those who tried to worship God directly.

  18. Jon Smith

    To engage me, in any form of debate, you need to answer these questions that I am about to ask. If you do not answer, then you are wilfully ignoring the truth, and we’ll stand before the judgment seat of Christ. We will give account for every “idle” word.

    You do get credit for posting my comment, you are a true blogger.


    First of all question number 1. I am arrogant for believing the word in I John regarding believers having” an anointing that teaches them concerning all things”, or that “the Holy Spirit came to guide us into all truth”? I am a believer , not a catholic. Stop your whining. This promise belongs to ME. I am not the Pope, just a son of God spiritually!

    Question 2 Do you actually think you are teaching me something I didn’t know, when you speak of the number of priests who were not actually active in their duties, and hence lived in far away cities? I also know full well the types of tithes, including the poor and feast tithes. Every active minister, who is doing the grinding as you say, deserves a portion of the tithe. That rambling had no relevance in our debate. Stay on topic. We are talking about “the tithe only, and the active 5-fold ministers as a type of the active levitical priesthood,

    Question number 3 First read:
    13Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.[RECEIVE THEIR LIVING FROM THE GOSPEL]

    Question: So “In the same way” does not point to “those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?”?? Maybe you need to revisit teachings on basic grammar and syntax, instead of running to your little commentary which is clouding your mind. In the same way is referring to the priests receiving the tithes, and in the same way ministers are to make their living off of the gospel.

    The context is making a living as God’s worker, no matter where you look at it.. Maybe you should look up “living” in the greek dictionary. It is a fact that the priests(active) made their living from the tithes and offerings, regardless of whether they received more from other means. That is an irrelevant fact in this debate. Stay focused or get out.

    “In the same way” is pointing to a single way, not ways, so it points to that which immediately precedes it.

    You state “MINORITY HERMENEUTIC: Verse 14 is only a conclusion which closely connects verse 13 with it. Verse 13 clearly states that Temple workers were sustained by tithing. ”

    “New Covenant gospel workers have replaced Old Covenant Temple workers. ”

    “Therefore New Covenant gospel workers should be supported “in the same many or “using the same principles as Old Covenant workers. “YEAH THE PRINCIPLE OF GIVING TITHES TO THE ACTIVE MINISTERS, not supported BUT MAKE THEIR “LIVING” FROM THE GOSPEL…………one cannot make their living, INCOME, by principles. Every metaphor given, was about God’s worker receiving for their EXPENSES, SUSTENANCE AND MATERIAL THINGS ACCORDING TO PAUL…….so that MINISTERS could have biblical precedence to have the “right” to earn a living this way.

    All the analogies in verses 7 -12, are summed up in V13, to teach us how to support the 5-fold ministries. PERIOD.

    V7 to 15 are talking about making a living, survival. PERIOD.

    You state” And about “Adopting Old Testament giving principles “in the same manner would force the church to also copy every other Levitical and priestly support principle found in the Old Testament. ”

    IF that were true, then you need not use the Old Testament types, including the TEMPLE. ARE YOU SAYING JESUS WAS WRONG FOR USING THE OLD TESTAMENT CENTER OF THE LAW IN HIS PREACHING?






  19. Jon Smith


  20. 1. Most, if not everybody, on this blog are sincere born-again Christians who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We all have just as much of the anointing as you do. So please do not try to Lord it over us with your anointing. As priests all of us have a right to interpret God’s Word as we determine.

    2. I am staying on topic. You claim that 9:14 only refers back to 9:13 and tithing. I poined out that 9:13 incledes everything associated with the Law which went into the Temple.

    3. “In the same way” refers to the principles from 7-13. Just as each one in theose professions got theri lviing from principles of their professions, so do gospel workers get their living from principles of their profession –that is the gospel. Your interpretation has Paul, who refused support, violating his own principle. The principles of gospel support are grace and faith, not law.

    4. You just joined this blog. We have previously commented on Abraham.. My book devotes about 40 pages to Abraham’s tithe. Let us review what he teaches us about tithing. (1) only tithe pagan spoils of war, (2) only tithe property taken from others in battle and do not tithe your own property, (3) only tithe when you are passing through a priest-king’s territory and must pay a passage tax or a spoils of war tribute, (4) gvie the other 90% to the KIng of Sodo m, or Satan, (5) only tithe once in your recorded life and (6_) do not tithe anything that is really holy as described in the Law. Nice indeed. Some example!
    While we are at it we can lie about who our wife is so Pharoah and Abimelech can bless us for lieing. Followo Abraham’s examaple in all things?

  21. Jon Smith

    13Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.[RECEIVE THEIR LIVING FROM THE GOSPEL]

    You said:
    “I poined out that 9:13 incledes everything associated with the Law which went into the Temple.”
    Excuse me, how does 9:13 include everything associated with the Law? It is talking about:


    1. work in the temple
    2. getting food , sustenance, a living

    There is no direct association with the entire Levitical code of law. This passage is focusing in on PRIESTS WHO WORK FOR GOD AND THEREFORE MAKE A LIVING BY SUPPORT FROM GOD’S PEOPLE

  22. Jon Smith


    when you read about the serpent in the Garden of Eden, there was a “principle” of double references. THe serpent was a serpent , but also referred to the Devil.

    In the same way, as we the church are living stones, and God’s temple according to new testament scripture, that which is a type in the old testament became a reality in the new.

    Hence, as the bible says, and remember YOU ARE NOT THE POPE, “All scripture (old testament) is for instruction and correction…” unless you don’t believe the Bible here in this passage.

    So the old testament passages, even on tithes, for it is also found in the NEW TESTAMENT book of Hebrews, is for our instruction and correction, and the temple is a type of the church (believers), the Levites as leaders are a type of the church leaders.

    You ahve never learned how to follow the unction. Get books on that ASAP…check out Kenneth Kagin’s book How to be Led by the Spirit.

  23. Jon Smith

    Dan, email when you start a new post about the prosperity teachings, and I think we might have a lot of common beliefs on that topic.

    God bless you, for iron sharpens iron, and it hast reminded me and mde me think on the topic of tithing.

    I hope to see you in Heaven.

  24. Stephen Davis

    Are Levites a type of each believer in Christ? You said that they are a type of the leaders of the church. Levites became separate from the rest of the tribes after a rebellion. In Christ, we are all one. There are those who perform in certain offices of the church. We all serve one another for the benefit of the whole.

    Is it a benifit of the whole of the church that some receive tithes and the rest pay tithes? If being under the law gave the poor the benefit of not having to pay tithes, how is the church better by requiring even the poor to pay?

    “Come unto me all ye who labour and I will give you rest.” There may be more rest for the poor under the Old Covenant than under the New ….as taught by many. This is not a democracy, though. The will of God is not determined by a vote of the self-assured.

    Know that Balaam was gifted with the gift of prophecy. He is known as the mad prophet because he marched onward against the sword of fire that blocked his path to fulfill his greedy desires. Jesus breathed on Judas the Holy Spirit and was given power to raise the dead. The devil was the anointed cherub. Saul was anointed but fell. “He received gifts (Holy Spirit) for men, for the REBELLIOUS also…”

    How was it that Judas fell? He got his money from the devil. He traded in the Lord of Life. Does it say in the law that you can trade in the holy tithe for money? This is in Deuteronomy 14. Maybe monetary tithes are the weighing of silver for something that is holy. Our liberty (which is a dirty word in your church) has been traded away. The poor are objects to extract money. “As much as you have done it unto the least of my brethren you have done it unto me.” If your leaders consider options for getting money, they may want to bypass the tithe method lest they offend the one who offered them rest. Then there is the rest of the body of Christ. They have faith and love and a willingness to give. Chistian leaders will not starve if they rely on voluntary contributions from the believers. If they push too hard on the tithing thing they may wind up losing the money and thier own souls as well. They indeed will be found to be as Balaam. If money was so vital to the church, why did Jesus allow Judas to carry the bag. Maybe some leaders are chosen for the same reason.

    There is much safety in adhering to all of God’s counsel. Tithing is only a presumption. Very flimsy ground to stand on.

  25. Jon Smith

    Steven Davis said:
    “How was it that Judas fell? He got his money from the devil. He traded in the Lord of Life. Does it say in the law that you can trade in the holy tithe for money? This is in Deuteronomy 14. Maybe monetary tithes are the weighing of silver for something that is holy. Our liberty (which is a dirty word in your church) has been traded away. The poor are objects to extract money.”

    Actually, the tithe of land could be redeemed by giving a 12% tithe of money to the priests, so again this is not logical to use in this debate.

    Earlier it was said tithes could only be given if God gave the increase. Well like planting and watering the message of the gospel…Paul said in Corimthians that God gives the increase.

    Also in every matter of faith…Jesus said believe you have received, then you shall have in Mark 23…when we receive in faith what we pray for….this is God giving the increase…by faith it manifests.

    Since we are not an agrarian society…I have no problem with giving finances as a tithe or offering. I believe that is a no brainer.

    I understand your argument that tithing is under the Law fully. Yet like I said several times, before it Abraham and Jacob tithed, regardless if Abraham gave a spoils of war tithe. The point is he practiced the “principle of tithing”…before the Law, as did Jacob.

    Jesus receives tithes according to Hebrews 7.

    And I Steven, believe fully that Christian leaders are presently being judged for committing the sins of the sons of Eli, with regarding to receiving the offerings.

    I do not believe ina 100-fold return of what one sows to a minister.

    I do not believe in ministers lavish lifestyles.

    I do not believe in trusting in mammon

    I do not believe that ignoring the poor in one’s assembly is a sign of excellence in ministry.

  26. Jon Smith


    HENCE…the whole basis for this book on tithes, and the arguments against what I have been saying here…[ yourselves saying in essence we do not need to perform the legalistic practice of tithing for it is under the Law because it is only for those who were under the LAW]…the whole basis has been removed because:

    Abraham, Jacob, and Men and Jesus receives the tithes…OUTSIDE OF THE LAW

    • Jon,

      I have responded to your comments in a private e-mail. I will repeat some of that below. Please address all further comments to my private e-mail address.

      If anything, I have argued for more than a 10 percent tithe. My post is pretty clear on that. We are to give all when all is required by the Holy Spirit.

      From the Scriptures you quoted, I see nothing that backs up a 10% tithe. If you wish to argue that Melchizedek and Christ are one and the same person…well, I don’t see that is what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Even if that were true, that doesn’t mean that what Abraham did carried over into the NT.

      Abraham offered what was not his to begin with, war spoils. This is not an example, nor does it correlate with modern tithing practices.

      Abraham offered that offering once and never again because Abraham never encountered Melchizedek again. Again, if we take that as an example, we tithe once and never again.

      Abraham did not give out of his own income. Yet modern tithing insists on a continuous tenth of one’s income.

      Abraham practiced physical circumcision. The NT does away with that practice of the removal of the foreskin. So obviously, not everything Abraham set the standard for persists.

      A prescribed practice of NT tithing based on Abraham CANNOT BE ESTABLISHED unless you concede to an exact depiction of that giving. As I’ve shown above, we cannot make a prescription out of Abraham’s giving to Melchizedek. His giving has almost nothing in common with how we prescribe tithing in those churches today that command a tithe.

      What Hebrews upholds in Abraham is his faith. Now THAT remains. That is what is commended in the NT. And nothing in the New Testament ties faith to a specific fractional amount given. Nothing. In fact, the NT says that we are not under compulsion to give a certain amount, but to have a cheerful heart in whatever amount we do give.

      Lastly, if the tithe were so important, why is it not prescribed as an essential for the Gentiles in Acts 15? The Jewish believers understood that Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of their people and began a New Kingdom, one of grace. This is why the Acts 15:28-29 says this:

      “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

      No tithe is mentioned, Jon, because Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Law, the very requirements the apostles themselves did not want to burden the Gentiles with.

      That’s all I have to say on this.

      • Travis Seitler

        I had the exact same thing happen on my own blog when I published a similar “non-tithing” post (different writer, though). Russell should know exactly who I’m talking about. I ended up having to filter the guy’s IP address so his comments went into the moderation queue, rather than automatically appearing.

        I hated doing it, but he was commenting so frequently (and with such vitriol) that he was essentially turning into a spammer.

  27. Friends

    Did anybody follow my logic about 1 Cor 9:13-14?

    1st Cor 9:14 begins with a Greek word which means “in the same way or “in the same manner.
    If these words refer back to 9:7-12 then Paul is saying that gospel workers should be sustained by gospel principles (which are grace and faith). Soldiers wee sustained by principles of warfare; farmers are sustained by principles of farming; herdsmen are sustained by principles of herding; temple workers are sustained by principles of the law; gospel workers are sustained by principles of the gospel. Most commentaries agree with this interpretation but a few such as Pink and Meyer do not.

    If you argue that 9:14’s “in the same manner refers only to 9:13 then you open the door too wide and your argument becomes self-defeating. Why? Because 9:13 includes ALL types of sustenance of the Temple and not merely tithes. You would then, as a Christian, be forced to also bring vows, firstfruits and firstborn offerings to the NT “priests. You would then, as a Christian, be forced to bring your tithes to the “new Levites who are the ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, builders, maintenance men, treasurers and politicians (per Num 3 all; 18:21-24; 1 Chron 23 to 26) and they, in turn would give a tenth of their tithe to the “priests per Num 18:25-28. The whole comparison falls apart also because the new priests are not the pastors but are all believers and the new Temple is not a building but our bodies.

    Any questions or comments? One a time plaese. I will not reply to 40 in a row.

    • Russell,

      The backbreaker on almost all OT to NT practices arguments, including NT versions of OT tithes is Acts 15. It was The Gentile Question.

      Now that the gentiles had received Christ, how should they act? Remember, the gentiles had no past history of acting out any of the OT practices of Israel. You would think that if those things were important, the gentiles would get firm instructions in what to do and what not to do.

      Remember, this arose because of circumcision, a rite practiced since Abraham (there’s that pre-Law reference). But considering all that the apostles could’ve told the gentiles to do or not do based on Jewish Law and covenant practice, what did they tell them? (Even more, the few practices that were suggested were only said to keep from too much strife and opposition between gentile converts and Jews within those gentile cities.)

      Read Acts 15. Then read Galatians. Folks, that’s reality. That’s freedom. That’s grace!

      That answer is informative because it hints at the depth of freedom in Christ that we all experience. Again, Christ did it all. He fulfilled the Law because we never could. He took on the covenant and obeyed it perfectly for us because we never could. The old passed away, the new came. And the new looks substantially different. As Jesus said, “Something greater than the temple is here.”

  28. What about Hebrews 7 It never occured to me to read Hebrews 7 so who cares? Actually my chapter 19 has 22 pages on that one chapter. See it at

    7:5 sets the tone for the chapter. It is the first time that “law”, “commandment” and “tithe” occur in Hebrews.
    7:12 says that it “necesary to change the law” and the only law mentioned since 7:5 is the law of tithes which support the Levitical priestshood.
    7:18 says that the law has been “annulled” becausse it was weak and unprofitable. Again it must refer to the law of tithing from verse 5.
    Melchizedek from Genesis 14 is only a type of Christ “through interpreting his name”.

    Acts 21:20-21 says that the church in Jerusalem (the same one of Hebrews) was still “zealous of the law.” That means that they were still paying tithes TO THE TEMPLE SYSTEM.

    The covenant which supported tithing ended.
    The Law which supportd tithing ended.
    The priesthood which supported tithing ended.
    The Temple which was supported by tithing ended.
    The high priest changed from Aaron to Jesus Christ and his kingdom is supported by eternal principles per Heb 7:13-19

  29. Russell Earl Kelly


    You are Word of Faith. I am Baptist. We use different ways of looking at God’s Word. I disagree with almost eveything you say. You are not going to change my mind and I am not going to change your mind. You can use all the rude names you desire but that will not convince me that you are correct. It seems that nobody else in engaging us in this blog so I am through. Please accept the fact that not everybody sees things the way you do. I have more important things to do.

  30. Stephen Davis

    Before anyone teaches about tithing using Abraham’s interaction with Melchisedek, they should suppliment that knowledge using the three other portions of scriptures talking about that event. First, the prophecy of Jesus priesthood after the order of Melchisedek in the Psalms. Second, the letter to the Hebrews teaching about Christ’s priesthood. Third, what is said in the prophets that deal exclusively with what was said at the meeting between Abraham, Melchisedek and the king of Sodom. God speaks to this in the first person. It is as if you found a blog that God wrote himself. You will never hear a monetary tithe teacher, including Kenneth Hagan, quote this verse. There are really two verses in Amos that say pretty much the same think. And wonder of wonders, it has to do with money.

    This shows either the dishonesty of these teachers or their ignorance. Can you tell me these verses in Amos, Jon? I’ll let you write them on this blog so to prove that you at least of the thousands of teachers out there have quoted these verses in word or print. It will do you good.

    This absolutely proves that God is on top of this situation with the tithing heresy. You have walked into a trap that He set and you can only get out by now speaking the truth and letting the captives go free. I found these verses reading the early church fathers before 300A.D. This is before the era of tithe collecting began.

  31. Stephen Davis

    This is the quote from the early church fathers: Clement of Alexandria

    “Many, truly, are the shoes of the sinful soul, by which it is bound and cramped. For each man is cramped by the cords of his own sins. Accordingly, Abraham swears to the king of Sodom, “I will not take of all that is thine, from a thread to a shoe-latchet.” On account of these being defiled and polluted on the earth, every kind of wrong and selfishness engrosses life. As the Lord reproves Israel by Amos, saying, “For three iniquities of Israel, yea, for four, I will not turn him back; because they have given away the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, which tread upon the dust of the ground.”

    This verse in Amos 2:6 and again in Amos 8:6 uses the phrase Abraham used. Abraham would not take to a shoe (naal) and God says through Amos that there are those who do ‘take to a shoe (naal)’ from the poor.

    It is after that Amos says ‘no’ to taking of the spoils that God speaks to Abraham assuring him that “I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward”. The one action and words of Abraham are followed by God’s promise to him. Similarly, in Isaiah 33:15 God promises safety, bread and water to the one who despises the gain of oppressions.

    Are tithe collectors in a safe place or is it the opposite…are they in a dangerous place? Are they in danger of missing the promise of God to be the exceeding great reward to those who say ‘no’ and who even despise the gain of oppressions? Tithe collectors are fooling themselves and those whom they teach. It is best to go strictly with the teaching of the apostles on giving and refuse the smooth, deceptive promises of the presumptuous.

    Bring your tithes into the storehouse. Eat the bread of eternal life and you will as the wheat in the parable of the tares, be brought into His storehouse called heaven.

  32. Stephen Davis

    Just call me Jon Jr. I tend to kind of take over the tithing blogs when I get going. I have much respect for your work and ideas, Russell. I think we both realize the harm that the prosperity gospel is doing to our churches. Just let me know when to cut back and I’ll be quiet for a while. I hope Jon is still there. The boy has some zeal that can be channeled into better representing the Gospel. I know the theology of Kenneth Hagan very well. At some point, it would be good to get into Hebrews a bit more and challenge one of Hagan’s pillars of support for the tithing teaching that has been a seed bed for a lot of ministries that have followed him.

    The letter to the Hebrews warns of the vengence that is coming (Heb 10:30). I would like to show why the tithe collecting business is the reason it is coming.

  33. Stephen Davis

    These harsh words are found in Hebrews 10.
    “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath troden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord, And again, The Lord shall judge his people.”

    If you go to Deuteronomy 32 you will find both these quotes. What better place to look for the cause of this warning than in the chapter that gives us these words. Also, in this chapter you will find one of the few references to the word “faith”. Faith is such a major factor in New Testament teaching. What follows Hebrews 10 is Hebrews 11 known famously as the ‘faith’ chapter. It is in Deut. 32:20 that Moses says of the people that they are a generation that has no ‘faith’.

    Here in Deut.32 is where you will find tithe issues also. One is in verse 32…”For their vine is the vine of Sodom…” Of what did Abraham give to Melchisedek but the goods of Sodom. Secondly, in verse 34 we find the word translated ‘treasures’ is translated in Malachi 3 as ‘storehouse’. It is the vine of Sodom that is found in the storehouse. Is this why Abraham refused to keep any of the spoils. It is Jerusalem that is called ‘spiritual Sodom’ in Revelations. Both Jerusalem and Sodom had tithes taken of their goods but both found the fire of destruction coming upon them.

    Most of Hebrews is focused on the greatness of Christ and His offering. We are told that as a preist after the order of Melchisedek he had something to offer. Was it tithes? No. It was his blood and body. It is there, read it. Yet, there are those like Kenneth Hagin that somehow find that Jesus is the receiver of tithes, and they fail to point to what is the focus of the writer of Hebrews……Jesus offered his blood. A one-time offering. By it we come with boldness to the throne of grace. There are many though who would have you believe that you cannot lift your head unless you have brought Jesus his tithe.

    Kenneth Hagin bases his theology on a wisper of syntax. He says the verse in Hebrews 7:8 is pointing to Jesus as the receiver of tithes. All of the commentators I have read on this says that Melchisedek is the one receiving the tithe………to be continued.

  34. Pingback: Podcast Friday: Tithing and the Gospel of Christ – 2 | The Real Faith

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