TO TITHE OR NOT TO TITHE: A Biblical Excursion Into Christian Giving (III)

(This series was originally written as a contribution to a discussion on tithing on a Christian social media group, the Bethel Fellowship Online.) 

We will look at what Paul says in comparison with what the OT says. As I said in Part 1, a comprehensive coverage of this topic would take an entire book. But we will try to be brief and focus on the core aspects. Spirit-filled believers don’t need to be spoken to all day before they get the message. There are two pairs of Scriptures in the OT and NT (the Epistles of Paul, specifically) that are parallel and we will consider. 

OT (1): “But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and YOUR TITHES, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:5-6).

NT (1): “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you LAY BY HIM IN STORE, AS GOD HATH PROSPERED HIM, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-3).

OT (2): “Bring ye all the TITHES into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and POUR YOU OUT A BLESSING, THAT THERE SHALL NOT BE ROOM ENOUGH TO RECEIVE IT” (Malachi 3:10).

NT (2): “But this I say, He which SOWETH SPARINGLY shall REAP ALSO SPARINGLY; and he which SOWETH BOUNTIFULLY shall REAP ALSO BOUNTIFULLY” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

As we can see, both the OT and the NT require REGULAR giving and both have promises for the giver. However, the OT specifies a given percentage, whereas the NT EXPRESSLY leaves it to the believer to decide on what he would give. If you want to sow bountifully, give bountifully, and vice versa. For anyone to teach that an NT believer MUST give a TENTH is a departure from the NT teaching committed unto the Apostle Paul, form which he forbids a departure.  Except Paul was deluded and had no such authority. Things become worse when the demands are subtly or not-so-subtly forced by a citation of the courses mentioned in the context of the above passage in Malachi. That is rulership by fear. And let’s admit it, the promise of uncontainable blessings in Malachi is too juicy and tempting for some, and so they willingly submit themselves. But I ask, how many of the “tithers” have experienced such blessings. None. Save some that demand and take the “tithes,” along with diverse other “offerings.” Hear Paul again:  “For ye suffer [ALLOW IT], if a man BRING YOU INTO BONDAGE, if a man DEVOUR YOU, if a man TAKE OF YOU, if a man EXALT HIMSELF, if a man SMITE YOU ON THE FACE (2 Corinthians 11:20). 

Brothers and sisters, I greatly fear the Lord and do HIGHLY respect our religious leaders, but necessity was laid upon me to share this. It is not directed at anyone but just an attempt to help resolve a controversy and enlighten the seeker. It would have been much easier and more convenient for me to keep quiet, but as Paul said again, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me” (1 Corinthians 9:16,17). Now, let me drive it home so that you are sure of exactly what I am saying.    
© David Olagoke Olawoyin